Best Practices for Creating a DAS PowerPoint Presentation

The Committee on Education created this guide to help instructors create a great PowerPoint for DAS courses. Based on research and utilizing our DAS template, this guide will walk through considerations as you prepare for your DAS course.

The DAS Template

In an effort to brand DAS course materials, create consistency, and maintain a level of professionalism in our DAS course offerings, please use the DAS PowerPoint template. This template was designed for ease of use, appearance, and flexibility, and it will act as your starting point as you put together your presentation.

Best Practices—The Basics [1]

1. Composing Slides—Things to Consider

  • Upload the template first and then copy only text over if necessary
  • Keep the design very basic and simple
  • This template uses the easy-to-read Arial typeface
  • Carefully select font sizes for headers and text
  • Use more images than text. No one wants to listen to you read straight off a slide!
  • Guy Kawasaki—former Apple "chief evangelist", venture capitalist, and professional speaking guru—says that presentation fonts should be no smaller than 30 points, with the caveat that if you can determine ahead of time the oldest person in the room, you can knock their age in half and use that as a font benchmark. So, if your oldest audience member is 50, you can use a 25-point font.[2]
  • Leave room for highlights, such as images or take-home messages
  • Decorate scarcely but well
  • Do not use copyrighted images. Provide image/source credit in all cases when imagery or intellectual property is shared.
  • Workbooks are printed with multiple slides per page. Small fonts or "busy" slides may not be legible.
  • Spellcheck! 

2. Use Consistency

  • Use the same font and sizes on all slides
  • Match colors—for main text, black is best; for titles, use dark blue
  • Use the DAS theme for each and every slide so that the slides match in style

3. Use Contrast

  • Black text on a white background will always be the best but also the most boring choice
  • If you want to play with colors, keep it easy on the eyes and keep good contrast in mind so that your readers do not have to strain to guess what you’ve typed on your slide

4. Keep It Straight and Simple

  • Keywords only
  • No long sentences
  • Talk freely; never read your slides
  • “The best PowerPoint is still just slides strung together with transitions.” – OWL English Purdue

5. Be Zen About It

  • In PowerPoint, practice minimalism.


The problem with the above slides is that the clip art used does not reinforce the statistic nor does it even fit the theme of women in the Japanese labor market. The text is difficult to read. The slide on the right was an effort to display the same information in a pie chart. For the sake of clarity, it is usually best to avoid 3D effects. Also, rather than giving the slide a title, a declarative sentence that states the point directly may be more appropriate.


Using a pie chart is a good way to represent this simple statistic. The large text at the top is easily visible. The text reads more like a headline (as it's a declarative sentence) rather than just a title or category. Notice that either top slide would be virtually meaningless without the presenter's narration. The handout that followed the presentation expanded on the relevance of the statistic and gave it context.

6. Screenshots

Unless screenshots are meant to be mostly illustrative, they need to be legible! Most registrants inform us that they rely on the course workbook as a valuable guide for themselves and colleagues when they get back to their institution. Please inform SAA staff of screenshots/slides with content that is important, and we’ll print it one slide per page.

[1] Tina Sieber, May 23, 2009,
[2] “10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations”

Prepared by the Committee on Education, 2012

Updated March 16, 2017