Presenting information

When presenting information, consider the audience, purpose, content and structure. Present the information clearly, making use of features such as bullet points, colour and line spacing. Use appropriate resolution and file types for images.

Audience and purpose

The publications you create will need to serve your purpose and appeal to your audience. Your content and style will vary depending on whether you want to convey a formal [formal: In the style of the traditional and accepted standards. Formal writing uses proper English and no slang terms. ] or informal [informal: A more relaxed and less rigid style. Informal writing is often friendly and can include slang terms. ] tone.

An effective publication should match the needs and interests of its users, so consider the target audience before you even start your design. Having a clear perspective of the target audience will ensure you produce a publication that is fit for purpose.

You approach people differently depending on how well you know them and their age group. It's the same in writing. However, a slightly more formal tone is usually taken in any type of writing. If you're writing for a young audience, use a more informal style.

Check out the Writing your report section from Managing projects for more information.

Content and structure

You need to consider the content and structure when designing a publication as this will determine how successful it is. Think about which text, charts, diagrammes, images and animation are appropriate for the publication you are designing. To help you make these decisions you should ask a suitable test user or your teacher.

The position of key items on the page is also important. Key information should be placed in a prominent position and should be the first thing the audience notices. You need to find the correct balance between text, images and audio.

Presentation features

When planning and designing a publication you will need to consider:


These should be in consistent font styles, sizes and colours.


This includes the page layout or the positioning of text, tables, images or animation within a document.

Use of white space

Finding the balance between too much white space and not enough is important. Lots of empty white spaces can make a publication appear incomplete or uninteresting, whilst an over-crowded document can detract from the message.

Font type and size

You will need to select a suitable font type and size according to the purpose of the document. Something which is going to be displayed on an interactive whiteboard may require a larger font than text used in a leaflet. The font type you select should be easy to read.

Line spacing

Line spacing is the blank space between lines of text. Double line spacing makes text easier to read.

Bullet points

Bullet points will help get a short and meaningful message across to the audience. Avoid using it for an entire sentence, as this defeats the point.

Text wrapping

This feature enables text to be positioned around an image or table.


Think carefully about your colour scheme. You need to consider the background colour and ensure the text or images can be viewed without any difficulty. Do the colours you have selected appeal to the target audience? You will also need to consider people who are colour blind. The most common form is red/green colour blindness, which is the confusion of red and green.


Tables are a useful method for organising information

Image resolution

If you are using images in your design, make sure you are using the correct resolution. The resolution [resolution: The fineness of detail that can be seen in an image - the higher the resolution of an image, the more detail it holds. It is measured in dots per inch (dpi). ] of an image is measured in dots per inch (dpi), also known as pixels per inch (ppi). The dpi determines the amount of detail the image has.

If the final image is to be displayed on a computer (web/CD-Rom etc), the resolution should be 72-96 dpi. If the final image is in print, then it is usually best to set the dpi to the highest number you can - around 300 dpi. If you wish to enlarge an image to be used on the web or for print, always scan it at the highest dpi you can, and then enlarge the image size in your graphics software (eg Photoshop). You can then save it to the appropriate file format.

Saving images

Generally, as a rule, images for the web should be saved as .jpg or .gif, and images for print should be saved as .tiff or .bmp


The JPG is probably the most common file format for storing digital images, especially on the web. It is ideal for images that use more than 256 colours, such as digital photographs.

When you save an image using this format, some of the data is lost because the file is compressed [compressed: Made smaller by squeezing together. ]. JPG files can be saved at various quality settings which are measured as a percentage of the original quality. The lower the quality percentage, the higher the compression rate; therefore if storage space is an issue, you should aim to save your JPG file at 30 per cent quality.

Below is a photograph that has been saved as a JPG and a GIF.

A photograph saved as a JPG

A photograph saved as a JPG

A photograph saved as a GIF

A photograph saved as a GIF

The many colours of this digital photo have been preserved through saving it as a JPG. It was saved at a 30 per cent quality setting and has a file size of 7kb.

When saved as a GIF using 32 colours, the image is quite patchy and some of the colours are missing. It also has a much larger file size - this time it's 11kb.

GIF - Graphics Interchange Format (pronounced 'giff')

Like the JPG, the GIF file format is commonly used on the web. It is ideal for images that have large blocks of a single colour, and it can support up to a maximum of 256 colours. Unlike with JPGs, it is possible to alter the background colour of a GIF to make it transparent [transparent: Able to be seen through; clear. ]. This makes it possible to place it over other images or on webpages.

When you save an image as a GIF, you can decide how many colours to use - 256 colours is the maximum amount and 2 is the minimum (black and white). The fewer colours you use, the smaller the file size.

The table below shows a logo graphic that has been saved both as a GIF and as a JPG.

Images with few colours should be saved as a gif file

Images with few colours should be saved as a gif file

Look closely at the orange background - the image looks speckled.

Look closely at the orange background - the image looks speckled.

The logo uses only a few colours , so is ideal to save as a GIF. In this case, it has been saved using 128 colours and is 3.5kb in file size. When saved as a JPG at a 30 per cent quality setting, the logo is slightly fuzzy and dull. It is also bigger in file size, at 5kb.

TIFF, a Tagged Image File

A TIFF file is a suitable file format for both Windows and Macintosh computers, meaning it can be easily shared between computers. Just like a JPG, a TIFF file can be compressed to reduce the file size, while still maintaining a high degree of image fidelity. Alternatively, it can be saved without compression to retain 100 per cent of the original image taken - where each pixel is identical to the original image taken.

BMP, a Bit-mapped file

This is an appropriate file format for Windows users. It is used for general storage purposes - such as when images are awaiting editing - or as wallpaper for a Windows desktop. BMPs aren't really suitable for Macintosh computers or the web. BMP images are large files that require a lot of storage space because no effort is made to reduce the file size.

Back to Revision Bite