Some Data on the Current Use of PowerPoint – Font Sizes

This post is an excerpt from “Visu­al Log­or­rhea – On the Preva­lence of Slideu­ments”. In order to get an impres­sion of the cur­rent use of Pow­er­Point for pre­sen­ta­tion design, 1.500 pre­sen­ta­tions found on the inter­net have been ana­lyzed. Read the full story here. 

Font Sizes

The font size with­in a shape con­tain­ing text can vary, con­se­quent­ly, font sizes have been ana­lyzed by “run” (which is a con­tin­u­ous sequence of text of the same for­mat­ting as regards font type, size and empha­sis). The fre­quen­cy is shown based on both num­ber of occur­rences and the actu­al count of char­ac­ters (not includ­ing white­space).

Some Data on the Current Use of PowerPoint - Font Size by Occurrence

The font size dis­tri­b­u­tion prac­ti­cal­ly fol­lows the defaults of Microsoft Pow­er­Point, espe­cial­ly the defaults for hier­ar­chi­cal bul­let lists (for Pow­er­Point 2013: 44 pt. for the slide title, 28, 24, 20 and 18 pt. for the text). This leads to the assump­tion that at least in bul­let­ed lists, there is very lit­tle cus­tom design work being done.

Sample Slide - PowerPoint Default Font SizesRecent ver­sions of Pow­er­Point auto­mat­i­cal­ly adjust the font size in a shape as need­ed in order to fit any amount of text into the shape. For exam­ple (as of Pow­er­Point 2013), the font size of the slide title is reduced to 40 pt. when need­ed and the font size of bul­let lists is decreased in steps down to 5 pt. In addi­tion, when decreas­ing the font size man­u­al­ly, Pow­er­Point does this in cer­tain steps (44, 40, 36, 32, 28, 24, 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 11, 10.5, 10 pt. and fur­ther down to 1 pt. [sic] in one-point steps). Thus, the only unan­tic­i­pat­ed out­come of the font size spec­trum above is the very low preva­lence for 10.5 point.

Some Data on the Current Use of PowerPoint - Font Size by Number of Characters

Only about one quar­ter to one fifth of the tex­tu­al pre­sen­ta­tion con­tent fol­lows Guy Kawasaki’s rec­om­men­da­tion to use a min­i­mum font size of thir­ty points (25.6% of all occurences, 19.7% of all char­ac­ters)​1. Tak­ing into account that a con­sid­er­able amount of text writ­ten in larg­er font sizes is con­tained in slide titles, vir­tu­al­ly no actu­al pre­sen­ta­tion con­tent hon­ors his advice.

Assum­ing that 24 pt. is the small­est font size read­able by any­body in a larg­er audi­ence, more than two fifth of all text is at least bare­ly  read­able (if not too small to read) – an addi­tion­al dis­trac­tion for the audi­ence, beyond the dis­trac­tion already caused by far too much text.

This post is an excerpt from “Visu­al Log­or­rhea – On the Preva­lence of Slideu­ments”. In order to get an impres­sion of the cur­rent use of Pow­er­Point for pre­sen­ta­tion design, 1.500 pre­sen­ta­tions found on the inter­net have been ana­lyzed. Read the full story here.

Foot­notes:

  1.  Kawasa­ki, Guy, “The 10/​20/​30 Rule [sic!] of Pow­er­Point,” Decem­ber 30, 2005, http://​blog​.guykawasa​ki​.com/​2​0​0​5​/​1​2​/​t​h​e​_​1​0​2​0​3​0​_rule.html (accessed Jan­u­ary 1, 2014), https://​guykawasa​ki​.com/​t​h​e​_​1​0​2030_rule/ (accessed Feb­ru­ary 20, 2017).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*