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May the font be with you

Have you ever designed a Powerpoint presentation on a Mac and then delivered it on a PC (or vice versa) only to find your text has been reformatted and your slides look like gobbledygook? Reformatting like this happens when you use a font that is not common to both Windows and Mac or if you’ve used a unique font downloaded to your personal computer (which doesn’t exist on other computers). When you display your PowerPoint presentation on another computer, it doesn’t recognise the font and substitutes it with a different font. This can change the size and spacing of your text and create havoc with your formatting. It gives me chills just thinking of it!

There are a few options to avoid this scenario:

  1. The first option is to choose a font that is compatible with reasonably recent Mac and Windows versions of Powerpoint eg Arial, Calibri (for versions of PowerPoint 2007 onwards), Comic Sans, Courier New, Georgia, Impact, Palatino, Tahoma, Times New Roman and Verdana. My default font, when I create PowerPoint presentations for other people to deliver, is Calibri. I also like to use Impact to display numbers in large format on the screen.
  2. The second option is to save individual slides as jpegs and reinsert them back as images into the PowerPoint presentation. The downside of this is that you do not have the flexibility to modify or change your content on the go. It’s also an issue if you design presentations for other people and they want to make their own changes.
  3. The third option is to bring along your own notebook computer and plug this into the projector. A great option but not always practical.

Hopefully between these three options you should be able to go forth and deliver your PowerPoint presentations with confidence. May the font be with you.