PowerPoint Guidelines


To download this image, RIGHT CLICK and select SAVE PICTURE AS from the pop-up menu.  Navigate to where you want to save the image, name it, and click the SAVE button.

Or... You can simply drag the image from this web page directly onto a PowerPoint slide. When you do that, you'll need to drag each of the center handles until they snap to the edge of the slide so that the image is the same size as the slide.

Things to Do

  • Use the image to the left as a temporary background when designing the foreground elements of your slide. When everything is in place change the background image to one of your choice.
  • Design your slide so that all important foreground elements (such as title, charts, text, bullet lists, etc.) fit inside the white area of the safe image. Anything within the caution area may get cut off by TV’s, video projectors, etc. When aired on Television, the MCPS TV channel logo appears in the lower left corner as shown. Avoid this area, as well.
  • When designing your content for TV, remove ALL extra or unnecessary information. Focus on the EXACT point you’re trying to make, and keep it simple. Remember, when aired on TV, people may only see the slide for about 10 seconds or so.  If there's a lot of information the viewer won't have time to read and process it.
  • Make text as large as possible, within reason and style.  Whenever possible, use a sans serif font (like Arial or Verdana) as these are easier to read on television.

Things to Avoid

  • ColorsThin, script, or serif style fonts. Try to use fonts that are thicker or in bold.  Thicker fonts work better on television.
  • Small font sizes. Text that is too small will become unreadable when converted to video. Try to use 22 or 24 as the minimum point size.  Details like the horizontal lines in letters such as A or E may also be lost if the font is too small.
  • Thin lines. Any lines you draw or outlines that you use should be at least 3 pixels thick. Any smaller, and the lines will appear to jitter and vibrate when seen on video.  This is because the video signal is interlaced, meaning that only the odd or even numbered vertical scan lines are displayed at any given time.  One pixel equates to one scan line.  If your lines aren't think enough to cover multiple scan lines, they'll appear to be constantly shifting position causing what is called field flicker.
  • Small or thin repeating patterns like grids or plaid. These will cause jittering, vibrating, and strobing effects. If you want to use a grid pattern in your design, make sure the lines are at least 3 pixels wide and 3 pixels apart.
  • Excessive use of pure colors. A television set or video monitor can't display nearly as many colors as a computer can.  As a result, pure colors will “bleed” in video and television causing ghosting patterns and/or smearing and tearing effects.  This is especially true for the colors red and white.  To avoid this, never use a pure color.  A list of common pure colors and their TV safe RGB values can be found to the left.  They appear darker than you're used to on a computer, but they are bright and crisp on TV.