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Tutorial for Text Tables 001 – Qualitative Values

Using Text Tables

This text table is a great way to display non-data-driven, qualitative information. This layout is very visual, and audiences can extract the information quickly. You don't have to go to the trouble of inserting data-driven bar charts, and the audience does not have to look at each number and make mental comparisons - everybody wins.

The table design is stylish, and the information contained in the table is cleanly presented and clearly understood.

Customizing Text Tables

Importing preformatted text tables into your template

Whenever outside content that includes text (these preformatted tables, for example) is brought into your template, skewing is likely to occur. This happens because the two templates have different default text attributes. There is one step that you can take to position yourself so that this skewing is minimized - not only with PowerFrameworks tables, but with all text content brought in from an outside source.

This step is setting the text hierarchy in your slide master so that it works for you and not against you. If your slide master is formatted that the top level of text has a bullet, then all text you bring in from an outside source will have bullets. You don't want this, as it creates the need for a lot of unnecessary reformatting. Not only do you need to get rid of the bullet on imported text, but you need to get rid of the associated indent. You need to rethink the text hierarchy on your slide master. Your PowerFrameworks team strongly recommends that the first level of text hierarchy in a slide master should be nonbulleted, left-aligned text (no indent). The highest level of text on a slide is not bulleted text, it is the heading over/sentence leading into the bulleted text. Please review the best practice entitled, "Establishing the Text Hierarchy in Your PowerPoint Slide Master."

Now that you don't have to deal with bullets on everything you import into your template, you can breeze through the rest of the reformatting caused by the other differences in text defaults, which centers around font size and color and font choice. Imported text will default to your settings either in the slide master or the text size you've set for that page. That means, for example, that a table containing 10-point text, once imported, becomes a table containing 22-point text, which seems to distort and scares you near to death.

  • The first step in regaining control is to highlight the whole table and apply a reasonable font size. The table should pop back into its original dimensions.
  • The next step is to apply the correct font and font color. PowerFrameworks text tables are formatted with the Ariel font and the color is black. Choose whatever works best in your presentation.

At this point you can start loading the template with your own content.

Adjust size

When you get the table content set, rebalance the table to eliminate any large gaps between columns, etc. This is a great tip, incidentally. Don't fine tune or balance your table until you get all of your content in. Then you only have to do it once. The tables in this series should not need any rebalancing, unless you want to reduce the width of the first column.

The text tables in this series are set up so that you should not have to do any sizing. But if you find that you want to enlarge/reduce the table, just do so as you would with any other table in PowerPoint. You can stretch the whole table from any handle on the outside of the table, or you can adjust column height or width by selecting the handles within the table.

The chevron that backs the bulleted text on the left-hand side of the table is a separate field. Once the table has been balanced, the chevron can be adjusted so that it aligns correctly with the fields in the table.

Color variations

The templates are preformatted with line colors and semitransparent fill colors (see example above). The lines between the rows have a color to separate the rankings, every other line has a slight shading so the eye can travel across the slide easily to the ranking, and the categories listed on the right-hand side of the slide have an arrow backing, which creates a nice suggestion of flow. These colors can be adjusted to reflect your template's color palette, which will make them sync with the rest of the presentation. If you prefer to eliminate this formatting, just select the whole table and click on no fill and no lines. You may want to keep the lines, however, as they do create a break between the rankings.

Templates of these charts can be developed and distributed to a large group for completion. People don't have to know how to work with tables in order to rank the categories. They simply need to know how to apply color to the cells, which is a two-step process: highlight the cells in the table that they want to color and click on a color (which you can preset in the template).

3D variations

No 3D on these please.


No shadows on these please.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

You may want to consider adding a gradient to the backing chevron. Other than that, you should stay away from these formatting options.


Animate as reveals as you would in any text table.

Series that relate to this tutorial:

TT001 – Text Table 001 – Qualitative Values

Possible use example

Links to instructions for getting the framework into your presentation

  1. Determine the best file type for your needs
  2. Download the file
  3. Import the framework into your presentation
    1. Importing a PPT file
    2. Importing a EMF or PNG
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