Consider lighting when choosing background colors for PowerPoint slides

Dark blue seems to be the background color of choice in most PowerPoint presentations -- but it might not always be the right choice. Before you decide on your background color, consider your room's lighting.

Choosing the right color to convey your presentation's mood and purpose is almost as important as the information you share in your slides. Color evokes feelings and emotions. For instance, cool colors, greens and blues, are good background colors. Warm colors, reds and oranges, are good colors for your foreground objects and text. That's why so many presentations rely on a blue background with yellow graphics and text — they're everywhere, aren't they?

However, before you drop in that dark blue background, keep the room lighting in mind:

  • If you're presenting in a dark room with most of the lights off, use a dark background color (dark blue, gray, and so on) with light text, graphics, and objects. The background won't intrude on the message and the lighter components will stand out.
  • If you're presenting in a small room with most of the lights on, use a lighter background with dark text, graphics, and objects. Again, the background will tend to fade away while the other components will grab attention.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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