Resources and tips around creating and designing slide decks, general presentation guidance, and tool workflows and pro-tips.
Using Figma for Presentations: 2021 Update
January 23, 2021
In 2017, I published Using Figma for Presentations . At the time, Figma was still in beta (and didn’t even have prototyping yet!), and most design teams I knew were skeptical about it as a tool — and of collaborative designing as a concept.
Since then, Figma has grown to hundreds of thousands of users, with design teams from some of the most recognizable brands in the world using it daily. Also, since then, I joined and left Figma as a design education manager and community advocate, and have started my presentation design agency, Zacht Studios .
I’m still betting on Figma to be a significant player in the presentation tool game. I wanted to update that 2017 article with the new strategies I’ve learned and the new Figma features added since to create and present with Figma even better.
First, I like to set up a new Figma file with the intention of creating a presentation:
I like to stick these on a separate page in my Figma file to keep my documents tidy.
Using Figma Components, create the base of each slide type. For example, a title slide, a section break, a top title, and a blank slide with just a footnote.
Since I am setting these as Components, I can use them in this file, and I will also publish them to the Team Library, so anyone at Zacht Studios can access them.
The next step is to go back to that original page and start making a deck. I create a new Frame of the same size and place an Instance of one of my Template Components inside it. The reason I do this, instead of just placing an Instance on the canvas by itself, is because I’m going to want to layer other content on top of it.
Figma Instances support Overrides. An override is changing a property of an object that is part of the Component. In this case, that could be changing the title of a slide, or it could be something like changing the color or typeface of an element just in one instance. The benefit here is, for example, having a 30 slide presentation created, with each slide having unique content, and then being able to make changes to the template layout rather than each individual slide separately.
You can also set Styles in your file — or use existing Styles from your Team Library — to adjust type and color choices (among other things) across multiple slides at once, including the template slides.
Before I get too far in the content-creation process, I like to set up some additional structure for my slides:
Figma’s grids are powerful. For me, they help maintain consistency, a critical piece of good presentation design . I usually use just one grid layout of columns for an entire project, but there is a lot of flexibility in Figma if you feel comfortable using multiple grid systems. You can pick any Frame to start with and then save your grid layout as a Style. Then you can use it on any Frame.
Figma’s auto layout helps maintain spacing rules that you create. Much like Grids, it is another structure that can help maintain consistency.
Now that I have foundational structures in place to lay my content out with confidence, I can use these additional Figma features to mimic more traditional presentation tool features:
Any text or text box in Figma can become a hyperlink. Select the text you want to add a link to and the chain icon appears in the toolbar at the top-center of the interface. These are clickable in the Presentation view (more on that in a second) and in exported PDFs. You can also add hyperlinks in Comments.
You can export your deck as a single PDF file by going to File > Export frames to PDF. Figma will generate a PDF with every Frame on the current Page — another reason to set up your Template Slides on a separate page. Figma organizes Frames left-to-right, top-to-bottom and your PDF pages will follow that order (so will your slideshow in Presentation view, unless you adjust with the Prototype panel).
This hasn’t changed much since my original article: “By clicking the share button in the top right corner, you can enter an email address to invite others to collaborate, or generate a shareable link.”
Some of my favorite Figma collaborative features, that eclipse presentation tools like Google Slides, are Observation Mode and Embedding .
When in Presentation mode, using the keyboard shortcut "⌘\" on macOS or "^\" on Chrome OS and Windows hides the toolbar and footer.
If you are going to embed a Figma file on a webpage or share the Presentation mode link with someone else, you can add "&hide-ui=1" to the end of the URL to keep the toolbar and footer hidden there as well.
Alternatively, you can use the Prototype panel to do this by setting the Device to "Presentation".
Animation (aka Prototyping)
Figma is, first and foremost, an UI design tool. With it being flexible enough to do other types of design work, like presentation design, it’s many features can be used beyond their original intention. Prototyping app screens is a core competency, but using that to animate slides and create Keynote-like transitions is more than possible. Smart animate is the Figma equivalent of Keynote's Magic Move.
Via the Share menu, you can publish your file to the Figma Community . Check out our resources, available for free at figma.com/@zach (me) and figma.com/@zacht (Zacht Studios). Other Figma users will be able to create a duplicate of your file to make their own (they will not be able to edit your original file).
As of writing this article, there are hundreds of plugins for Figma .
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Stark , contrast checker and colorblind simulator
- Unsplash , free stock photography
- Material Design Icons , Google's icon library
- LottieFiles , use Lotti animations in Figma
- Brandfetch , easily find and place company logos (great for deck making)
- Map Maker , for generating maps directly on the canvas
Open your file again in another window with Presentation mode so you can see what your audience is going to see in the presented version of the slide.
Use Swap Instance to quickly try out your other layouts for a slide or build out additional slides quickly.
All that to say, there are a lot of great features intended initially for screen design that extend to making great slides fast.
If you have questions or additional tips to share, please reach out: [email protected]
presentation.design is a resource hub by Zacht Studios , The Presentation Design Agency.
Need help creating that presentation template or pitch deck for your company? Zacht Studios is a team of skilled creatives focused on company storytelling and fundraising.
We’ve crafted pitch decks, marketing materials, and unforgettable stories for some of your favorite companies like Adobe, Square, Etsy, and SpaceX. Plus, we’ve supported startups in raising more than $1.41B to date.
Curious to learn more? Reach us at [email protected]
Made by Zacht Studios , The Presentation Design Agency | Listen to our creative interview podcast, Bézier
How to Make a Killer Presentation Using Figma
From sleek transitions to impressive design elements, Figma lets you make amazing presentations. We’ll show you how.
There are a million ways to make a presentation, but Figma is an underrated tool for it. The prototype feature in Figma allows for a multitude of customizable transition options. Not only will your transitions wow your audience, but you can incorporate plugins for extra pizazz and keep your audience engaged, making you feel confident in your skills.
We’re going to show you how to make a killer presentation using Figma; just follow this guide.
1. Set Up Your First Presentation Frame
Open Figma and click New design file. Click the Frame Tool ( F ) to draw your frame or to choose a preset frame on the right using Presentation > Slide 16:9 . You can create a master template to save time.
Rename your frame by double-clicking the blue title on the top left. Set a background color; although, you can always change it later by highlighting all frames and changing the fill color.
2. Add the Title Text
Use the Text Tool ( T ) and write your title. Use separate text boxes for separate lines, with only one or two words per line. Set your text preferences in the Text menu on the right. Figma uses Google fonts, so you may want to know the best Google fonts pairings .
3. Add an Image
You can use a stock photo or take your own relevant photo. To add an image, draw a rectangle using the Rectangle tool ( R ). Your image will sit in this shape.
Click the rectangle and go to Fill and click the colored square . Then click Solid > Image > Choose image . Find your image and click Open . Hover over the image to reveal 4 white circles. Click and drag one circle inwards to round the corners of your image.
Arrange your layers so that the image is at the back and the text is on the top layer. You can drag the layers in the layers panel or by using C md/C trl + [ to send a layer back or C md/C trl + ] to bring a layer forward.
4. Create the First Transition
The first transition will open the image and allow the title text to slide into the frame. First, duplicate the first frame by selecting it and hitting C md/C trl + D to duplicate it.
On the left-hand frame, scale the image down by reducing the height attributes in the H box to around 150, leaving a horizontal slit of the image. Center-align it by selecting both images across the frames and clicking O ption + V (Mac) or Alt + V (Windows).
To complete the image transition, select the left-hand image. Then change the opacity to 0% in the right-hand menu in the box next to Pass Through under Layer. This will make the image invisible before it transitions and opens.
Click the first text box and hold down Shift . Start dragging, then also hold down Spacebar and continue dragging the text off of the frame. It looks like it disappears once out of the frame. Without the addition of the spacebar, this transition will not work, but if you hold the spacebar before dragging, it will only move your frame.
Do this again for your second or subsequent text boxes, but drag them a little further left to add some variety in the transition. With the text still selected, reduce the layer opacity to 0% the same way you previously did for the image.
To set the transition, go to Prototype . Select the left-hand frame and click the blue circle that appears in the center of the right-hand side of the frame. Drag it, so the line goes to your second frame.
In the drop-down that says Instant , select Smart Animate . Then change the box with the stopwatch to 1000ms. This will set your transition to take one second from the click of the mouse. The other settings should be set by default. Ensure you do not rename frame titles after setting a transition, otherwise, the files won’t connect.
Click the Play button to test your transition. Go back to Design to continue your presentation design.
5. Add More Slides
To transition from slide 1 to slide 2, duplicate your right-most slide ( C md/C trl + D ). In the new frame—slide 2—move the text boxes out of the frame using the previous technique ( Shift + Drag then Spacebar after you’ve started dragging). Move one text box to the left and the other to the right of the frame. Set the opacity to 0% for both.
For the image, scale it down and move it slightly off-center, then set the opacity to 0%. This, effectively, gives you a blank canvas for your second slide. You can add the content on top of the invisible assets from the previous slide.
Add a large image to the center of the frame. To add some decorations on top of your image, use a Figma plugin for GIFs or download a sticker GIF from Giphy and drag it on top of the image. Select your main image and any GIFs, and group them together ( C md/C trl + G ), this ensures that Smart Animate will work properly.
Select the group and copy it ( C md/C trl + C ). Then paste it onto the frame of slide 1 ( C md/C trl + V ). Scale it down and set the opacity to 0%. Then move this layer to the back ( C md/C trl + [ ). This ensures a smooth transition into the next slide.
Go to Prototype . Select slide 2 and click the blue circle to drag it to slide 3. Figma’s default in the prototype menu is to use the previous settings, so they should be all set according to the previous transition. Go back to Design .
Duplicate the last slide ( C md/C trl + D ). This slide will use the same image as the previous one, but we will scale it to one side of the frame. Move the image to the left of the frame by dragging it while holding Shift . Hover on the right edge of the image until opposite-facing arrows appear, click and drag the right edge of the image towards the left until satisfied.
Go to Prototype and link the two frames together. Then go back to Design .
Add a title and body text to the right of the scaled image, and group them together. Copy the text group and paste it onto the previous slide. Click and drag the text group to the right of the frame like before.
6. Add a Mockup
Create a mockup; check out our guide on creating mockups using plugins in Figma . Add a new frame, then paste your mockup onto it. Resize the mockup to fit the frame.
Copy the mockup and paste it to the previous frame. Resize it to fit within the image portion, then move it to the back of the layers and set the opacity to 0%. Link the frames in Prototype .
7. Add Labels
Duplicate the mockup frame. Add a title and description to explain parts of your mockup. Group the text together and name it. Then, you can create a frosted glass indicator for your bullet points and lines. Group together one line with one circle. Line up your indicator with what it’s describing and add your description next to it. Link the frames in Prototype .
Duplicate the frame and add another bullet point indicator with what it’s describing. Prototype this again. Duplicate each frame per bullet point, so each bullet point transitions alone.
8. End Your Presentation
Duplicate the last slide. Write a final word or two and center it. Copy the text and paste it onto the previous slide.
Scale the text down by holding K while scaling it—this keeps your text formatted while sizing it down. Place your text somewhere near the top of the mockup and send the layer to the back, under the image. Set the opacity to 0%. Go back to your final slide.
Move all the other objects out of the frame using the dragging method. The transition will slide everything out towards the sides and top as the text moves down from the top and expands. Link slides in Prototype .
9. Share Your Figma Presentation
You can access your presentation anywhere that you’re able to log in to your Figma account or share the URL with others, so they can watch from anywhere. To present your final presentation with its transitions, click the Play button and present in full-screen mode.
You can also save the frames as PDFs, although you’ll lose the animated transitions by doing that.
Level Up Your Presentations With Figma
Not only is this presentation minimalist, which won’t overwhelm your audience, but the transitions are professional and clean. It doesn’t take a UI/UX expert to use Figma in a way that benefits your presentations, no matter your job role. Present with confidence, and you will be inundated with questions about how your presentation was made.
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