Monday, July 31, 2006

Why is shadow text so popular on PowerPoint slides?

PowerPoint has a text feature that gives a shadow to text that is placed on a slide. I see it used regularly and it seems to me that the purpose in most cases is to make the text stand out more. But most times the shadow effect does not solve the problem because the presenter or slide designer doesn't understand what the real issue is. In most cases, the reason text is hard to see on a PowerPoint slide is that there is not enough contrast between the text color and the background. This can be caused by poor text color selection or choosing a background that has graphics of different shades that makes it nearly impossible to select any text color that would be seen well. A recent set of slides illustrated this issue. The slide title was in a dark sand color on a dull blue graphic background. Adding a black shadow did absolutely nothing to make it better. Selecting a brighter yellow color would have been a better way to make the title stand out. Next time you are tempted to use the shadow feature, think about why you are using it and whether color selection is the real issue you should be addressing. In my book "Guide to PowerPoint", we discuss the different text effects and which ones are best to use - click here to get more information. If you want more information on selecting colors with enough contrast, you can also check out my video "Customize the Look of Your Slides" which shows you how to create your own PowerPoint template - click here for details.


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