Some people don’t like the idea of PowerPoint presentations being submitted as the written materials for Continuing Legal Education programs. But we see more and more sets of PowerPoint slides submitted as the written materials for CLE programs. For some types of programs, especially techno-CLE’s like 50 Tips in 50 Minutes, 60 Websites in 60 Minutes or My Favorite Utilities, these work quite well.

But my topic today is not whether they should be submitted, but how they should be submitted. I often see PowerPoint slides printed off at four slides per page. This may save paper, but the result after duplication is sometimes too poor to be readable. Two slides per page will be readable and, of course, one slide per page will approximate a handheld copy of the slide show. Some prefer using the handout printout with the sets of lines next to the slides for note taking. This is especially good if you are giving the handout to a small group, I think.

Know your printing options. For printed CLE materials, I think the real trick is to print the slides in pure black and white rather than color or grayscale. You can either print to your printer or print to a PDF if you have that capability. The result will be very legible, even it a sacrifices a bit of your graphic design elements. But actually that is a good thing for the CLE presenter. Let them have the black and white version for the handout. You get to display the full-color version during your presentation.

Of course, if they are going to be distributed electronically, then it is different. I’d never send a native PowerPoint to a CLE provider. They might not have PowerPoint or might have a different version. Or the slides just might not print the same for them. You want to see the final product you are providing. So print the presentation to PDF in full color at one slide per page. Then review it before you e-mail it or copy it onto the CD.

The point is that you have dedicated a lot of time to preparing your presentation and your PowerPoint. You want to make a good impression. Spend a few extra minutes with Print Preview and printing some test pages to make sure the handouts people take home give the best impression of you as well.