Importance of White Space in great PowerPoint Presentations - PowerPoint Tips

Do you remember seeing an advertisement that grabbed your eyeballs and attention for quite some time and you could recall the information hours after having seen it? If yes, you were privy to what we call effective graphic design.

Graphic design makes use of tested and tried rules related to how the human eyes see and understand information.

Roger Martin of the University of Toronto says businesses can create efficient and successful messages using design thinking since it helps them decide the essential visual elements, their ideal placement and how they should look like.

However, several presenters are baffled by one visual element when they start. It’s space.

White Space - What is it?

White space (often called negative space) refers to a layout without any specific shape or object in it. In the era where printed materials ruled the roost when it came to sharing information, majority of the layout space that was available was used by publishers due to steep publishing cost. You will still witness this trend in paperback books, newspapers, and most textbooks today that are loaded with a lot of text and images – as much as possible that can be made to fit within the given space.

In today’s digital age where most information gets spread and consumed digitally, wasting paper is no longer a concern for designers, which allows them to use white space liberally. This change in how space is used can bring several advantages to your layout.

White Space and the Viewer – the Correlation  

Your page looks cleaner with generous use of white space. By not adding visible elements to your page, you can stay away from confusing your viewers with cluttered slides, or avoid important messages getting buried deep down.

The absence of distinct objects in the layout suggests openness. Use of white space encourages your audience to take part in the discussion actively in addition to improving their engagement as listeners.

How Your Design can Benefit from White Space

  • Soothes the Eyes of Your Audience

The muscles of eyes tend to relax when they have nothing to concentrate upon. This helps conserve the mental stamina of your audience and makes them able to stay attentive for longer durations.

  • Bundle Related or Similar Elements Together

Shapes with uniform space among them are considered to be similar. You can bundle multiple elements together based on this criterion without adding objects (say, bounding boxes) to your slide.

white space in powerpoint presentation

  • Draw Attention to Important Elements

Where space causes clear separation between shapes, you can emphasise them further by highlighting them. This could be useful for focusing, summarizing, or recapping.

white space in powerpoint presentation


  • Give a Classier look to Your Design

This effect has trickled down from the time when print media was having a golden run where publications used the available space to fit in as much content as was possible. But publications aiming to showcase a classier, more exclusive feel were far more generous with leaving white space.

whitespace powerpoint presentation white space powerpoint presentation


Restraint is the key. Don’t clutter your slides with lots of text and images hoping they would boost information sharing and the recall value. Cramping as much text and image as possible is not the way to bridge gaps between effective presentation design techniques and supporting data.

By using a lot of elements in one space, you will bring down the readability of your text and visibility of important images. In contrast, effective designs with adequate space give viewers the breathing space to observe and translate your visuals into actionable and long-lasting knowledge.

Stand firm on your decision of not cramping your slides with too many elements. Use fewer elements instead to create a strong, long-lasting impact.

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