How to turn off hanging indentation in PowerPoint

14Oct06

I’m a heavy believer in the Presentation Zen approach to slide writing. Slides should be simple and present main ideas. Bulleted lists should be used sparingly, since they often result in the most important information being presented in a small point, in a small font, at the end of a slide. They’re also boring.

The problem is that PowerPoint’s default set up is to bullet things. Even if you turn bullets off, text is still hanging indented (which still looks like an unnumbered list). But today I finally figured out how to set the indenting properly:

  1. Go to  View > Slide Master, click in the main text box and select View > Ruler to make the rulers visible.
  2. For each level of identation, set the small pointers so that lines won’t have hanging indents

ppt.jpg

 (The controls are at the top of the slide, along the ruler. If the down and up arrows point to one another, there will be no hanging indent.)

If you want to create meaningful, informative slides, I think this is a good way to go. It takes more time to create a presentation because you have to put thought into how to say what you have to say, and how much to write in the slide (leaving the lest to be explained by you, the speaker), but the tradeoff is much better presentations and a more dynamic speaker-audience relationship.

Caveat: I did notice one problem. When you turn off hanging indentation, if you do decide to use a (well placed) bulleted or numbered, sometimes either the change to the indentation is undone or the bullets aren’t hanging indented. Keeping it consistent requires some tweaking.

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