What’s the single most common presentation mistake? Content overload!

Trying to jam too much information on a single slide creates two problems:

  1. Too much content makes it difficult for the audience to understand all the displayed information at once.
  2. In order to jam all that stuff on a single slide, you’ve got to shrink it down – often too small to actually read!

One obvious solution is to break up your content into multiple slides – and most of the time that’s the right thing to do. But what if you have an image to display that’s too big for one slide, but you don’t want to just chop it up into pieces? You’d really like to show a portion at a time – and then show its continuity from the current slide to the next one. A timeline of events is a good example.

Instead of an abrupt slide change, how can you subtly show that two slides appear to be connected like one really wide-screen slide? Here’s how to do it in PowerPoint or Keynote.

In this example, I’ll display an image of the Dow Jones Industrial average graphed over time in a line chart. Then I’ll slide it from right to left, indicating the movement of time. I’m using a graphic image that’s too wide to fit on a single PowerPoint slide. Here’s how to handle the graphic:

1. Insert the full-size image on a slide.

2. Adjust the image proportionally to the desired height. Don’t worry about the width yet.

3. Position the image so the right portion is hidden by hanging over the right side of the slide.

Extra-wide graphic spills over the right side of the slide

4. Duplicate this slide.

5. On the duplicated slide, move the graphic to the left, hiding the part already seen on the previous slide — hanging it out over the left side of the slide. This is where you want the graph to finish.

Finishing location

6. Select a Push transition for this second slide (how you want this slide to appear). In this example, make it push From Right.

7. Now click the slideshow button.

You’ll see these two slides displayed as a slideshow. The graphic from the first slide will appear to slide left as the second slide is shown, revealing the rightmost part of the graphic.

Here are three examples:

 

Download sample PowerPoint document.

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