PRESENT TO SUCCEED LESSONS LEARNED

Tackling Templates: The Top Ten with Echo Swinford & Julie Terberg

PRESENT TO SUCCEED LESSONS LEARNED

Tackling Templates: The Top Ten with Echo Swinford & Julie Terberg

In our Present to Succeed Lessons Learned series, we include all the fascinating, valuable, and wow moments from the sessions of our debut 2021 conference. We aim to share with you the best takeaways and help you improve your presentation craft every day.

Echo Swinford and Julie Terberg were another outstanding duo at the Present to Succeed Conference 2021. It’s hard to find anyone else who knows as much about templates as they do.

Echo Swinford is a Microsoft MVP for PowerPoint specializing in the development of PowerPoint templates, presentations, and training for corporate clients. Julie Terberg is also a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP and a skilled designer of customized PowerPoint templates. Both have been in the industry for over 20 years and have advanced PowerPoint expertise.

They took the audience through the top ten items they look at when reviewing a presentation template and gave their best tips for making your templates work for everyone who will use them.

A well-designed template can save you a lot of time, but a malfunctioning template wastes precious hours and causes annoyance, right? If you’re designing templates, keep reading to avoid that frustration.

Tackling PowerPoint Templates

Echo and Julie have been the go-to people for PowerPoint templates for quite some time now. Moreover, at the time of the Present to Succeed 2021 Conference, Echo was the president of the Presentation Guild, which was also one of our sponsors for the 2021 Edition of Present to Succeed.

They talked in detail about how to approach templates, and the audience was left better equipped than ever before for the subtleties of building a truly excellent presentation template. Here are the top ten things to look for when building one yourself.

10. Having a manageable file size

For a portable template, keep the file size to approximately or under 5 MB. If your template is 60 MB, you have a problem. Any presentation created using that template will build on top of that size, making it impossible to send by email if you need to. Echo and Julie advise that you keep it under 5 MB by considering your use of photos and embedded fonts.

9. Properly name your layouts and masters

They recommend giving your masters and layouts descriptive names to avoid any misunderstandings.

Julie emphasized how properly naming your slide master and layouts can help the user of the template navigate and choose more easily what they need.

8. Slide masters

Echo and Julie both urge that you create all slide layouts under a single slide master. Otherwise, you’d have to scroll too far to locate the right slide layout every time.

7. Set theme fonts

Set up a font theme so that your template’s users can quickly select it from the top of the fonts menu. This also prevents accidentally pasting text in a different font and having to change it manually every time.

6. Theme colors

Color themes are quite important, and you should know how to get them set up properly, according to Echo and Julie.

5. Placeholders

They strongly warn against altering the default layouts by adding or removing placeholders. Otherwise, your slide layouts would be empty, and manually inserting placeholders can be tedious for the user. Keep them the way they are.

4. Vanishing text

Applying your color theme carefully while keeping the background styles in mind could save you the hassle of disappearing text, which still happens from time to time when the theme colors are not coordinated with the background styles.

Both experts advise coordinating your colors to your background styles with intention. Keep in mind that the background styles always take your four main colors.

3. Instruction and guidance

Echo and Julie recommend personalizing the prompt text and putting instructions in your template to help users understand how to utilize it.

2. Default objects

Did you know you can set a default line, shape, text box, and table style? It is possible to an extent, and Echo and Julie recommend you to do it.

1. Variants

Save your template as a POTX file to remove the Slide Size variants option. Otherwise, your template could be automatically scaled to 4:3, which simply doesn’t look good, if your template is to be 16:9.

Saving your template as a POTX file to have your template automatically have the Slide Size only set to the template default was Echo’s favorite trick from the top ten that they shared.

Let's summarize

Echo Swinford and Julie Terberg gave an excellent walkthrough of what they consider the top ten things to look for when building a template. They led the audience through the essential items they look at when they examine a template to determine whether it functions effectively.

From paying close attention to your template’s color scheme to leaving some things like the default placeholders as they are to then keeping your file size small so that your template can be portable, building a template is no small feat. And now you know how to do it better and prevent some common issues with presentation templates that you can encounter.

Let us know what the most valuable learning from Echo and Julie’s session was for you in the comments!

Echo Swinford and Julie Terberg’s session is an invaluable session full of amazing tips from them as experts on PowerPoint templates. If you are creating templates, we strongly recommend seeing them as it is a part of our Design track recordings that you can now get for only €39. And for €79, you can have all the 30+ sessions from Present to Succeed 2021.

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Join Present to Succeed - the biggest presentation skills conference in the world

Whether you are part of an organization or running a business, how your slides look will always factor in your success. Learn how to become an influential speaker by joining our 30+ industry-leading speakers’ sessions.

Start engaging your audience better and influencing them to embrace your concepts, hire you, or buy your products. Now is the best moment to get your ticket!

Join Present to Succeed - the biggest presentation skills conference in the world

Whether you are part of an organization or running a business, how your slides look will always factor in your success. Learn how to become an influential speaker by joining our 30+ industry-leading speakers’ sessions.

Start engaging your audience better and influencing them to embrace your concepts, hire you, or buy your products. Now is the best moment to get your ticket!