format powerpoint slide title

How to Effectively use PowerPoint Slide Titles to Engage Your Audience

Although they are the largest words on a PowerPoint slide, slide titles are often overlooked.  Learning how to title a PowerPoint slide is a critical skill to build impactful presentations that engage audiences.  When worded and formatted properly, slide titles can help with storytelling and quickly convey your key message.  Audiences want to clearly know what you’re trying to say. Use PowerPoint slide titles to make your message stand out and help them understand the value you bring. In this article, we detail 5 tips to help you create better slide titles.

Top 5 Tips to Create Better PowerPoint Slide Titles

#1: Use action titles to convey the key message of your slide

Most PowerPoint slide titles tend to describe the contents of the slide rather than the takeaway message.  As a result, they do not engage the audience and fail to convey your message. Slide titles are most effective written as an action title, which spells out the ‘so what’ of the slide rather than a written description of the content.

Action title meaning

An action title is a slide title that’s worded to reflect the key takeaway or ‘so what’ of the slide.  If written effectively, the audience should only need to read the action title, and not the rest of the slide, to understand the primary message.

By quickly conveying your message, you can create an engaging and creative PowerPoint presentation that your audience will appreciate. Action titles are critical to creating slides that sell. Your audience’s attention is highest when they are reading the first item of your slides.

For example,

PowerPoint action titles

#2: Create a storyline for your presentation

Before you begin using PowerPoint, write out an outline for the story you’re telling. Setting up a story framework prior to creating slides will give your presentation more organization. One way to check if your PowerPoint slides have effective action titles is to stack your slide titles and see if they make a story. Is there a clear message here surrounding the story you are selling?

PowerPoint storyline

#3: Make sure title alignment is consistent

Make sure that all of your titles are aligned the same way slide-to-slide. You don’t want to distract the audience and reduce the professionalism of your PowerPoint presentation by having the title to “jump” when you change to the next slide. An easy way to do this for your whole presentation is to go into your slide master [link to our article on master slides] and format the title text boxes using placeholders.

PowerPoint place holders

#4: Keep text size the same

Maintaining a consistent font size can also help keep your PowerPoint presentation polished. Once you’ve captured the audience’s attention through storytelling with action titles, make sure the text size is the same from slide-to-slide in both the title and the body text. Manually change this or consider using the slide master again to format the presentation. The consistency of text sizes will add professionalism and uniformity to your presentation.

Powerpoint font size

#5: Stay away from hanging words

Avoid having just one word on the second line of the title as it creates a visual interruption and draws unintended attention to the single word.  You can add a manual break to force two or more words on the second line or add more words to the title. Additionally, consider giving your team examples of how to format titles that go on one line or two lines of text the correct way. This can also be easily formatted within the slide master view. When you create the slide master, make sure to format the title text size and color appropriately.

PowerPoint title hanging words

Related Articles:

Writing your PowerPoint Presentation Story

Mapping your PowerPoint Slides

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