Continuing on from the previous post, “Circles and Text (that does not fit)“, with some best practice reasons for NOT stacking a text box on top of a shape.

  • It is lazy formatting.
  • Often it is because knowing how to control PowerPoint’s text formatting within a shape are not features used (see the previous post on using shape internal margins as an example of formatting options that are not commonly used).
  • It makes future edits to the slide tedious. As an example, two elements, the shape and the text box, need to be moved together to stay aligned.
  • Text boxes stacked on top of a shape generally are not truly horizontally aligned to the shape. As example, a text box stacked on top of a shape with the text horizontally centered is most likely not actually centered, because the text box margins push the text off center – ugh!
  • Animation seems easier, but again, a shape and text within the shape can be set as independent elements on the animation timeline – overcoming almost every instance where the two separate elements have been stacked and animated separately.
  • The Office/PowerPoint accessibility tools do not work, because they have several limitations on identifying stacked elements. As example, white text on top of a light blue shape is (currently) not seen by the accessibility checker as a flagged low contrast item, because PowerPoint looks at a text box, what that text box shape fill color is, and then the slide background. It ignores layered elements.
  • It is easier to manage text line wraps if the text is within a shape vs. manually adjusting – and the line wrap needs are automatically updated when the shape, or the text size, is updated – if the text is part of the shape.

The important message is, creating PowerPoint slides is a balancing act of what is fast and looks okay vs. using best practices to create slides that are future-proofed for easy formatting and use.

Troy @ TLC