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Wednesday, May 17, 2006
  The Presentation Sidebar

What is a presentation sidebar? If you read the definition on the mock-PowerPoint slide above, you'll see that a presentation sidebar is

"...information placed close to the main slide content."

The "main slide content" in my graphic example carries the headline "Sidebar Definition". Theoretically, that's the main content of the slide.

In contrast, the graphically distinct green sidebar supports the slide's "main content". You'll see charts, graphs, pictures, numbers, quotes, polls -- all kinds of supporting information in a presentation sidebar.

Now, you see sidebars quite a bit in online and offline publishing -- but do they have a place in a PowerPoint presentation?

Perhaps. But they're often a risky choice in a live presentation for one simple reason:

In PowerPoint, the entire slide is supposed to be a sidebar! You're the main content!

So use presentation sidebars and CNN-style crawlers with care! Notice how your eye is drawn more to the sidebar instead of what is supposed to be the "main content" of the slide. Same thing with other "supporting players" - animations, transitions, sounds, etc.

Under which conditions do you use "presentation sidebars" effectively??

Download a three slide sidebar PowerPoint presentation example here.

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