Carnegie Mellon University

PowerPoint / Oral Presentation Slide Design

Download the handout      Watch the videos

Microsoft PowerPoint and its brand of slide design have dominated the market for decades. By some measures, PowerPoint is installed on over a billion computers around the world. Even if you use one of PowerPoint's competitors, like Google Slides, you probably still follow the same basic design model PowerPoint carved out in the 1980s. For all the millions of PowerPoint-style presentations given every day, however, many fail to assist speakers’ basic purposes: to be clear and engaging.

This handout will teach you a research-backed model to efficiently redesign your slides for maximum effectiveness. Specifically, you’ll learn:

  • The “Assertion-Evidence” model of slide design
  • How to convert text-heavy slides into a more visual format

This method can be applied to many fields by following these three steps:

  1. Clearly assert the slide’s main idea in a complete sentence
  2. Reinforce the argument with visual evidence
  3. Simplify slide design

To see these principles in action, click the link in the sidebar to watch the videos or view, download, and print the PDF.

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Designing Effective Slide Presentations

Download the practice slides for this video

Designing Effective PowerPoint Presentations, Part 1 (recorded workshop)

Designing Effective PowerPoint Presentations, Part 2 (recorded workshop)