5. A Dynamic Table of Contents

Overview

To help your audience navigate a large presentation, a dynamic table of contents (or tracker) can be a huge help. See how they work in this lesson.

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Summary

  1. Lesson Goal (00:06)

    The goal of this lesson is to learn how to structure a PowerPoint presentation, and learn how to add a dynamic table of contents using a tracker slide.

  2. Structuring a PowerPoint Presentation (00:12)

    The idea way to structure a PowerPoint presentation is as follows:

    • Open with an executive summary that lays out your position
    • Add each MECE issue in the order you want to display them
    • Finish with a conclusion slide

    Each MECE issue should be listed separately in the table of contents of your presentation.

  3. Adding a Dynamic Table of Contents (00:35)

    In a large presentation (roughly 18 slides or more) you should include a tracker to help readers navigate through the document. A tracker is a slide that lists all the sections in the table of contents of your presentation. The title of the current section is bolded and surrounded by a rectangle, to identify it as the current section. This tracker slide is placed at the beginning of each section of the document, with the relevant section title bolded and highlighted. In PowerPoint, we can simply duplicate the slide, move the rectangle, and ensure the relevant text is bolded. 

    The tracker slide serves as a dynamic table of contents that ensures readers know where they are as they navigate through the document. Another option that can help navigation is to include the current section title as a subtitle on each slide. This way, a reader knows immediately which section of the presentation they are in when they read a slide.

Transcript

In the previous three lessons we looked at the permit principle and placing a MECE structure on the issues that backup our initial assertion. But how does this translate into a PowerPoint presentation? If your presentation is reasonably short, I would use the following structure. An opening executive summary laying out your position, the first MECE issue, the second MECE issue, then each of the MECE issues in the order in the order you want to display them, say three to four slides on each issue, and then a concluding slide. However if your presentation goes over say eighteen slides due to sub issues that might need to be covered, I'd recommend using a tracker to help the reader navigate through the document. A tracker is a simple, dynamic table of contents that we insert through the document. Creating a tracker is very simple. First, write out your table of contents, which will be the executive summary, each of the MECE issues, and your conclusion. Next, I'll number these points. And for the first item on the table of contents, I'll bold the text and place a rectangle around that point to identify this as the selected section of the document.

Now I'll repeat this for the second issue. So I'll duplicate the slide, bold the second issue, un-bold the first issue, and move the rectangle.

And off camera, I'll complete this process for the remaining issues and the conclusion. In my presentation, I now have a dynamic table of contents that tells the reader which section of the presentation they're currently in.

While this may seem straight forward in the current example combing your way through a document of a hundred slides can require a lot of navigation on the readers part, and a tracker can be very helpful. If you have a large document that you know will be somewhat difficult to follow, you might also consider using a subtitle on each slide that names the section that the reader is currently in. This would mean that every slide in your presentation, bar the table of contents, would have a title bar that looks something like this. Needless to say, trackers are pretty easy to build but can have a big impact in helping your audience keep track of where you are in the document. Always consider building one into your longer presentations. To see a dynamic table of contents in action, lets look at this McKinsey presentation given to the U.S. Postal service in 2010.

The first page of the presentation outlines the four sections of the document. As I scroll through the first section, it's name is included in the top left-hand corner, just in case the reader needs any context. Once I get to the end of this section, the tracker moves to the base case, and the process is repeated again.

Always consider building one into your longer presentations.

PowerPoint Essentials
Creating Business Presentations

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