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SLIDEDOC PowerPoint Templates by Nancy Duarte … A Game Changer?

Presentation tips - Slidedocs - Nancy Duarte

Most IN-PERSON presentations today follow a pretty simple formula:

  • One Idea Per Slide
  • Eliminate Text
  • Show (Not Tell)
  • Choose Stunning Images
  • Use Colors Well
  • At Most 2 Fonts (Maybe 3)
  • Fight For Whitespace

However, what do you do when the presentation you’re developing is meant to be used both as a written report and as part of a live presentation?

In an ideal world, you would simply prepare two distinct deliverables:

1. A detailed written report – where you have lots of concise text to make sure the necessary context and explanation are present for your audience.

2. A slide presentation – where your slides have little to zero text, font is never smaller than 16 pt., and you (the presenter) would be able to talk through the necessary information so it need not all be physically written down on the slide.

Here’s the problem …

In reality, creating BOTH of these almost NEVER happens.

Most people simply DO NOT HAVE THE TIME to do both.

Now you might be thinking to yourself … Why not just email my visual presentation to everyone and call it a day?

The problem with this is that minimalistic/highly visual slides don’t have enough information in them to stand on their own as a document when distributed. In fact, when your presentation slides travel around with only an image and a handful of words, the readers have to fill in far too many blanks to understand their meaning. Along with this, as presentations are passed along without the presenter, important information is lost. Data is dropped that helps make your case.

So, if you find yourself in this situation where both documents are needed one potential solution is to create something that is meant to be a sort of a “hybrid” of the presentation and the document.

Nancy Duarte, in her presentation design book slide:ology calls this type of hybrid a “slideument” and has recently developed a series of PowerPoint templates called Slidedocs to get you started.

Nancy Duarte’s Slidedoc PowerPoint Templates

Nancy Duarte just came out with a series of PowerPoint templates called Slidedocs, that teaches you how to design visual documents in PowerPoint (or Keynote) that are meant for READING rather than PRESENTING.

I think she is certainly on to something here.

It’s clear that long and boring Microsoft Word reports are being taken over by PowerPoint since the presentation software can produce much more VISUAL reports.

Duarte is now offering Slidedocs as a FREE download that walks you through an approach to make compelling visual documents that will hold your readers attention.

Click here to download the Slidedocs book and PowerPoint templates for FREE

Duarte, Inc. created two templates for you to download.

These PowerPoint templates are also 100% customizable. You can format them any way you please.

Slidedocs Explained

Slidedocs allow you to break complex ideas into small chunks of information and allows readers the time to absorb the complex information at their own pace.

Similar to presentations, each slide of a Slidedoc con­veys a sin­gle impor­tant idea or con­cept. However, the key difference is that a Slidedoc is filled with sen­tences (usually 150–200 words per page) ver­sus 40 or less words that you get with a presentation slide. Unlike a pre­sen­ta­tion slide, each page/slide of a Slidedoc should be designed to be self-explanatory (as seen in the example below).

Presentation tips - Slidedocs - Nancy Duarte - Slidedoc example

Like a good pre­sen­ta­tion, Slidedocs should be clearly designed, highly visual and well organized. They can also include hyper­links to exter­nal sources or inter­nal links to jump to related pages.

Slidedocs actually borrow some specific design aspects from books. Similar to books, Slidedocs have a table of contents, clear chapter indicators, prose, page numbers, and other small design decisions that have big information architecture implications to help readers navigate the contents. Flipping through the pages of a Slidedoc should feel similar to flipping through the printed pages of a book or swiping the screen of a tablet device.

Why The Need For Slidedocs?

There’s no doubt we are a presentation culture, where we give presentations for EVERYTHING.

In fact, by some estimates, we give 350 presentations every second of every day.

We love presentations because they are one of the best ways to communicate ideas, persuade an audience to adopt an idea, and pursue a course of action. Plus they can be fun to attend if the presenter has done a nice job putting his/her slides together.

Yet, some industry leaders say that presentations are often misused and are trying to reduce presentations down to a minimum.

Jeff Bezos from Amazon is a prime example where he says:

“The traditional kind of corporate meeting starts with a presentation. Somebody gets up in front of the room and presents with a PowerPoint presentation, some type of slide show.  In our view you get very little information, you get bullet points.  This is easy for the presenter, but difficult for the audience.  And so instead, all of our meetings are structured around a 6 page narrative memo.”

Presentation tips - Slidedocs - Nancy Duarte - Jeff Bezos

Slidedocs can also provide additional support after the presentation in order to continue the momentum and push things forward.

Slidedocs Benefits

Here are some of the reasons why Slidedocs are useful:

  • Clarity – the consistent format encourages clear, concise delivery and visualization of concepts on one page.
  • Editable – the editable nature allows a Slidedoc to be a “living document” that can evolve over time.
  • Sharing – they can be easily shared through an organization. Great Slidedocs can be reused over and over. Their also shareable on platforms like SlideShare.
  • Mutimedia – they are flexible and interactive. They can include photos, illustrations, links and video.

Presentation tips - Slidedocs - Nancy Duarte - Slidedoc example 2

Slidedoc Challenges

The main challenge with a Slidedoc is the time required to put it together. For many people it’s hard enough to put together a nice presentation, and then to add a second deliverable on top of this could be too much for people to handle. Even if they would be nice to have.

Personally, I think it all comes down to workload and weighing the importance of having both.


In summary, Duarte’s Slidedocs have been developed to allow you to clearly communicate your message when you’re not physically present.

When information needs to be conveyed without the help of a formal presenter, Slidedocs can act as a great pre-read or follow-up material.

It’s important to note that every company is different in how they share and distribute information. Therefore, you will need to determine whether creating Slidedocs makes sense for your unique situation.

You also need to consider your time schedule and whether you really have the bandwidth to create something like this.

Just like designing presentations, creating a great Slidedoc requires a good amount of time and hard work to do it right—and that means investing in both the writing and the design.

Here’s my question for you …

After reading this article, do you think you will try creating Slidedocs? Would Slidedocs be practical in your work setting? Let me know what you think below and please try to be specific as possible.

Also, do you have a friend that could benefit from learning about these PowerPoint templates? If so, email them the link to this post now.

Thanks for sharing and be sure to post this article on Twitter of Facebook as well (using the sharing buttons to the left).

Image credits:

Slidedoc images by Nancy Duarte

Jeff Bezos image (remixed by Adam Noar) by James Duncan Davidson

Presentation tips  - Check out my ebook Slides Made Slimple Now!


How To Crop PowerPoint Images Like A Pro

presentation tips - how to crop powerpoint images like a pro cover.jpg

In a perfect world, every image you insert into PowerPoint would be perfectly composed.

However, in real life, many images could use some improvement. Especially if you’re inserting some pictures that you took yourself.

Often, thoughtful cropping can make the difference between a MEDIOCRE image and a REALLY GOOD IMAGE.

Furthermore, cropping your pictures the RIGHT WAY can sometimes lead to a stronger emotional connection with your audience.

Today, we’ll take a look at the different types of crops you can do. This way you will know what type of crop you need when manipulating images to work with your PowerPoint canvas size and text.

Cropping Images for PowerPoint Presentations

When it comes to inserting images into your PowerPoint Presentations there are a few important things you need to consider.

First off, we all know that there is limited canvas space (4:3 format in most cases) for each PowerPoint slide. Therefore, you have to crop your images to fit within this slide size.

Along with that, you also need to think about any text or other elements that needs to be added to the slide.  These elements need room to breathe so you have to factor in plenty of whitespace with the images that you are inserting.

Cropping Basics

Cropping refers to taking an image shot from your camera and later using a photo editor to alter the composition, change the orientation, or shift the visual emphasis of your shot.

Although there are common sophisticated image editors such as Aperture, Lightroom, and Photoshop, the crop tool remains one of the most effective ways to edit or enhance a photo. It’s quick and simple, but keep in mind that a poor crop or no crop at all can RUIN a picture.

In contrast, a good crop can turn a photo into the perfect photo.

There are many reasons to crop an image. One reason is to fit an image to fill a certain part of the slide or the entire slide.

Another reason is to remove a portion of the background to emphasize the subject. Other reasons include: to correct a focusing mistake, remove irrelevant detail, alter the original emphasis, or simply to present the scene in a different way.

The beauty about cropping is its simplicity. Often time when we shoot photos, we don’t have time to think about how we’re composing the shots we take. Other times we forget about composition because we’re so focused on trying to capture the moment.  However, you don’t have to make cropping a drastic change. Use cropping to eliminate distractions near the edge of the frame. Remember, an overly busy scene can be distracting and frustrating.

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is one of the most basic composition guidelines in photography. The rule of thirds makes use of a natural tendency of the human eye to be more strongly drawn towards certain parts of an image.

As the name suggests, the idea behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts (as seen in the image below).

presentation tips - how to crop powerpoint images like a pro

The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. Research has shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.

Positioning critical photographic elements at the left, right, top, or bottom of the grid—instead of smack in the middle of the frame—naturally adds visual interest to the composition.

As you can see in the image below, cropping the tree (the main point of interest) to be right in the center of the frame could have resulted in an ‘awkward’ looking slide.

Remember, in learning how to use the rule of thirds (and then to break it) the most important questions to be asking of yourself are:

What are the points of interest in this shot?

Where am I intentionally placing them?


Did you know that linear elements, such as roads, waterways, and fences placed diagonally, are generally perceived as more dynamic than horizontally placed ones?

Diagonal compositions add a sense of action to your image and a dynamic look and feel. Diagonal compositions also help to lead the eye to your image’s main subject.

With a diagonal crop one side of the picture is divided into two, and then each half is divided into three parts. The adjacent side is divided so that the lines connecting the resulting points form a diagonal frame. According to the Diagonal Rule, important elements of the picture should be placed along these diagonals:

presentation tips - how to crop powerpoint images like a pro 1

Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle crop is another photographic composition rule to be aware of.  This compositional tool offers another way to highlight the most important part of the image. This composition is composed when there’s a triangle where two of the sides are of an equal length, and the third side and smaller side is in a Golden Ratio with it’s adjacent sides. The Golden Triangle rule is the most helpful if you have an image with a lot of diagonal lines in it.

Golden Ratio

Another rule of composition is the Golden Ratio, also known as the Divine Proportion or Phi. The Rule of Thirds and the Golden Ratio can be confusing because they look so similar and both are rectangular grids. The difference is that the Golden Ratio is 1:1.618. Since the Renaissance, artists and architects have designed their work to approximate this ratio.

presentation tips - how to crop powerpoint images like a pro 3

This type of composition is considered somewhat advanced and can be confusing to a lot of people. However, when applied to photography, this ratio can produce compositions that are very aesthetically pleasing.  Keep in mind that placement of the subject follows similar principles as the Rule of Thirds with dominant detail intersecting with the grid. Although this powerful composition tool is similar to the Rule of Thirds, the Golden Ratio offers a different take on cropping.

To get a clearer sense of these special “Golden” composition points, imagine a picture divided into nine unequal parts with four lines. Each line is drawn so that the width of the resulting small part of the image relates to that of the big part exactly as the width of the whole image relates to the width of the big part. Points where the lines intersect are the “golden” points of the picture.

Golden Spiral

Another compositional tool is the Golden Spiral. The Golden Spiral is a mathematical construct that leads the eye to the center of the composition or to a particular point in the image. The Golden Spiral can help create a good crop by emphasizing the most important part of the image. It’s most useful when you have objects that have curving lines. Here’s an example of the Golden Spiral in photo composition:

presentation tips - how to crop powerpoint images like a pro 6

Other PowerPoint Photo Cropping Tips to Consider

Remember, the key to cropping is to determine what aspects of your image are the most important to help you tell your story. Great photographs don’t just happen. Instead, it takes the use of various editing tools, such as the cropping tool to achieve a desired effect and perfect photo. Keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong way to crop a photo.

I recommend you explore the auto crop feature in various image editing programs, which will give you a quick enhancement or different perspectives that can boost your imagination.

Using these cropping techniques and compositional tools will help you achieve compelling and aesthetically pleasing compositions.

Lastly, always be sure to save an original version of your photo and work on the copy no matter what app or image editor you use to crop your images.


After reading this article, do you think you will try incorporating some of these cropping techniques into your PowerPoint presentations? Let me know what you think below and please try to be specific as possible.

Also, do you have a friend that could benefit from learning about these tips? If so, email them the link to this post now.

Thanks for sharing and be sure to post this article on Twitter of Facebook as well (using the sharing buttons to the left).

Image credits:

Cover Image by Artwetzel

Image #1 by Duncan (image remixed by Adam Noar)

Image #2 by Bluenose Canoehead (image remixed by Adam Noar)

Image #3 by SteveCadman (image remixed by Adam Noar)

Image #4 by Psyoletic

Image #5 by Fathzer (image remixed by Adam Noar)

Presentation tips  - Check out my ebook Slides Made Slimple Now!


6 Reasons You Need To Practice The Art Of Infographics

Presentation Tips - Why You Need To Learn Infographics

In case you didn’t know, people love infographics!

The data proves it. In the past five years, internet searches for “infographics” have increased 25X!

People also like to share them because they’re interesting to look at. However, most people don’t understand that infographics are not just for the web.

Infographics can be used in your PowerPoint presentations too.

Actually, let me rephrase that. Infographics SHOULD be used in your PowerPoint presentations too!


7 Presentation Design Trends You Need To Know About

presentation tips - presentation design trends

Similar to websites, presentation design trends change over time and are influenced by a number of different factors.

The following is a list seven trends I expect to see in the year ahead and what you can look forward to in the presentation design world.