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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: March 2013

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

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PowerPoint Concept Slides: Organic Ovals

Saturday, March 30, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Drawing a perfect oval with just a pencil on paper is easier than drawing a perfect circle – but remove the word “perfect”, and your drawing becomes less stressful – to you and also to whoever your audience may be! And then dawned the computer era – where everything was so “perfect” again – with flawless curves, reflecting unflawed geometry! Do you yearn for the imperfection? You can easily achieve this hand drawn look with our Organic Shapes series. Ovals are just one of the common shapes that we doodled on paper – and then reproduced as native PowerPoint shapes for you to use. Including rectangles, our Organic Shapes collection contains 8 shape types – each type has 10 variants – so you end up with 80 hand-drawn shape options! These shapes will help break the monotony of text heavy slides, and assist you in explaining difficult concepts better to your audiences. Using these organic shapes also convinces your audiences that you care enough about them to make the slides look appealing and comprehensible. What's more, these shapes are also so much fun to use!

  

Buy and download these slides now.

Categories: design, graphics, powerpoint, presentation_samples

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Friday, March 29, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Honeycombs are formed when you place hexagons next to each other – and these hand drawn hexagon shapes are great to create your own honeycombs! It’s become a passion for us to create shapes that have no straight lines or perfect, geometrical appearances – all part of our Organic Shapes series. Honeycombs are just one of the common shapes that we doodled on paper – and then reproduced as native PowerPoint shapes for you to use. Including honeycombs, our Organic Shapes collection contains 8 shape types – each type has 10 variants – so you end up with 80 hand-drawn shape options! These shapes will help break the monotony of text heavy slides, and assist you in explaining difficult concepts better to your audiences. Using these organic shapes also convinces your audiences that you care enough about them to make the slides look appealing and comprehensible. What's more, these shapes are also so much fun to use!

  

Buy and download these slides now.

Categories: design, graphics, powerpoint, presentation_samples

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



Text outlines in PowerPoint are the borders around your text that can be used to make your slide titles, or sub-titles to look prominent and stylish. The text outline may or may not be turned on by default depending upon the Theme applied to the presentation, or the WordArt Style applied. Still, you can apply and edit text outlines in the same way as you do with text fills. PowerPoint's Text Outline option provides you with plenty of editing options for your text outlines, follow these steps to explore more.



Learn how to make changes to the appearance of text outline in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, text, tutorials

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Thursday, March 28, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



PowerPoint 2013's work area below the Ribbon continues to be tri-paned -- these three panes comprise the Slides pane, the Slide area, and the Notes pane. The Slides Pane is the thin strip on the left side of the PowerPoint 2013 interface that contains thumbnails of all your slides. Long time PowerPoint users will recollect that this pane used to be twin tabbed in all older versions -- other than the Slides pane, you could also access the Outline pane. The Outline pane has been removed in PowerPoint 2013 -- since there's just one pane, there are no tabs for this pane -- by default you can just see the Slides pane now.



Learn about the Slides pane in PowerPoint 2013.

Categories: powerpoint_2013, tutorials

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:45 AM IST



To perform some tasks within Windows, you must be able to see all files and the folders -- but there are chances that some of your files or folders may be hidden -- this may not be so obvious and fortunately it's easy to overcome this limitation. By default, all versions of Windows hide at least some files and folders -- in this article, we'll show you how you can unhide these files or folders within Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP.



Learn how to make the hidden files and folders visible in Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

Categories: microsoft_windows, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



You may be delivering a scientific paper, explaining to the salespeople how the new system will change the way they place orders, or reporting on a project that no one really understands. When you stand up in front of an audience with people who have no idea who you are, you need to let them in on you as a person. Tell them a "secret" about yourself so they feel connected to you. Decide whether to tell this mini mini-story as soon as you start talking, or perhaps after you present your executive summary.

How are you, as a person, different? Find something interesting about yourself that you can share, and relate it to your topic. For example, a presenter with twin sons could say, "You think it's hard to balance the company business, well, you haven't had twins. My twins are now 10 years old and they have taught me a lot about setting priorities." Or, "Now that I am in charge of business operations, I can put to good use all that I've learned by having twins. Now that's an operation to manage!" One or two sentences say a lot about who you are and make you more human to your audience.

Here's how a scuba diver worked her passion into her presentation on a problematic new project plan that will need some hard work to resolve:

"I'm a scuba diver by passion. What's really interesting in scuba diving is that the water can be very rough on the surface, but once I've gone down even 40 feet, it becomes is clear and gorgeous. I've dived in some treacherous-looking but beautiful reefs off the coast of Belize. From my experience, we have some reefs to navigate before we can dive deeply into implementing this plan. The results all will see will be worth our efforts right now."

This tells your audience something about yourself, indicates where you think you are now in the plan, and expresses the confidence that it is totally possible to reach a satisfactory conclusion.



Claudyne WilderClaudyne Wilder coaches executives, managers, and salespeople on how to deliver presentations that get to the message. Her clients give compelling, passionate presentations. Her company has an ongoing contract to give her Get to the Message: Present with a Purpose workshop at a Fortune 100 Global Pharmaceutical Company. Claudyne brings a unique and invigorating perspective to her work from her years of studying the Argentine Tango.

Do visit Claudyne's site at Wilder Presentations to sign up for her blog, her tweets or to download some free presenting tools.

Claudyne's next Get to the Message Workshop in Boston is May 14 and 15. It is a very small intimate group with only ten people.

Categories: guest_post, opinion, presentation_skills, stories

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



Do you want to create some text that needs to be printed in black and white? Or maybe you need some text that has awesome contrast -- in either case, text with a solid color fill is your best option -- other text fill types including pictures, gradients, and textures rarely have that sort of contrast. However, there is another fill option available for your text -- the Pattern fill that lets you add contrast -- and is yet different from the regular solid fills.



Learn how to add a pattern fill to the selected text in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, text, tutorials

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 10:30 AM IST



In this issue, we explore the topic of picture copyrights again -- this time we look at whether the person who provides permission is actually the original owner of the asset, or not! We also bring you Organic Rectangles, part of our hugely popular Organic Shapes series. Cindy Pearson talks about a free online PDF to PowerPoint converter -- and you can look at our Eight Petals Circle shapes. Finally, you get to read and learn from our PowerPoint tutorials: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac users will learn about texture and picture fills for text. PowerPoint 2010 for Windows users can learn about compressing pictures and setting document resolutions -- also how you can set text indentation using numerical values.



Read all this and more in Indezine News.

Categories: ezine, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Andy ZimmermanAndy Zimmerman is chief marketing officer for Brainshark, Inc., a leading provider of sales enablement solutions. Thousands of companies use Brainshark to improve the reach and results of their business communications, while dramatically reducing costs.

In this conversation, Andy discusses "SlideShark Broadcasting" – a new capability the company is launching today in its SlideShark app.

Geetesh: SlideShark Broadcasting is a big feature – can you tell us more?

Andy: Thanks, Geetesh. It really is a big feature and an exciting addition to the app. SlideShark has had fantastic traction to date – with more than 1.4 million downloads – and Broadcasting significantly expands the app’s scope and utility.

As you know, today, individuals and businesses use SlideShark to show PowerPoints properly from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch and manage, distribute and track their content in the cloud. Now, with SlideShark Broadcasting, mobile presenters can "broadcast" their presentations live over the Web, and invite others to view them.

Meeting attendees – whether they're across the table or across the globe – simply click a link to view the presentation in real time, from any computer, tablet or smartphone. They'll see the presentation in their Web browser – no downloads required – as the slides and animations are advanced, and even see annotations as made by the presenter. So for anyone who can't attend a meeting in person, it's very easy to get looped in. And it's also a great way to focus the attention of the people in the room who can follow along on their own device!

Slideshark Broadcast

This new feature is a boon to presenters too. They can broadcast their presentations securely, and maintain control over what content is delivered, when it's delivered and the overall cadence of the meeting. Presenters receive visual alerts when someone enters or exits a broadcast, and at the meeting's conclusion, receive reports via email that detail audience attendance and viewing activity. They also receive data on the broadcast meeting itself – including how long it lasted, which presentation(s) and slides were shown, how much time was spent on each slide and more. This is a great help for any follow-up activity.

Slideshark Broadcast

If your readers would like more info and/or a visual explanation, here's a quick (two-minute) demo of how SlideShark Broadcasting works:



Geetesh: This broadcast feature is limited to SlideShark PRO and Team Edition account holders – although free and PLUS users can try it out at no cost until May 31, 2013. What happens after that date? Also, can you tell us more about your new SlideShark PRO offering?

Andy: You're right. So, with Broadcasting being a feature that is attractive to businesses, we've incorporated it into SlideShark Team Edition. Team Edition users can broadcast to up to 25 attendees per meeting. We've also introduced SlideShark PRO – a new plan that includes the broadcasting and reporting capabilities and provides an additional 1GB of storage to users. SlideShark PRO account holders are able to invite up to 10 attendees to join each broadcast meeting.

Users with free and SlideShark PLUS accounts, as you mentioned, will be able to try out the capabilities at no charge and can include up to three attendees per broadcast, through May 31, 2013. If free and PLUS users would like to continue using the Broadcast feature, they would simply need to upgrade to SlideShark PRO. You can see a comparison of all the SlideShark plans here.

Thanks very much for this opportunity, Geetesh. It was a pleasure to speak with you as always and share our SlideShark news with your readers.

Categories: brainshark, interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Once a picture is inserted within PowerPoint, any manipulations you make to that picture are strictly only on the surface. The appearance of the picture changes on the slide, but the unaltered picture is stored within your PowerPoint presentation. Essentially that's good because if you make many changes to a picture -- and then regret experimenting -- then you can just reset your picture rather than starting all over again! There's one caveat though -- the option to reset any picture back to its original form works only if you have not run any compression options for your presentation.



Learn how to reset pictures in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: pictures, powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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Monday, March 25, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:45 AM IST



In a previous tutorial of the SlideBoom series, we explained you about the SlideBoom online presentation site. While you need not be a member of this site to view presentations, you must join as a member to do practically anything else such as posting presentations, downloading files, commenting, etc. In this tutorial, you'll learn how you can become a member at SlideBoom. Remember -- SlideBoom in its present form is a free service -- and the basic membership level is also free.



Learn how you can join SlideBoom, a PowerPoint sharing site.

Categories: online_presentations, powerpoint, slideboom

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Jim EndicottJim Endicott is an internationally-recognized consultant, designer, speaker specializing in professional presentation messaging, design and delivery. Jim has been a Jesse H. Neal award-winning columnist for Presentations magazine with his contributions to the magazine's Creative Techniques column. Jim has also contributed presentation-related content in magazines like Business Week, Consulting and Selling Power as well as a being a paid contributor for a number of industry-related websites.

In this conversation, Jim discusses the results of the 2013 Annual Presentation Impact Survey conducted by his company, Distinction Communication, Inc.

Geetesh: Thank you for doing this survey each year – and then sharing the results. Each year, these results shed light on changes happening in the world of presenting -- what’s are the biggest changes this year?

Jim: Over the years we've established a baseline response on a few topics and we revisit those each year to spot any trends. One of the most relevant questions is this one… "How would you rank the importance of personal presentation skills on your career and income?". This year 89% of respondents, nearly 9 in 10, are saying that presentation skills directly impact their careers and income -- up 3% from last year. As much as information has gone virtual, the human conduit for delivering information and ideas (in person or via the web) has become even more essential for most of us. 'How' we deliver it matters a lot. And those who struggle in this critical personal skill area will most likely find themselves at a disadvantage.

Since these skills seem to be so important to everyone year after year, we wanted to understand the challenges presenters are experiencing in getting better. This year 61% indicated they receive 'little or no feedback' and only 31% said their companies 'support the ongoing development' of good presentation skills. This points out a unmistakable irony that exists today. Companies place a very high value (as do individuals) in being a good communicator yet when it comes to making that investment in time or money, it's not happening very often.

It's probably the one skill we all share that can make the most significant impact on our professional lives.

Geetesh: While so much changes, some things remain the same. Not much has changed as far as irritating presenter behaviors are concerned -- can you share some thoughts?

Jim: We added a few new questions this year around that area. I suspect we all have our pet peeves but we wanted to be able to give our respondents a chance to rack and stack their own. No matter where we come from, the categories seem to be universal.

Rank these presenter behaviors from most to least irritating or distracting, 1 being the worst (listed below from most irritating average score to least)

Here was the collective feedback.

  1. Reading directly from notes or off the screen
  2. The use of umm’s and uhhh’s (filler words)
  3. Pacing or nervous movement
  4. Eyes wander and won’t make eye contact with the audience
  5. Presenter wants to stay behind a podium or lectern

Another irritation we all have is how people approach their visuals. After all, as audience members we have to stare at them for an hour or so we all have an opinion. This year we wanted to see how presenters assessed their own visuals.

What best describes the PowerPoint (or equivalent) presentations you or your team deliver? (Be as objective as you can)?

  • 12% -- Very simple, sometimes bordering on too elementary
  • 16% -- Overly complicated, way too much information on a slide
  • 50% -- Average visuals, no better or worse than others I see
  • 22% -- Awesome, high caliber and well-designed presentation visual

What should probably disturb us most is not the high and low responses, rather the big chunk of people in the middle who think their visuals are "average". As most of us suspect, the bar seems to be set fairly low in most companies today so being "average" is probably not a very good thing -- mediocrity rarely is. Next year we will ask survey respondents to reflect on the presentation visuals of others and I doubt they will be as gracious as the presenter’s self evaluation was this year.

One thing is for sure, there aren’t many natural born presenters, most of us have to work at it and we need more practical resources to do that.

See Also: Making the Complex Simple: by Jim Endicott

Categories: interviews, powerpoint, survey

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



While choosing texture fills for your text, you need not limit yourself to the default textures that PowerPoint offers. Third party custom textures are always an option, including our own Scribble Custom Textures that provide your text with an organic look, as if someone scribbled lines with a pencil to fill them! You can also try some more custom textures from our Ppted Background Texture Collection. Let us explore how to use these custom textures as fills for your text, in the following steps.



Learn how to use a custom texture as a fill for text in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, text, tutorials

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Saturday, March 23, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



You could easily drag and draw a rectangle in PowerPoint but everyone in your audience has seen thousands of such rectangles – and they do not stand apart any more. So how can you create a different type of rectangle that has no straight lines or perfect, geometrical shapes? You can easily achieve this hand drawn look with our Organic Shapes series. Rectangles are just one of the common shapes that we doodled on paper – and then reproduced as native PowerPoint shapes for you to use. Including rectangles, our Organic Shapes collection contains 8 shape types – each type has 10 variants – so you end up with 80 hand-drawn shape options! These shapes will help break the monotony of text heavy slides, and assist you in explaining difficult concepts better to your audiences. Using these organic shapes also convinces your audiences that you care enough about them to make the slides look appealing and comprehensible. What's more, these shapes are also so much fun to use!

  

Buy and download these slides now.

Categories: design, graphics, powerpoint, presentation_samples

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0 comments




Friday, March 22, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



These Eight Petals Circle graphics are part of our Petal Circles series that add stylized tips to your circle shapes. These two tip styles: Rounded and Pointed make your circles look different from conventional segmented circle graphics. They also break the monotony of text heavy slides, and help you explain concepts better to your audiences. Using these circle shapes also convinces your audiences that you care enough about them to make the slides look appealing and comprehensible. What's more, these shapes are also so much fun to use!



Buy and download these slides now.

Categories: design, graphics, powerpoint, presentation_samples

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



One of PowerPoint's greatest qualities is that you can get all sorts of content from disparate sources and add them all within one presentation to create a unified document. Pictures are one of the most important content types you add on your slides -- however, each picture you insert may have different resolutions -- and thus even though you may have sized your picture to look like a small postage stamp on your slide, it may be increasing your file size by several megabytes. You can of course manually compress pictures in your presentation -- additionally, you can set the document resolution for any presentation -- this option will compress pictures you insert automatically to the default resolution you set.



Learn how to set document resolution in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: pictures, powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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Thursday, March 21, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



Although text in PowerPoint can be with a texture, the appearance of the text depends upon the texture chosen, and how well it contrasts with the slide background. Make sure that the texture used is not too crowded or even multicolored -- and as already stated, choose a texture that contrasts with your slide background for the reason of readability.



Learn how to add a texture fill to the selected text in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, text, tutorials

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



One of the most fascinating pictures that I have seen of an iceberg is this composition by photographer Ralph A. Clevenger -- this is a fully copyrighted picture, yet a quick search on Google Images will show that this picture has been used hundreds of times on the web (see Figure 1, below).

Search and you get hundreds of the same results
Figure 1: Search and you get hundreds of the same results

So have all these web sites licensed the picture? That doesn't appear to be true -- since this picture is sold at a very high price on Corbis -- they won't even publish the price on the Corbis site -- see Figure 2, below.

Iceberg Picture on Corbis
Figure 2: The same picture on Corbis

So why are we even discussing this picture? That's because the subject of picture copyrights is not always clear -- and how can you even know if the picture you are using is copyright free or not? Unless the picture is placed within a Creative Commons license on a reputed site such as Flickr, there is no way you can really trust any site that says that a picture is free to use! This picture is therefore a perfect case study -- let us start with a little history.

I first saw this picture used in a presentation slide -- and this was one of those slides that stayed in my memory. It stayed long enough that I wanted to use it in my own slide where I was using an iceberg as an analogy to explain a difficult concept to my audience. I searched for iceberg pictures on iStockphoto, Fotolia, Bigstock, and many other sites -- but could not find this picture anywhere. Of course, there were many similar pictures available on all these sites -- but none of them looked half as good as the original!

Imagine my surprise then -- when I found this picture freely available using Google's Image search options -- some results were actually fairly high resolution pictures! Most of these high res variations were freely downloadable from wallpaper sites. Now some of these wallpaper sites proclaim that these pictures are copyrighted by them -- you might actually end up believing that this picture belongs to them, and they are kind enough to allow you to use it! Fortunately, that thought did not satisfy me -- and I am so glad that I was not contented with that conclusion, as you will learn later in this post!

Most Google Image search results can span many pages -- or at least you need to use the "Page Down" key multiple times. One such instance of this picture actually led to a page with a story about this picture. Apparently, this picture was composed of four pictures (two icebergs, one sky, and one water) by photographer Ralph A. Clevenger -- there was also a nice video clip that had a small interview with the photographer on YouTube -- find this video clip embedded here.



This story and some more research led me to Corbis -- so now I know that this was not a copyright free picture -- in fact, this was a very expensive picture! That does mean I cannot use this picture in my presentation -- so I just had to select for the second best this time and use a Creative Commons licensed picture from Wikimedia Commons instead -- this picture was also a photo-montage composed of different pictures.

So what's the moral of this story? You need to be sure that anything you are using is within copyright limits -- sometimes you may not see the obvious, but be persistent and do your research well.

Counterpoint

This picture is so familiar – therefore it makes a great topic to discuss copyrights. But then you also need to know about clichés – don’t go and use this iceberg picture in your next presentation! As my friend Carmen Simon points out:

Copyright or no copyright, that iceberg picture has been used so much in presentations for the past few years that it has become a cliché. I was working with someone just a few weeks ago and he said "Can we use the iceberg pic?" and my reaction was please, not the iceberg picture again! So the advice that I would have for people is that if they look for a picture on Google and they see so many references to it, then don't even bother to check copyright; better to search for another picture because the climax is gone, the concept is too beaten up, and the freshness is gone.

Categories: copyrights, opinion, pictures, powerpoint

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