To develop a legible presentation, use these strategies:

  Use readable fonts and effective colors
  Use readable fonts and effective colors

When formatting your presentation slides, use your past experiences as a learner as a guide to help you determine what works best. When slides are simple with minimal text, the font size can be larger. If you find that you have to reduce your font size to put text on a slide, consider that a cue that you are putting too many words on the slide, which will reduce its legibility.

Leverage each slide as an opportunity to engage your learners. Too much text in a font size that is too small will not promote engagement.

Tip

Faculty Tips:

  • Use a sans serif font for body text. Examples of sans serif fonts are Arial, Helvetica, and Calibri. Learners can read these fonts easily when slides are projected on screens.
  • Use a bold font color that contrasts with the background colors. Pale colored text can look washed out on screens. In large rooms with dim lighting, dark backgrounds can blend in with the walls.
  • Avoid italics as a method to emphasize content. Italics can be hard to read. Underlying words or using a bolded font works better.
  • A font size of at least 28 points is preferable. A 36-point font is even better. If you minimize the number of words on your slides, you can use these font sizes.
  • Avoid the color red for text. Avoid using black for your background. The easiest-read color combination is dark text on a light background.
  • Use adequate space between bulleted lines. PowerPoint® will default to 1.0 line spacing, which is adequate. Increasing the line spacing to 1.5 or 2 may be appropriate when there are very few bulleted lines. However, decreasing line spacing to below 1.0 will make it more difficult for participants to see each bulleted line as a discrete point.
  Leverage visuals to make your points
  Leverage visuals to make your points

Visuals are a powerful way to capture learners’ attention, deliver a message, and make key points. Using visuals to deliver your message can be effective in helping learners access their mental models (schema). Visuals can serve as “cues” to learners for knowledge and memory retrieval. Visuals will almost always be remembered more than text. As an example, how easy is it to remember company logos? Almost everyone can think of the logo of their favorite store immediately!

In a learning context, the key to using graphics is to select images that are simple, benign, and readable. Also, it is important to align your images with your objectives. Ask yourself if the image will emphasize your message or distract learners from your key points.

Tip

Faculty Tips:

  • Be aware of your audience and how they will respond to the images you choose. Political cartoons, for example, can be amusing to some but offensive to others.
  • Visuals should be able to stand alone and not require an explanation. If you have to explain the visual, it may not be the right one.
  • Visuals should be large enough so that you don’t need to describe the image. If the graphic includes text, be mindful of the need to read the text in order for learners to understand the visual.

Video Examples

Advanced HFREF Pearls (03:52)
Faculty: Sanjiv Jayendra Shah, MD, FACC

Sanjiv Jayendra Shah, MD, FACC uses pictures to illustrate his key points about identifying patients with pulmonary hypertension.

Faculty: Sanjiv Jayendra Shah, MD, FACC

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Case Presentation How Frail Is Too Frail for VAD (00:51)
Faculty: Larry A. Allen, MD, FACC

Larry A. Allen, MD, FACC uses a picture to describe a patient’s motivation.

Faculty: Larry A. Allen, MD, FACC

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