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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: October 2011

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

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Using Charts in PowerPoint: Conversation with Mike Parkinson

Monday, October 31, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST

Mike ParkinsonMike Parkinson is an internationally recognized visual communication expert and multi-published author. Mike has spearheaded multi-billion dollar projects and created thousands of graphics resulting in billions of dollars in increased revenue for his clients. He is often requested to speak at national conferences, large and small companies, and graphic industry events. Mike is a frequent contributor of visual communication articles for magazines, newsletters, and a variety of professional websites. Visit Mike's site, Billion Dollar Graphics for helpful presentation graphic tools and articles.

In this conversation, Mike discusses best practices on using charts.

Geetesh: Among all graphic types, what makes charts stand apart -- and what are your top suggestions for users who want to add charts on their slides?

Mike: There are two reasons quantitative charts rock! (I am referring specifically to area charts, bar charts, bubble charts, candlestick charts, circle charts, Gantt charts, line charts, pie or segment charts, and point charts.)

  1. Quantitative charts provide proof. Numbers validate your assertions. Making a bold claim without evidence is more opinion than fact. You’ll run the risk of losing credibility if you don’t provide evidence.

  2. Quantitative charts make it easy to analyze large amounts of data. Compared to raw data or tables, charts help us identify trends and make quick comparisons. You can use numbers alone to explain how your company will save your client more money than your competition; however, a bar chart or a line chart shows the difference and has greater impact. Below are two charts. One shows an overload of data in a spreadsheet, and the other is a simplified bar chart with graphic elements that reflect the subject matter (lumber used for the bars). The bar chart targets specific data and visually depicts the most important facts the author wants the audience to understand. Which is more memorable and easier to read?

    Excel and Bar Charts
    You can click on the figure above to view a larger version of the chart in a new window.

When adding charts to slides, remember the following best practices:

  1. Include relevant data only. Do not add information that has no relevance to the purpose of your chart. For example, if we are analyzing trends for the last 10 years, anything beyond that timeframe interferes with the chart’s ability to help the audience understand your point and goal.

  2. Consolidate data if your goal is to persuade. Make it easy for your audience to see the trend that supports your claim. Make it obvious.

  3. Choose the right chart. Each quantitative chart presents information differently. For example, if your goal is to quickly compare data points, a bar chart might succeed where a pie chart may fail.

Geetesh: Is there any scenario in which users may be better off using graphics other than charts on their slides -- or a different type of chart other than the usual bar, column, and pie charts?

Mike:The type of chart or graphic chosen depends upon the primary objective (the purpose of the slide), audience, and subject matter. For example, if you intend to sell a fleet of hybrid cars to a rental car company, you may choose to use a gauge graphic (gas gauge) to compare your car’s fuel economy with another leading hybrid car’s capacity. In this case the graphic type—a gauge graphic (shown below)——stands out, is consistent with the subject matter, and makes a memorable point.


Charts are great for distilling down data, but due to their ubiquity they are difficult to remember. We tend to remember things that stand out. Combine your charts with other graphic types or switch to another graphic type to improve your success rate. (Nigel Holmes does a fantastic job of creating unique charts that convey quantitative information, yet are highly memorable.) There are many different graphic types and an unlimited number of options to combine graphics. For example, you could use a bar chart to show an increase in sales. However, an interesting (and memorable) way may be to use a stair graphic with each step representing a year and its revenue with the top step being the goal set for your organization. To select the right graphic I recommend downloading my free Graphics Cheat Sheet (links to a PDF). It helps me choose the right graphic for the right need.

See Also: The Powerful Presentation Graphics Guarantee by Mike Parkinson

Categories: charting, design, graphics, interviews, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST

Organization charts in PowerPoint 2011 are just one of the many variants of SmartArt graphics you can insert in your slide. An organization chart graphically represents the management or hierarchical structure of an organization. This is great if you want to illustrate the reporting relationships in your company or organization. Make sure you choose any of the Organization Chart variants that the SmartArt option offers.

Learn how to insert an organization chart in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: graphics, org_chart, powerpoint_2011, smartart, tutorials

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Friday, October 28, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:36 AM IST

Nancy DuarteNancy Duarte has been a Principal of Duarte Design since 1990. Her firm is in the heart of the Silicon Valley and the client list is loaded with Fortune 500 companies. Her passion for business communications that are clear, meaningful and attractive has opened doors for her in a business world full of cluttered and complex visual communications.

In this conversation, Nancy goes off the beaten track to discuss pumpkins rather than slides!

Geetesh: The Pumpkin Contest that you folks at Duarte conduct every Halloween has become an annual tradition – tell us something about how this evolved? And was it always so much fun?

Nancy: We started the pumpkin contest when our firm was in a small office above a Starbucks and across from a Dentist office (this was LONG before the internet existed). The dentist would send their patients across the hall to cast a paper ballot for the best pumpkin. We also have had to put some rules in place so employees don't cheat.

We had a gal that worked here who was relatively famous in the Philippines and her pumpkins always seemed to get 100 times more votes than anyone else's. So we put a rule in place that you can't tell anyone which pumpkin is yours. Decorating the pumpkins is a blast. Each year, I feel all crafty carving mine and patting myself on the back confident I would win and then I bring my pumpkin and all my hopes are dashed. The creativity from the team is so CraZy I’ve NEVER won.

Duarte Pumpkin Contest

Geetesh: Tell us about this year’s contest – have you seen some of the entries? Do you also get to vote?

Nancy: We changed the voting this year. You can like as many pumpkins you want and the pumpkins with the most likes will win. We also won't reveal the winner until Halloween day. The entries are clever and the winner gets $500! I’ve already voted. I liked 6 of them, it was a tough decision.

See Also: Nancy Duarte and the Duarte Annual Pumpkin Contest (2010)

Categories: contest, design, interviews, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST

Like previous version of the program, PowerPoint 2010 continues to provide an amazing array of options to format your slide backgrounds. We started this series of tutorials by exploring how you can Format Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2010. This tutorial builds upon what you have already learned, and show how you can add a gradient fill to your slide background. Gradient fills are typically blended fills between two or more colors that graduate from one color to another.

Learn how to apply gradient fills as slide backgrounds in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: background, powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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Thursday, October 27, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST

Animation in PowerPoint can work in many ways depending upon what you are animating because PowerPoint has extra options up its sleeve for animating different types of slide objects such as text, charts, or even SmartArt. Once you add animation to your SmartArt, you'll discover that the entire graphic animates at the same time -- it may seem that you have no control over animating individual SmartArt shapes, but that's not entirely true. PowerPoint 2011 does provide some control over animating SmartArt shapes in sequence.

Learn how to animate SmartArt in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: animation, graphics, powerpoint_2011, smartart, tutorials

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST

Alexei KapterevAlexei Kapterev is one of the Russia's leading experts on presentations. He currently has a private consulting practice in Moscow. As permanent lecturer, he teaches at the Graduate School of Business Administration (Moscow State University) and as guest lecturer at the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo. He is also working in cooperation with Mercator, Russia’s premier studio producing corporate presentations, films, and business graphics. One of his presentation scripts was awarded the finalist award at the New York Festivals competition. Alexei runs his site and a blog at

In this conversation, Alexei discusses Presentation Secrets, his new book.

Geetesh: Tell us more about yourself, your online presentation that had a million views, and your new Presentation Secrets book.

Alexei: In late 2003, I was working for a consulting company as an analyst. The firm specialized in policy advising. Our clients were Russian ministries, senators, regulators, and formerly state-run, now privatized, companies. My job was to write reports to support decision-making processes. I had almost no contact with the clients, and frankly, I didn't suffer much because of that. I was quite happy just writing. But then came "the day". One of the firm's partners (to whom I am now very grateful) decided that it was time for me to see the big world. I had to present one of my recent reports before the firm's client.

I spoke for about 30 minutes and it all went very well, or at least I thought so. Unfortunately, it turned out that the client didn't quite share my view. He didn't understand why the report was prepared, what the findings were, and why we wasted so much time and money. My bosses had to improvise another presentation on the spot, one which, happily, did the job. The client calmed down but asked that they never delegate any presentations to me again. I was so frustrated that I promised myself to master the skill in the next few months.

This is how it all started. Two years later, the client (albeit a different one) asked for me to present whenever possible. Four years later, I’d read Jim Collins's book Good to Great and decided to do for a living what I found I could do best — give presentations. Next year, I published a presentation called Death by PowerPoint, which to my utter surprise went viral, having been viewed by more that one million people as of now. It was the greatest reassurance that the path that I’ve chosen is the right one. I’m currently teaching presentations at one of Russia’s best business schools, doing corporate workshops, practicing as a consultant, and occasionally working with Mercator, Russia's leading producer of corporate films, business presentations, and infographics.

Geetesh: What do you believe that a reader can expect to take away from your book?

Alexei: The book consists of three major parts. Part I is about story structure, Part II is about slides, and Part III is about delivery. Also, I have three broad principles that I use in my work: Focus, Contrast, and Unity. In each part there are three chapters and each chapter will follow one broad topic, thus producing a nice three-by-three matrix.

Presentation SecretsThe principle of focus states that every story, slide, or performance has the key focal point to attract attention. In any successful communication, this point is defined very early and the rest of the content is organized "around" this point. In a story, this is usually the hero. On a slide, this is usually the focal point, the brightest, the biggest, or the most emotional element (like a human face) of the composition that attracts the eye. In a live performance, this is most likely to be the speaker's persona, the answer to the question, "Who is presenting?"

Contrast is about presenting things only in relations to other things. As the old saying goes, "who has never tasted bitter, knows not what is sweet." The problem with most business presentations is that they consist of facts and only facts. The facts don’t have any inherent meaning of their own. They only make sense in relation to other facts. You need to compare things. Your audience needs to understand the proportions. They need to see the background. They need to see change. They need to see opposition. If you saw Jurassic Park, you might remember that a T-Rex can only see things when they move. In a way, we are all like this: We pay attention only when we see things changing and becoming different.

The principle of Unity is the most difficult principle to explain. It states that once properly aligned, conflicting parts create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. In a story, there are certain parts that produce a psychologically satisfying experience. If you lead your audience through the right points, they feel like they got something that goes beyond the journey itself, something transcendent, something transformative. The path that great presentations travel looks like the S-curve, which seems to be a universal model of change.

Those principles are very important, but in essence the book is not about the principles. It is mostly about illustrations, examples, cases. I believe that by studying examples you learn to apply those principles creatively — and this is the secret of great presentations.

Categories: books, interviews, powerpoint, presentation_skills

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST

PowerPoint 2010 provides umpteen options for your slide backgrounds. While our earlier Format Slide Background in PowerPoint 2010 tutorial provided a generic walkthrough on changing the slide background, this tutorial builds up on the techniques and steps you learned in that tutorial. Your new slide background can be a solid color, a gradient, a texture or a picture, or even one of PowerPoint's built-in patterns. Within this series of tutorials, we will show you how you can choose from any of these background fill options. We start this series with this tutorial that explores solid fills for your slide backgrounds.

Learn how to apply solid fills as slide backgrounds in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: background, powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST

As part of this ongoing SmartArt series, you have learned that SmartArt graphics can be customized to a large extent – you can resize and move individual shapes, format text and change colors, add and delete shapes, and animate them in sequence -- yet, even the customization options have their limitations. Any customization is within the bounding box within which your SmartArt graphic is contained. To get over these limitations, you may consider converting your SmartArt graphic to a collection of individual editable shapes that can be manipulated further. This approach does have its advantages since you are no longer tied to the SmartArt feature and can now treat the individual shapes as normal PowerPoint shapes that can be formatted, positioned, or animated as you deem fit! However, this freedom does come at a price -- first of all, this is a one-way process, and you lose any editability for the SmartArt graphic from that point of time.

Learn how to convert SmartArt to individual shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2011, smartart, tutorials

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Monday, October 24, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST

Taking the time to translate your talk into more mediums will increase your online audience, authority, and revenue.

Speakers take their speaking seriously. Their speeches are often the result of relentless research, writing, and word wrestling. Some speakers spend days -- even weeks whittling their words with their potent pens to get it right. And then ... the delivery! The applause. The accolades, praise and critique. And then it's over. A great speech relegated to the trash heap of history. But for those of us who want to add longevity to our letters…and credence to our creativity, there are solutions.

First, it’s valuable to as "Why bother?" I've spent all this time writing this speech ... and now you’re saying to take even more time to convert it into all other mediums. If you're looking to maximum the mileage of your message, taking the time to translate your talk into more mediums will increase your online audience and prominence, give you greater authority and credibility, and maybe even bring you fame and fortune.

Here are 5 ways to adapt your speech for other uses:

1. Adapt your speech into a presentation.

Amplfiy your words with graphics in PowerPoint, Keynote, SlideRocket, or SlideShare.

This article originated as a speech. And because I wanted to get more mileage out of it and put the concept to the test, I adapted it into a PowerPoint presentation. If you’ve got a great speech, it can easily be adapted into a graphically compelling presentation in PowerPoint, Keynote. Or put in on the web with narration and music with SlideRocket, or SlideShare. These presentation tools might actually help craft the speech's core messages more effectively and efficiently.

Studies show ... People remember 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, but 50% of what they hear and see in combination.

If your speech is well-written and compelling, try submitting it to a few magazines or trade publications. Online media maybe a fast and easy way to get your message seen, but print media is still regarded as a testament to credibility and authority. There are still plenty of magazines hungry for fresh new content.

2. Printed Article for a Magazine

Print Publications Provide Authority.

If your speech is well-written and compelling, try submitting it to a few magazines or trade publications. Online media maybe a fast and easy way to get your message seen, but print media is still regarded as a testament to credibility and authority. There are still plenty of magazines hungry for fresh new content. Get a book in print on your topic and then watch your rankings rise.

3. Video on YouTube

The World's Third Most Visited Website wants you.

The third use of speech is to create a video, and post it on YouTube. The fast and easy way is to set up a camera at your seminar, event, or Toastmasters meeting, record your talk, and just and upload it to YouTube.

Another efficient and effective approach is to combine the presentation with a screen capture tool like Camtasia Studio, and narrate it as you play the presentation.

The approach I like to use is to export a PowerPoint presentation as a series of JPG images. I then record the narration in an audio editing tool, and use a video editing tool like Adobe Premiere or After Effects to piece it together. This may take a bit more time, but the end result is a professional video.

And YouTube gets noticed; an average of 3 billion videos are viewed a day. And hundreds of people in their partner program are making 6-figure-incomes. Convert your speech to a video and suddenly you're talking to a whole other market!

4. Article on your Website / Blog

Spread your word...for fun or profit.

If you're serious about writing or sharing your opinion, it's helpful to have a website...your own "blog" or digital forum to share your ideas, insights and images. Your speech can be re-purposed with a few tweaks to find a friendly new home on your website. (Or maybe your speech started as an article on your website).

5. Discussion on Facebook, LinkedIn, PR-Log, or other Social Media Site

Repurpose with a level of objectivity can increase authority.

Transforming your topic into a objectively-written story can help elevate your website rankings, and help get your name out there as an expert in your field. Facebook remains the second-most visited website. Great for light and consumer-friendly-topics. LinkedIn has a many social forums and groups for publishing helpful content.

Meaningful and Purposeful Content

Convert your talk and impact the entire planet.

Ultimately what makes a good speech are the same elements that will make a great video, article or blog entry is good rich content. Words with meaning and purpose that we can all connect with.

This topic was born out of a desire for a short speech. By converting your speech and its message into various mediums, your gain new audiences, new appeal, and new power. If it sticks, you can move forward in various venues and watch your influence as a writer / speaker / and influence as an expert in your field grow.

Ultimately the quality of any medium is a result of the quality of the content. Find your favorite talk and put it out there in a multitude of mediums for the world to see, hear, and experience. And Five Uses for One Speech will have an impact on the entire planet.

Kevin LernerKevin Lerner Kevin Lerner is a leading expert on presentation design, content and delivery. Since founding The Presentation Team in 1995, Kevin and his team have developed presentations for clients including Oracle, Motorola, ADT, Tyco, Comcast Cable, Office Depot, Ryder, UBS Financial. Kevin lives in the Miami, Florida area and enjoys travel, photography, and working to help the world connect.

Categories: guest_post, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST

There are twelve default slide Background Styles available in PowerPoint 2010. Beyond that, you can always change the default background to a solid color, a gradient, a pattern or texture, or even a pattern. In this tutorial, you will learn how to change the default slide background in PowerPoint.

Learn about different options available to format the slide background style in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: background, powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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Friday, October 21, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST

PowerPoint makes it easy to use bright, vibrant colors in a presentation, which can either be good or very, very bad. Used correctly, color can draw attention to important parts of a slide, elicit a desired emotional response, or reinforce a company's brand identity. But poor color choices can be distracting in ways you might not even be aware of. And any time your audience's attention is focused where it shouldn't be, they're missing your main message.

Some of the most common results of bad color choices in PowerPoint are illegibility, unintentional associations, unclear charts, and the creation of slides that are just plain ugly!


In a recent survey conducted by Dave Paradi, a well-known PowerPoint designer, it was found that one of the top five PowerPoint annoyances was "Slides are hard to see because of color choice." Here's an example of a slide that could be illegible under certain lighting conditions or on some monitors. There is very little contrast between the black text and the grey background, which makes the slide hard to read.

How to avoid it: The easiest combinations to read are light text/dark background and dark text/light background.

Unintentional Associations

Certain colors are associated with celebrations, ceremonies, or emotions so their misuse in a presentation can be subtly distracting.

In the United States, this combination of red and green reminds people of Christmas. The information on the slide has nothing to do with that holiday so this color choice doesn't make any sense.

Colors can be warm (e.g., red, orange, yellow, gold) or cool (e.g., blue, green, turquoise). Warm colors are associated with heat, anger, and excitement, while cool colors evoke cold temperatures and calmness. In the following slide, you can see how the background color contradicts the message of the text.

How to avoid it: Choose colors that support your message drawing from the color palette in your PowerPoint template.

Unclear Charts

Colors can be used to separate data points on a graph or chart. The convention is that similar data are grouped by color. For instance, in a corporate organizational chart the President could be Color #1, the VPs could be Color #2, and the Managers could be Color #3. That way, a quick glance at the chart tells the viewer what position the person holds within the company.

Alternately, it's confusing if every box is a different color. On the following slide, even though the chart hierarchy communicates people's level within the company, the colors imply that each person has a different function.

How to avoid it: Use color to group like information so that people can quickly make associations.

Just Plain Ugly!

PowerPoint templates typically include color palettes that go well with the background graphics and that look good when used together. Corporate PowerPoint templates are designed using the corporate palette to support the brand. When presenters decide to use bright colors just for the sake of brightness, the results can be awful:

How to avoid it: Use only the colors within your PowerPoint template's color palette. If you don't have a company template, use the same colors that appear in your company's other marketing materials, such as its website, logo, and brochures.

So how can you tell if you're making poor color choices? When in doubt, stick to the palette provided with the template. And always get one or more people to look at your slides before your presentation so that you can gauge their responses to the colors you've used. Rule of thumb: if your deck looks like a rainbow washed over it, you're probably using too many bright colors! Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Laura FoleyLaura Foley is a graphic designer and creative thinker who helps her clients to effectively communicate their messages. She specializes in Cheating Death by PowerPoint, enabling her clients to transform their PowerPoint decks into an effective marketing tools through workshops, consulting, and redesign services.

Laura M. Foley Design has developed creative marketing tools for many companies, including Procter & Gamble, Juniper Networks, Harvard Business School, Eloqua, Polaris Venture Partners, and Atlas Venture.

A graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Laura has over two decades' experience in creative presentation design, marketing, and copywriting. She lives in Central Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.

Visit her site and blog -- you can also follow her on Twitter.

Categories: guest_post, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST

All SmartArt layouts include text boxes -- you can click within these text boxes, and start typing to add text. You may not need not know much about some related concepts to follow this tutorial -- but just in case, we have already showed how you can insert SmartArt and convert bulleted text to SmartArt. Having said that, let us now explore the ways to format text within SmartArt graphics.

Learn how to format the text in SmartArt graphics in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2011, smartart, tutorials

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Thursday, October 20, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST

Whenever you launch PowerPoint, you may typically see a single slide with a white background. Or if you open any of your existing presentations, the background of your slides may be in a different color depending upon the Theme that the presentation is based upon. You can always change this slide background to a picture, a solid color, a pattern, or even a gradient. However, before you think of all those options, do explore the twelve background styles that PowerPoint offers for every presentation by default. These styles are all coordinated and also designed to work well as a set of complementary backgrounds.

Learn about different slide background styles available in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: background, powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST

One of the reasons why PowerPoint's implementation of the SmartArt feature is considered so good is because customizations are so doable. We have already shown you how to change colors of the entire SmartArt graphic, or apply cool SmartArt styles. In addition, you can format at the individual shape level within the SmartArt graphic -- change individual shapes or move them within the area occupied by the SmartArt.

Learn how to resize the individual shapes contained within a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2011, smartart, tutorials

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST

Joy MillerJoy Miller, a technical writer for more than 16 years (12 at Microsoft), lives in the Seattle area of the state of Washington. She writes help documentation and produces how-to videos for Microsoft Office PowerPoint. You can find her industry-related posts on a regular basis at the PowerPoint Blog.

In this conversation, Joy discusses the just concluded Presentation Summit.

Geetesh: Tell us about the Presentation Summit that you attended in Austin last month – what was your experience?

Joy: This was my second year at the Presentation Summit. As an employee of Microsoft, my objectives for the summit were to engage with people who use PowerPoint to find out how they use it. Also, to learn how industry experts are advising our customers how to best use PowerPoint.

I create help content for PowerPoint – including writing articles and producing how-to videos that can help people accomplish their goals using PowerPoint. That said, I am always up for learning valuable tips on how to better design, build, and deliver a presentation. The basis behind my using and documenting how to use PowerPoint is: 'Less is more. Inspire with visuals. Speak with enthusiasm.'

Interactive Session at the Presentation Summit
Picture Courtesy: Joy Miller

Geetesh: What were the key takeaways for you from the Summit?

Joy: I shared my favorite takeaways in a recent blog post I wrote about the Summit, but for the purposes of this interview, I’d like to disclose them here:

  • Less on a slide is more.

  • For a key slide to stand out, it must have weaker neighbors; less impactful slides before and after.

  • Convert slide text and bullet points to SmartArt graphics. They're so much more visual, and super easy to do.

  • Storytelling: Share personal stories to gain attention and empathy from your audience.

  • When presenting, use props to help you make an important point.

  • The audience will remember absurd visuals, such as a photograph of an old man with blonde hair or someone wearing a grass suit.

  • Whenever possible, involve the audience in your presentation. Make it interactive.

  • Remember these fundamental skills when presenting to a live audience:

    • Use purposeful eye contact to help "pull you around the room".

    • Use hand gestures that are associated with what you are saying. But don't distract from what you're saying by overusing hand gestures.

    • Pay attention to pace, pause, and vocal variety when speaking.

Categories: interviews, powerpoint, presentationsummit

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST

The fact that the SmartArt allows so much customization in PowerPoint 2011 by applying new colors or styles means that your SmartArt graphic may be not quite the same as PowerPoint's default offering -- in addition, you may have resized or moved individual shapes within the SmartArt graphic, and there's no real undo for any of these options once you save and close your presentation file. If you do have the need to undo all of the customizations, you can do so by restoring the default layout and colors of the entire SmartArt graphic using the Reset option, and get rid of any customizations.

Learn how to reset a customized SmartArt graphic back to its original, default state in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2011, smartart, tutorials

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST

Jay WilderJay Wilder is director of product marketing at Brainshark, Inc. Brainshark’s cloud-based software lets users create online and mobile video presentations – using simple business tools like PowerPoint and the telephone – and then share and track their content. Thousands of companies use Brainshark to improve the reach and results of their business communications, while dramatically reducing costs.

In this conversation, Jay discusses Brainshark’s SlideShark app, which the company unveiled today.

Geetesh: What is SlideShark – is it a site or an iPad app? And what can it do for our PowerPoint presentations?

Jay: We’re very excited to be launching SlideShark today. It’s a new and free app that addresses a major and common pain point among iPad users – especially those who are using their device for business.

That pain point is PowerPoint on the iPad. Business users rely on PowerPoint in their everyday work, and with no way to play PowerPoints directly and reliably on the iPad, they’ve faced mounting frustration. Sure, they can use workarounds – flattening presentations into PDFs – or other conversion products, but these all involve a loss of fidelity. They often render animations inactive, while distorting fonts, colors, graphics and more. Given the speed at which businesses need to operate today, there’s little time for users to waste slapping their foreheads and reformatting.

SlideShark iPad LoginNow, with SlideShark, they have a way to view and present the PowerPoints they rely on. This goes a long way toward helping companies – especially those with mobile salesforces – get the most out of their iPad technology investments. SlideShark is free and – best of all – easy to use. Users simply upload their PowerPoints to a free, secure, online account, and the files are converted to an iPad-optimized viewing format. From there, users can download and view their presentations using the SlideShark iPad app.

Geetesh: How good is the conversion from PowerPoint to the format SlideShark uses on the iPad – especially with respect to animations, fonts, pictures, etc.?

Jay: We’re pleased to say that SlideShark preserves the fonts, animations, graphics and colors in presentations, with very few exceptions. What you see in PowerPoint is what you get in SlideShark.

SlideShark is very easy and intuitive to use as well. Users can download their presentations and have them play locally -– no Internet connection required. They simply swipe or tap the iPad screen to advance their animations and slides.

With SlideShark, we look forward to helping businesspeople and companies truly leverage the business potential of the iPad, allowing them to view and present PowerPoints effectively while on-the-go.

Geetesh: If you’re a PowerPoint and iPad user, what do you need to do to get SlideShark?

Jay: You’ll need two things: an online account – for uploading and converting – and the SlideShark app – for downloading and viewing. If you head to, you can register for your free account. Then, check your welcome email for the App Store link to the app.

SlideShark My Content

SlideShark Preview Page

Categories: brainshark, interviews, ipad, powerpoint

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