Why Formatting Matters (Especially When Collaborating)

I have a client who was working on a 350 page proposal for a prospect. Three different people from different companies collaborated on the proposal for their biggest prospect.

The good news was that they all provided their pages in Powerpoint.

The bad news was that no one used the same font or the same formatting.

What happened?

The person coordinating the project was left formatting 350 pages (!) to ensure the whole proposal looked uniform and professional.

As you can imagine, reformatting such a large project took a ton of time! Afterwards, we talked about ways this issue could have been avoided (always smart to evaluate what worked and what didn’t – with any project).

Here are some tips we came up with to make formatting simple:

Prepare

If you’re in charge of a collaborative project, be sure to be clear and specific about how others should provide their information. Will you prepare the document in Word, Excel, Powerpoint? With graphics, imagery, specific color combination?

Details are key, otherwise your team could end up spending unnecessary hours doing the laborious task of reformatting.

Remember, if your final presentation will be in a PDF, not all fonts are compatible with PDF readers (unless you want to embed your fonts, but not all fonts can be embedded). Even if your presentation looks perfect on your PC, a Mac user may see it completely different.

Here’s a link to the “standard” 14 fonts Acrobat can always read: http://www.enfocus.com/manuals/ReferenceGuide/PP/10/enUS/en-us/concept/c_aa…

(…and for the love of Pete, please don’t use Comic Sans!! Just sayin…)

Get Organized

Organization is a vital part of collaboration. Decide how you and your fellow collaborators will share ideas and information. Will you use Dropbox, email, Google Drive?

Google Drive has some awesome collaborating features, but remember that it formats differently when documents are pulled from Drive to Word or PDF.

When your team does some planning ahead, it’s easy to make projects and information sharing simple – and the prospect gets a professional-looking presentation. Everyone wins!

Jeanne Willson

Leave a Reply