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How Many Fonts Should I Include in My PowerPoint?

How Many Fonts Should I Include in My PowerPoint?
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  • 0:01 Font...Shmont!
  • 0:51 Font Type
  • 2:37 Font Color
  • 4:14 Font Size
  • 5:09 Final Thoughts
  • 6:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

In this lesson, you will learn how many fonts should be used in your PowerPoint presentation. We will also discuss best practices when selecting the font, font size and font colors for your slides.

Font...Shmont!

Slides should draw attention to key information. Sometimes, we focus solely on what information we need to put on our slides, forgetting that how is just as critical to the success of our presentation. No matter how interesting the subject or how great the speaker, if your slides do not help move your audience through the material and are not clear, crisp and easily read, you will lose the interest of your audience. Let's discuss best practices when it comes to the use of fonts. This lesson will help us answer questions like:

  • What fonts hold up well when projected?
  • How many fonts belong in a presentation?
  • Can I use different color fonts?
  • What is a good font size for my slides?

Font Type

Font types, such as Arial, Garamond, Century and Times Roman, should be your first decision when creating your slides. Ask yourself this question: Is this formal or informal? Sometimes the content and audience can direct the font that you choose. Did you know that some fonts actually dictate a certain emotion? For example, fonts such as Stencil, Impact and Playbill are strong and controlling. However, fonts such as Arial, Calibri, Verdana and Segoe are more friendly and soft.

Although there are an unlimited amount of differing opinions on which one is best, most experts agree on one thing. If you want your presentation to be unique, the Calibri font is your last choice. Why? Well, oddly enough, it's the default font for PowerPoint, thus it becomes the most frequently used.

Let me share with you some good guidelines to selecting your font type:

  • Keep your Serif fonts, such as Times Roman and Garamond, to titles and headlines.
  • Arial, Segoe, Verdana and Tahoma are great for the body (the text below the titles). These fonts are sturdy and they hold up well when projected.
  • If you just can't resist the funky and high-tech fonts, use them sparingly, only one or two words on a slide. Examples of these types of fonts are Comic Sans, Stencil and Showcard Gothic.
  • Too many fonts can make it difficult for your audience to easily move through the content. Keep the number of fonts used throughout your presentation to three or less.

Font Color

It is great to use bold color to emphasize a word or a sentence, but I urge you to be cautiously creative. Certain color combinations provide high contrast, just as certain combinations can make it difficult for your audience to clearly see and read your slides. Here are some good guidelines to follow when choosing colors.

Color combinations to avoid:

  • Colors that are alike, such as light colors on light colors or medium on medium.
  • Red and green or orange and blue. These color combinations tend to clash.
  • Red and blue. These colors do not have enough contrast.
  • Stay away from dark backgrounds with bright text, such as a bright pink or very bright yellow. These combinations can be hard on the eyes.

Here are my suggestions for color combinations:

  • If you prefer a darker background with a light text, then dark blue or dark green, even dark purple backgrounds with white text are good choices.
  • If you prefer a lighter background with darker text, then a light beige or even a white background with dark blue, dark green, or dark purple or even black text are good choices.

I prefer a white or even just a light background and a dark text. Many agree that this is a good choice because it lends itself better to printing your slides. A good rule-of-thumb is to consider complimentary colors, or the colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel.

Font Size

The size of the font should be large. In fact, so large that if you print the slides, it almost seems too big and overwhelming on the printed page. The last thing you want during a presentation is for your audience to be whispering to their neighbor and asking 'what does it say?'

Font size for your titles should be no less than 40. The body, or text below the title, should be no less than 30. But, regardless of the size you choose, keep it consistent throughout the presentation.

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