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Before your material leaves your company it should undergo proofreading. This ensures a clear message and leaving the best impression to the reader. We tried to collect ten PowerPoint errors occurring often and useful to check for. Those checks are also done by SlideProof, the PowerPoint Add-in to make proofreading easier. We hope it finally helps you creating better presentations:

Consistent bullet punctuation

All bullet items should have the same punctuation. This might also include no punctuation at all – But it should be consistent over all items of a bullet list. So if one has a period, the others should have one, too. We recommend using punctuation when your items are complete sentences.

Example of an inconsistent punctuation of bullet items

Punctuation spacing

Unfortunately wrong spacing around punctuation marks are not identified by PowerPoint’s spell check. This includes most punctuation marks like period, comma, exclamation and question mark. There should always be a space behind but no before. Often these are easy to spot by eye except when font size gets smaller.

Example of a wrong space before comma

Consistent hyphenation

All words that are separated by a hyphen should be separated consistently. An evergreen is definitely long-term vs. long term. Especially when working in a team, chances are high people will separate words differently.

Example of inconsistent hyphenated words.

Missing bracket

Brackets only come in pairs. When there is an opening parenthesis, there also should be a closing one. Except for smileys. The same goes for quotation marks which also always appear in pairs. A proofreader has to find single brackets.

Example of a paragraph missing the closing bracket.

Wrong footnotes

A footnote consists of the footnote at the bottom of a slide and the reference in the text. The reference in text is often just a superscripted number. This leaves room for many possible errors: Missing footnotes, un-referenced footnotes, gaps in numbering or numbering not starting with one.

Example of a missing footnote that is used in text.

Overlapping text

Obviously overlapping text is never wanted. A classic example is a forgotten sticker or post-it which is often used by third-party reviewers over existing text.

Example of two overlapping texts

Accidently moved placeholder

A title, body and any other placeholder can easily be moved which often happens accidentally. Finding such errors is tedious work as one has to quickly go through the slides of a presentation and search for jumping placeholders during transitions.

Example of a accidentally moved title placeholder

Accidently moved shapes

Certain shapes like stickers or trackers are no placeholder but appear at the same position on several slides. Sometimes such a shape gets accidentally moved without notice. These are hard-to-spot errors as they only noticeable during the transition from one slide to another.

Example of an on-page tracker slightly misaligned to the one on other slides.

Slightly misaligned shapes

When arranging shapes on a slide, one of them can easily get out of line. PowerPoint’s alignment tools are not always perfect and spotting such an error requires much trained eyes.

Example of three shapes where one is slightly misaligned.

Font formats

If you worked in a team and copied from different sources, chances are high the presentation has different fonts for the same elements. In the end, all titles, body and placeholders should have the same font name and size. This also helps reducing the number of used fonts and sizes.

Example of two font sizes used in a single line of text.

Font line spacing

What is true for font formats goes also for font line spacing. Using consistent Line Spacing greatly supports readability and visual clarity. This one is often hard to spot but easy to find by software.

Inconsistent line spacings used in a single paragraph of text.

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