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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: September 2011

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

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Share PowerPoint Presentations on authorSTREAM: Conversation with Dinesh Awasthi

Friday, September 30, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



Dinesh AwasthiDinesh Awasthi is Product Manager for authorSTREAM.com. In addition to developing the strategic product roadmap and implementation of various features on authorSTREAM, he works with the development team and keeps an eye on user feedback to formulate new releases. Dinesh holds a Masters degree in Computer Applications.

In this conversation, Dinesh discusses the PowerPoint sharing options on authorSTREAM.com

Geetesh: What are the most simple means in which anyone can share their presentations online on authorSTREAM.com?

Dinesh: Sharing PowerPoint presentations online on authorSTREAM.com is faster and easier with in-built sharing options. Following are the simple ways to share slideshows with anyone on authorSTREAM:

  • Get a unique link (URL) for your presentations and share via email with others.

  • Automatically share on Twitter and Facebook. Once you activate Auto Post, your presentation gets automatically published on Twitter or Facebook as soon as you upload them on authorSTREAM.

  • Post other members' public PowerPoint presentations freely on social websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Delicious and StumbleUpon.

  • Embed presentations on various websites or blogs of your choice.

authorSTREAM Desktop 2.0
Geetesh: How can they use more advanced options such as sharing only with selected people, set pass codes, and prevent embedding of their content?

Dinesh: authorSTREAM provides full privacy giving users complete control over who, what and how to share their presentations. Users can share their presentations privately with only people they select with the option to grant and revoke access anytime, set a secret passcode to view, and restrict private embedding to certain websites or blogs by opting for our premium plans.

There are two plans that we are currently offering: authorSTREAM Pro ($29.95/year) and authorSTREAM Business ($39.95/month).

Pro ($29.95/year) is for any advanced user of authorSTREAM who is looking for presentation analytics, passcode protected presentations and unlimited private uploads whereas Business is meant for users who, in addition to features available in the Pro account, want more control over embeds or sharing, detailed presentation analytics, unlimited PowerPoint to video conversions, branding and customization.

See Also: authorSTREAM Premium Subscriptions: Conversation with Harman Singh.

Categories: authorstream, interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



PowerPoint allows you to print Notes pages -- these contain the notes that you may have saved within the Notes pane for all your individual slides. Unless you modify the Notes Master, your printed Notes pages may look basic. The Notes Master is one of the four Masters within PowerPoint 2003 -- this Master enables you modify the appearance of your Notes pages -- especially how they will look when you print them. Do note though that these changes do not affect how the notes within the Notes pane of your slides in Normal View appear.

Learn about the Notes Master in PowerPoint 2003.

Categories: masters, powerpoint_2003, templates, tutorials

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Thursday, September 29, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



Once you insert a SmartArt graphic within PowerPoint 2011, you might realize that the colors of the individual shapes comprising the SmartArt graphic are not exactly what you wanted -- and while it is possible to change colors of individual shapes within the SmartArt graphic, PowerPoint lets you change the colors of everything within the SmartArt graphic at one go -- not only does this save your time, but also ensures that the different colors chosen are coordinated to look good together.

Learn how to change colors of a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2011, smartart, tutorials

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



Michael KolowichMichael Kolowich is founder and CEO of KnowledgeVision, which has developed enterprise-grade tools for creating, managing, and distributing synchronized interactive online video presentations for communications, marketing, training, and sales professionals.

In this discussion, Michael discusses KVStudio, an online presentation platform.

Geetesh: What exactly is KVStudio, and how would you describe its capabilities to a person whose presentation adventures have never ventured beyond PowerPoint?

Michael: Simply put, KVStudio is an easy-to-use web tool and service from KnowledgeVision that captures the live presentation experience and makes it available on-demand on the web -- complete with video of the speaker, fully-animated PowerPoint slides, and handouts, and footnotes. It's the quickest and easiest way to turn your business presentations into interactive video web assets for content marketing, sales support, training, corporate communications, and investor relations. KnowledgeVision is great for putting a company's best presentations and communicators to work on the web, 24/7, anywhere in the world.

For an example of a KnowledgeVision presentation, take a look at http://www.knowledgevision.com/demonstration.

KVStudio is remarkably easy to learn, and can be used on both Mac and Windows computers. Just upload a PowerPoint file, upload a video file or turn on a webcam, and you can publish a completely interactive online video presentation in minutes. You can then drop the presentation into your website, emails, blogs -- anywhere you can publish web content. And we also support publishing presentations to the Apple iPad.

We take care of everything -- the file conversion, video streaming, storage. All you do is upload the files, synchronize the slides to the video using a simple interface, choose a designer player template, and name the presentation. We do the rest.

Geetesh: What are the various editions of KVStudio, how are they different, and how much do they cost?

Michael: KnowledgeVision offers KVStudio in three editions, starting at $195 per month, to meet different levels of required features, usage, and budget:

  • The Basic Edition contains all the core KnowledgeVision functionality, and can host up to 10 presentations at any one time. It is priced at $195 per month, with annual purchase options available.
  • Most of our customers choose the Professional Edition, which adds more customization features and supports up to 50 presentations at a time. In addition to on-demand presentations, live presentations are also offered as a option. KVStudio Professional Edition is priced at $5,000 per year.
  • And larger organizations prefer the Enterprise Edition, which supports 5 or more content creators, 100 presentations, and offers even more customization, training and support, and features. KVStudio Enterprise Edition is priced at $11,000 per year.
A complete description of the features and pricing of the three KVStudio editions may be found at http://www.knowledgevision.com/kvpricing.

Categories: interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Handouts are presentation accompaniments that are almost always intended for print. It is a good idea to distribute handouts before your PowerPoint presentation's delivery so that the audience follow along the presentation. You can control the look of your handouts by formatting the Handout Master. This can be useful if you want to include a graphic such as a logo on each page of your handout. Customizing the Handout Master is easy, and you can thereafter print your presentation handouts with one, two, three, four, six, or nine slides on a page.

Learn about the Handout Master in PowerPoint 2003.

Categories: masters, powerpoint_2003, templates, tutorials

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



Inserting a SmartArt graphic within PowerPoint 2011 or even converting existing bulleted text to SmartArt is easy -- you can choose from various SmartArt graphic variations available within PowerPoint. However at some point of time, you may realize that the SmartArt graphic variant you chose is not the perfect option to show the kind of relationship or logic that you want to illustrate. Fortunately, there are so many other SmartArt types available -- and changing an existing SmartArt graphic to some other layout (type) is painless.

Learn how to change from one SmartArt graphic layout (type) to another in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2011, smartart, tutorials

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Monday, September 26, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



When PowerPoint 2003 is launched -- or when you create a new presentation -- you typically see the first slide of the presentation. This slide is known as the Title slide -- it contains placeholders for the slide title and the slide subtitle. Note that this layout is different from other slides which typically have a title placeholder with another placeholder for bulleted text (or a chart, graphic, etc.). All these other slides are influenced by the Slide Master, which governs their appearance and layout. The appearance and look of the Title Slide is influenced by the Title Master -- this is a separate Master that is a subset of the Slide Master.

Learn about the Title Master in PowerPoint 2003.

Categories: masters, powerpoint_2003, templates, tutorials

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Friday, September 23, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



SmartArt graphics in PowerPoint are so versatile -- once you insert a SmartArt graphic (or convert some bulleted text to SmartArt), you can add more shapes with just a click or two. This lets you expand your graphic as required. You can also go in the opposite direction and delete shapes from any existing SmartArt graphic with the same ease.

Learn how to delete shapes from an existing SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2011, smartart, tutorials

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Thursday, September 22, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Even if you are not aware, every presentation you create has its own Slide Master. This Master governs the default attributes like slide background, font choices, colors, and even the positioning of the placeholders in your slide. Thus if you end up with a 50 slide presentation that uses center aligned titles that you want changed to left aligned titles in a larger font size -- then you need to make this change only once within the Slide Master, and all 50 slides update at once with your new Title formatting! Also, the icing on the cake is that you do not have to format individual slides – this saves you loads of time, and you also end up with slides that are consistent in look.

Learn about the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2003.

Categories: masters, powerpoint_2003, templates, tutorials

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



After Nigel Holmes' morning session, the next keynote was conducted by Carmen Taran, who spoke about the power of remembrance.

Carmen 01

Carmen emphasized that it's important to understand what your audiences remember, because audiences can only act upon what they recollect. During several past sessions, Carmen has asked her audiences about which of her slides they remember. And results can depend on various factors.

Based on her psychology background, Carmen opined that audiences seem to remember the opening or closing slides in a presentation the most. They also distinctly remember something that is out of the ordinary. Holding attention is key to remembrance, and Carmen provided an analogy when she compared holding attention to the concept of an American supermarket where 50,000 products vie for your attention at any given time. And the typical shopping trip may be just 30 minutes long!

Attention is mandatory to memory. And statistics can make you feel the pain, face the reality, and understand the facts better. Whatever may be the case, we live in a world where an accessory can cost more than the product itself. Some iPad cases for instance retail at over 1500 dollars and even more. These accessories sell because people will remember that someone had a very expensive accessory, even if this certainly overestimates capabilities.

Carmen 03

On to another aspect altogether, Carmen asked the audience to ponder over this question: What kills the beginning of a training session? Is it the giving away of long handouts? Or a long self-introduction of the speaker? Or even a boring slide that distracts the audience's attention?

She asked the audience about good presentation titles. And questions often make good titles -- audience members gave these suggestions:

  • So why do voice-overs?
  • Hungry after Chinese food?
  • Saving private clients?

Carmen added: He who has the best story wins. Someone in audience said that when he is presenting, he has the privilege of an audience.

Carmen provided several amazing quotes:

  • Also do not treat your endings lightly.
  • Sometimes you do not have to say anything -- just a picture can make an impact.
  • Include a great message at the ending and you increase the longevity of your audience's remembrance.

More thoughts from Carmen -- the words may not be exactly what she quoted, but what I thought she said:

  • Repetition does not lead to memory. But people do remember something that is not cliche, or is different.
  • Audiences also remember dramatic shifts in the sequence of slides.
  • Sharp contrast between slides, and not gradual change is what people remember.
  • Bizarreness is a trait that you can attach to your visuals to make remembrance more dramatic. The more bizarre the pictures are, the better the remembrance.
  • Even though you want bizarreness, the images you use must be original and familiar. This is important to the brain since original and familiar stuff gets encoded easily within the brain. It also has a quicker retrieval rate.

Carmen 02

She then gave the audience 4 minutes to ask as many people within the audience their names, and remember those names. One of the audience members remembered 6 names.

We still had a few minutes left -- and Carmen said that other than distinctiveness, the quality that brings forth remembrance is emotion. Emotion causes both desire and pleasure. Also emotion can be both positive and negative. Generally, including negative emotions in a presentation leads to more detailed memories while positive emotions are prone to more errors. Carmen cautions us that if gist-based memory is sufficient, then pictures or words associated with positive emotions are appropriate.

Carmen 05



Carmen TaranDr. Carmen Taran's presentations and workshops help business professionals to use communication and presentation skills to increase revenue, train or motivate others, and overall to stand out from too much sameness in the industry. A published author, Dr. Taran is frequently invited as a keynote speaker at various conferences. She is co-founder of Rexi Media, a company that helps business professionals from all fields improve their presentation skills, whether they deliver content face-to-face, online, or create ondemand presentations. To learn more, visit the Rexi Media site.

Categories: powerpoint, presentationsummit

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



While many of PowerPoint's SmartArt graphic variants are so usable, there may be times when you want to add an extra shape or two to your SmartArt -- at this point of time, we are assuming that you already know how to insert a new SmartArt graphic or convert existing bulleted text to SmartArt. Fortunately, SmartArt allows you to make these additions and edits with just a click or two. You can add one or more shapes to your existing SmartArt graphics either from within the SmartArt graphic itself, or through the Text Pane. Whether you can add a new shape to a SmartArt graphic or not depends entirely on the SmartArt variant that you are using -- some variants offer more options than the others.

Learn how to add new shapes to an existing SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2011, smartart, tutorials

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



The opening keynote at the Presentation Summit 2011 was kick-started by Nigel Holmes. Nigel came from England 30 years ago, and is an amazing graphic designer. He showed his information art from the times when digital graphic design was not the norm.

Nigel spoke about the difference between "simplify" and "clarify". As an example, he showed the subway map of Tokyo. Apparently, there exists a complicated looking detailed map for the city residents. On the other hand, there is a much simpler map for tourists created by Richard Saul Wurman. This map only encompasses what travelers need to know. Look at these maps in the slide figures below -- you can click on all these slides to view larger representations.

Tokyo Complicated Subway Map

Tokyo Simple Subway Map

Nigel also talked about the power of a smile. He gave examples of the redesign of US currency, and a fantasy party arranged by the folks at National Geographic for the world population. Apparently, humor was not the norm in both these examples! Nigel said that it was easier to connect with your audience when you smile. And he made us all smile with an anecdote about a person who could tie 14 cherry knots using just his tongue.

Smile

Cherry Knots
His next topic was hot dogs, and he mentioned eating competitions. Participants gobble huge amounts of every type of food from asparagus to sausages. One of these "eaters" weighs only 105 pounds. Fame came to a Japanese eater who consumed 53 and a half hot dogs in just 12 minutes! So how did he accomplish this feat? He actually trains people on how you can eat faster than you can count! Apparently, some day the Olympics may have an eating competition.

53 and a half hot dogs
Nigel then discussed helium, and the rift between balloon artists, also known as twisters. He then said how he was more impressed with the lifting power of helium rather than its presentation prowess.


Nigel HolmesNigel Holmes moved to America in 1978 to work for Time Magazine. He became graphics director and stayed there for 16 years. Despite academic criticism, he remains committed to the power of pictures and humor to help people understand otherwise abstract numbers and difficult scientific concepts, whether in print or in presentations.



Categories: powerpoint, presentationsummit

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Every slide that you see in PowerPoint has its own unique look -- it has a slide background, and the same fonts typically are used on all slides. You really don't have to do anything other than adding new slides and typing in your text -- all the formatting is taken care of by some magical behind-the-scenes intelligence within PowerPoint. Also if you print notes pages or handouts from PowerPoint, you will find that these are also formatted to synchronize with the look of your slides. Ever wonder how you can control all this intelligence? Well, the answer is the Masters that are contained within every PowerPoint presentation.

Learn about various Masters in PowerPoint 2003 that influence the look of your slides, handouts, and Notes pages.

Categories: masters, powerpoint_2003, templates, tutorials

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Monday, September 19, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



SmartArt is a great option that lets you quickly create editable diagrams that also work as bulleted list alternatives. You have already learned how to convert your bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic -- but once you do that, you'll discover that it is neither easy nor intuitive to edit, add, or delete text that comprised your original bulleted list. Fortunately, you can get the bulleted list back within the convenient Text Pane of the SmartArt graphic -- any edits you make in the Text Pane also show immediately in your SmartArt graphic.

Learn how the Text Pane can help you to insert and edit text in your SmartArt graphics in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2011, smartart, tutorials

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Friday, September 16, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Do you want to add a sound track to your PowerPoint presentation so that it plays across slides -- so that when you move from one slide to another, the music continues playing without any interruption? A soothing background music score playing across your presentation slides can be a good move, as far is its not distracting your audience. Of course, if a live speaker is spearheading the presentation -- then it goes without question that you don't want to add a sound that spans across slides.

Learn how to loop a sound clip across slides in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: music, powerpoint_2010, sounds, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 5:46 AM IST



The aphorism, “Don’t raise the bridge, lower the water,” has applications from the soaring heights of architectural design to the quotidian task of presentation graphics; the common denominator in both being the importance of thinking outside the box.

In a paper (links to a PDF) called "Thinking More Effectively about Deliberate Innovation," Christopher M. Barlow, PhD, a member of The Co-Creativity Institute, said that the familiar phrase "forced me to a new perspective: creativity is not a change in the problem, it is a change in us, a change in our thinking that makes the already possible solutions obvious."

Mr. Barlow identified the problem in the aphorism as how to "get the boats past the bridge," and then went on to say, "If I ask you to design a lift bridge, and you begin describing the building of a dam and lock to lower the water level, I have to wonder about your sanity or intelligence…When some of the alternatives [are] made obvious by the new viewpoint are better than the best of the old ideas, we call it creativity." He summarized the creative process as "Not out of the box thinking, better box thinking!"

An example of better box thinking in the usually boxy world of architecture comes from the recently opened International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong, a 108-story, 1,588-foot building that is now the fourth-tallest tower in the world.

Because tall buildings tend to sway in the wind, architects—like Paul Katz of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates who designed the ICC—seek innovative ways to mitigate the risk.

According to the Wall Street Journal story about the tower:

Most skyscrapers utilize pendulums or dampers, designed to transfer the motion of the building to mitigation devices. These can be enormous. Taipei 101, the world's second-tallest building, sports a massive 660-ton steel ball, suspended from the 92nd floor that swings in full view of visitors...Mr. Katz designed the entire ICC to provide wind buffers. Instead of meeting in corners, the sides join in recessed notches. Its scaled surface—which gives the building a dragon appearance beloved by Chinese—also breaks up wind force. "It's like the opposite of an aircraft's wing," Mr. Katz explains. "It breaks up lift."

For presenters—who usually think within the strict confines of outbound corporate marketing boxes—better box thinking involves consideration of the audience. In most of today’s unilateral and overloaded business presentations, thinking about the audience all too often goes missing in action.

A client of mine, let’s call him Jason, who is a marketing manager for a Silicon Valley telecommunications company, was assigned to develop his company’s slide show for a new product launch. One of the slides Jason created was a network diagram in which all the labels were crammed into small boxes (pun may or may not be intended), each box containing two- and three-line captions. Readers of Presenting to Win will recall that wordwrap makes it harder for the audience to read than one-liners. When I suggested that Jason trim the labels to one-liners, he asked, "Should I make the text smaller or the boxes larger?"

I replied, "Don’t raise the bridge, lower the water!"

Jason smiled in recognition that it was more important to make the slide easy for the audience to read than for him to create.

That’s better box thinking.

Picture used in this post from BigStock


Jerry WeissmanJerry Weissman is among the world's foremost corporate presentations coaches. His private client list reads like a who's who of the world's best companies, including the top brass at Yahoo!, Intel, Intuit, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Netflix and many others.

Jerry founded Power Presentations, Ltd. in 1988. One of his earliest efforts was the Cisco Systems IPO road show. Following its successful launch, Don Valentine, of Sequoia Capital, and then chairman of Cisco's Board of Directors, attributed "at least two to three dollars" of the offering price to Jerry's coaching. That endorsement led to more than 500 other IPO road show presentations that have raised hundreds of billions of dollars in the stock market. Jerry also blogs at Harvard Business Review and Forbes.com

Categories: guest_post, opinion, powerpoint

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Thursday, September 15, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



If you want some music playing continuously without any interruption when you move from one slide to another, then you should first make sure that the music clip you are using is suitable for this purpose. A soft music clip that spans across your slides can make the flow between slides smooth, as long as the sound is not jarring or distracting for your audience. Also, if a presenter is going to speak along with the slides -- then it goes without question that you don't want to add a sound that spans across slides. Not only will this make the audience inattentive, but the speaker will be at a distinct disadvantage too. Yet, if you are showing a bunch of successive slides that include pictures -- and no speaker is accompanying the slides -- then adding a music clip to span across slides may be a good idea -- here's how you go about doing this task in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Learn how to loop a sound clip across slides in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: music, office_mac, powerpoint_2011, sounds, tutorials

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Imagine this scenario: you place a text box on your slide -- then you change the color of the font, reduce or increase the font size, set autofit options, tweak the margins, etc. At this point of time you are happy with your settings. Then you add another text box in the next slide -- and you realize that this new text box needs to look the same as the text box you created earlier! No -- you do not have to change all settings again -- you change the defaults within the active presentation so that any new text box you insert has the format abilities you want.

Learn how to set a formatted text box as your default text box in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: powerpoint_2010, text, tutorials

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



PowerPoint 2011 for Mac enables you to work with various types of sound files such as MP3, WMA, or WAV. However, inserted sounds are always embedded within your presentation, which is different from the default behavior in previous versions of PowerPoint which always linked sound files rather than embedding them. This has a plus side since you now no longer have to worry about linked files getting misplaced or lost. On the flip side, this can balloon file sizes. Having said that, it is still a good practice to keep your sound files in the same folder in which you save your PowerPoint 2011 presentation -- even before you insert them.

Learn how to insert audio or sound in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: music, office_mac, powerpoint_2011, sounds, tutorials

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Monday, September 12, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



Among PowerPoint 2010's newest and most magical abilities is the Remove Background option that lets you remove the background from an inserted picture. This can be a great feature if you want to remove a sky, a wall, any backdrop, or something else in a photograph so that the slide background shows through within the removed parts of the picture.

Learn how to remove a part of your picture to make a transparent background in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: graphics, pictures, powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Resizing text boxes works in almost the same way as you would resize any other slide object in PowerPoint -- select it and you will see eight handles on the four corners and four sides -- you then drag any of these corners to resize. The problem with this approach is that the resized text box you end up with is not accurate. If you do not need accuracy, then you need not read the rest of this tutorial -- however there might be times when you need your text box sized exactly as the size of another slide object on the same slide.

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

Categories: powerpoint_2010, text, tutorials

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Friday, September 09, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



OfficeOne ProTools Color Picker is a PowerPoint add-in (compatible with PowerPoint 2010, 2007, 2003, and 2002) that lets you pick up and apply the colors of lines, fills, effects, etc. to selected shapes and text in your slides. In addition, it also allows you to quickly click on an area of your slide and set that color as the background fill for your slides. Color Picker shows you the color of the pixel directly beneath the cursor on the screen so that you know what exactly you are clicking on.

Read the Indezine review of ProTools Color Picker.

Categories: add-in, color, , powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



With all the bad publicity that bulleted text on a PowerPoint slide gets these days, it may be a good idea to look at some alternatives -- even if you are exploring other options for only a few slides. One of the options that works great is SmartArt -- if you have some bulleted text on your slide in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac, you can easily convert it into to a SmartArt graphic with just a few clicks. Do note though that this works best when your original bulleted text does not have too much text -- just a small word or phrase in each of the bullets is something that translates very well to SmartArt.

Learn how to convert your existing bulleted text to a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2011, smartart, tutorials

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Thursday, September 08, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Sometimes you want your text box to be placed in an exact position on your slide. Yes, you can select a text box and move it around by dragging it with your mouse -- and then let it go wherever you want it placed -- but for all practical reasons, this process is just visual and not accurate enough. Thankfully, PowerPoint provides a way to accurately position any text box just where you want it located. While this tutorial shows you how to reposition a text box (or a shape), it can be used to reposition text placeholders too, especially in the Slide Master.

Learn how to reposition your text boxes accurately on a slide in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: powerpoint_2010, text, tutorials

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Wednesday, September 07, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



Last week I received a graphic of a CD from Ellen Finkelstein -- who created it for a promotion -- the amazing part was that Ellen used PowerPoint to create the image of the CD -- of course although this looks like a CD, you can use it for a DVD or Blu-Ray disc as well! In this tutorial, you will learn how a slide program like PowerPoint can be used as a very capable drawing program.

Learn how to use default shapes in PowerPoint 2010 to draw a CD or DVD.

Categories: drawing, graphics, powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



SmartArt is the successor to the Diagrams option in PowerPoint that let you insert organization charts and some simple diagrams. Certainly, SmartArt is much more involved than its predecessors -- yet it is quite easy to get started with this feature since almost everything you do is wizard driven. In this tutorial you'll learn how to insert a SmartArt graphic within PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Learn how to insert SmartArt graphics in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2011, smartart, tutorials

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Sound files of various types such as MP3, WMA, or WAV files can be used in PowerPoint 2010, which automatically embeds them into your presentation. This means that you no longer have to worry about linked files getting misplaced or lost like you had to in previous versions of PowerPoint. Even then, it is a good practice to keep your sound files in the same folder in which you save your PowerPoint 2010 presentation -- even before you insert them as we show you.

Learn how to insert sound (audio) clips in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: music, powerpoint_2010, sounds, tutorials

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Monday, September 05, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST



Tell me if this situation sounds familiar...

You’ve engaged a presentation designer for an important pitch (or you’re that designer being engaged.) You’ve got a lot of content and strategy to create in a short amount of time—so much so that you know you’ll be writing up until the very last minute. So, you ask your designer to “create a template” that you can “drop” your content into.

It sounds reasonable, as does downloading or purchasing a stock PowerPoint template that seems to fit the subject matter of your presentation. But here’s why the insistence on creating and using a “PowerPoint template” is often a waste of time and resources, and often entirely counter-productive to effective presentation:

A traditional template is usually just a pretty frame around the things you’re actually trying to communicate. Your goal should always be to design the content itself. Because of this, we have a saying around my office: Design content, not frames around content.

design content not frame.001

Here’s an example of a slide for which a designer was asked to create multiple templates in advance of any content. (I’ve recreated it and removed any identifying information.)

cruiseshipslide2

The client spent a great deal of time micro-managing image selection, but the designer, with no actual content to work with, could only create an empty design frame. The real sin came when the client “dropped in” the content you see here the night before resulting in an utter visual mess in which the designed template had no hope of rescuing the overall slide.

Did the time, energy and money spent creating this template (and other rejected ones) amount to anything when the content was treated with such visual indifference?

“Template-Think”

The above is a great example of “Template-think.” While the intentions behind this attitude are noble (I’m happy when anyone engages a presentation designer), the results are too often an ineffective presentation.

In the above case, and in general, it is far more important to design content on a slide by slide basis, instead of trying to convey an overall message with a template. Trust me, no matter how much you think that the perfect multicultural image in a PowerPoint template will inform your client that you understand their business, what’s really going to win you their business are the ideas you bring into the room. Nobody ever gave a contract or invested in a start-up because of a PowerPoint template.

The Best Presenters Don't Use Templates

If you don’t believe that an effective presentation can be designed without a template, I only have to point you to two of the best presenters out there today: Steve Jobs and Al Gore. While both utilize consistent graphics and a defined visual style, neither uses a template in the traditional sense, but rather plain canvases on which their content is designed. There are no heavily layered Photoshop backgrounds, no random wavy lines and no footers full of stock photography.

jobgore.001

When I present, my “template” is usually just a subtle vertical gradient from black to dark gray.

How to Design “Template-Less” in Advance of Content

So, if you’re not going to design a standard template, what can a designer do in advance of working with actual content?

Create a “look and feel” through mood boards and sample slides.

A designer’s mood board can take many forms, but for presentation I suggest including a color palette, font(s), graphic treatments and elements and a healthy collection of representative imagery you might ultimately use. Finally, create a few sample slides. (Hopefully you’ll have access to enough preliminary content to do so.) All this will provide a tool kit for the designer and a visual roadmap for the client that provides assurance to the latter that a designed presentation will emerge. Once strong and mostly final content comes in (in an outline or on slides), there should be enough assets and guidelines in place to build the presentation from the assembled “kit.”

The above method is exactly the way a number of very large presentation firms prefer to work. In fact, I was told by one that once a strong look and feel is created and once a solid slide-by-slide narrative is in hand, actually creating an entire set of slides can be a very quick and painless job.

Is a Template Ever Appropriate?

Yes.

A well-designed PowerPoint or Keynote template that makes use of masters and multiple layouts with sample slides is a great solution for maintaining consistency across an organization or within a single presentation. It is also a good way to help your clients “fish for themselves” and create well-designed slides on their own.

At my company, we often create custom presentations from scratch for big pitches and events. But we also have a standard template for everyday use that has pre-designed layouts for case studies, bios, org charts, data, etc. But this template, absent content, looks very unimpressive to the casual viewer: It is basically a plain white page with a logo in the corner. Similar to the slides of Jobs and Gore, it is a deliberately blank canvas upon which content can be designed. The “template” does not attempt to communicate much in and of itself.

I should note that there is actually a lot behind the scenes of our plain white template including style guides, color palettes, default styles, multiple masters, numerous sample treatments, guidelines for imagery and more. Since the template serves as the basis for hundreds of different types of presentations a year, the entire template toolkit has much more than any one single presentation would ever use. This is why it rarely makes sense to build such a detailed template for a single presentation.

If you are creating a presentation system for an organization, by all means spend time working on the template: The assignment will be over long before the content for that presentation next July is ready. But if you are creating a single standalone presentation, invest your energies in designing the content—not the pretty frame around it.


Nolan Haims After careers in theatre and the circus, Nolan Haims moved into the world of presentation, designing presentations for Fortune 500 CEOs, leading financial institutions and all the major television networks. Currently Nolan is Presentation Director for Edelman, the world's largest independent PR company. He writes about visual communication at PresentYourStory.com.

See Also: Present Your Story: Conversation with Nolan Haims

Categories: guest_post, opinion, powerpoint, templates

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