It is so awesome to see Microsoft addressing the misuse of Powerpoint (I mean, did they really have a choice? One of their main tools has been so badly knocked in the media for its contribution to harming understanding, it was either address it or repackage!).

Though the storylines were insulting and they mistakenly referred to only males in the first sentence, good gracious they got it right!

1. Keep your chart simple

2. Don’t overdo the animations – use them when you are changing sections or topics

3. You can kill your presentation by overdoing bullet points

4. Move supporting data you would put on the slide into the notes section or in a printout

5. Ask yourself: Can I make my point with an image (Hint: YES!)

6. Please don’t read off your slide

7. Cut slide text wherever you can (then go back and cut more)

8. Distribute your handout at the end of your presentation so the audience stays focused on you

9. Help your slide content stand out by using simple, unpatterned backgrounds (but avoid their recommendation to use the preloaded templates – everyone recognizes them as a template!)

10. Step away from the computer to see if your text is large enough for the audience to read (Hint: Pick size 30 or larger)

See all 5 short videos here: http://www.microsoft.com/office/powerpoint-slidefest/do-and-dont.aspx?WT.mc_id=oo_enus_eml_videos

Looks like you can also submit your best slideshow for a contest starting soon. I’d love to see how this gets judged because in my view the best slideshows are completely uninterpretable without the presenter. If a slideshow can stand on its own, you need to cut text.

Nevertheless, it looks like the folks at Microsoft have finally figured out what some of us have been screaming (and begging and pleading) about for a few years now. Sweet! The more, the merrier.