PowerPoint is widely considered to be the premier program when it comes to presenting content for both employees and leads. It’s got a very small learning curve, it’s intuitive, and just about any type of audio or visual content can be prepared using this method.
What many people don’t realize, however, is that there’s an even better way of presenting your information, and that’s through the use of grid (or guides) layouts. These layouts effectively organize your content in a way that provides a clean PowerPoint design, leading to easily understandable content and better visuals.
This way, your audience will spend more time engaged with your content and less time figuring out what your presentation is trying to accomplish. In this post, we’re going to look at 7 great PowerPoint presentation grid layouts that you can put to work right away.
1. The Two-Column Grid
This type of grid layout is the simplest of all these layouts, and it provides a great way for your audience to look at your work. PowerPoint’s default Template layouts go exactly this far in giving your options for grid layouts. From here on out, we’re in Microsoft Unchartered Territory!
2. The Three-Column Grid
This grid layout is best for those who are tackling the task of two or three competing content areas – be it three paragraphs, 2 images and a block of text, 1 image and content block. There is something very visually comforting about using this layout style, as it aligns with many aesthetic principles – notably, the Rule of Thirds (discussed below) – and it consistently breaks long text strings into more management chunks, reducing eye stress.
3. The Rule of Thirds
You might not know this technique by name, but you’ve seen it in use in the worlds of photography and film. This involves making a 3×3 grid and then placing a relevant image either in one of the boxes of the grid or on an intersecting line within it. It’s tempting to make things symmetrical and put your image right in the middle, but it’s more pleasing to the eye (and more natural) to have the subject of your image just a little asymmetrical. Work out the highlight zone (is it text, an image, a chart) and align it across your third line. This might mean taking up two thirds of the page, so long as the third line runs through your highlight zone.
4. Spatial Zones
This involves taking your content and organizing it into the different patterns squares that you’ve created. You can leave some of the grid zones empty and fill others as you see fit. This creates a sense of order through implication of space. Make sure, of course, to orient your content in a way that makes sense and is easy to read/see. You can even have images that stretch across several of the grid squares. Let your imagination run wild with this one.
5. The Four-Column Grid
This grid is just what it says it is and can be quite effective for organizing dense material. The only problem here is that content can get lost in the rest of the text or images that you’re including. Your audience might very well get overwhelmed by this layout, so proceed with caution.
6. Three-Column Asymmetrical
This layout is best used when you have a compelling image as your background that you want to enhance with information without obscuring that anchoring image. The focal point of your background image would be centered, with the rest of the content organized around it. So if your background is a new luxury car that’s about to hit the market, you could provide an image of the car and include its specs in either the left or the right of the image. You could even provide the content in one of the corners.
7. Break the rules as you see fit.
While using one of the grid layouts that PowerPoint has to offer, you can also occasionally break the rules in order to make your content pop. One of the ways you can do this is to have some of your content appear outside of the grid layout. You might put your text elements neatly inside the grid, but your background image can break the rules by stretching across all of the grid squares instead of being confined to one of them.
You can even incorporate this into the layout of your text. For instance, if you have three columns of text, you could insert an image in the center of your slide that the text will be organized around. This is another layout that will increase trust in your brand because it will give it an authority like what you’d see in newspapers or magazines.
With all of that said, it’s best to use this layout sparingly. The best strategy is to use each of the layouts in your presentation, adjusting for whatever content you want to present in each slide.
While PowerPoint is the premier method of getting your content out to employees or leads, it has several features to help you along the way. These are features that can quickly lend a credible image to your brand. These grid layouts that we’ve explored work by taking advantage of the way that people look at things in order to present content that looks as natural as possible.
Regardless of which of these grid layouts you choose to use in your campaign, it’s very important to understand that the rule of thirds is what leads to an image making an impact on the audience. The first instinct here might be to place the subject directly in the center of the image, but this won’t grab your audience’s attention in the same way that being slightly off-center and using a grid layout will.
With the business world being as fast-paced and competitive as it is, it’s important for companies to stay ahead of the game and put new strategies to work on an old setup. Although PowerPoint has been around for quite a while, that doesn’t mean that an old dog can’t learn new tricks. Not only will using these grid layouts lead to a greater interest in your content, you also won’t have to pay a dime for the convenience.
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