Tips to Make
Your PowerPoint Presentation Great
by Marilyn Snyder, MS, President of
Put a Shadow on the Graphic Objects in Your PowerPoint Show
Want to make your graphic objects look more sophisticated? Try putting a
shadow underneath them. Let’s say you create an AutoShape circle and want to
have a shadow underneath it. To create a neat circular shadow, for example,
follow these steps: Create an AutoShape circle and, using the Fill Color, Fill
Effects feature, fill it with two colors, making both colors the same (try a
gray color). Change the transparency level on the second color to 100%
transparent so that it fades out to nothing. Then change the Shading Style to
From Center, and change the Variant so the outside color is the second
(transparent) color. The result is that the circle seems to fade away into
nothing on the outside edges. Change the line color to No Line. Then compress
the shadow circle to make it egg-shaped and place it below and behind the first
circle, making it appear to have a shadow.
For Subtlety in Your PowerPoint Shows Use Fade Animation
One whole workshop at the recent PowerPointLive conference I recently
attended was devoted to “Animating Finesse.” And the one animation the
presenters recommended above all others? The Fade. Especially to add sublety and
grace to all your shows. Try fading in photo #1, then fading it out as photo #2
comes fading in on top of photo #1. Very smooth! And this works equally well
UP Your PowerPoint Opening Title Slide
Want a jazzy animation in your opening slide? Create your title in WordArt
and animate it so that it stretches out from the center very fast. Then
duplicate that WordArt five or six times. Wow! Here’s how to animate in
PP2002/03: Click on the WordArt, select Add Effect, Entrance, More Effects,
Stretch. Duplicate the WordArt quickly by selecting it and pressing Control + D
five or six times. Change the Start effect to After Previous. Enjoy!
Burning Questions About PowerPoint?
Want to ask a question about PowerPoint? Want to find simple answers to
complex questions about PowerPoint? Ask the Microsoft MVPs (Most Valued
www.pptfaq.com. This is a great resource!
Put Your PowerPoint Show in the "Corner Pocket"
Have you ever wanted to run your PowerPoint show and still be able to see a
Word document or an Excel spreadsheet? You can actually run your slideshow in a
miniature version in the upper left hand corner of your monitor. Here’s how:
Open your PowerPoint show and put it in a special slideshow mode by holding down
the Control key as you click the Slideshow icon in the lower left corner of your
screen. Then open your Word document (or other program) and size it so it fits
in the remaining space.
How to Keep Your Branded Template When Copying a PowerPoint Slide to a
Show with a Different Template
Using PowerPoint 2002 or 2003, you have likely run into the problem of
keeping the unique look of a slide when you copy it into another slideshow that
has a different template. Here’s what happens: You copy a slide from your source
slideshow that has your customized branded template and paste it into your
destination slideshow that has a different template. Ouch! You’ve lost the
unique formatting you specifically wanted to keep, and the slide takes on the
unwanted formatting of the slides in your destination slideshow.
Here’s how to avoid that problem: Don’t use Copy/Paste to copy the slide from
your source slideshow!
Instead, in your destination slideshow, go to Slide Sorter View so you can
see all your slides at one time. Place your cursor in between the two slides
where you want to locate the new slide. Use Insert, Slides From Files, Find
Presentation, and then Browse to navigate to the source slideshow (the one with
your branded template) from which you want to insert your slide. Highlight the
Now here’s the biggie! In the lower left corner, click on Keep Source
Formatting. THEN click on Insert, Close. Waa-laa! Your unique look for all to
Changing the capitalization style on multiple words at one time in your
The standard rule for capitalization of text in PowerPoint is:
Text in title boxes should be in Title Case
(First Letter Of Each Word Capitalized as Shown Here). Previously the
generally accepted rule was to use all caps for title text.
- Bulleted text should be sentence case (First letter of each phrase
capitalized as shown here).
A quick and easy way to correct the text on your slides is to go a title text
box, for example, highlight all the text in the box (or select Control A), and
press Shift +F3 as many times as you need to to get the text capitalized
correctly. Each time you press Shift + F3, the text will change from all caps,
to no caps, to title case.
How to recolor clip art in your PowerPoint show
If you insert a piece of clip art (.wmf) in your PowerPoint show and find
that the colors clash with your template or other pieces of clip art, you can
easily recolor the clip art. You start by converting it into a drawing object by
right-clicking it and selecting Edit Picture, then clicking Yes when the message
Select Draw, Ungroup as many times as necessary to break the clip art down to
the right drawing objects and then recolor to your heart’s content. You can even
apply gradients or insert pictures, textures, or patterns in the objects. When
you’re finished, select Draw, Regroup if you want to make the clip art back into
a single object to move or size.
To add or change custom animations in PowerPoint 2002/03
If you're using PP 2002 or 2003, you've already discovered that the learning
curve for adding animations has increased exponentially. Here's a tip for making
it easier to create beautiful animated slides with the Custom Animations. To add
an effect, click on the object on the slide -- you'll see that the Add Effect
dropdown menu shows up. You can now add the desired effect. To change an effect,
go to the Custom Animation List and click on the animation effect you want to
change and you'll see that the Change Effect dropdown menu is displayed. You can
now change the effect.
Making changes in your PowerPoint faster
When you are working in PowerPoint to prepare a show, you want to make your
changes as quickly as possible so you can go back to rehearsing. Here’s a tip to
help speed up the process. You can change the color of more than one object on a
screen at one time by holding down SHIFT while you click each object. Each
object is selected (highlighted). Now you can use the Fill icon to change all
objects to the same color at one time.
This tip also works when you want to change the font in several text boxes at
the same time. And it works when you want to change the color on several WordArt
objects at the same time. And it works when you are in Slide Sorter View and you
want to change the layout of several slides at the same time. AND it works in My
Computer when you want to select several files at the same time. (This is a
really HOT tip!)
Hint: Try experimenting with the difference between holding down the SHIFT
key and the CONTROL key while clicking on objects, slides, or files. If you use
Control, you can select items that are not adjacent to each other. If you use
Shift, you can select the first item, hold down Shift and select an item
considerably further down on the list and all items in between the first and the
last will be selected.
Running TWO PowerPoint shows simultaneously
If you’re not ready to create hyperlinks for your next PowerPoint show so
that you can go easily from one show to another, there is a non-techie solution
for having more than one show easily available all the time. PowerPoint is
amazingly flexible--you can actually have two shows running at the same time! Of
course, only one of them is viewable at a time. And navigating between them is
Here’s what you do: Open up the two shows you want to have running
simultaneously. Put Show 1 up on the screen using View, SlideShow (or press F5).
Press Alt + Tab which will take you back to the working copy of PowerPoint. Put
Show 2 up on the screen using View, SlideShow (or press F5). To toggle between
the two shows, press Alt + Tab.
Even with two shows running, you can still use all your presentation
shortcuts, like B = black screen (toggle to turn on and off), W = white screen
(toggle to turn on and off), and slide number + Enter which moves you to a
particular screen within a single slideshow.
I’ve even used this trick when I didn’t have PowerPoint running on the
computer, but was using only the PowerPoint Viewer.
How to Stay Alive When the Technology Kills You
Always print a paper copy of your electronic presentation so you have notes
from which to speak when the technology shuts down. In PowerPoint you can print
the slides as handouts in a variety of formats and sizes so that they are large
enough for you to read as notes—one or two slides per page.
Ultimate Rule for Use of Custom Animation In PowerPoint
The most important rule you can follow in using custom animations is to ask
yourself: How does this animation help communicate my message? Here are a few
other questions you can ask yourself relative to each animation: Does it create
variety? Help create a visual memory? Drive home a point because there is only
one word or phrase on the screen? Deliver my points with more impact? If you are
using animations without a purpose, avoid using them or try to use them more
Your PowerPoint Show is an Important Part of Your Visual Image
It is best to avoid using the standard Microsoft PowerPoint templates because
your audiences will have seen those same backgrounds used within their companies
and by other less professional speakers. Your screen image should match the
special look and feel of all your marketing pieces--one-sheet, publicity packet,
and website—so the audience gets a true impression of your abilities, focus, and
strengths. Also, be sure to avoid using background colors that clash with the
branding you have established elsewhere.
Creating Audience Interaction Using PowerPoint
PowerPoint can be an excellent tool for creating audience interaction by
asking a question of your audience, giving them a few seconds of think time,
then displaying the answer on the screen. Participants love it when they’re
right because they get instant validation. Important tip: Most of the time the
question should be one to which they know or can easily guess the answer. That
way it also helps to reinforce the point or help the audience remember the point
To Put a Copy of a Webpage in Your PowerPoint Show
This is so easy, you're going to love it!
Simply go to your website and navigate to the page you want to show in PP.
Find the key on your keyboard that you've probably never used: Print Screen.
Press once. Open your PP show and select Edit, Paste (or press Control V). Ta
Now all you have to do is size it by clicking first on the screen, then
clicking on the "handles" on the corners to make it the correct size.
Tip: To reduce the size uniformly on all sides at one time, hold down the
Control key as you drag the handles. Then click and drag it to the desired
Tip: It's usually hard to read anything on your web page, so keep it large.
Tip: You can also crop the screen (eliminating the portion that you don't
want to clutter up the slide with) by clicking on the screen to get the
handles, then selecting the crop tool from the Picture toolbar (which should
show up when you click on the picture--if not, select View, Picture). The crop
tool is the XX icon. If you crop too much, just Undo!
Make Your PowerPoint Slides Easy to Read by
When selecting the background for your template, be sure the center of the
screen, where most of your text will display, is either light or dark. That way
the text can easily contrast with the background for high visibility and
readability for your audiences. You have have more flexibility for variability
in color around the edges of the screen where text is less likely to be placed.
With a light background, use black, dark blue, dark green, purple or deep
reds like maroon or burgundy for easy readability. On dark backgrounds, yellow,
white and gold have the greatest contrast and are therefore the most readable.
If You’re Spending Way Too Much Time Preparing Your PowerPoint Shows
The best tip you can have about PowerPoint is to use the "Slide Master" page
to design the style of your pages BEFORE you start creating the rest of your
presentation. This is also the place to put your background, set up all your
fonts, both size and color, and determine the "slide color scheme." This is the
place to put your company logo, instead of placing it on every single slide, all
the unchangeables. This will save you hours of extra work formatting or
re-formatting every single slide. Then if you decide to alter any of these
features, you make changes in the Master Slides that update all your slides at
The program has two master slides: Title Master and Slide Master (which is
the Bulleted List slide). In PP 97 and 2000, to access Slide Master, select
View, Master, Slide Master. Here’s the tricky part: you can’t get to the Title
Master without first getting into Slide Master! To access Title Master, first
access Slide Master, then select Insert, New Title Master.
Using PowerPoint to Create JPGs
If you have ever wanted to send someone a single PowerPoint slide, but wanted
them only to be able to view it, not use it or change it, you can save the slide
as a jpg. You can then send it as an attachment to an e-mail. This has proven to
be particularly helpful with complicated slides containing charts, pictures,
To save a single slide as a jpg, select File Save As. At the bottom of the
dialog box, select Save As Type, JPEG Interchange Format (.jpg) and select Save.
You will see the question: Do you want to save every slide in the presentation?
To export only the current slide, click No. Select No if you wish to save only a
single slide as a jpg. (If you want to save your entire presentation as a series
of jpgs, click Yes. It will then put all the slides into a new folder for you.)
You can also bring that jpg back into PowerPoint and expand it to a full screen.
The image includes your background and can’t be altered or used.
Making PowerPoint Files Smaller
If you’d like to decrease the size of your PowerPoint files, turn off "Fast
Saves." This will make your actual .ppt files smaller. This is especially useful
when trying the fit them on to email them.
Keeping the Focus on the Presenter, not on PowerPoint
It’s true that PowerPoint 2002 (and even 2000) lets you do an amazing variety
of “stuff.” You need to remember, however, that your animations, graphics,
transitions, and sounds are too complex, your audience may have to work too hard
to figure out what your message is! If you are a keynote speaker, you may choose
not to use PowerPoint at all. You might also choose to use it sparingly so that
it will not only have greater impact, but the focus of the presentation will
stay where it should primarily be—on you! If you are primarily a trainer, you
may choose to use PowerPoint to hammer in a lot of content. In that case, you
need to focus on turning words into pictures so the audience isn’t overwhelmed
with bulleted lists resulting in remembering little. The best use of PowerPoint
is as a visual medium.
Ending Your Presentation with Pizzazz
When presenting with PowerPoint, go to Tools, Options, View, Slideshow: Turn
off End With A Black Slide. Why? Because you want to use that last slide as the
final opportunity to show the audience how a professional presenter performs!
Make a copy of your opening title slide, in fact, make TWO copies, and insert
them at the end of your show. Or create a final slide that shows your website
address or e-zine signup info. Duplicate that final slide. That way if you
accidentally click an extra time because you are so overwhelmed by the standing
ovation you are receiving, you will still have your visual message about you and
your company on the screen. Do not exit PowerPoint until the audience is gone or
the next speaker is ready!
Coping with Drowsy Audiences
Coping with drowsy audiences in the after-lunch segment of your presentation?
Let your PowerPoint show help rouse a lethargic group! And sometimes interesting
information sails on past the audience because it is presented in a
same-o-same-o sequence. Wake up your audience by mouse-clicking the items onto
the screen using Fly In to bring text in random order from counter-clockwise,
out-of-sequence corners, or some other unexpected sequence or location.
Audiences perk up and pay attention, using brainpower to catalogue this
Filling WordArt with Photos
Have you ever wanted to have an attention-getting title or term to make your
slideshow more interesting? Did you know that in PowerPoint 2000, you can insert
your photo or other photos in a WordArt object? Simply create the WordArt as you
would normally, then: Click on the WordArt, click on the down arrow next to Fill
Color on the Drawing Toolbar. Select Fill Effects, then click on the Picture tab
and click on Select Picture. Navigate to the desired picture, click on Insert,
then click OK. Voila! You have a wonderful graphic that can be sized, animated,
shadowed, and 3-D’d!
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