Slides review №4. Tables is a new sexy

Reading time: 7 minutes

We talked a lot about how to create beautiful text slides, choose appropriate images, visualize quotes, experiment with fonts and colors.
But in everyday life, you usually have to work with slides overloaded with information. The last series of "Slides review" was partially devoted to this problem. Now we take the tables, an important part of corporate presentations, reports and pitch decks.

Why do you need tables at all? No, not just to show and compare data. The main purpose of tables (and any data set) is to provide conclusions. So that they are read by the viewer in 5-10 seconds and leave no room for misinterpretation.

Let's walk through the mistakes and tell you how not to cause a headache with your tables.

Mistake 1. Start designing a table without considering other visualization methods

It is important to answer the question: what is the main purpose of my slide and what I want people to understand?

Often the creators of presentations think: yes, tables do not look very attractive, but you can't do without them. How else can you compactly present a large amount of important data?

It ends with a copypaste of a spreadsheet with Excel, heavy slides without formatting and viewers who do not understand anything and try to switch the slide faster. Or even close the presentation, maybe it even gets worse?

How to fix this?
It may be better to visualize this data in a different way. But there are enough options. Sometimes it is better to remove the table, and instead, use a chart or even just a text conclusion.

Mistake 2. Leave a slide with a table without a title

It is difficult to understand the table without context: it is not clear what to pay attention to. It's like a "guess what I mean" quest.

How to fix this?
The title will help people to understand what you are talking about. This will make life easier for both the viewer and yourself. Everyone understands what to pay attention to and what you wanted to say.

Mistake 3. Using default formatting

… continues the problem of perception and purpose. You've definitely seen these horrible tables. Or admit it, in a hurry (or not) did something like this:

We have already talked about how poor visualization can be misleading and lead to erroneous conclusions.

So why is it necessary to put any effort into design? The table contains important data, it will still not be missed and will be studied properly. Why spend time on the design if you can use ready-made tables?

How to fix this?
It is not necessary to complicate the design, on the contrary, it is necessary to facilitate the table visually. The accent color will help to pay attention to important information in the table, which will strengthen the idea in the title. But on the lines that are not relevant to the conclusion, the fill can be removed altogether. Less is more, as the modernist architect, Ludwig Miss van der Rohe said.

Taking care of the viewer is a win-win situation. What your spreadsheet looks like determines how the conclusion is perceived

How to do tables in presentation better?

Here is what will work with almost every table and immediately makes it better.

1. Do not use vertical lines in simple tables.

But really, why are they there? Horizontal lines between rows in large tables are made in grey, in small - accent colors. Each accent line must mean something: whether it's the first row or the selection of a separate content group inside the table.

Before: a lot of text and design without visual balance
After: simplified the table by removing the fill and vertical lines

2. Highlight the important part

Usually, the table contains one key idea that you want to confirm with the data.
The easiest way to pay attention to it is to highlight text or numbers in bold or use a different color.

3. Simplify everything that can be simplified.

What is possible we reduce, what is possible we visualize. Tables contain a lot of information and are often complicated by "design": several colors, fills, arrows.

The video showes how you can make stylish slides with tables simply and with visualization.

4. The first row with the column name should be highlighted so as not to get lost in the data background.

Columns and cells should be the same size where possible.

5. Use fillings at a minimum.

Sometimes you can do without fills and borders at all, they are much less important than the content itself. Try grouping the data by the distance between the rows and columns.

6. Align the text in the cells correctly.

Horizontally align the text - on the left edge, numbers - on the right. Vertically align everything in the center of the cell.

7. Edge separator should coincide with the edge of the text, if the table has no background.

If there is a background, you need to leave enough space so that the text does not press to the edges.

And two more practical specialized life hacks.

Imagine you need to compare several products to demonstrate the superiority of one over the other or to show how and how their parameters differ. Instead of the usual plate, make a slide Features.

This design can often be found in offers of different options for subscriptions or comparison of tariffs.

Presentation template from Reprezent

Feel free to combine your spreadsheet with other types of data visualizations. Such combinations do not contradict "one slide - one idea", but on the contrary help to reveal it better.

Working with tables is not so scary after all :)

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