Guidelines for a Successful Presentation at Colby

The ever-changing world of software and hardware creates compatibility issues when people move their work from one computer to another. It’s particularly troubling with presentations when such problems arise in front of a group. The guidelines below are intended to avoid compatibility issues at the start by encouraging the use of certain standards when creating a presentation and then properly screening it prior to a public showing. (Note: These compatibility guidelines assume a basic knowledge of PowerPoint.)

Getting Started

Software: In creating a presentation, be sure to use Colby’s current PowerPoint standard. For a Mac, it’s PowerPoint 2011. For Windows, it’s PowerPoint 2013. Upgrades can be obtained through the ITS Support Center at x4222.

Fonts: To ensure compatibility across machines, it’s best to limit font selection to “System Fonts”¬†which include the standards of Arial, Times, Georgia, Helvetica, and Verdana to name a few. The use of Colby’s favorite, Franklin Gothic, has been problematic as computers and software interpret Franklin differently. If Franklin is required, please seek testing help from the ITS Support Center before presentation.

Aspect: The Aspect Ratio is the size in which the presentation will project on to a screen. The older standard of 4:3 is still common and works fine but when projected onto a wide screen will show black panels (pillars) on each side of the presentation. To avoid this, use the newer 16:9 ratio when creating a presentation.

How to Embed and NOT Embed objects in your presentation

It’s best NOT to embed locations of items in a presentation. The embedded location may have unique fonts or other peculiarities not consistent with Colby computers. It’s better to “take a picture” of a screen page and insert the whole static image into a presentation.

Spreadsheets: Do NOT embed spreadsheet locations. Instead, insert an image of the spreadsheet as described above.

Images: Again, do NOT embed the image location. Simply insert the actual image into the presentation using PowerPoint.

Audio Files: Audio files must be embedded so only use MP3 files for audio.

Videos: Video files must also be embedded so only use MP4 files for videos.

How to Save and Properly Screen before the Big Day

Save As: Save your completed presentation as a .pptx so the completed presentation is Presentation1.pptx in the latest versions of PowerPoint under Save as type, select PowerPoint Presentation

Thumb Drive: A good way to transport your presentation is to load it on to a thumb drive. Be sure the thumb drive has no other documents, just your presentation.

Once at the venue where the presentation will be shown, insert the thumb drive in the room’s computer, and upload your presentation to the computer. Do NOT run the presentation from the thumb drive.

Screen: It can not be stressed enough how important it is to screen the presentation at the venue prior to the Big Day. Please take the time to go through the entire presentation (not just a few slides) as a Full Dress Rehearsal. Despite best efforts including these guidelines, presentations can be funky when moving between platforms. Avoid the embarrassment and give support people time to help with any issues well before the Big Day.