Finally, the long awaited PowerPoint font post, Part 2 of my PowerPoint for Non-Designers series.
This got a bit off-schedule due to illness (if you ever have the option to not be allergic to a medication, definitely choose that one), but I’m excited to share these three super easy font tips that will not only make your PowerPoints look clean but make you look like a professional and a presentation hero.
FONTS TELL A STORY; MAKE SURE IT’S THE RIGHT ONE
I’m sure you’ve heard people complaining about the ubiquitous “Comic Sans” font. It’s not a bad font on its own-- Comic Sans looks friendly and doesn’t take itself too seriously. When used in the right context, like a jokey comic strip, it’s great. But do you want your professional presentation to look like a jokey comic strip to your audience?
The overall look of a font-- from the thickness or thinness of the lines to the rounding or squaring of edges--gives it a personality. Some are subtle, like Helvetica, and some like Comic Sans are more obvious.
Keep this in mind when selecting a font. You don’t have to go in depth into the “personality” if you don’t want to. Just sticking to clean, plain fonts will keep the focus on your content rather than your font choice.
USE A SANS SERIF FONT
A serif is the extra frill on the edges of a letter. They make print much easier to read-- in fact, your brain is able to automatically process a full letter just by absorbing the serif.
However, when projecting your slides the serif fonts look more cluttered and take up more space. A font without serifs, aka a “sans serif” font, looks much cleaner.
Here are some examples:
STICK TO TWO FONTS, MAX
Remember when we talked about limiting the number of colors in your presentation palette? The same goes for fonts: less is more. Too many fonts and your slides will look cluttered and distracting.
If you simply must have more than one font, use one for Headers and one for Body text. Don’t add any more, and make sure all your fonts are consistent across the entire presentation.
You can actually set your fonts as a template for your document:
From the Design Tab > Click the arrow on the right-hand side of those colored boxes down there (you can’t see the arrow in the picture, it disappears when you click it) > Fonts > Scroll down to Customize Fonts.
Now you can add in your selected fonts as a custom template, name it something fancy and relevant, and save it.
Before you get all excited and run off to find the perfect font for your next presentation, double-check the computer your presentation is going to be loaded from. Sometimes the version of PowerPoint you’ll have to use won’t have particular fonts on file, and will automatically select a generic one.
After all that work to find a font that tells the right story, you definitely don’t want some random other font appearing in its place. The best way to prevent this is to use a basic font that comes with PowerPoint, like Century Gothic or Arial. These are much more likely to be available.