Quick PowerPoint Tip: Size Matters!

The size of text on PowerPoint slides matters!  If it is not clearly readable by everyone it adds frustration and creates a distraction.  I’ve heard too many presenters say “You may not be able to read this, but …” If that is the case, then why even show the slide?

There is an old rule of thumb in the presentation world called the 8H Rule of Legibility.  The rule was developed as a guideline when 35 mm slides were in use.  The rule goes like this: If you can read an image from a distance of eight times its height, odds are that everyone will be able to read it when projected.

In those days, if you could read a 35 mm slide, which was 1 inch in height, from 8 inches away, that slide would be legible under most presentation conditions.


Translated in today’s world, if your computer screen is 10 inches in height, scoot away from your screen 80 inches.  If you can read it, then you are probably okay.  In practical terms, that means that you should never go below 11 points.  I think 18 points is a safer number, but obviously, 22 or 24 points gives you extra wiggle room in the event that the screen is a little smaller and further away than you expected.

About Paul Unger

Paul J. Unger is an attorney and founding principal of Affinity Consulting Group, LLC, a nationwide company providing continuing legal education, legal technology consulting, and training. He is also currently serving as Chairman of the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center. Prior to forming Affinity, Paul was vice president of a Columbus-based technology consulting firm. Mr. Unger spent five years at Clark, Perdue, Roberts & Scott Co., L.P.A., limiting his practice to civil litigation. He specializes in technology consulting and audits, writing legal-specific technology books & manuals, trial presentation & litigation support, document management software, paperless office strategies, and legal-specific software speaking & training for law firms and legal departments throughout the United States. Mr. Unger has provided trial presentation consultation for 300+ cases. Mr. Unger is a member of The American, Ohio and Columbus Bar Associations, and the Ohio Association for Justice and the Central Ohio Association for Justice. He is very active in the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association, and served as Chairman of ABA TECHSHOW 2011 – 25th Year Anniversary. He is also an Adjunct Professor for Capital University Law School’s Paralegal Program. Paul is a national speaker and frequent lecturer for CLE programs. He is the co-author of Adobe Acrobat for Law Firms, PowerPoint for Legal Professionals, and co-author of Microsoft Word for Legal Professionals, all manuals designed to maximize the use of legal-specific features. Mr. Unger is a 1994 graduate of Capital University Law School.

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