The ITSD website has moved to The current site will be disabled on Friday, 13 April 2018. You may want to update any bookmarks to go directly to ITSupport.

STScI Logo

Guidelines for Preparing Viewgraphs and Computer based Presentations to be used in an STScI Webcast

Success of Webcasting depends on the user's (client) configuration as well as the presentation materials themselves. To reach the largest possible audience with the greatest understanding of your material, ITSD has prepared a few guidelines for preparing viewgraphs and computer based presentations. These guidelines will enable the live audience to better view your material and certainly help the Webcast audience.

We have created a PowerPoint Presentation Guideline which illustrates point size, fonts, colours, safe-areas", graphs, and tables. These recommendations are good for not only Webcasting, but any presentation using PowerPoint.

Here is a Webcast version of the same PPT Presentation Guideline, to give you an idea of what the Webcast looks like.

Occasionally, presenters use an Overhead Projector (.ram) with transparencies. We have prepared a Webcast showing the same PowerPoint presentation (transfered to transparencies). Transparencies are the hardest of all video images to capture. We are using a camera pointed at the screen and due to several technical difficulties with light and optics, image degradation is bound to happen.

If you need PowerPoint help, here are a few templates to get you started.

PowerPoint Templates

Blank w/Gradient fill Background from Black to Blue (blue_blank.ppt)
Text, Bullets, & Image w/Gradient fill Background from Black to Blue (blue_fig.ppt)
Structured List w/Gradient fill Background from Black to Blue (blue_list.ppt)
Grey Background with STScI Logo & Title (st_tpl_blank.ppt)
Grey Background with STScI Logo, Title, Text, & Image (st_tpl_fig.ppt)
Grey Background with STScI Logo, Title, & Structured List (st_tpl_lis.ppt)
White Background with Text, Bullets, & Image (white_fig.ppt)
White Background with Structured List (white_list.ppt)
Blank Template of Light Grey ST Logo Background (lg_tpl_blank.ppt)
Light Grey ST Logo Background with Text, Bullets, & Image (lg_tpl_fig.ppt)
Light Grey ST Logo Background with Structured List (lg_tpl_list.ppt)

The average viewing area on a Webcast screen is 1/2 the size of a common envelope. Therefore to deliver the most information the viewgraphs/screens should be many and simple in design with large text.

Listed below are the recommendations we receive from staff, live audience attendees, and Webcast viewers.


- Characters should be large.
- Type set is usually more legible rather than handwritten.
- Handwritten text should be large print.
- Avoid using "busy" viewgraphs.
- Use bold fonts when possible darker colors on a light background work well, as do light colors on a dark background with sufficient contrast.
- Avoid using colors that appear at the same level of brightness (e.g., red text on a blue background), viewgraphs appear quite different on a projected screen compared to the computer.
- Avoid footnotes unless you expect them not to be read.
- The following are fonts to use for maximum consistency between PPT on Mac or PC. It is good practice to use these fonts exclusively whenever your presentation will be viewed on Windows machines, as well as Macs:

        Arial Black
        Comic Sans MS
        Courier New
        Times New Roman
        Trebuchet MS

Lines/Graphical Figures:

- Use moderate to thick lines.
- If lines are close together use highly contrasting colors.
- To differentiate between lines of the same color use heavy dots and dashes.
- Light colored lines wash out viewed from a distance unless they are very heavy and on a very dark background. These effects that are difficult to distinguish on a Webcast.
- Shading.
- Hand written text.
- Busy viewgraphs.
- Monochromatic text/background.

Things NOT To Do:

- If using transparency overheads, avoid touching the viewgraph after placing it on the viewgraph platform. Step away from the machine and point at the screen for illustrations. Cameras tend to blur the viewgraph due to video latency.

- Avoid using photo-copies of book pages, journal articles, footnotes, etc. Usually only the viewers in the first two rows can see the illustrations. If you use such materials, edit the material with a photo-editing program or by hand on transparencies to highlight the key points of the illustration.

Tips For Speakers

Gleaned from David Dempsey's book, "Legally Speaking"

Revised: 03/21/2005