Tips for Sharing PowerPoint Lessons

1. Font Problems to Avoid

"Fonts" define the way that the text appears. Times New Roman looks like typewritten font and script fonts may look like you wrote them with a pen. Windows based computers come loaded with certain base fonts but users may add or even delete font styles. Apple computers generally come loaded with different font styles than IBM compatible computers. When you are going to share PowerPoint shows among different computers you must be careful to be sure that both computers have the same fonts loaded. In general, PowerPoint DOESN'T carry the font styles with it when you save your presentation. As long as you are using standard fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman then you can be fairly confident that computers will have these fonts. The problem is that if you don't have the same fonts on a computer that you move your presentation to that you may find that your presentation gets totally distorted. When PowerPoint can't find the correct font then it picks a different font to replace it. When wrong font loads, then text may even run off of the page! Different fonts carry different moods and messages and the wrong font may give your presentation a totally different feel.

Font problems often occur for people that share presentations with others or use multiple computers. Problems typically occur for people that write PowerPoint based sermons or Sunday School material and then send to their friends on the Internet. People who get presentations from others may find that the show ends up being a lot different than originally presented. The second most common problem occurs when speakers travel with their presentation and then use someone else's computer to show the presentation. This happens a lot for churches that have digital projectors hooked to permanent desktop computers. If a visiting presenter transfers his presentation to the church's computer they may be surprised to find that their presentation has changed.

There is a solution to font problems. When you save your presentation, PowerPoint will give you an option to save the fonts with your presentation. When saving your presentation, simply check the box that says "embed truetype fonts". This will save your fonts with your presentation. Note however, that only "TrueType fonts" can be saved with your presentation. Be aware however, that fonts are often copyrighted just as graphics are and you should be careful that you do not violate the copyrights of the fonts that you use. Another solution is to use common fonts such as Arial or Times New Romans. These fonts come with Windows and should be on the host computer unless someone has gone in and deleted these common font styles.

PowerPoint files can be read by both Windows and Apple based systems running their respective versions of PowerPoint. These operating systems use different fonts. When converting, you will find that Apple "Times" corresponds most closely to "Times New Romans" in Windows and "Helvetica" corresponds to "Arial". If for some reason, you conversion doesn't automatically make this conversion then you can use the feature "Replace Fonts" in the "Format" menu to manually make a change for your whole document. The PowerPoint help screen gives a list of other compatible fonts. You can get to this list under the "Font" listing in the help index.

If you want to find out what different fonts that you have in your presentation then go to the "File" menu, select "Properties" and then click on the "Contents" tab and you will get a list of fonts.

2. Bullet Problems

Closely akin to font problems are "Bullet" problems. Bullets are the little boxes, dots, dashes or other symbols or graphics used at the beginning of each line in subtexts. Just as you have fonts preloaded on your computer so do you have fonts. The same problems occur with bullets that occur with fonts. If you used a bullet symbol when making your presentation and it doesn't exist on the computer that you are using to make the presentation then the software will automatically pick some other bullet. This can be something with a totally different view. To find out what bullet styles you are using simply click on "Format" and then "Bullets". You can only select this feature when you are in a text box that uses bullets. This menu selection will also allow you to pick different bullet styles and sizes. It is on this menu that you can find out what bullet type you are using. Bullets are associated with fonts and if you are having problems with bullets then you can find out what bullet style you may be missing on your computer and copy it over to the second computer.

As long as you only use one computer and make your own presentation then you shouldn't have any font or bullet problems. As you share presentations with others then such problems are much more likely to occur.     

3. Equipment Issues - Projectors vs. PC-to-TV Converters

A lot of churches, especially smaller ones, choose to use PC to TV converters in their small classes. As a result, people who share presentations should be aware of the problems that can occur when sharing with people who may be using such equipment. The first issue to deal with is the fact that the shape of the computer screen is NOT the same as a TV screen. As a result, if you run your text or graphics all the way to the edge of your computer screen then you may find that part of the text or image is actually cut out of the presentation when run on the TV set. In our PowerPoint preparation tips we recommended that you leave plenty of space around the outside edge of your presentation slides. The difference between PC and TV screens simply underscores the need for this.

The second consideration for PC to TV use is that TV's often overdrive the color red. It is a general good idea to avoid red fonts and stripes when making shows that may be shown on TV screens. When the color gets overdrivent then it looks like it is "bleeding" onto the adjacent part of the screen and gives you jagged images.

If you are going to make presentations that you think might be used by churches with PC to TV converters then you need to be careful about the two issues mentioned above.

4. Graphics and Copyrights

What people write and create as art or photograph is most often copyrighted. A common problem is that Sunday School teachers and preachers think that they can simply copy text or scan in images from books or magazines and put them in their presentations. The truth is that taking the work of others is most often a violation of copyright. The ethics of the situation is that people who write or make artistic creations are entitled to being paid for their work. Ethics aside, the control of text and images via copyright is both national and international law. You should not use others work's without their permission. There are a lot of ways to avoid violating copyrights. First, you can use royalty free images from image collections. Be aware, however, that some image collections, such as those you find on CDROMS or on the Internet state that the images are only royalty free if you don't sell your material. Other restrictions may apply. Be sure to read the fine print. Your own software such as PowerPoint may come with free clipart that you can use. Even so, such collections sometimes have restrictions. One of the things that we do at is to provide royalty free images with almost unlimited use. One of the few restrictions that we have is to ask you not to remove the credit lines at the bottom of the photos. That is how we advertise our site. Even Bibles may be copyrighted. Versions such as the NIV are copyrighted but at last check their notes indicated it was OK to quote limited passages from them provided that you repeat their copy statement. This statement tells that you are using the NIV and who publishes it and other business statements. You can often find the requirements in the introductions to the books that you wish to copy text from. It is easy to violate copyright. Please be careful to be wary of what you do.

5. Business Sense and PowerPoint

If you want to share or sell PowerPoint presentations then PLEASE read all the PowerPoint tips pages. Pay particular attention to the information above. You don't want to spend hours making presentations only to find out that the odd font you are using is not on your customer's computers! Problems like this can cause lots of bad feelings toward your material. Be very wary of violating copyrights. A lot of people have been asked to share their material on eBibleTeacher only to be rejected because their presentations were full of images that violated copyright restrictions. Violating copyright can be very serious. Also pay attention to the other preparation tips. A presentation that you think is great may violate good graphic layout rules about putting too much text on the screen, etc. Have someone critique your material before sending it out.

If you plan to sell your material then it is important that you add some business language to your presentations. You should clearly state your copyright as well as include the copyright statements from all images and texts that you have used by permission or by contract. You should state how people can contact your and what they are allowed to do with your material. Do you allow them to modify your material? How do they contact you if they have a problem?

eBibleTeacher is looking for good quality PowerPoint sermons and Sunday School material. We can even publish your material on CDROM and market it for you. In general, you will need to prove you are meeting all copyright requirements, have good graphic layouts and provide speaker's notes to go along with your presentations. Feel free to contact us about your material. Please do NOT send large files via email attachment without getting our permission first.  If you have PowerPoint presentations that you would be willing to give away or sell please contact us.


I hope these tips help you save lots of time in preparing your slides. There are a lot of advantages in using electronic projectors in sermons and Sunday School. Work hard to practice the things mentioned above at the beginning and they will become habits that will help your presentations be more effective. After all, the reason you are speaking and presenting is to get your message out!

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