The default bulleted lists for both PowerPoint and Keynote are incorrect. It doesn’t take much work to correct them.
Here is what I did:
- I used my professional font, in this case, Helvetica Neue, Condensed Bold. See point #4 on sucking less.
- I reduced the font size from 42pt to 24pt. Leave some white space on the page. It makes the text easier to digest/consume.
- I reduced the default setting for the bullet size (relative) from 125% to 95%. Big giant black dots are distracting from the points themselves.
- I made the bullet text wrap correctly. In the default, the text falls under the number. Even bulleted lists in HTML don’t do that.
- I corrected the line spacing. This is a three step process. First I changed the line space from 1.0 (single) to 0.75. Depending on the font and its size, I sometimes go to as tight as 0.7. Next I changed the “After Paragraph” spacing to 16pt. Before paragraph spacing is set to 0. Lastly, I changed the text indent to 18px (pixels and points almost the same thing). Both PowerPoint and Keynote will sometimes have bullets indented, which is usually a problem, so I generally set this to 0.
- If this were a real presentation, I would have reduced the text when possible. Full sentences are not needed…but single line words that don’t say anything are also pretty annoying.
Most PPT slides are simply a title and bullets. I think fewer than 2% of my slides are like this. So bulleted lists should be part of a slide that has something other than just a title and bulleted lists. Unfortunately, this WordPress template does a very crappy job with numbered lists…so you will have to live with my hypocrisy in this case on the blog. I will need to clean up the CSS when I get a chance. Thankfully the founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, read my post and personally updated the CSS for me so that my numbered lists and bulleted lists now adhere to my own advice in this post! WordPress FTW!
What else could I have done to make the bulleted list better? What other mistakes do you see?