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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: August 2011

Thoughts and impressions of whatever is happening in the world of PowerPoint

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PowerPoint and Presenting Notes
PowerPoint and Presenting Glossary
PowerPoint Programming

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PixSwap: The Indezine Review

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



While PowerPoint 2003 and previous versions provided you with an option to recolor your pictures easily, this option was removed in PowerPoint 2007 and also did not make it to the subsequent PowerPoint 2010. This was indeed one of the very cool options in PowerPoint and many long-time users were not too amused with its absence. Yes, if you have a copy of PowerPoint 2003 or an older version installed, you can easily still recolor the pictures in that version -- and then bring that content to any of the newer PowerPoint versions -- but doing that often can be cumbersome and boring -- especially now that PixSwap, a third-party PowerPoint add-in brings back the Recolor option to PowerPoint 2007 and 2010.

Read the Indezine review of PixSwap.

Categories: add-in, color, graphics, pictures, powerpoint_2007, powerpoint_2010

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



When you insert a drawing or illustration in PowerPoint 2003, it may not always match the look and feel of the other slide objects such as text color or other visuals -- or it may not look good against a particular slide background. Fortunately, the Recolor Picture option can help.

Learn how to recolor pictures in PowerPoint 2003.

Categories: graphics, pictures, powerpoint_2003, tutorials

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



If you haven't seen all our other tutorials on Shape Effects available in PowerPoint 2011, then this page is self sufficient on its own. On the other hand, if you have been following all our tutorials in this series, you know that we have covered all the Shape Effects apart from 3-D Rotation and Soft Edges. In this tutorial, you will learn to add a 3-D Rotation effect to your shapes. This will make them look three dimensional and prominent.

Learn how to apply the 3-D Rotation effect to selected shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: effects, office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tutorials

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Monday, August 29, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



Tired of the same old curved lines and world globe PowerPoint backgrounds? Want to impress your next crowd with something new? Why not make your own artistic PowerPoint background? Here's how:

  1. Find a picture with some texture in it. The best way is to search for Creative Commons images at Compfight and use terms like wall, sky, or denim.

    Whenever you use others' images, you must ensure you following their licensing rules. For instance, make sure you can create derivative works out of it (modifications to the original). And add a copyright notice somewhere, perhaps in the notes section or at the end of the presentation.

    Here's a nice image I found using the keyword wall. In this case, I had to contact the artist (photo: (c) Helga Weber) directly to ask for derivative rights.



  2. Insert the picture on your slide -- you will see the Picture Tools Format tab on the Ribbon. Within this tab, you will find options to recolor your picture. You will end up with a recolored version of the picture.



  3. Decide which part of the image would make a nice background. In this case, the entire upper right is full of rich texture and shadows.



  4. Crop the picture and resize it to fill the slide. In this case, I also rotated the image 90 degrees to fit the slide's landscape orientation.



See this video for a step-by-step example and explanation of how to find images you're allowed to use.




Bruce GabrielleBruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Visit his blog Speaking PowerPoint for more tips on PowerPoint, storytelling and visual business communication.


See Also: Speaking PowerPoint -- Interview with Bruce Gabrielle






Categories: graphics, guest_post, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Adding pictures to a PowerPoint slide is a great way to add some visual detail. There are two ways to insert a picture on your slide in PowerPoint: You use a layout that includes a content placeholder, or you insert a picture within a slide irrespective of its layout. Whichever option you choose depends upon your choice -- we cover both of them in the following steps.

Learn how to insert a picture on a slide in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: photos, pictures, powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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Friday, August 26, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



Hermann NarezHermann Narez is a graphic designer for PhotoSpin, Inc., a royalty-free stock photo company. He currently heads up the Design Services department, develops and designs print, web, and e-marketing campaigns, and maintains brand consistency across multiple print, web, and e-marketing channels.

In this conversation, Hermann discusses the importance of using pictures in slides.

Geetesh: Using a large picture along with a great slide title seems more common these days as presenters want to include less text on their slides – almost like Steve Jobs’ presentations. What do you think about this approach?

Hermann: The phrase "less is more" is often associated with the architect and furniture designer Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe. In graphic design it's typically referred to as "white space".

I'm glad to see that this approach is being used in screen presentations because by using white space in design, we create space, balance, emphasis on what’s important, and a feeling of easiness that we cannot achieve with a more cramped space.

Apple WWDC 2010 Keynote
Picture: Ben Miller, vide Flickr Creative Commons

Geetesh: Do you have any guidelines to share on finding the perfect picture for a slide in PowerPoint, Keynote, or any of the slide apps?

Hermann: "A picture is worth a thousand words" is what I think about when searching for the right image for a screen presentation. I look for a photo or an illustration that contains white space/copy space. It could be an isolated object or maybe even a simple illustration with a monochromatic pattern.

PhotoSpin White Space Sample

PhotoSpin White Space Sample

Note from Geetesh: The sample pictures shown above illustrate the concept of white space or copy space that Hermann explained in this conversation -- both these pictures are from the PhotoSpin collection, and are used with their permission.

Categories: design, graphics, interviews, photos, pictures, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



Bevel options for shapes in PowerPoint 2011 are aplenty. Most of the time, the Bevel preset effects may work for you as explored in our Apply Bevel Effects to Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial. Yet, those presets are merely the tip of the iceberg -- PowerPoint's advanced Bevel effect options provide customizations for contour, contour color, depth, depth color, and materials used in the Bevel effects. And if all that 3-D terminology had you in a dizzy, don't worry -- this simple tutorial explains every option within the 3-D gamut as far as Bevels are concerned. Do note that advanced Bevel options are available in the 3-D Format area within PowerPoint -- so for reasons of sanity, just imagine that Bevel and 3-D Format are the same attribute with two different names -- we use both terms interchangeably in this tutorial!

Explore the advanced Bevel (3-D Format) options available for shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: effects, office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tutorials

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Thursday, August 25, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



We all are exposed to slides that can be so hazardous to our vision! One look at a horrendous slide, and it really doesn't matter if the content is great or not -- because the slide may have nothing understated about it. Such loud slides can ensure that audiences look more at the look of the slide rather than the content. You might end up with such slides even with no fault of yours, because someone else designed them for you! Fortunately, there is an easy, one-click process to restore the sanity in the slides -- it's called the Reset button. Remember, the Reset button is your friend.

Learn how to reset your slide formatting with one click in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



Recently on the Indezine's PowerPoint and Presenting Stuff Linkedin community someone started a thread with the question "What are some alternates to using Microsoft PowerPoint?"

Various people chipped in with suggestions. But the question got me thinking ... and what follows is a short article stimulated by that discussion.

While the original question asks about the mechanics of what software may be used to construct a presentation, it also raises deeper questions about what we do as presentation designers ... and as presenters as well. I’m reminded of of the old saying; “Never mind are we doing the thing right ... the question is, are we doing the right thing?" To answer those questions, we need to go back a step.

Here’s a few important principles we need to keep in mind when working as presentation designers.

  • Presentations are people, not files.
  • There is no substitute for a human presenter.
  • Presentations graphics are support for people’s stories, like frames in a movie.
  • Presentations graphics must follow the presenter, never lead them.
  • Designers must respect their presenter, supporting them, not competing with, or trying to trump them.

PowerPoint is just one of many tools we can use to create presentation graphics. Note I say presentation graphics. I make that distinction with great care because I believe the original question raises a topic that I cover with our clients daily. And as a presentation designer who owns a presentation design business, you may find this a strange thing I tell our clients, but I often have to explain that "we cannot design them a presentation."

Why is that? Not because we can’t concept, design and deliver effective, persuasive, well designed speaker support graphics ... we do that every day. In fact after 20 years, I think we’re getting rather good at it. We can’t design a "presentation" because a "presentation" is not a PowerPoint, Keynote or Prezi file any more than a delicious meal is a recipe in a book ... or a great piece of music is notes on a sheet. The recipe needs a human being (cook) to bring the ingredients together in a way that results in a tasty meal. The music needs talented human beings (musicians) to play the music in a way that brings the notes off the page and into the air where we can hear and enjoy them.

There is only one thing that can embody a presentation and that is a human being who creates (delivers) that presentation. It takes an actual person to bring their physicality to the process, much like an actor does with a script, to make eye contact with their audience, to engage in a conversation, to tell stories, to persuade, to bring humour, tragedy, provocation, inspiration ... to make a connection. I don’t believe this can be achieved by any amount of 
gee-whizzery concocted into any ‘file’ And believe me ... I’ve tried it all.

From about 2001,we were creating and inserting Flash into PowerPoint. From around 1995, we worked in Macromedia Director creating many interactives, both CD and web based. We’re specialists in compressing video for web and disc. Over the years we’ve authored over 200 projects on DVDs and CD. Remember those little business card CDs? We did them too .. basically, if it's made of pixels, we've made it.

But our first love has always been presentation design and working with clients to build a visual support aspect to help them tell their stories.

A .PPT, or .KEY file is just a collection of ones and zeroes until it is delivered by a human being to create a presentation. Yet daily we hear people say “Put that presentation on a USB stick” or “Can you email me the new marketing presentation”. I’m really not trying to be a vocabulary pedant (honestly!) , but it is a daily reminder that sometimes we fall into the lazy habit of regarding the information as the presentation, when it’s absolutely not.

A PowerPoint file absent a presenter is just a document. This is sadly proved on a daily basis by the recent appalling rise of the ‘slideument’ so well skewered in the past by Garr Reynolds. It is also the genesis of the dreaded ‘data dump’ It’s like the old joke about buying computers from the 1980s that you couldn’t get fired for choosing IBM ... because it was ‘safe’

In the exact same way, we see far too many presentations designed as data dumps. Dumbed down and made ‘idiot proof’ so a legion of middle managers can trot them out all over the country. If criticized, the creators can claim that they know it may have too much information and reads more like a document than a presentation,. but they plead that ‘the slides also need to stand on their own ...’. You know when you hear that phrase, the poor audience of that presentation is doomed.

You can write a document … Word is useful for that. And you can design a presentation … PowerPoint is good for that. But we see far too many times, people confusing the two and creating documents in PowerPoint (in itself not necessarily a bad thing) but then presenting them .. and when that happens, then like Jim Lovell said on the Apollo 13 mission “Ahhh Houston .. we have problem.”

I’ll give you a good quick reference guide right now as to whether a presentation has been well designed. Flip quickly through the slides in screen show mode. If at the end you can’t really tell what the presentation is actually about, then there’s every chance it’s in pretty good shape. If however you can understand it enough to think, “Yeah I get what this is about” then you have a slidument and the last thing you ever want to do is present it.

In closing let me implore you that as presentation designers to stick to your principles. The worst brief any of us can get, is a client who says something like; “I want all the bells and whistles ! I want it high impact ! I want it to really wow the audience !!” ... as that 20th Century philosopher Charlie Brown often said; good grief ...

You immediately know you have a presenter who does not want to do the hard yards themselves on constructing a persuasive and entertaining presentation (or perhaps they just don’t know how and you should provide, or suggest help) . Either way they are expecting you to provide some kind of multi-media ‘Shock and Awe’ for which they will be happy and you will get paid, but which serves your client ... and their audience poorly.

It sometimes surprises my clients when I tell them "I don’t design slides for you ... I design slides for your audience." In doing so, I think I best serve my client because ultimately it is your client’s audience that decides the quality of the presentation, not the guy paying your bill. However, if you make him a hero with his audience you have done your job.

Keep up the good fight !




Dean LaffanDean Laffan is the founder of Real World Productions, a Melbourne based studio specialising in presentation design, events, interactive design and digital video. When not attempting to put the world to rights one slide at a time, he can be found as a beta tester for most of the current video compression tools. He is also on Adobe's Customer Advisory Board and is also on the beta team for various Creative Suite Products. When not chauffeuring 3 teenage children around weeknights and weekends he avoids iPhones, email and client briefs by cave diving in the Australian outback.

You can read more on Dean's new blog.

Note from Geetesh: This post originated from a comment posted in the PowerPoint and Presenting Stuff group on LinkedIn -- the discussion was May I know what are some alternates to using Microsoft PowerPoint.


Categories: guest_post, opinion, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



While PowerPoint does provide a plethora of Shape Effects, there's something about the Bevel effect that makes it stand apart. Once applied, the Bevel effect can make your shape look embossed, like a button, or even a pillow -- the different output variations occur since there are many Bevel presets available in PowerPoint 2011 for the Mac. Play with all the presets, and some Bevel presets will make your shapes will look as if they can pop out of the slide -- fortunately, there are plenty of Bevel effect presets that are more restrained and understated!

Learn how you can apply Bevel effects to selected shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: effects, office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tutorials

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Columnar text layouts are something you see often in Word documents or even in published formats used by desktop publishing software. PowerPoint 2010 gives you some column capabilities, although don't expect anything close to the controls provided by word processing applications. In PowerPoint, you can set up a text container to possess multiple linked columns.

Learn how you can insert columnar text within a text box or other text containers in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: powerpoint_2010, text, tutorials

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Monday, August 22, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



Ellen FinkelsteinEllen Finkelstein is a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP and author of several PowerPoint, Flash, and AutoCAD books. Her articles have appeared in numerous magazines, newsletters, and blogs. As a best-selling author, her books have sold over 300,000 copies and been translated into over 14 languages.

In this conversation, Ellen talks about 7 Steps to Great Images, her new ebook.

Geetesh: How do the new features for using pictures in PowerPoint 2010 make it easier to create more visual slides.

Ellen: PowerPoint 2010 adds a number of new features that help you edit images to make them more powerful. An important one is the Remove Background feature. Although it doesn’t always work perfectly (it depends on the image), when it does work well, it’s a great way to focus your audience’s attention on the main feature of the image by removing less important background content.

In addition, you can manipulate images in ways that used to require an outside image editor. You can sharpen and soften images as well as add artistic effects. But use these sparingly; it’s easy to “overdo” an image.

Geetesh: Tell us about your 7 Steps to Great Images ebook – and what can a reader take away from this book.

Ellen: Many presenters insert images and leave them at the default size, shape, and placement. 7 Steps to Great Images provides 7 techniques that will help your images work better. By better, I mean that they will have more impact, be more persuasive, and help your audience understand and remember more of what you’re saying. Most of these techniques apply to using images in any situation, even documents.

Categories: books, interviews, photos, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



Glow effects are quite different from other PowerPoint effects -- they add a nice halo around a selected shape or most other slide objects. Once you apply a glow effect to any shape in PowerPoint 2011, you may find that the defaults just do not work for you. Especially since the default glow options are limited only to Theme Colors -- so if you want to make some changes, probably change the glow color, its spread or transparency, etc. -- then this tutorial will teach you how you can access the advanced Glow Options in PowerPoint 2011, which make all those changes doable.

Learn how to make changes to the Glow effect applied to the shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: effects, office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tutorials

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Friday, August 19, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



Shirley LewisShirley Lewis is the Licensing Director at JewelBeat.com. With over 10 years of experience in the music industry, specifically in music licensing for retail, Shirley has worked to license music for numerous Fortune 500 companies. A lover of all music, social media shy yet a computer nerd, Shirley Lewis onboard with the JewelBeat team is looking to change the landscape of music licensing, one $0.99 track at a time.

In this conversation, Shirley discusses why and how you can use JewelBeat's music clips.

Geetesh: Tell us more about JewelBeat, what is the type of music you provide, and how much does this music cost?

Shirley: JewelBeat is all about music for your projects. Specifically 99 cents music for your projects. What we do is license music for commercial and non-commercial projects. Our customers use our music for a host of usages including presentations, slideshows, photos, video, broadcast, corporate use and more. What's great about our music is that it is completely royalty free worldwide.

Using licensed music is a good idea to keep in the legal side of things. Commercial music or music you purchased for your listening pleasure are not licensed legally for you to use for your projects. It can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars to license commercial music plus the process can be all too overwhelming and complicated. JewelBeat offers an easy solution to purchasing and using music legally for your projects.

JewelBeat has a wide selection of music styles to fit every project. We have the typical rock, pop, country, urban, atmospheres to eclectic world, well-known tunes, holiday music as well as obscure selection like 8-bit video game music, chanting music and the likes.


Within each broad category you will find a deep wealth of selection. Take for example Rock. You will find pop rock, college rock, hard rock, soft rock, retro rock, alternative rock and more. With 35,000 tracks and growing, you are bound to find something you like and most importantly that works for your project.

Often times, I am asked, "What is the best rock track you have" and respond after a long pause, "What sort of rock do you like?" I do have my personal favorites but music is very subjective, and it really is more of what kind of music that will fit my project. That is how we compose our music. We compose our music from the view point of how it will be use in our customers' projects.

Aside from our ultra attractive $0.99 per track music, JewelBeat provides customers with the option to purchase download CDs or albums which are collections of 10 tracks of a similar theme including all edit versions for just $19. This is pretty revolutionary seeing that most similar offerings are priced at $10 to $100 per track. At JewelBeat, the value and quality of our music is unbeatable at just $0.99 per track or $19 per CD.

Other products available include 12 themed JewelSticks which are 10 CDs grouped by themes as well as our JewelDisks that offer either the best 100 CDs in our library (JewelDisk Mini) or our complete library (JewelDisk Max).

JewelBeat

Geetesh: How suitable is the sound content on JewelBeat for use in PowerPoint presentations?

Shirley: Music from the JewelBeat library would work great in PowerPoint presentations. You will find multiple edit versions available for every song in our library. You can purchase all versions of a track for just $2.99 giving you a great mix of edit versions to add to your PowerPoint presentations. Our alternate version work great to give a more subdued or tone down version or the track while our stingers are great as transitions, intros or endings of a presentation.

JewelBeat also offers a Custom Length Edit service where we can edit any track to any duration as per your requirement for just $9.99. This offers great convenience to our customers requiring a certain duration length without having to learn audio editing. What's more this opens up our complete library to anyone searching for specific duration length tracks as this is no longer a limitation.

JewelBeat does not sell any sound effects but we do have over 3000 free sound effects from beeps to clicks, common environment effect, musical effect and more. This is an excellent free resource that would work well with presentations.

Categories: interviews, music, powerpoint, sounds

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Internal margins are relevant to all the three types of text containers in PowerPoint -- these three containers are text boxes, text placeholders, and shapes that contain text. Internal margins control the amount of blank space between the perimeter (edge) and the actual text within the text container. Although these margins are similar to the margins of pages in a word-processing document like Microsoft Word, there is a significant difference. Each text container has its own individual margins set, and you can have entirely different margins for one or more text containers, even if they reside on the same slide.

Learn about setting internal margins for text boxes in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: powerpoint_2010, text, tutorials

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Thursday, August 18, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



PowerPoint 2011 for Mac includes the same Shape Effects that are part of PowerPoint 2007 and 2011 on Windows -- we have already explored how you can apply Shadow and Reflection effects to selected shapes in PowerPoint 2011. In this tutorial, we move to the next effect, Glow that adds a hazed color perimeter outside the shape area -- yes, this is an Outer Glow and not an Inner Glow effect.

Learn to apply a Glow effects to shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: effects, office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tutorials

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



Cookie Cutters in PowerPointThis technique originated from a video clip that Bruce Gabrielle posted on his blog -- this video showed you how you can create a triangular table in PowerPoint by either creating a picture of the table itself (which makes the table non-editable) or by creating a picture of the table with just empty cells so that you can place a transparent table with figures or words over it. While both techniques are amazing, I wanted to use a process whereby not only is the table editable, but the ending shape need not be limited to just a triangle. Also you can use this to hide and show parts of not just a table, but almost anything else including video clips.

Learn how to make cookie cutter shapes in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: design, graphics, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tables, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



PowerPoint broadly provides three types of text containers: text placeholders, text boxes, and shapes -- and although boundaries between these three types of text containers are blurred, all the three are sufficiently similar in their characteristics for layout options for the text contained inside them. In this tutorial, we will explore the alignment and text direction options for text within a text container in PowerPoint 2010.

Learn how you can control text layout in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: powerpoint_2010, text, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



Reflections can look so cool -- and since they show the same fill and outline attributes of what they reflect, they can end up being so distracting for your audiences! However, most of PowerPoint's reflection presets that you learned to apply in our Reflection Effects for Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 are a little too attractive. The good news is that you can tone down the effect a little -- or if you want you can also get more adventurous and have your slides bounce off their projected screens! Whatever your scenario may be, you can edit the reflection properties to suit your creative freedom -- for instance, you can change the transparency or distance of the reflection, as you will learn in this tutorial.

Learn how you can make changes to the Reflection effect applied to shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: effects, office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tutorials

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Text boxes in PowerPoint need to be moved and resized within different areas of the slide. While you may think that selecting and resizing is all that is to be done, that's not the entire truth because there's so much more you can do even with mere resizing -- if you know that these options exist! In a previous tutorial, you learnt how to move text boxes on a slide. As suggested in that tutorial, you should only resize text boxes, and not text placeholders on the slide since the positioning of the latter is normally controlled by the Slide Master. Typically text placeholders for regular text content or even slide titles are located in the same position on successive slides -- so if you really do need to resize a text placeholder, do it within the Slide Master so that this change of size happens on all slides, providing a consistent look to your presentation.

Learn how to resize text boxes on a slide in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: powerpoint_2010, text, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



Effects are a cool feature in PowerPoint that lets your shapes stand out. No longer you have to be content with flat shapes that appear to be depressed within the slide itself. Having said that, moderation is the key -- do not go overboard with the effects! In our series on Shape Effects in PowerPoint 2011, you have already explored how you can apply a Shadow Effect to any selected shape. In this tutorial, you will learn how you can quickly add reflection to a shape. So what's the difference between a shadow and a reflection? A shadow is typically of one color, normally gray and is influenced by the direction of a light source. Reflection is also dependent on light but it shows all the colors of the original object in a blurred way -- as in the reflection on water or glass.

Learn how to apply Reflection effects to a selected shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: effects, office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tutorials

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Monday, August 15, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



Jamie GarrochJamie Garroch, CEO of GMARK Ltd., founded the company in 2009 to provide presentation professionals with PowerPoint software, content and training. Jamie conceived the idea for the company’s first product, ActivePrez from a non-linear presenting need and has recently added several other add-in products; vMaps, vIcons, Circlify and interactive maps.

In this conversation, Jamie talks about Circlify, a PowerPoint add-in that makes drawing multiple shapes in a repeated pattern seem easy.

Geetesh: What is the raison d’etre for your Circlify add-in for PowerPoint, and what motivated you to create it?

Jamie: GMARK creates a lot of slides for clients and one theme that often crops up is the need to equally spacing a quantity of 'somethings' around the perimeter of another shape. The somethings may be text or images or shapes and the perimeter shape is often circular. Basic diagrams aren’t so hard to do with the new PowerPoint SmartArt Cycle illustrations but there are limitations with the way that tool works.

For example, shapes are 'resized to fit' and there are several steps required to change the default shapes types. We just wanted an authoring tool that allowed the designer to pick any shape or their own custom shape and plot any given number of them around the circumference of any sized circle, overlapping them if they want. The real benefit of Circlify is one of time. It’s very fast to draw whatever you want, combine shapes or group shapes and then ask Circlify to plot the required number of them around a circular guide.



Geetesh: A fun add-in of this sort can be addictive, but it has many unobvious business uses as well in diagramming – do you want to share some thoughts?

Jamie: We’ve used it already to create some professional looking illustrations for our clients. These have included cyclic process diagrams to more abstract illustrations of concepts, clock faces and even some subtle texture effects for template backgrounds. We’ve also used it to create icons to indicate the progress through a presentation. In one example, we created a 3D sliced pie illustration to represent were the presenter was in the presentation.

As with any design tool, the limits to what can be created is tightly coupled with the limits of human imagination and we’re looking forward to seeing what folks can come up with though their use of Circlify. We've got some examples online and more are available in the free trial download.

Categories: add-in, drawing, interviews, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:45 AM IST



PowerPoint makes a great drawing program -- however it is not too easy to duplicate content such as shapes, especially in a repeated pattern without summoning too many dialog boxes. However, tasks such as these can be made super simple -- probably more simple than even doing it in a dedicated drawing program using Circlify, a third party add-in for PowerPoint. Circlify lets you quickly create circular graphics and intricate illustrations for icons, logos, illustrations, etc.

Read the Indezine review of Circlify.

Categories: add-in, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Have you seen that PowerPoint automatically reduces the size of your text when you type in too much text? Or does the text box itself increase in size when you type in a sentence or two more than what can fit into the text box? Does this automatic hand-holding by PowerPoint drive you crazy and want to hit your head on the wall? Well, you really don't have to worry because you can make PowerPoint behave itself -- and bend it to your will. You can make these changes in two places -- and which place you choose to make these changes will depend upon how much control you want.

Learn about text box autofit options in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: powerpoint_2010, text, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



Adding a shadow to a shape can give it more depth and you probably get that perfect shadow the first time you use PowerPoint's default shadow options, as already explained in our Apply Shadow effects to Shapes tutorial. However, there are times when you want that shadow to be a wee bit longer, or just a little less pronounced. Fortunately, that's possible and quite easy to achieve.

Learn how you can tweak the Shadow effects that you apply to shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: effects, office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tutorials

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Saturday, August 13, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



Dave ParadiDave Paradi helps presenters communicate more effectively by using persuasive PowerPoint presentations. He has published over 240 issues of his bi-weekly newsletter, produced more than 70 slide makeover video podcasts and appears in media regularly. In this conversation, Dave discusses his biennial survey on what annoys people about PowerPoint presentations.

Geetesh: What is your presentations survey all about, and how have past surveys thrown light at behaviors and trends?

Dave: Eight years ago when I did the first survey, the goal was to find out what annoys audiences about the presentations they see. My desire was to help presenters stop the behaviours that make an audience cringe when they hear that PowerPoint is going to be used. The past results have been clear on what annoys audiences and by conducting the survey every two years, we get an idea of whether the problems are getting better or not. Many speakers, trainers and academics have used the survey results in their own work to help presenters. The more participants we have take the survey, the more reliable the results will be, so we are looking for a strong response this time as well.



Geetesh: Does the new survey have any different questions, and how will you analyse and share the results?

Dave: The survey stays the same each time so that we can compare the responses and look at trends. It is these trends that many presentation professionals use to see how we can continue to improve the quality of PowerPoint presentations. I do two types of analysis on the results. First, I perform a numerical tabulation to determine the top annoyances and how many presentations suffer from annoying habits. This gives us the statistical comparison. Secondly, I read all of the comments that people write in, and there are hundreds of these. I look for and report on the trends that I see and additional insights that the survey responses give. I will share the results in my newsletter and on my blog, and the survey results are usually distributed by many others, including industry leaders such as yourself.

Categories: interviews, powerpoint, presentation_skills, survey

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