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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Bullock

The 1-2-6-10-20-60 rules of slide writing

If you haven’t created a slide deck before or maybe it has just been a while it can be a daunting process to create all that content.

After years of experience, I have put together a list of rules that I follow to ensure my slides have the right amount of content.

Each of your slides should only have 1 main message or concept. If you are discussing more than this, then split the slides.

Each element on a slide should have no more than 2 lines of text on it. Blocks of text on a slide are unappealing and overwhelming. Keep it targeted and be brief. If you have any large blocks of text then break them down into bullet points.

A list should have no more than 6 bullet points on a slide. If you have a slide with more than this then again you are trying to say too much.

Keep your presentation to no more than 10 slides (unless it is meant to be read). Even so, keep each section or sub-section to sets of less than 10 slides.

To ensure readability you should have a minimum font size of 20. This is a minimum aim for bigger if you can. You don’t want your audience straining to read the screen or missing the information altogether.

Make sure slides are not just walls of text and have a maximum of 60 words per slide.

Those 60 words should follow the rules 2 and 6 above.

Following my simple rules to slide writing will aid in creating slides that engage and connect. It can be very easy especially when trying to communicate complicated ideas to overwhelm your audience with text. There is a saying, if you can’t explain something simply then you don’t understand it.


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