Why you should use icons in your PowerPoint presentation


Julkaistu 21.01.2016


Over the years the combination of a title and list with bullet-points and loads of text has become to be the way of presenting things. Because of that, we have seen hundreds of presentations that look exactly like the one below. Title, bullet-point, text. Maybe with some clip-art picture here and there. Looks interesting and captivating, right?


Use Icons in PowerPoint Presentation Instead of Bullet-Points

In presentation slide that is filled with bullet-points and text, the bullet-point highlights only the beginning of the text. And that is all they do. Bullet points do not add meaning or give any further information in communication. Therefore it is useful to explore other ways of structuring text on presentation slides.

Replace bullet-points with icons in your PowerPoint presentation

Instead of bullet-points, we recommend you to use icons in your PowerPoint presentation. With icons you can also draw attention and list things without being boring and repetitive. You can also add value to your presentation and make things more understandable to the audience.


Why You Should Use Icons in Your PowerPoint Presentation

There are three main reasons, why you should use icons in your PowerPoint presentation.

1. Icons contains meaning

Unlike bullet-point, icon contains drawing or picture which in user’s mind will associated with a task or function. If the meaning of the icon is clear, user will link it easily and quickly to the desired function. For example, an envelope in email client is quickly associated to email and to sending an email.

2. Icons draw attention

It is hard to draw user’s attention to specific areas on a slide that is filled with text and bullet-points. With icons you can bring out specific points on one slide or rearrange content of the slide to a more understandable form.

3. Icons facilitate text skimming

Text skimming is very common, especially in the web. People just don’t have time or interest to fully read everything they see. Drawing user’s attention to presentation is important, but making presentation easily skimmable is important as well. With icons you can facilitate skimming, since they quickly tell to users what the presentation is about, and they also draw users attention to the most important areas of the slide.

Below you can see the difference on how icons draw users attention. Heat maps on these slideshows shows how people are looking the slides. Red areas are the areas in which users pay the most attention.

First  heat map reveals that people have hard time to find the right areas of the slide. In the second slide uses icons and it’s heat map tells a completely different story. Icons and titles next to them do draw peoples attention.

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The heat maps are done by Viomba, which offers eye tracking services. Heat maps can be used to revealing how people view website designs, but also how people view presentations.

Icons will make your presentation pop

We all have seen hundreds presentations like the one in the beginning of this post, and it’s safe to say, that presentations like these, won’t make an impact. By adding few icons and losing the bullet-points, you can add more value to the slide, draw users attention and make the slide more readable.

In the slideshow below, you can see the difference between slide with bullet-points and slide with icons. Both of the slides have the same content, but the second one is spiced up with icons instead of bulled-points. The slide with icons is much clearer and more readable, and the user will see with one glance what the slide is about. So, why use bullet-points?

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You can get free icons for your next presentation from Flaticoniconmonstr or IconsDB. The icons in these sites are Creative Commons licensed, so if you give proper attribution to the designer and source you can use the icons for free.

Do you want to learn new PowerPoint tricks that will help you and save some time too? We have lots of tricks in our sleeves, and we gathered our favorites to simple and easily memorable tips.