Offers, brochures, product descriptions – things that may be more convenient to deliver and read in digital form. With Power Point you can produce attractive, interactive PDFs easy to deliver and read.

Slideument – when to use

Some time ago I found, in a book by Garry Reynolds called “Presentation Zen” an interesting keyword  – slideument (slide+document) which he used to name slides that are overloaded with text. In his book slideument is a villain  who kills the presentation.

And he is right!

One can not use slideument when presenting to the audience. 

But slideument – bad guy at the conference or in a meeting room – becomes nice and useful on a computer screen – when you want to read the content alone.  It can be a perfect solution in digital world where unnecessary printing is perceived as an offense. Everyone deserves a second chance.

The first problem with an offer or a brochure sent in MS Word is that the common layout of Word documents is vertical (portrait orientation) and is designed to be printed on paper, which we use vertically. But the PC screens are horizontal, so the first thing we can do to make our slideument more readable is to change the orientation into “landscape”.

How to prepare a slideument in PowerPoint?

Instead of creating another Word document, You can prepare your slideument using PowerPoint and save it in PDF format.

One of the advantages of slideuments over Word documents, is that the Power Point form makes us subconsciously use shorter sentences. I do not know why, but it works.

You can find out in this post how I prepared such a sample document.


One feature that makes the slideument convenient and usable is navigation – buttons to jump between chapters.

I prepared a screen with titles of main chapters in my document.

The main navigation slide

The main navigation slide

Each navigation element should be one PowerPoint object, so if it contains several shapes use the grouping.

Tabs on each page

The navigation is useful if it is available on each page. I prepared it in a form of tabs.

The tabs which are going to be cloned to other slides in the future

The tabs which are going to be cloned to other slides in the future

My idea was to change the color of the bar under the tabs to the color that I assigned to each chapter.

Prepare the content

Prepare the presentation leaving a space for navigation tabs on each slide. The tabs can be pasted later after all the chapters are ready.

A very useful PowerPoint feature to design many slides with similar layout are rulers. In my opinion it is a “must-know” for every PowerPoint user.

The layout of the slide with space for navigation

The layout of the slide with space for navigation

The illustration above may be different, with page number for example, however the space for navigation must be reserved.

Time for hyperlinking

As soon as the slides are ready we can link the tabs and the first screen to them.

The linking option is available in the context menu after one clicks the object with the right mouse button. We choose to link to a place within this document and we can choose which slide is linked to the object.

We have to set all the links using this method. We can check if the links are OK by displaying the presesentation and clicking the linked object.

After preparing the navigation tabs this way, they are ready to be cloned onto all other slides (copy and paste).

While copying we can adapt tabs to our needs, for example we can change the bar color for slides of particular chapter.

And voila, you can save the presentation as a PDF and you are ready.

Some practical tips

  • use slides with a light background, because there is a chance that the client would like to print the document,
  • insert page numbers – in case the client prints the document,
  • do not use animation – it will not work in PDF,
  • slides shall be readable, so if you need more text to place on one slide consider using 2-3 columns.

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