What is the 7 by 7 Rule for PowerPoint Presentations? – Art of Presentations (2023)

What is the 7 by 7 Rule for PowerPoint Presentations? – Art of Presentations (1)

PowerPoint presentations are a powerful way of conveying a message to your colleagues, clients, and peers. The problem is if you do not know how to use PowerPoint in a way that grabs the attention of your audience, you might lose them by the second slide. This is where the 7 by 7 rule comes in handy. But, what exactly is it?

The 7 by 7 rule is a method used where each line has no more than 7 words and a slide has no more than 7 lines. This is a way of keeping your presentations easily readable and understandable to the audience. If your lines and slides are too “wordy” you run the risk of turning your audience away.

It is easy to forget the role of the audience in a presentation’s success. It does not matter how much time and energy you put into a presentation if your audience finds it a drab. If your presentation does not grab the attention of your audience, all the other qualities become meaningless.

The 7 by 7 rule lets you overcome this challenge with ease even if you are a beginner. So, let’s talk about this rule for PowerPoint.

What is the 7 by 7 Rule for PowerPoint?

I want you to think of how much effort you are putting into your presentations. Imagine all that work only for your audience to lose interest within the first few minutes. This happens more than most people think.

Using the 7 by 7 rule is the best way to keep your audience interested in the presentation. All it means is, there must be no more than 7 lines per slide and no more than 7 words per line.

The 7 by 7 rule is for presentations that have a lot of information in them. You get different rules such as the “5 by 5”, the “6 by 6”, and of course the 7 by 7. The last one being the bigger of the 3 and the focus of this article, it is used for presentations that are jam-packed with information.

While this rule helps, it is important to note that you still need to create a great presentation. The 7 by 7 rule should be used as a guideline to improve the presentation. Unfortunately, there is no secret method that can be a substitute for a well researched and well put together the presentation.

Why 7 Lines Per Slide?

When someone has a lot on their mind regarding their work and personal life, sitting in for a presentation can be a little tiring. It is easy for people to wander off into the abyss of their minds. This does not have to be the case for your presentations.

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The 7 line rule is a guideline to help you keep your slides as clean and easily readable as possible. It is to reduce clutter in each of your slides so that when your audience scans the slide, they can easily navigate each point you are trying to make.

Use the guideline to help you stay on the topic through each slide. It is best to use each line as a bullet point and when you combine this with the 7-word rule below, your audience will mostly stay focused.

Another aspect that you need to keep in mind is that these 7 lines are merely points for you to elaborate on. Think of them as trigger points that will help you remember the overall discussion that you want to have for a particular slide.

You don’t want the audience to just read what is written on the slides. This will become boring pretty quickly. Keeping the points short and succinct, and directly related to the topic of your presentation is key to keeping the audience engaged. This way, the audience will also be able to absorb all the information a lot easier than if your slide was cluttered.

Why 7 Words Per Line?

When I see a presentation that has too much stuff on it, it is a big turn off for me.

A common mistake we make is to make the slide look too text-heavy, and we sound too verbose when we are trying to explain something. This is especially true when we are passionate about something. Being passionate about something is great but being too verbose is a sure-fire way to lose your audience in the clutter of words.

Using the 7-word guideline will help you be specific. You do not even have to structure your sentences, in fact, why not just get rid of sentences altogether? With the 7 word rule, you can make short statements.

Try to structure each line with small bullet points instead of long drawn-out sentences. This will help your presentation be more factual and less boring.

Remember, you want to use the slides only as visual reference to the points that you want to make during the presentation. Thus, it doesn’t make sense to stuff it with words when you are anyway going to talk about it.

How to Create the 7 by 7 Rule in PowerPoint

Great, so you are considering implementing this into your next presentation and want to know how to do it!

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Making a presentation using the 7 by 7 rule is as easy as the name sounds. There is no specific option or a flip-switch that will help you create your presentation using the 7 by 7 rule in PowerPoint.

It is all about structuring the presentation according to the rule. Use the rule to structure the content on the slides in a clean a clutterless fashion. Use each line as a bullet point and the words per line should be mini statements instead of sentences.

That said, there are a few tips that can help you master this technique of presentation creation.

Tip 1 – Treat Each Line as a Reference for the Overall Point

It can not be highlighted enough that you ought to use the slides with text only as a reference to the whole story that you want to share using that slide.

Think of it this way – the slides that you are creating are like your personal short-hand notes. Only you can make a complete sense of what is written and connect the dots from one bullet point to another.

Likewise, when writing the text on the slides, make it more like short-hand personal notes that you can look at and elaborate in detail during the presentation. Keep it brief and succinct such that each line triggers the memory in your brain about what you want to convey on that specific slide.

This does 2 things –

  • It makes sure that merely by reading what is written on the slide, your audience is not completely able to understand the point. Thus, they have to actively listen to your brief explanation of the point on the slide. This keeps them engaged and involved during the presentation.
  • It also ensures that the audience is looking at you rather than the screen. That way, you can keep them engaged with your expressions and gestures.

Tip 2 – Don’t make it Obvious, use the Text for a Brain-tease

This one is a pro-tip!

Instead of using the text on the slides to merely laying out what point of a research study, you can perhaps pose a question or an interesting fact!

So, for instance, if you are giving a presentation about the fastest car on the earth and you want to talk about the speed of the car on a particular slide –

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Instead of stating that the car is fast, and it goes at 305 mph, you could write the text a bit differently as follows –

  • Bugatti Chiron – A Rocket on Road!

This clearly highlights that you will be talking about a fast car, but they still need to hear you out completely to fully understand the speed of the car and how it feels while driving the car.

As you can see, this example also kind of ties in with the first tip.

Remember, you don’t have to be conventional with the text on the slides. It is a presentation and not a word document.

What Is The Goal Of The 7 By 7 Rule

When it comes to the goal of the 7 by 7 rule, there are 3 main goals that it is designed to help you achieve. If you stick with the guideline, your presentation will have a greater chance of selling your product. Even if you are not selling anything, it will help your audience better understand the presentation.

Below is a list of the 3 main goals of the 7 by 7 rule, we will go into more detail for each one:

  • Keep your presentation on topic.
  • Reduces clutter and improves readability.
  • Captivate your audience from start to finish.

Now, let us take a quick look at each of these goals a little bit closer and find out how it all fits together.

1. Keeps your Presentation on Topic

Sometimes it is hard to stay on topic throughout an entire presentation. It becomes even harder if your presentation is full of non-important words.

This is especially true when we are passionate about what we are talking about or selling. So, use the 7 by 7 rule to help you stay on topic.

2. Readability

A good portion of your audience will scan a slide before you even start talking. You want them to finish their scan as soon as possible and you want them to understand as much as possible. This is so that they can turn their attention back to you.

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You don’t want your presentations to be cluttered or your sentences to be drawn out. This will make it harder for the audience to scan the slide. This might lead to them feeling lost as they will have missed most of your points.

3. Captivate your Audience

This pretty much stems from the readability goal. If you lose an audience member, even just through one slide, it is hard to draw them back in. The minute they feel lost, their mind starts wandering to all the important things they could be doing.

The 7 by 7 rule, if followed and implemented in an already good presentation, is designed to not only assist you but also assist your audience. It is a great way to grab and hold their attention.

Different Variations of the 7 by 7 Rule

There are a few different variations of this rule but the concept stays the same. If you have mastered how to convey your messages with as little wording as possible you could use fewer lines and fewer words per line. Let’s take a quick look at these rules.

  • 5 by 5: 5 lines per slide and 5 words per line.
  • 6 by 6: 6 lines per slide and 6 words per line.
  • 7 by 7: 7 lines per slide and 7 words per line.
  • 8 by 8: 8 lines per slide and 8 words per line.

As you can see, the concept stays the same for each of these rules.

Rule of 7 vs 7 by 7 Rule: What’s the Difference?

Sometimes people, especially in sales, might mistake the 7 by 7 rule with the rule of 7. There is a big difference between the two and in fact, they are not related at all. We have discussed, in detail, the 7 by 7 rule so lets just briefly explain what the rule of 7 is.

The rule of 7 is a simple but old marketing concept that is tried and tested to work. It suggests that if a customer sees your product or service 7 times, they are likely to become a customer or client.

I guess you can add the rule of 7 to your presentations if you are trying to sell something, perhaps in the form of pictures of your brand. That said, it should not be mistaken for the 7 by 7 rule.

Final Thoughts

Creating presentations, especially if you are the speaker, can be a little bit daunting. I could also use the word intimidating, because, let’s be honest, it is, especially for new professionals.

Luckily, there are experts who have developed techniques that make everything easier. These techniques, like the 7 by 7 rule can alleviate a lot of the stress of potentially losing your audience.

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What does the 7x7 rule mean public speaking? ›

Primary function of slides is to augment YOUR presentation, not restate what you are saying. Slides are NOT meant to be handouts. 7x7 rule (7 bullets per slide, 7 words per bullet)—don't put everything on slides, or the audience has to choose between reading your slides or listening to you. Use short phrases.

What is the rule for PowerPoint presentation? ›

The 10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint is a straightforward concept: no PowerPoint presentation should be more than ten slides, longer than 20 minutes, and use fonts smaller than 30 point size. Coined by Guy Kawasaki, the rule is a tool for marketers to create excellent PowerPoint presentations.

What are the 7 steps to make an effective presentation? ›

Seven stages in planning a presentation
  1. Preparation. Many factors affect the design of your presentation. ...
  2. Choosing your main points. ...
  3. Choosing your supporting information. ...
  4. Establishing linking statements. ...
  5. Developing an opening. ...
  6. Developing a conclusion. ...
  7. Reviewing your presentation.

What are the 7cs of presentation? ›

An effective way to prepare a remarkable presentation is to use the seven C's: clear, compelling, customer-focused, concise, contagious, crafted (with a purpose), and call to action.

How does the 7X7 principle apply in preparing a presentation? ›

The 7x7 rule is simple: For every slide, use no more than seven lines of text — or seven bullet points — and no more than seven words per line. Slide titles aren't included in the count.

What is the most important rule in public speaking? ›

Rule #1: Make the Audience the Center of Your Universe

Ultimately, every good speaker cares more about the audience than themselves. This can be a tough prescription to fill if you have speech anxiety, which tends to wrap you in a cocoon of anxiety and self-consciousness.

What is 6x7 rule in a presentation? ›

- A rule of thumb for word slides is "the 6x7 rule" : no more than 6 lines per slide and 7 words per line. If you don't talk about a point don't include it on a slide. - Too many colors, font changes, and automation can be a distraction. - Make sure your audience can actually see what's on the slide.

What are the 5 rule of PowerPoint? ›

Your body language: The audience understands: Presenter moving around Look at presenter! Presenter looks at screen Look at screen! Presenter gestures at screen Keep looking at screen! Presenter moves around again Look at presenter!

What is the rule of six in PowerPoint presentation? ›

Follow the 6 x 6 rule: To avoid too much information on one slide, use this as your guide: Only one thought per line with no more than six bullet points per slide and no more than six words per bullet point/line.

What is the 6 by 6 rule for PowerPoint presentations? ›

The 1-6-6 Rule: Quite simply, each PowerPoint slide should have one main idea, a maximum of six bullet points, and a maximum of six words per bullet point.

What is the role of 7 in PowerPoint presentation? ›

What is the 7x7 Rule for PowerPoint? The 7x7 Rule says that, for each slide in your presentation, you should use no more than: 7 lines (or bullets) per slide. 7 (or fewer) words per line.

What are the key factors of a good PowerPoint presentation? ›

Design and Graphical Images
  • Use design templates.
  • Standardize position, colors, and styles.
  • Include only necessary information.
  • Limit the information to essentials.
  • Content should be self-evident.
  • Use colors that contrast and compliment.
  • Too may slides can lose your audience.
  • Keep the background consistent and subtle.
Aug 8, 2017

What is the most important part of a PowerPoint presentation? ›

The introduction is the most important part of your presentation as it sets the tone for the entire presentation. Its primary purpose is to capture the attention of the audience, usually within the first 15 seconds.

What are the seven qualities of a good presentation? ›

The Seven Cardinal Virtues of Oral Presentation
  • Audience-Centeredness.
  • Unity and Coherence.
  • Stickiness.
  • Credibility.
  • Conversational Delivery.
  • Listenability.
  • Visual Effectiveness.

How do you prepare for a 7 minute presentation? ›

Here's how to do it.
  1. Before you start: Prepare.
  2. Minute one: Get their attention.
  3. Minute two: Summarize the topic or idea in exactly 60 seconds.
  4. Minute three through six: Give them the meat.
  5. Minute seven: Summarize it again.
Aug 10, 2015

What is the example of 7Cs? ›

Using the 7 C's of communication, that is when you're clear, concise, concrete, correct, consider the speaker, complete and courteous, with your message, you will become an effective communicator and find more success in your interactions with people.

How important are the 7 C's in effective communication? ›

The purpose of the 7Cs is to provide a simple framework for people to follow when they're wanting to improve or maintain good communication skills. Having seven words beginning with the same letter makes the concepts much easier to remember.

What is the rules of seven? ›

The rule of seven is a marketing method by which businesses aim to expose consumers to a product, program or service seven times. According to this marketing rule, it takes seven exposures to a product for a customer to be primed enough to purchase it.

What is the most important rule for an effective presentation? ›

Tip 1: Know your audience

The first and most important rule of presenting your work is to know your audience members. If you can put yourself in their shoes and understand what they need, you'll be well on your way to a successful presentation. Keep the audience in mind throughout the preparation of your presentation.

How many slides is in a 7 to 10 minute presentation? ›

Rule of thumb for the number of slides is 10 slides for 10 minutes, and many speakers will vary between 20 to 30 seconds or a minute per slide. Create only 10 or 12 slides to be used during this 10-minute period. Information on the slides should be able to be immediately absorbed.

What are the three golden rules of giving a presentation? ›

The three rules are know your audience, know your material, and know your passion.

What are the 3 keys so successful public speaking? ›

Follow the 3 P's to Success

Even those who seem to be naturally gifted speakers follow these simple rules of thumb: Prepare, Practice, and Personalize.

What are the rules for presenting? ›

Ten Simple Rules for Making Good Oral Presentations
  • 1: Talk to the Audience. ...
  • 2: Less is More. ...
  • 3: Talk Only When You Have Something to Say. ...
  • 4: Make the Take-Home Message Persistent. ...
  • 5: Be Logical. ...
  • 6: Treat the Floor as a Stage. ...
  • 7: Practice and Time Your Presentation. ...
  • 8: Use Visuals Sparingly but Effectively.

What is the 10 second rule in presentation? ›

What's the 10-second rule? Simple – whatever you put on your slide, a person should be able to fully comprehend it in 10 seconds or less, according to Dewett. And it is a simple rule to adhere to, as all you have to do is look at your slides one-by-one for 10 seconds each, and see if you can fully comprehend each one.

What is the rule of 6 in PowerPoint? ›

The 1-6-6 Rule: Quite simply, each PowerPoint slide should have one main idea, a maximum of six bullet points, and a maximum of six words per bullet point.

What are the 5 principles of a good PowerPoint? ›

Here are five principles you must use to create powerful PowerPoint presentations:
  • It's About You, Not the Slides. ...
  • Let Your PowerPoint Slides Support Your Point, Not Make It. ...
  • Incorporate Graphics Into Your PowerPoint Presentation to Evoke Emotion. ...
  • Keep Your PowerPoint Slides Simple. ...
  • Tell a Story with Your Presentation.
Nov 25, 2013

What is the 10 20 30 rule in PowerPoint? ›

To save the venture capital community from death-by-PowerPoint, he evangelized the 10/20/30 rule for presentations which states that “a presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.”

What is the golden rule for PowerPoint? ›

10-20-30 Rule

The rule states that each presentation should have no more than 10 slides each. The total time taken for the presentation should not exceed 20 minutes. And the font size for all the text in the presentation should not be less than 30 px.

What is the 6 by 6 rule for PowerPoint presentations examples? ›

A good way to keep yourself in line is by remembering the 666 rule. Presentation University recommends slides shave no more than six words per bullet, six bullets per image and six word slides in a row.

What is the rule of three in PowerPoint? ›

A recognised presentation structure is to open with a hook, introduce the topic you're going to talk about, highlight your key message and then use 3 supporting points to explain and define your key message before summarising with a call to action.

What makes a good presentation PowerPoint? ›

Design and Graphical Images
  1. Use design templates.
  2. Standardize position, colors, and styles.
  3. Include only necessary information.
  4. Limit the information to essentials.
  5. Content should be self-evident.
  6. Use colors that contrast and compliment.
  7. Too may slides can lose your audience.
  8. Keep the background consistent and subtle.
Aug 8, 2017

What are the 4 P's for a successful PowerPoint presentation? ›

  • Purpose: Designing for Purpose. ...
  • Power: Adding Power to your Point. ...
  • Presence: Enhancing your Presence. ...
  • Practice: Video-Recorded Practice and Coaching.

What is the 6'7 rule in PowerPoint? ›

The 7x7 Rule says that, for each slide in your presentation, you should use no more than: 7 lines (or bullets) per slide. 7 (or fewer) words per line.

What is 6x7 rule in PowerPoint presentation? ›

- A rule of thumb for word slides is "the 6x7 rule" : no more than 6 lines per slide and 7 words per line. If you don't talk about a point don't include it on a slide. - Too many colors, font changes, and automation can be a distraction. - Make sure your audience can actually see what's on the slide.

What are the rules of presentation? ›

  • Rule 1: Include only one idea per slide. ...
  • Rule 2: Spend only 1 minute per slide. ...
  • Rule 3: Make use of your heading. ...
  • Rule 4: Include only essential points. ...
  • Rule 5: Give credit, where credit is due. ...
  • Rule 6: Use graphics effectively. ...
  • Rule 7: Design to avoid cognitive overload.
Dec 2, 2021

What is the Golden Rule Vs The Platinum Rule? ›

The golden rule is to do unto others as you'd have them do unto you; the platinum rule is to do unto others as they'd want done unto them.


1. PowerPoint 7X7
2. How to Do a Presentation - 5 Steps to a Killer Opener
(Rule The Room)
3. The 3 Magic Ingredients of Amazing Presentations | Phil WAKNELL | TEDxSaclay
(TEDx Talks)
4. Duarte's Five Rules for Creating Great PowerPoint Presentations
(Dr. Bill Schlosser)
5. How to avoid death By PowerPoint | David JP Phillips | TEDxStockholmSalon
(TEDx Talks)
6. 31 Creative Presentation Ideas to Delight Your Audience


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