PowerPoint is a visual medium that is perfect for presentations. Unfortunately, it tends to encounter the most common problem in the design world – user error. While grasping how to put together a presentation is easy, learning how to make an effective presentation is notoriously tough. PowerPoint gives you access to dozens of great tools, many of which can work against one another when used incorrectly. If you want to make sure your create a presentation that is both effective and informational, you should make use of these five design tips for great PowerPoint presentations below. You might be surprised by the way simple changes can impact your presentations.

Remember the Text

Creating slides isn’t just about color and image, especially in the world of public presentations. How you incorporate text into your slides will make the difference between a useful slide and one that loses the attention of your audience. Make sure to use easy-to-read fonts and to avoid overloading your slides with text. The rule tends to be that the less text on a slide, the better – never go over six lines if possible, and try to keep closer to two-to-three lines per slide. Make it easier for your presentation attendees to read each slide by avoiding text stuffing. The American Speech Language Hearing Association has great rules for using text in your presentations here.

Consider Your Transitions

It’s very easy to avoid thinking about transitions – after all, they’re not a huge part of the presentation. Since the software includes a variety of transition options, though, it’s important for you to consider how you’ll use them. If you can avoid anything fancy, do so – transitions add very little to a presentation, and no one will be awed by your design savvy when you use a specific type of wipe from one slide to the next. If using a transition won’t add to your presentation, leave it off. You can learn more about slide transitions – and why they don’t matter – here.

Be Careful with Stock

There’s no doubt that stock images are a part of the design world, but they sometimes don’t add much to a given presentation. When integrated poorly, stock images have a tendency to stand out from even the best slides, taking the viewer’s eye away from important information and reminding them that the designer didn’t put in the time or effort to source a unique or applicable image. If you’re uncomfortable with finding the perfect stock image yourself, consider working with a designer who can either identify something that will fit well or who can work with some stock vector art to quickly create something original. It’s better to have no images attached to your project than to add one in that will detract from your slides because it’s only loosely related to your topic.

Contrast Matters

When it comes to your presentation, readability is king. Having a good contrast between your background and text will allow the text to pop out and make it easier to read. This is a simple tip that’s natural to most designers, but failure to adhere to it can cause you major problems. Try using simple, contrasting colors to achieve the ideal effect. Remember, if it strains your eyes on a computer screen, it will likely do the same for your audience. Make your slides easier to read and they’ll look that much more impressive on the big screen. For more on color grouping and contrast, check here.

Simplicity Works

Above all else, remember to keep it simple. When many users start the process of mastering presentation software, they want to use everything the suite of tools has to offer. In time, though, you’ll start to learn that less is more. Your presentation is meant as a device for conveying information – and at the end of the day, you want to make sure that your choices serve that purpose. If you’re concerned about how busy your presentation might be, you can take the Steve Jobs Simplicity Test.

Your presentation should be designed to serve its ultimate purpose. Make it beautiful, make it unique, but above all else make it functional. Once you create a slide of which you can be proud, you can share it with the world. A presentation is neither simple nor easy to grasp, but once you learn the rules you can create presentations that help get your point across effectively. Remember to keep things simple and follow these basics to create the best presentations.