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Two Quick Ways to Improve Your Boring Bullet Points PowerPoint – Use Design Ideas or SmartArt Graphics


By Kelly Vandever

You’ve seen it a million times.

A boring list of bullet points.

Is it possible to make a boring list of bullet points look more interesting? Yes!

But I must start by making a plea for the slow method first!

The Slow Way – Create One Slide for Each Point

My “go to” recommendation is don’t include a list of bullet points in your presentation in the first place!

Give each new idea its own slide and add visuals to increase the appearance and make the slide more memorable. See this blog post for more details.

But if you are pressed for time and want to make your boring list look a little better fast, try these two tools.

Office 365 Subscribers – Use Design Ideas

If you’re an Office 365 subscriber with PowerPoint 2016 and you put in bullet points, the Design Ideas pane will automatically open and give you some options.

Here are two examples, one using the Office Theme and one using the Gallery Theme.

Not sure I’m crazy about any of the options provided. But they’re a little more interesting than just a straight bullet point list.

Or Try SmartArt Graphics

For any version of PowerPoint, select the bulleted list and from the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the icon that says Convert to SmartArt.

You’ll see a dropdown list pop up with several options.  Hover over the options and you’ll see a preview of the slide using those SmartArt options.

Or click on More SmartArt Graphics… toward the bottom of that dropdown list to see other ways to reconfigure your boring bullet points.  This option won’t give you a preview but you will be able to see multiple options that will likely be better than what you started with.

Below is an example of a before and after using SmartArt.

Again, my preference would be to use the slow method and use a separate slide with an image to discuss the items on the list. But if you’re pressed for time, consider these alternatives to a boring bullet point list.

Kelly Vandever is a leadership and communications expert who helps leaders and organizations thrive in today’s attention-deficit, entertain-me-now, wait-while-I-post-that-on-Facebook world. Learn how opening up and speaking practically can bring you better business results. Connect Kelly by phone at 770-597-1108, email her at Kelly.Vandever @ SpeakingPractically.com or tweet her @KellyVandever.