PowerPoint slideshows can be broadcast to up to 50 computers using Windows Live. Yet some features cannot be shared, such as sounds, video, pen annotations, hyperlinks and some slide transitions. Furthermore, clients cannot start, stop, rewind or advance slideshows themselves.

If you want viewers to watch at their own pace, QuickTime movies may be more convenient. This avoids the need for every viewer to have PowerPoint and the correct fonts installed, so the experience will be more consistent. However, QuickTime movies won’t show build effects, slide transitions, sounds, videos, annotations or hyperlinks. So whether your presentation is broadcast online or distributed as a movie, you’ll need to rely on clear, logically presented content rather than animations and gimmicks.

1. Choose wisely  Office 2011 comes with a whole raft of templates. Because shared slideshows will be reduced in terms of pixel dimensions, it’s best to stick to simple, uncluttered designs. Things that waste space – like funky borders, drop shadows and three-dimensional charts – are best avoided.

2. Add text… carefully  Slideshows depend on text and images, but it’s easy to go overboard on both. When using bullet points, stick to just three to five per slide, keeping them as short as possible. Choose an unfussy font that won’t become unclear when the slide is reduced; sans serif fonts like Arial and Helvetica are ideal.

3. Building text  Because you can’t build slides a line at a time, reveal lines of text by adding them a slide at a time: one bullet point on the first slide, two on the next, and so on. Changing the colour used for preceding lines of text from black to grey can help shift the viewer’s attention to the current line.

4. Add images  Because the slides will likely be scaled down, any charts or images that look busy will be impossible to understand when viewed online. Don’t waste space with borders or drop shadows; keep things clear, sharp, and as large as practical. Keep any annotations brief, leaving details to the handouts.