Powerpoint is, first and foremost, a medium to present information to an audience. Secondly, it can be used to put information on slides that are supposed to be read by someone. But in this case, too, the nature of Powerpoint is to present information in a striking, visually appealing and straight-forward way. This means, that the ideal amount of information or respectively the level of detail that should be put on a slide is limited. It is NOT the right medium to process endless amounts of text or data. There are other programs which serve those purposes much better – Word and Excel, you name it. So please, if you create a presentation about the market share of your business unit, do not include 200-row tables that show the numbers for each and every region. If you create a presentation about a merger, do not paste in the details of the 2550-page long contract. In both cases, it is much better to embed a Word or Excel document on your slide, which can be opened if necessary by those who are really interested in the details (few people will be…).
One more thing about “level of detail”: Especially consultants have the habit to create very sophisticated project plans (or so-called “milestone plans”) – the more detailed and granular, the better. While there is nothing wrong with a decent project plan, you should really think twice before putting it on slide as most of them are virtually un-presentable. It might be ok if you just hand it out for reading, but if you want to present it, you will lose your audience immediately, as no one will be able to follow you and your bits and pieces.
Check the following example:
Powerpoint in style – Level of detail