Visualize 6 Pages in 1 Slide?
October 20, 2012 6:11 PM   Subscribe

How do I visualize the content of six pages on one PowerPoint slide? Graphical palpability preferred.

I'm giving my first academic conference talk in a month - it's on a lit review I wrote that includes a six page table, with detailed information about each of the articles reviewed. My advisor thinks I should briefly demonstrate in the presentation that the table exists - though, obviously, I can't talk through all its content. (Audience members will be able to pick up the full paper to read it).

I can't think of a good way to create a visual of these six pages. The visual should show enough detail to indicate that there are six pages, and that they're full of content, but doesn't need to be more detailed than that. How should I show this? Recommendations on both programs and techniques taken.
posted by Apropos of Something to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I could envision a slide which has all six pages laid out on it, with a kind of "magnifying" circle over a portion of the tables which shows column and row headings and examples of the data in the table cells large enough to read, to give someone looking at the slide the idea of what the tables contain and that there's a lot of data there.

This might be better done as two slides... One with the magnified view and the second with all the pages and the same magnified view, so the progression is "here is a table of data", then "here is how large all this data really is in my paper".
posted by hippybear at 6:20 PM on October 20, 2012

I prefer minimalist slides, the content of the presentation should be in the talk not on the slide. You could always just crop an excerpt from the table into the slide and discuss some of the content, mentioning that the full table is available on the table as you exit the lecture hall or whatever.
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:21 PM on October 20, 2012

Treat your PP presentation as an outline that guides your audience through the actual presentation and let your handouts and some printed copies of your paper fill in any information gaps. The PP should summarize, illustrate and give room for mental recuperation and contemplation.

A few words or an illustration is often sufficient for any individual slide. Long paragraphs, crowded bullet lists and multiple illustrations are signs that your PP is imposing on the territory of your handouts.

It's challenging to give more precise suggestions without having read your paper, but generally have more slides with less content. Remember, they are there to guide the audience and just because you have many slides doesn't mean your presentation will become more complex or talk longer time.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:34 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I find the PP presentations I have enjoyed the most have had a lot of slides each with minimal information and presented in swift succession, rather than few information-dense slides of which there are only a small number. PP slides have minimal cost to create. Making 100 of them to use during a talk which go by quickly and each are individually more interesting and illustrative may be a better strategy than making 10 of them which each linger for a longer time and have a lot of stuff for people to try to digest while you're talking.
posted by hippybear at 7:48 PM on October 20, 2012

I think this would be a job for Prezi.
posted by bluefrog at 8:44 PM on October 20, 2012

Extract parts of your table relevant to your talk. Does the audience need to see the entire thing? Nine times out of ten, the answer is no.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:53 PM on October 20, 2012

Watch this and then this. There is a lot of great advice in the second one on how to do a presentation on a paper. In short, your presentation is not your paper, it's more like your advertisement for the idea in your paper. (It's focused on computer science but it's all words and pictures just like every slide deck ever.)

In your shoes, rather than talk about this table, I'd talk about the analysis building of the table. In your talk you can then say that there are several pages of this analysis in the paper and you'll let the audience look over the whole thing at their leisure. There might be a clever way to summarize things graphically but not knowing your subject, I'm not going to hazard a guess as to how that can be done.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:32 PM on October 20, 2012

Why do you need a visual of the 6 pages? If your intent is to show the number of articles reviewed and/or effort that went into the review, you could just list the number of articles. If you want to go a step further, categorize the articles by year or any other relevant criterion.
Then choose one (maybe the most recent or most representative article), take the audience through the content and reiterate that X many articles were reviewed in this manner.
posted by prenominal at 10:31 AM on October 21, 2012

The visual should show enough detail to indicate that there are six pages,

Is it actually important to your audience that there are six pages to this table? Not five, not seven, but SIX? Pages? Pages are a concept that is only relevant to us here because your paper was published on paper. (As far as I can tell) the fact that you had to publish this table in an academic paper is the ONLY reason the table IS six pages. When your audience hears about this table through your illuminating powerpoint presentation, why on earth would it matter that the table is "six" "pages"?

I like 1000monkeys' idea of just including an excerpt, or hippybear's suggestion to include a simplified, magnified view alongside.
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 1:36 PM on October 21, 2012

Speaking as someone who both creates PowerPoint presentations and has to sit through them: dear god PLEASE do not put a 6-page table in your presentation in ANY FORM.

My advisor thinks I should briefly demonstrate in the presentation that the table exists

…? "Demonstrate that the table exists"? No. Create a presentation that covers your topic and is formatted and presented in a way suitable to the PowerPoint format. Mention the table verbally during your presentation, or include a footnote on one of the slides pointing to it. But don't be persuaded to turn a presentation into a slideument.

If you do really need to present large amounts of tabular or textual data during a presentation, I think the advice at Think Outside the Slide is pretty good.
posted by Lexica at 8:17 PM on October 21, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the help, everyone. I went with a modified version of this technique to create a visual reminder that my excerpt from the table was part of a much larger project.
posted by Apropos of Something at 10:30 PM on October 21, 2012

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