Presentation Challenges and Solutions

10 Common PowerPoint Formatting Mistakes to Avoid

By Kristy Shangpliang
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10 Common PowerPoint Formatting Mistakes to Avoid

Do you remember the last time you got annoyed or angry at someone because they did not get your instructions and ruined your day?

For me, it happens often.

Like the time my tailor did not get the design of my dress right. When my flight got delayed by more than an hour. When the shoes I ordered online finally arrives but is not the right size!

When it comes to PowerPoint formatting, minor mistakes are unacceptable.

Chillibreeze is always on a watch out for these tiny yet damaging errors that pop up in the presentation decks that consultants send us.

Here are common errors in PowerPoint formatting:

1. What is that you said?

You are in the middle of giving a presentation, you change the slide, and see this glaring content mistake that you're sure was never there when you had the slides designed.


You were saying something, and the slide content goes in the diametrically opposite direction.

Damage done.

There is no turning back from that.

Check your slides over and over again before your presentation. Content mistake is a big deal!

2. Out of line

If you are those types of people who is very detailed, then this is something you will notice at once.

Misalignment might not be obvious but it can change the way a slide looks and feels.

Alignment error can be the text, shapes, alignment of consistent slides, or design elements in a slide.

Alignment of Icons and text.png

The yellow line in the image shows that the text and the icons are not well aligned.

Having guidelines in the slides help ensure they are well aligned.

Our production team is very particular about alignment. It is number one on their quality checklist. It is one of the very basic things that we look at in the QC phase before delivering the deck to the customers – are the slides properly aligned and spaced?

3. Consistency is the key

This is an important characteristic and should be top of your mind when every you are working on deck.

Consistency includes basic alignment, spacing, designs, colors, fonts size, font, look and feel of the deck.

When the element of consistency is missing, there will be a sense of disconnect from slide to slide.

Disconnected slides mean disconnected audience.

Maintain every style you used in your first slide throughout the deck.

4. Text Outline

You might have seen a trend where text outline was a thing. It was a design feature.

Text outline is not impressive anymore. They are distracting and blurs the text.

Text outline has been out of the picture for quite some time now. So, when you see one, it is considered an error.

Big brands like Microsoft use flat designs such as metro styles.

Clean look with a minimum design is the choice of the day.

5. Multiple masters for one deck

Having multiple masters will affect the styles, design, colors, format, and layout of your slides. On top of it all, it increases the file size which is the last thing you want.

So what do you do when you have multiple masters?

  1. Use the right master for all slides.
  2. Delete excess masters to avoid using them in any slides.
  3. When copying, content from another deck copy only content and NOT the slide. In doing so, there are chances of the master slide is copied along with it.

6. Pixelated images

Visuals are an essential part of all presentation. Can you imagine sitting through a presentation with just data.

When adding images, make sure that they are of high quality.

Tips to choosing the right images for your presentation.

Do not stretch or compress images so that they get distorted. See example below:

Pixilated image.png


Sharp image.png

Notice the difference between the two images?

The first bird image has been stretched so that it is pixilated, which should not be the case.

The focus is the bird, but the image quality just doesn't seem so.

But again, there is a draw back when you have too many images of high quality. It can increase your file size and slow down when loading your slides.

Here is when you must reduce image size. When doing so, make sure that the images do not blur out or get pixelated.

7. Do not leave text orphaned

This is a common mistake that just goes by without getting noticed. However, in the PowerPoint formatting field, this is an unacceptable error.

What is an orphan text you ask?

You might have seen signage or billboards with a long sentence, and there is that last word that does not fit the first line, so it is dropped down looking like an orphan.

Orphaned text.png


Yup! That is the one. A text can be left orphan at any point. It can be in the title of the slide, the sub-title or the body text.

In a long sentence, the eye has to travel back to the next line.

They also look odd and out of place.

8. Multiple font colors

When I say multiple font colors, I don’t mean the accent colors that are used for filling shapes or for highlighting purpose.

In PowerPoint, there are 4 font colors. The choice of font color depends on the brand guide and customers request.

For a colored background, white font color should be used or any font color specified on the brand guide. This also applies to highlighted text in a shape, such as subheadings. The other way around is also applicable.

Do not use more than 1 font color out of the 4 in the body text.

9. Double spaces

It might seem like a minor thing, BUT it can be annoying to have a lot of double spacing errors.

Tools such as Grammarly, proofing in a word document detects double spaces. But in PowerPoint, it does not detect such mistakes, so you need to have a sharp eye.

Unless you are using tools like SlideProof that helps check all errors on your slides.

10. Format against Brand Guidelines

This is a common basic error.

Why do you have a brand guide if not to implement it right?

Read more about PowerPoint Brand Guidelines

It can be the color of the font, the font type, the styles used, bullet type, the design.

You might be tempted to stray out of the guidelines. Even so, the styles and format of your slides should not go off the grid.


The above points do not limit the extent of basic errors that can occur when formatting your slides.

BUT noticing them is a big deal. Especially here in Chillibreeze. We are dealing with 1000 slides per day on an average, and that is not a joke.

Having an eye for details is a MUST.

No one wants to have a bad encounter with spelling errors and pixelated images on your presentations. Not when you are presenting to a board of high profiles.

Get accustomed to the basic errors and you will never have a bad presentation.

Do you have a story to share on an experience you had with your presentation?

Leave a comment bellow.

Quality Checklist for PowerPoint Designers

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