How to Highlight Your Presentations in PowerPoint

Effective highlighting in PowerPoint presentations draws attention to key information and helps the audience focus. Using highlights sparingly and purposefully makes them more impactful. Here are some best practices for highlighting text, images, data, and other elements in your PowerPoint slides.

Use Text Highlighting Judiciously

The text highlight tool in PowerPoint allows you to mark text in bright colors like yellow, green, blue etc. This emphasizes the selected words and makes them stand out.

When using text highlights:

  • Highlight only the most critical keywords or phrases
  • Don’t overdo it. Too much highlighting diminishes its effect
  • Use a consistent highlight color throughout the presentation
  • Combine with other emphasis techniques like bold, italics or underlining if needed

Here’s an example slide with judicious text highlighting:

Sample slide with text highlighting

Highlight Sections with Colors

You can also highlight sections of text or data by coloring the background. For example, you can highlight an entire bullet point by filling its background with a semi-transparent color.

This technique works well for:

  • Calling out important bullet points
  • Drawing attention to key figures or stats
  • Spotlighting critical parts of an image

Here’s an illustration of highlighting sections using background colors:

Sections highlighted with color

Use Icons and Symbols

Relevant icons and symbols adjacent to text or data make great highlights as they stand out visually. Symbols literally symbolize or represent something important that the audience should notice.

Some ways to use icons for highlighting:

  • Key takeaway icons beside bullet points
  • Annotation symbols like stars or flags to mark hot spots
  • Numbers in circles to indicate steps in a process
  • Alert, warning, or notification icons to indicate cautions

Here’s a slide with icons used as highlights:

Icons as highlights

Draw Attention with Shapes

Drawing custom shapes around important elements helps spotlight them. For example, you can outline a section of text in a vibrant shape to make it stand out.

Tips for using shapes as highlights:

  • Use oval or cloud-like shapes for an organic feel
  • Overlay the shape boundaries precisely for a clean look
  • Vary sizing, color, and transparency of shapes
  • Make sure text inside remains clearly readable

Here is an example of using shapes as highlights:

Highlight sections with shapes

Spotlight Images with Effects

When you need to highlight part of an image, effects like glows, shadows and 3D bevels do the trick. They make the selected area pop out from the rest of the image.

Some ways to highlight image sections:

  • Apply an Inner Glow or Outer Glow
  • Use shadows and reflection for a 3D effect
  • Add bevel or rotate elements to make them stand up
  • Use pointer paths and animated zooms to guide focus

Here is an example of image highlighting with effects:

Image highlighting with effects

By using these highlighting techniques judiciously, you can direct your audience’s attention to the most important content. Ensure highlights are used consistently and aligned to your key message for maximum impact.