Best Practices for PowerPoint: Slide Titles

PowerPoint Slide Titles:

Slide titles are used to define the information on the slide as well as create a navigational outline for the presentation. If slide titles are not used, the presentation index/outline will include blank labels. Best Practices for Slide Titles are to created with a Title Holder not with a text box. Using Slide Layouts will aid in achieving this goal.

Best Practice Advantage

As the designer of the presentation, your PowerPoint Presentation will always have a complete index of the slides. This information will help orient yourself during presentations when you need to move to a different slide. It also appears in Normal or Slide View during development. When exported to the web, the use of title holders initiates key words and phrases that can be picked up by a search engine. The image below shows the Outline View of an exported PowerPoint presentation with the left screenshot being Slide Titles used correctly and the right screenshot being Slide Titles not used in places. Where Title Holders were not used rendered blank lines in the output.

Screenshot showing output when applying Title Holder best practices and not applying best practices

Title Holder or Text Box?

A quick way to find out if you have Titles correctly on your slide is to view the Presentation Outline. To access the Outline View, select VIEW from the main menu at the top and then select NORMAL.

Access the Outline View

In the Outline View, each slide is listed with the Slide Title next to an icon. If there is text next to the Icon, then there is a Slide Title on the slide. View your slide to make sure the text showing in the Outline View is your Title text on the slide.

Correct Titling in Outline

If an icon is present but no text is next to it, then that slide is not using Titles correctly. Go to that slide and insert a Slide Title by using the Slide Layout.

Inncorect Slide Title in Outline View

The Green Dot Test

Another way to check if you have a Slide Title or a Text Box is to select the information on your slide that appears as the title. If a standard bounding box (dotted line box with markers on the adjustable points) appears, then you are using a Slide Title. If a bounding box with an extension at the top with a green dot appears, then you are using a text box. The green dot is an adjustable point to rotate the text box. If you fail the Green Dot Test, insert a Slide Title by using the Slide Layout.

Green dot equals text box

Invisible Titles

It is important to always have a title on your slide for Best Practices. Sometimes you may not want the title to show on the actual slide.

Stacking the Deck

Objects on a slide are "stacked" on top of each other similar to a pile of papers. By moving the Title to the bottom (called the Back) of the stack, it is hidden by what is on top. To move objects forward or backwards, select the object and then use the ORDER selection located on the DRAWING toolbar.

Using Order to Hide Title

To activate the Drawing Toolbar, go to VIEW on the main top menu and select TOOLBARS. (If you do not see the TOOLBARS choice, the menu may be compressed. Select the arrow located at the bottom of the menu. This will cause the menu to expand and show all choices available.) Select DRAWING from the submenu. The Drawing Toolbar will now appear on your screen. After adjusting the order of the Title, the slide shows the image without showing the Title, but the Title still appears in the Outline View.

Title hidded under Image