Before-After: Kerning

Kerning is a term used in typography and refers to the spacing between letters. It is different from tracking in that tracking adjusts the space between letters evenly while kerning adjusts the space based on character pairs. In a well-kerned font the space between characters is the same or has similar area.

Sometimes when we make text really big or use certain fonts the kerning will be off and there will be too much (or too little) space between certain characters. Typical character pairs are V & A or W & A but it can be off on others as well.

When bad kerning happens in our text we must adjust it to bring back good balance in the text and increase legibility. Below is an example with a Before and After showing the original text with no adjustment and then the text with adjustments. In this example the kerning issues are on the number 100,000, particularly noticeable between the 1 and the first 0. The space appears much bigger than between the rest of the characters. I also adjusted a bit between the second 0 and the comma. The after shows a much more balanced 100,000. So remember to check your kerning and adjust if necessary.


Before - No Adjustment Applied


After - Kerning Adjustment Applied

Image Credit: mokra

How to Embed Fonts in PowerPoint 2010

When sharing a presentation with other people you may experience them calling you up saying that things are not aligned and look funny. This could be the result of you using a font in the presentation they don’t have on their computers. PowerPoint then substitutes your font with one on their system. To avoid this, it is possible to embed the fonts you use in the presentation. That’s what we are looking at today.

The place to find the settings for embedding fonts is in the PowerPoint backstage (the file tab), under “options” on the left side.

PowerPoint Backstage View

After clicking on options a new window opens up, the PowerPoint Options dialog. Click on “Save” on the left side and at the bottom of the window are the settings available for embedding fonts.

PowerPoint Options Dialog

Click the little checkbox next to “Embed fonts in the file”. There are two options; one for embedding only the characters used in the presentation and one for embedding all characters in the alphabet. By choosing the first option it will help to keep the file size down. This can be a good option if the people you are sending the presentation to are not going to edit it. If you are sharing the presentation with someone for them to make edits, then you are probably better off choosing to embed all characters.

PowerPoint Options Dialog Embed Font

And that’s how you embed fonts in your presentation.

Before-After: Align Heading and Sub-Heading

This is really just a quick reminder to always align things in a structured way and not place items/objects randomly on your slides. In this example we have a larger main heading and a smaller sub-heading. In the Before and After below it makes sense to align both headings on the left edge. I also adjusted the character spacing on the main heading so that the two headings also aligns on the right edge. This creates an invisible square and both headings appear together like a unit. It creates better unity and harmony on the slide.

I used drawing guides to help me with the alignment of the text. There are also alignment tools in PowerPoint you can use.

The main point is, don’t place objects randomly. Place them with purpose and use alignments to help you do that.


Before - No Heading Alignment


After - Headings Aligned

Image Credit: asifthebes

Book Review: Delivering Happiness

Below is a “Slide Book Review” of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s book Delivering Happiness: A path to profits, passion and purpose

Learn more about the book and how to join the movement here. If you would like to buy the book go here.

Also check out my contest to win a free copy of the book by sending or re-tweeting a particular tweet. Contest will end tomorrow, Tuesday.

Speaking: Eye Contact

When speaking or presenting in front of an audience it is always challenging to connect with them. Connecting with you audience is difficult. One way that can help is to actively use eye contact.

What does that mean?

Eye contact is a powerful tool for communicating, non-verbally. It can help make your presentation direct, personal and conversational. Direct because it feels like you are speaking directly to the audience. Personal because it feels like you are speaking directly to the person you are looking at, tailoring your message directly to that person. Conversational because of the closeness between you and your audience. It feels just like you are one of them having a conversation.

If you don’t look at your audience you will break the communication bond. Each person, no matter how big the audience, wants to feel important.

So whenever you speak or present use your eyes actively by going around the room and look each person in the audience in the eyes. Hold the person’s eyes long enough to establish a bond, maybe 5-10 seconds or the time it takes to finish a sentence. But don’t hold it so long that it becomes uncomfortable and you appear to be staring at the person.

If you are presenting for a large audience, pick one or two individuals in each section of the room and make eye contact with them. Each person in that section will get the impression you are talking directly at them.

So next time look them in the eye 😉

Delivering Happiness Competition

So as promised in my tweet, here are the details of the Delivering Happiness competition. I am giving away one free copy of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s book Delivering Happiness (Amazon Link).

The rules of the competition are pretty simple. All you have to do is tweet or re-tweet the following message:

Participating in the Delivering Happiness competition at RT this to enter. @ksalvesen @dhbook #slideblog

The competition starts immediately and runs until Thursday June 10th midnight Pacific Standard Time.

On Friday I will draw a random number and count the tweets and re-tweets from first sent to last sent. The winner is the person who sent the tweet number corresponding to the random number.

Good Luck!!


UPDATE: I extended the competition from Tuesday June 8th until Thursday June 10th.

FINISHED: I was surprised by the Delivering Happiness book team and got one more copy of the book  so we have 2 winners in the giveaway. @anafxfz and @elichtig . Thanks to everyone who participated.

The Art of the Start

Here is the second SlideBlog after my re-evaluation where I decided to post less frequent SlideBlogs and hopefully more elaborate, well constructed, more informative with greater impact. I said I would post one every month and I am just a little bit behind that schedule. This is SlideBlog for May titled “The Art of the Start”. I would really love your feedback on this presentation and comments on the design. Thanks

Before-After: Leading

Leading is the amount of space between lines in a paragraph of text. I guess this is sometimes called line spacing. Too much or too little space between your lines can make the text difficult to read. Sometimes when you make your text really big, the space between lines increases too much. It becomes too big. In slideware the leading is usually set by default to about 20 percent larger then the font size. So if you use very big fonts in your slides you may have to adjust the leading (or line spacing) to make related text closer to each other so they do in fact appear related.

Below is a before and after showing a slide with the default leading (in PowerPoint) and a slide with adjusted leading. The amount of adjustment you must make depends on the size of the font used and a visual inspection of the result of the adjustment. Remember too little space is also bad.


Before - Default Leading


After - Adjusted Leading

Image Credit: Spatial Mongrel