Have you ever noticed? On slides, people use:
- Numbered lists
- More Bullets
Then, on the next slide, BULLETS.
Now we aren’t saying you are a bad person. It’s not all your fault. PowerPoint deserves some blame for including bullets in every flipping template. By default, the “Title and Content” slide format includes a bulleted list. The intention is good, too – PowerPoint is encouraging you to reduce your complete sentences to brief bullet points.
To its credit, PowerPoint also makes it quite easy to do things other than bullets! So, let’s all rethink our use of bullets. Our audience will appreciate the better design that results.
What can you do instead? Here are better alternatives to using bulleted lists. They are just as easy to create, too!
Make One Slide Per Bullet
You may not know this, but PowerPoint does not charge you extra for adding more slides. So instead of a list of 6 bullets, why not make 6 slides? This works better for your audience because you use fewer words and more graphics on each slide.
Breaking up long-winded slides also improves the pace of your presentation. It helps you avoid staying too long on one slide. With one idea per slide you can select a photo that encapsulates the theme or idea of the slide to make your presentation more attractive.
One feature that can help you here is Insert > Online Pictures. On the insert tab choose online and type in a few words from your slide. PowerPoint makes it quick and easy to create beautiful photographically illustrated slides this way.
Another positive to making one slide out of a bullet point is that now you have the space to increase your font size which is good. I like big fonts and I cannot lie!
Convert to SmartArt
Secondly you can select a bulleted list in PowerPoint, right-click the selection, and choose “Convert to SmartArt”. PowerPoint makes it easy to use a graphic instead of a list.
SmartArt not only looks good but improves understanding because SmartArt depicts processes, steps, timelines, and relationships – ideas that lists just cannot convey as well.
Use Design Ideas
Look for the Design Ideas button on the design tab. It will show you prettier versions of your bulleted list. For example, it suggests alternatives to bulleted lists that include SmartArt diagrams and other different graphic layouts. In just a couple of clicks you can change boring bulleted slides to attractive engaging slides.
There you go! That’s three alternatives to using bulleted lists. To summarize ironically:
- Make each bullet point into a separate slide with bigger text and more graphics.
- Convert bullets to Smart Art.
- Design Ideas provides attractive alternatives to existing design.
PowerPoint makes it easy to create interesting and complex alternatives to boring old bulleted lists with a little forethought, your presentations will be more attractive and your audience will thank you.