Guidelines for Creating PowerPoint Slides Optimized for IDEAL Conference®

Note: the following content is restored from the old website, which has be outdated and may be wrong. It is here for reference only.

Version of PowerPoint:

  • Regardless what version of PowerPoint you are using, save your presentation in the form of a *.ppt file (not a *.pptx file) before uploading it using the Document Center.

Naming Conventions:

Do not use any of the following characters as part of the name of a PowerPoint file:

  • Ampersand (“&”)
  • ‘At’ symbol (“@”)
  • Backward Slash (“\”)
  • Colon (“:”)
  • Comma (“,”)
  • Dollar (“$”)
  • Equals (“=”)
  • Forward Slash (“/”)
  • Left Bracket (“(“)
  • Right Bracket (“)”)
  • Period (“.”)
  • Pipe Sign (“|”)
  • Plus (“+”)
  • Question mark (“?”)
  • Quotation Mark (“””)
  • Semi-colon (“;”)
  • Space (” “)

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What characters can you use?

  • The letters (a-z)
  • Numbers (0-9)
  • Underscores (_)
  • Dashes (-)

Create and use a Design Style Template:

The template creates placeholders for textual content, sets background, color, style and format of the presentation. Ensure that there is a placeholder for slide title and subtitles and other content as a list.

Create a Master Slide using the Template:

Enter header and footer information. Copyright and other information can be entered in the left and center placeholder.

Visual Presentation:

  • Number all of your slides, including the first, introductory slide.
  • Avoid using patterned backgrounds in slides and tables.
  • If you have to use different color fonts do not use blue… including the color of the links!  Try printing out your PowerPoint presentation in black and white.  Chances are that your links will not show up!
  • If you have to use colors, use dark colors that provide sufficient contrast between foreground and background colors.
  • Do not use color only to convey meaning.
  • Minimize the use of images for visual effect.


  • Use these guidelines when choosing a font.  We recommend making headers 32 pt Verdana and your body text 24pt Verdana.


  • Limit text to 3-4 bullet items per slide.
  • Use the placeholders within the template to enter the text and other objects so that logical flow follows visual flow of the slide.
  • Do not insert extra spaces between words to try to line up things.
  • Do not insert blank lines in a presentation to spread out bullet points.
  • Do not create individual text boxes to enter content.
  • Do not use text boxes to insert content.

Graphic Images:

  • Most important tip: Unless it is absolutely necessary… forget the images!
  • Always create stand-alone images in JPEG (jpg) format and then insert them into your PowerPoint presentation using the menu selection Insert -> Picture. Never Edit-Copy, Edit-Paste images into a presentation.
  • Images should not exceed 45 kilobytes (KB) and should actually be much smaller.
  • If your images are not in JPEG format, convert them into JPEG formats.
  • Do not dynamically link graphic images from another application into your PowerPoint presentation.
  • Do not Edit-Copy, Edit-Paste images into your PowerPoint presentation from other applications.
  • Do not embed images as an object into your PowerPoint presentation.

How to use PowerPoint’s Image Compression Utility:

  • Right Click on any image in your PowerPoint Presentation
  • Click on “Format Picture.”
  • Click on the “Picture” tab.
  • Click on the “Compress” button.
  • Select the “Apply to All pictures in document” radio button.
  • Select the Change resolution “Web/screen” radio button.
  • Check both the Options “Compress pictures,” and “Delete cropped areas of pictures,” check boxes.
  • Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the Compress Pictures dialog box.
  • Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the Format Picture dialog box.
  • Save your presentation under a new name.
  • Note the difference in size (KB/MB) of your before and after PowerPoint presentation.
  • Note the reduction in size in case you are asked for this by an IDEAL Group team member.


  • Do not use animations.  The conversion tools used to convert your PowerPoint slide to an accessible HTML file will remove them.

Videos/Embedded Videos:

  • Do not embed videos in your PowerPoint presentations.  Instead, create an external link to your video. Here’s an example:
  • Tell members of your audience to individually click on the link to view the video for the next xx number of seconds.  After that they should close the window containing the video
  • You then need to click on your next slide to synchronize everyone’s PC.
  • You should then continue on with your PowerPoint presentation as usual
  • Important: Unless every member of your viewing audience has the correct player (for the video file type you are providing a link to) installed on their PC, they will not be able to view your video.
  • We also suggest that you read the following:
  • Here is an example of the correct way to include videos, and refer to them, as part of a presentation:

Resizing Images:

If you have never reduced the size of an image before, we suggest that you take advantage of the freeware image manipulation program, IrfanView.

You can obtain a free copy of the IrfanView. To download and install this application:

Using IrfanView to Reduce Image Sizes:

  • Open up IrfanView.
  • Select the File menu and then select the Open option.
  • Navigate to the appropriate file name and click it.
  • Click “Open” in the dialogue box.
  • Select the Image menu and then select the “Resize/Resample” option.
  • Make sure the DPI is set to “72.”
  • Resize the image (this can be accomplished one of two ways), choose either:

o       “Set new size” and resize either the height or width (keep the “Preserver Aspect Ratio” box checked).


o       “Set new size as percentage of original” and resize either the height or width as a percentage of the original size.
For an image that takes up a full screen, set it at 700 pixels wide; for an image at half that size, 350, down to a small thumbnail image which you might set to 100 pixels.

  • Now click on the “File” menu and click the “Save” button.
  • A dialog box titled “Save As” will appear. In the text field next to the text stating “File Name:” make sure to change the file name to something different from the original file name. If you don’t, you will overwrite the original file and lose it for all time.
  • Make sure that the drop-down menu to the right of “File Type:” is set to the “JPG – JPEG Files” option. This is the file-type best optimized (compressed for greatest quality but least amount of download time required) for the Web. However, please note that if your file type is already a GIF (ending in the file extension .GIF), then there is no need to save it as a JPEG (.JPG). Otherwise, make sure it is set to “JPG – JPEG Files” option.
  • Once you have entered a new name into the File Name field and have the appropriate file type selected, click the button titled “Save.”

Add alt-text descriptions to every image.  Here’s how:

From within PowerPoint right-click on the image you are working with.  You will see the following menu appear:

Click on the Format Picture menu selection.  You will then see the Format Picture Dialog Box.  Click on the last tab labeled, “Web.”  This is where your type you Alt-Text description.  Simple as that. Oh, one more thing… if you are new to writing Alt-Text descriptions we suggest you read WebCredible’s guidelines, “Writing effective ALT text for images”

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