We understand that not everyone is on the same skill level when it comes to PowerPoint. With the latest update to Microsoft Office, somethings may look different and some default settings have changed. Our goal is to explain some of our top tech tips for using any version of PowerPoint, and enlighten our readers with some tips they might not be aware of, regardless of skill level.
Depending on what type of projector is used in the courtroom, your slide layout may need to be altered. If the court uses a standard projector, use the standard slide size (found on the top tool bar next to Format Background) for your presentation. Using the standard size will allow you to have minimal blank space on the screen. The default setting usually goes to Widescreen, so be sure to change it before you continue your work.
Choose the Right Color
The color of your presentation is much more important that it appears. Being visually appealing will keep your viewers alert, attentive, and absorb the insight you have on the case. Avoid using standard white backgrounds with black text, as it’s boring, and it will lose viewers. Consider choosing a soft colored background with a visually appealing font. Use pictures when possible, and use bullet points to break up paragraphs into smaller sections.
If you plan on using a template outside of the default layout, choose a neutral template that isn’t too distracting. Make sure all slides have a similar look and feel. Don’t go too crazy with animations on your slides, use simple fly in techniques if any at all. Make sure the font is a legible size, and that you don’t have too much text on the page. Having too much text also adds a distraction and it’s not necessary to have every word you’re saying featured on the slide, just feature the key points.
Reuse your Photos
If you have any photos that you’re adding into your case, be sure to add them to your PowerPoint presentation. Photos may have their own page, or be located next to the appropriate text. Reuse these photos to help strengthen your point.
Back up your Files
We cannot say this enough—always save your documents as you’re working. Save them periodically, and save them in two locations. Always bring at least two copies of your presentation with you; one being your laptop with the presentation ready to go, and another could be a USB drive back up.
Triple Check your Videos
If you plan on adding videos to your PowerPoint presentation, make sure they work. We’ve seen this happen countless times; someone is ready to give a presentation, they add a video, and it works on one computer but not another. To avoid any issues, make sure the video origin is located in the same file as the PowerPoint (PPT file). Test your presentation on another computer to be sure the video works in the designated slide across multiple devices.
Check your Projection Screens
Does the court use projectors and screens or TV’s? This will make a difference on your presentation. For Projectors, you’ll be fine with using a standard font, well-spaced out layout that’s easy to read. TV monitors can be tricky. Be sure to put minimal text per slide, as it’s going to be a smaller screen and more difficult for people to read and follow along. If you have images you’d like to display, it’s encouraged to have them on their own slide for maximum potential.
Not only is it obviously important to bring your laptop with you to court, but you must bring the appropriate cables to ensure you have a proper connection to display your presentation. VGA and HDMI are the two types of ports most prevalent in the courtroom. Bring the appropriate cord for your laptop port so you can easily connect to the projector/TV monitor necessary.