PowerPoint Basic Tips & Tricks

PowerPoint Basic Tips & Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks to explore PowerPoint easily

  • Use “Themes” (from the Design menu) to control how your PowerPoint looks (including colors, fonts, and effects.) You can use themes supplied by Microsoft, or build your own.
  • The Slide Master (View>Slide Master) stores information about the theme and slide layouts of a presentation, including the background color, fonts, effects, placeholder sizes, and positioning. You should work with the Slide Masters before you build your individual slides, because changes you make later may not work on some of your slides.
  • When you add slide Transitions, note the Timing menu items, including the “Apply to All”. Transitions can also be modified as part of the slide master.
  • Animations that are set up on the Slide Master will be used throughout the presentation. Are your animations out of order? You can use the Reorder Animation area in the Timing menu.
  • Presenter View has some great tools for the presenter, including a timer and clock, a pen for annotations, slide notes, black screen / white screen, slide navigation, and “switch programs”. To enable presenter view when you have two displays (your computer display plus a projector), click “Use Presenter View” in the monitor menu under the Slide Show tab.
  • Embed your fonts if you are going to be using the PowerPoint file on the another computer! PowerPoint will substitute fonts if it doesn’t find the ones specified, and it doesn’t always do a good job. To embed fonts: from the File menu, select Options, and then Save.  Click the checkbox next to “Embed fonts in the file.” (This won’t necessarily work for PowerPoint files shared between two different operating systems, for example PCs and Macs.)
  • PowerPoint doesn’t travel well between Macs and PCs.  If you will be presenting from a different machine than you’re used to, either make two copies of the presentation (one for each operating system), or stick with basic themes and fonts.
  • Narrated PowerPoints: if you are sharing copies of your PowerPoint file for people to view, the audience members will need to have a compatible version of PowerPoint or OpenOffice, or the free PowerPoint Viewer (http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=13). Or you can convert your PowerPoint file to Flash using iSpring (iSpringSolutions.com). There is a free version of iSpring which just does the conversion. The Pro version ($229) makes it very easy to do both the narration and the conversion.
  • You can choose to upload your PowerPoint presentations to SlideShare for sharing over the web. Presentations can be made private or password protected for security (Pro account required.) They also be embedded on a web page. (Be sure to embed your fonts before uploading)
  • Other PowerPoint-like tools include Prezi, SlideRocket, Google Presentations, and Keynote (Mac and iPad.) All of these (Except Prezi) will import PowerPoint files.

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