"Make Your PowerPoint Presentations Awesome - Beyond Defaults"

Part 1: Beyond The Default PowerPoint Formatting

This is Part 1 of the “How to Make Your PowerPoint Presentations Awesome” mini-series, designed to give you concrete tips, tricks, and examples that you can immediately use to ‘awesome-ify’ your PowerPoint presentations!

Are you like me? Can you notice “default PowerPoint formatting” in slides from a mile away?

Default Formatting in PowerPoint

Default Formatting in PowerPoint


And when you spot default PowerPoint formatting in other peoples’ presentations, what does it say about the quality of  their work?

To me it screams laziness. And though it probably shouldn’t matter, if you’re working in the professional services industry, a default looking PowerPoint presentation just won’t cut the mustard.

So if we’re aspiring beyond the defaults, the question is:

How do we make our PowerPoint presentations stand out and look like we invested a good amount of time in them, without having to spend countless hours (or even days) designing the heck out of them?

Thankfully, just a little bit of effort can make a world of a difference in PowerPoint!

Check out this video for some low hanging fruit tips and examples of how to quickly take your slide layouts above and beyond the default PowerPoint formatting:

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When tackling default PowerPoint formatting, remember:

#1 – Never Settle for Default PowerPoint Formatting: If it’s default, it’s dull…and that’s the last thing that is going to make your PowerPoint presentation awesome. Remember, just a little bit of effort, can make a world of a difference!

#2 – Never Settle for Quick Style PowerPoint Formatting: One-Click formatting solutions in PowerPoint are just as bad as the defaults. So when you use quick styles, use them only as a means to get closer to your desired formatting faster. After that, make the effort to own your formatting.

The Bonus Happy Hour PowerPoint Tip: Let PowerPoint do the heavy lifting for you. Don’t spend time formatting something what PowerPoint can do 10x faster and 10x better. If you don’t like the formatting that PowerPoint gives you, you can always format away from it just like any other default formatting.

Non-Default Formatted Slides

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Anything We Missed? Have other things related to default formatting that you want to add to the conversation, let us know in the comments down below.

The “How to Make Your PowerPoint Presentations Awesome” Mini-Series:

Highlight Your Point Visually in PowerPoint
Part 2: Breaking Up Your Bullets in PowerPoint
"Make Your PowerPoint Presentations Awesome - Beyond Defaults"
"Make PowerPoint Presentations Awesome"

  • Hi guys, I enjoy your videos very much, and allways look forward to your Newsletter.

    My line of business is Excel, but I sometimes need to insert Excel data into a PowerPoint presentation.
    I struggled a lot to show a pivot table/pivot chart in a presentation. I can insert the pivots into a slide, but once I run the show they turn to regular tables and graphs.

    Any ideas?

    Again, thank you so much for sharing you vast knowledge!!

    • Taylor Croonquist

      Hi Jude, Thanks for the comment! Great question on using pivot tables / charts in your PowerPoint presentations. You actually can get them into your PowerPoint presentation and pull it off, the question is whether or not it is worthwhile to do it.

      First off, you can get your pivot table / chart into PowerPoint by either embedding the Excel file or creating a worksheet object link. To embed the file, when you paste, hit the CTRL key for paste special options and then select Embed in the little fly out window.

      Either way, if you then want to be able to change the pivot table in the slide show mode in PowerPoint (which I previously thought was impossible), you can add an OLE animation to the object, which will open up your Excel document and allow you to filter the table. I found a YouTube video for you 2013 PPT Embedding Interactive PivotTable which quickly walks you through what it looks like and how to do it.

      All that said, embedding and linking can be a pain and I wouldn’t recommend it…especially if you are sharing your document with colleagues. Although filtering the PivotTable during a presentation might be useful when working internally (I’d probably prefer to just use Excel), I would be hesitant to let your client have you “demo and spin” your pivot table information during a meeting. It will most likely be distracting and take you off track of what you are trying to present.

      Hope that helps!

      Let me know if there is anything else you’d like to see on our site.

  • I think Nuts & Bolts is great! I look forward to receiving the email subscription and give it a priority to review. Thank you!!

    • nbspeedtraining

      Thanks Darlene, we think you’re great too!

  • Penny Taylor, Writer

    Hey, Taylor. I’m really enjoying my Nuts & Bolts Speed Training course. I also enjoy getting these tips. I like to customize my bullets, also, but I enjoy adding color and getting away from the standards. A couple of months ago, out of nowhere, Microsoft stop putting the link to bullets and clipart on their customization of bullets, in PowerPoint, Word & other Microsoft applications. I can add photos, but it turns into a lot of messing around with sizing, etc. Any suggestions?