What to Use Instead of Bullet Points in Your Next Slide Deck

Presentations are all about getting your point across in a neat and concise way. They should be striking and attractive, yet easy to read. Bullet points are a time-honored way to break information down into lists, key points, or easy-to-digest concepts.

When every page is a list of bullet points, however, presentations can become dull and lose the audience’s attention. Thankfully, there are several alternatives to bullet points that perform the same function of grouping relevant materials together. Here’s what professional freelance presentation design experts suggest instead.

1. Tables

Bullet points are all about organizing a lot of info onto one page. What better way to do that than the tool that was designed precisely for that purpose: the table! Tables keep information neat and organized, and you can modify them to match different volumes of text or figures. 

Be aware that you shouldn't try to fit every scrap of information into one table, and just like bullet points, if you use tables on every slide, it can become tedious for the audience.

2. Simple Icons and Visuals

Presentations are a perfect way to incorporate intelligent graphic design with visuals and icons that deliver the right information. Cut out unnecessary text and replace it with simple shapes and symbols that fit with your theme.

Don't squash too many icons together on one page, and ensure it's clear what each icon represents. You can use shapes that are unique to but universally recognized in your industry to give your presentation something extra.

3. Labeled Diagrams

If you have a visual aspect to your presentation, consider focusing on the visuals and keeping the text to short labels in readable captions. This is far more accessible for people who prefer visual learning, and it can convey much more information than a single bullet point could. If needed, additional context or supporting information can be provided via handout or digital link given to attendees before or after the presentation.

4. Emphasized Words

Instead of bullets, you can take your portioned text and draw the eye to the first word of the section. You can do this by consistently bolding or coloring the first word. The best way to do this is to make sure that the first word in your series of paragraphs is the same part of speech—for example, use a noun, verb, preposition, etc. at the beginning of every section, as long as you’re consistent.

5. Spread Your Content Across More Slides

If you have to squeeze tons of information onto one slide and break it down into many bullet points, you probably have too much information on one slide. It sounds too simple to be true, but you can opt to split your key points and give each one its own slide.

Highlight a keyword or phrase on each of those slides. You can use a bold font or color for this, depending on the presentation style. Your presentation becomes more readable, plus—because you’re clicking through the slides faster to get through the information—it creates the illusion that the presentation is going quickly. Most audiences will associate this with a positive experience, which is another potential improvement for your presentation!

If you need to create a presentation with impact, Kristian Olson Art & Design’s freelance presentation design services can help keep your message on track without resorting to bullet points on every slide. I’m dedicated to helping professionals like you nail every presentation you give!

Get in touch with me today—let’s chat about your vision, slide count, and timing.

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