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Visual Presentations: Formats

This guide provides students with information and resources to create visual presentations.

Design for any format!

Regardless of whether you are displaying data or information, using visuals or just using text, design is always important!

Text documents

Visual presentation elements apply to text-based documents as well as images. Examples include:

  • essays
  • reports
  • letters
  • resumes

Ready made templates

When in doubt, use the ready made templates in Word (see below). These have been designed with the Visual Presentation Elements in mind and cover a wide range of different formats. 

Visual elements in Word

The Styles box on the home tab of Word along with the Design tab are below useful in creating cohesive documents. Check out for formatting advice for specific document types in Word.


Unless you have created the images yourself, you will need to: 

  1. Find images that you have permission to use;
  2. Add the appropriate attribution. 

Check out the Copyright LibGuide for more info and to find a list of websites that offer free images resources

Image credits

Icons made by Freepik from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY
Icons made by Gregor Cresnar from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

Icons made by monkik from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

Icons made by Pause08 from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY



Chose the right chart for you message. Examples include comparisons, relationships, parts of a whole, and changes over time.

The Data Visualisation Catalogue describes a large range of visualisation methods and charts. Each method has an accompanying video and links to tools/software. You can also search the list by function. 

An example of a misleading chart. The x-axis represents the year from 2010 to 2017. However, 2012-2014 are missing, creating an incomplete picture.


  • Use credible sources in collecting statistics
  • Don’t be misleading in the way you present your data. Notice that 2012-2014 is missing from the chart. 



Combining illustrations, facts, and text, infographics often tell a visual story. When designed effectively, infographics communicate a subjective narrative or overview of a topic using illustration to drive visual storytelling. As infographics convey multiple ideas, you should design for visual appeal and overall reader comprehension. 

What is the difference between infographics & data visualization? (2013) Retrieved from

Types of infographics
Different types of 
infographics can be combined & linked in the one infographic; e.g. related smaller graphs, charts along with an image.  Be careful not to overuse infographics; having page after page of infographics would lessen it’s impact.

Have a clear message!
Infographics, like all visual presentations, need a clear message. To achieve to clarity make sure you plan! Here is a concise guide to planning your infographic, along with links to additional resources: