Audience engagement with PowerPoint presentation is easier and more valuable than you ever imagined.

In the meantime, it's also true that crafting a presentation is one thing and making audience stick to it is another. And it looks really disappointing when viewers leave room without actually connecting with a PPT topic.

All in all, if a PPT presentation never gets attention and is lost in the sea of PPT presentations, it’s certainly missing the mark.

That’s why many presenters spend hundreds of thousands of bucks a month in making their PPT look great.

Sure, this helps them to gain more audience attention. But, in reality they invest a truckload of money to get desired applause from listeners.

So, tough question is without investing money how to get PowerPoint templates on the radar of the spectators? How to hit the sweet spot of a PPT slide design to make it look truly enchanting?  

Rest easy!

Fortunately, there are many easy super cool tricks that have the potential to make a PPT more effective. Good thing is that all these tricks are based on the power of visuals.

And we all know that the human brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. To put in other words, different color combinations and designs automatically grab our attention. In fact, human visual recognition memory is stronger than audio recognition memory. 

So, to make the most of a presentation slide a presenter needs to understand the power of visuals as well as tricks to apply them. To make it easy for you we have created a list of 9 best tricks to help you fix boring PowerPoint slides.

Let’s check them all one by one.

1. Apply full-size visuals having a transparent text box

Visual aid enhances audience curiosity and supports them to understand and remember information. A right blend of text and visuals helps to augment the effectiveness of a slide template. Presenters can make it more effective by using full size visuals having transparent text box.

Let’s check out how this can be done. Get a text box and give it a solid fill and set transparency level giving equal spotlight to both text and visual. Best is, just with a little skill presenter can give a marvellous finish to the slide. Check the sample slide below.

Apply full size visuals with transparent text boxes

Give transparency trick a little twist of shape

Further, to make this effect more dazzling paste text inside a shape and then apply transparency trick. Let’s see how this can be done.

  • Click on the ‘Insert’ tab to open the menu
  • Select the desired shape from the ‘Shapes’ menu
  • Now, apply full size visual background and paste selected shape on it. Here note that presenters need to set the transparency level of whole shape rather than of text box as was applied in trick mentioned earlier

Here’s an example for better comprehension:

Shape with a little twist

2. Divide slide into two sections highlighting both text and image

Sometimes text as well as image needs equal importance to grab audience attention. In such case, presenters need to simply break up a slide into two equal halves of 50:50 ratios. One can apply vertical or horizontal split as per the requirement. Now, paste text in one half and image in other laying equal emphasis on both. A point to be noted here is that the ratio of 50:50 is ideal; however, presenters can also apply 60:40 ratio. But, remember don’t distort this ratio further as this may kill the impact. Check sample slide below for better understanding.

Vertical Split

Vertically Split image

Horizontal Split

Horizontally Split image

3. Divide slide into two sections having transparency effect

This trick is a blend of first two tricks discussed above. Biggest advantage of this blend is that by introducing transparency effect with split effect there is no need to compromise the image. See the example slide below.

Vertical Split

Two section- Vertically Split image

Horizontal Split

Two section- Horizontally Split image

4. Apply gradient fill to give professional touch

Introducing transparency is an amazing trick to make a slide standalone. However, in above tricks transparency comes over the image as a separate element. Now, to make transparency an integral part of a slide you can use gradient fill method. The effect masks a part of the image giving slide a more professional cool look. Before checking the final result, first let’s check out how to apply this effect.

  • First from top ribbon click on the ‘Insert’ tab to open menu
  • Now, select ‘Shapes’ to open a dropdown menu
  • Select ‘Rectangle’ from the dropdown menu and draw over the image
  • Right click on the rectangle and click ‘Format Shape’
  • Further, under ‘Fill’ click on the ‘Gradient Fill’ option
  • Add 2-3 gradient stops and keep their color white
  • Lastly, with each stop keep reducing gradient stop level like in first stop keep transparency between 90-95%, second stop 40-50% and third 0-5%.

Now, here’s the final outcome:  

Image with Gradient Fill

5. Go with grid collages to resonate perfectly with viewers

When it comes to a collage many presenters may think arrangement of images in a random fashion. Right! That’s OK when the matter is of an album or portfolio. But grid collage means a collage having images arranged in a systematic or logical manner to bring in a professional approach. In such collages grid lines are used to give each image a separate outline creating neat blocks. 

Widescreen ratio (16:9) is the ideal slide ratio for applying this trick. However, presenters are free to experiment as per their discretion. Presenters can also use 3-4 images in order to get sufficient space for text as well. Text can be placed on left, right or center of slide to produce perfect symmetry and equilibrium. Check out the sample end result:  

Vertically split grid collage that resonates

Presenters can experiment with the layout in case of space constraints for text. They can create blocks of same dimensions either by using their skill set or 'Gridlines' feature of PowerPoint.

Horizontally split grid collage that resonates

Now, before going further let's comprehend the steps to use 'Gridlines' feature:

  • Check PowerPoint ribbon to click on the 'View' tab
  • Click on 'Show' group to select and open 'Gridlines'.
  • Shortcut Shift+F9 can also be used to apply the 'Gridlines'

6. Experiment with built-in Picture Styles

PowerPoint has built-in 'Picture Styles' feature to support presenters in creating amazing PPT templates. 'Picture Styles' feature offers various readymade options like picture frames, drop shadows, reflected rectangles and many more for presenters to give arty touch.

For example, in sample slide below 'Rotated, White' effect used has efficiently spiced up the visual impact which otherwise would have failed to grab the audience attention.

Built in picture styles

To make it easy here's a glance at the steps to insert the effect:  

  • Start by inserting the image in slide
  • Now, check PowerPoint ribbon to click on the 'Format' tab
  • Lastly, find 'Picture Styles' group and locate the “Rotated, White” option to bring in desired effect

7. Use Filmstrip effect to enliven a slide

Apart from grid collages as discussed above, Filmstrip effect is another trick that can be applied for introducing multiple images in an effective manner. Black outline or filmstrip used in this effect gives a slide retro or vintage look. Thus, it perfectly fits the bill to showcase timelines or milestones. Check the sample slide below:  

Use Filmstrip effect to bring life to your slide

8. Addition of transparent stickers, clips etc. is always appreciated

In one go, addition of small embellishments like transparent stickers, clips may seem insignificant, but they have the potential to turn the overall tone. Moreover, stuffing designs at each nook-and-corner of a template is surely not going to work. Always, remember “less is more” and that's why small embellishments like transparent stickers, clips have an edge over others.

What makes this trick even more likable is that presenters can download such design elements without investing even a cent. Check our Free Business PowerPoint Templates section to quickly download such embellishments.

Transparent Stickers:

Transparent Stickers are a perfect choice for presenters looking to give vintage look to a slide. The style works perfectly to share latest getaway images, historical info, trip updates and many more. Here's an example:

Add Transparent Stickers

Thumbtacks or Paper Clips:

Presenters can apply thumbtacks or paper clips to make their graphics more powerful and impactful. Best is, adding a couple of these small but smart elements helps to bring in a personalized touch. For example, check the slide given below:    

Add thumbtacks or paperclips

9. Use of Abstract Patterns is a new PPT craft law

Visuals unarguably play an important role to enhance the look of a slide. But sometimes catchy situations come when presenters fail to figure out what designs or graphics will click. During such tricky situations, geometric patterns or abstracts prove handy. Just by giving an outline of such patterns one can give an innovative as well as appealing effect. What makes this trick even more amazing is that plenty of such abstract designs are available on the internet. For better comprehension have a look at sample slide below:  

Use Abstract Patterns

Concluding thoughts

Visual designing for PowerPoint templates isn’t that easy as it sounds. Despite all efforts people are not flocking to see and connect with a magnificently designed presentation you worked so hard on.

Sadly, the art of crafting engaging presentations just does not work in such a simple way. That’s the hard reality. Yes, option to connect with professionals is always there but that certainly means a burden on the pocket.   

Most exciting thing is that there are a few tricks that have the potential to save both PPT and money. You need to understand first that to create an engrossing effect with each slide design, you need to craft a strategy. Second, apply a little bit of intuition coupled with few tried and tested graphic design tricks as discussed above to make a template standout and look perfect from all angles. 

Tell us what other visual tricks you find are easy to master and apply!