Powerpoint Tips #2: press F5 – for God’s sake, press F5!

The worst way to start a talk is to waste five or so seconds trying to work out how to load the Powerpoint presentation, i.e. how to start the slideshow in fullscreen mode. “Where’s the mouse? Where’s the little icon to click? It’s not where it is on my computer. Can someone help?”


The answer is: press the F5 key, and the Powerpoint presentation loads automatically. (If you’re on a PC. If you’re on a Mac, either press Control + Shift + S, or buy a PC. Or, sell your Mac, buy two PCs, and learn how overpriced Macs are at the same time.)

So, press F5. For God’s sake, press F5!




Powerpoint Tips #1: stats, tables and graphs

obesity slide

Argh! Too small.

In the comments on my post about conference annoyances, no one mentioned bad Powerpoint presentations, curiously. Yet lots of us have sat through Powerpoint nightmares with graphs and tables which are too small to read, statistics reported to six decimal places, or key findings covered in a milliseconds.

Eva Lantsoght offers some excellent tips on how to make technical presentations accessible to the audience. Her overall message, in effect is:

(a) we should think about what our audience needs to understand technical information, and

(b) the presentation should move slowly enough for our audience to understand it.

My only criticism is with some of her sample slides, where some details are too small. Default settings on stats programmes produce graphs which look OK on paper but are hard to see on Powerpoint.

So, we can add a third point:

(c) the information needs to be large enough to be seen and hence understood.

In case this sounds too self-righteous, I’m well aware that I’ve broken all of these rules at various times!