PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: December 2013

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

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PowerPoint and Presenting News: December 31, 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 10:30 AM IST



In this issue, we first bring you an exclusive conversation with Tom Kuhlman of Articulate who discusses how easily you can use the new Articulate Studio '13 within PowerPoint. We have some more snowflake graphics for you. PowerPoint 2013 for Windows users can learn about Gradient Slide Backgrounds, and about the Merge Shapes commands including Shape Union. PowerPoint 2011 for Mac users can learn about reusing Excel and Word tables in PowerPoint, and about adding or removing rows/columns in tables. And finally, do not miss the new discussions and templates of this week!



Read Indezine's PowerPoint and Presenting News.

Categories: ezine, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



PowerPoint 2013 provides so many new features, but one of them is essentially such a small addition that you may completely miss exploring it. And that would be sad because this feature can open up so many possibilities. We have already explored the Merge Shape commands -- while 4 of the 5 commands within this category have been available since PowerPoint 2010, the Fragment command is new for this version. Unlike other Merge Shape commands that retain or remove overlapping and non-overlapping areas of multiple shapes, the Fragment option discards nothing at all. In fact, it "fragments" each possible division caused by overlapping shapes and turns them into many, smaller shapes.



Create new shapes that overlap or surround using the Fragment command in PowerPoint 2013.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2013, shapes, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



Add a table to your PowerPoint slide and then populate the table with content -- and then what comes next? Probably you need to add or remove rows and columns. That's the case with most people who work with tables. But very few people realize that the table cells can be made larger or smaller without influencing the entire row or column -- and that's something that can be easily achieved by merging or splitting cells in your existing table. This is essentially true for tables that have two header rows, or even with tables that have a long phrase in the header row.



Learn how to merge and split table cells in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tables, tutorials

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Monday, December 30, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



These New Year themed clip arts for PowerPoint are all silhouettes that are ready to use within your PowerPoint presentation slides. These silhouette clip arts have been provided in both black and white colors -- both variations are contained within two separate sample presentations that you can download.



Download and use these in your slides.

Categories: clip_media, graphics, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



There are so many shapes available within PowerPoint 2013 -- and that's good because that means so many more possibilities to create your own unique shapes by using any of the Merge Shapes commands. One of the amazing options within Merge Shapes is Combine -- this retains areas where the shapes do not overlap while removes overlapping areas -- think of Combine as an amazing cutout option! The resultant shapes result in a cutout, remnant shape.



Learn how you can combine shapes in PowerPoint 2013 using the Shape Combine command.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2013, shapes, tutorials

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Friday, December 27, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Shape Union is part of the Merge Shapes commands in PowerPoint 2013 -- this lets you unite two or more shapes with each other. The benefit of the Shape Union option is that you can quickly create complex shapes that may have not been easy to accomplish within PowerPoint. Selecting multiple shapes and applying this command results in a single, unified shape.



Learn how you can unite shapes in PowerPoint 2013 using the Shape Union command.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2013, shapes, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



Once you insert a table in PowerPoint, you will certainly want to fill it with some content. However that does not mean your table is done and may never require any more changes to be made. Like anything else in life, tables need to grow and accommodate more content -- or they may even need to shed some of it. Adding or removing content within a table usually entails adding and removing table rows and columns, as required. You can add or remove these from the edges of the table, or even somewhere right in middle of the existing rows and columns.



Learn how to add and remove rows and columns within a table in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tables, tutorials

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Thursday, December 26, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



For many users, the Merge Shape commands may be assumed as a new feature in PowerPoint 2013. However these were available in PowerPoint 2010 through the Combine Shapes commands. Yes, these were not available by default from any of the Ribbon tabs in PowerPoint 2010, but you could customize the QAT to get these commands. In PowerPoint 2013, Microsoft gave the new Merge Shapes name to these commands and also gave them a place right within the Ribbon. And now, these commands are no longer limited to shapes as they also work with text and pictures.



Explore the new Merge Shape commands in PowerPoint 2013.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2013, shapes, tutorials

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 10:30 AM IST



In this issue, we first bring you a set of animated Christmas slides. We then look at another callout sample. These callout ideas will help you create better Callout graphics for your slides. Thereafter, we have an an exclusive conversation with Mike Power who talks about the new version 6 of NXPowerLite, a PowerPoint file compression tool. We have some awesome snowflake graphics for you as well, and we make a small detour to the world of Photoshop to explore a plug-in that lets you create oil painted effects. PowerPoint 2013 for Windows users can learn about Slide Background Styles -- and also the benefits of solid one-color backgrounds. PowerPoint 2011 for Mac users can explore inserting and populating tables. And finally, do not miss the new discussions and templates of this week!



Read Indezine's PowerPoint and Presenting News.

Categories: ezine, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Gradient fills are typically blended fills between two or more colors that graduate and merge from one color to another -- they are sometimes also called fountain fills or blended fills in other programs. Other than applying gradients as shape fill, you can also apply Gradient fills to your Slide Background. However, make sure that the two or more colors that you use for your Gradient work well with text and other foreground elements on all your slides.



Learn how to apply gradient fills as Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013.

Categories: background, powerpoint_2013, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



We all use tables in our slides to present numeric data in an organized way so that the audience can easily comprehend or compare values, trends, or even messages. Inserting a new table on your PowerPoint slide and then entering content within this table is an easy task. You can also import an Excel table into PowerPoint just by copying and pasting. However, what if you need to take a Word table into PowerPoint? Unfortunately, that's not an easy task to accomplish -- but there are still two ways you can go with.



Learn how to take content from tables created within Word, and use it within a table created in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tables, tutorials, word

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Monday, December 23, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:45 AM IST



These Snowflake graphics are so easy to use since they are already placed within PowerPoint slides. Just explore these silhouette style graphics, provided in both black and white colors -- both variations are contained within two separate sample presentations that you can download.



Download and use these graphics in your slides.

Categories: clip_media, graphics, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Tom KuhlmannTom Kuhlmann is VP, Community for Articulate, where he manages the Articulate user community. He also writes the Rapid E-learning Blog which is published weekly to over 95,000 readers. Tom has developed and managed e-learning courses for both large and small organizations. He’s passionate about learning technology and his core focus is on helping people succeed and grow. He is known throughout the industry for his practical, no-nonsense approaches to e-learning. He’s also a frequent speaker at ASTD and e-learning industry events. He has a Master’s in Education Technology from Pepperdine.

In this conversation, Tom discusses the new Articulate Studio '13.

Geetesh: Tell us about the new Articulate Studio ’13 – I know there are tons on new features in this version but if you could tell us more about your favorite new features—that would be awesome.

Tom: We launched Articulate Studio '13 earlier in the year and the response has been phenomenal. We've added a bunch of new features and design changes that make production a lot more efficient. And we also did a lot under the hood to make publishing courses faster and more capable for mobile learning.

Articulate Studio '13 for PowerPoint and elearning

For those not familiar with Articulate Studio '13, it’s made up of four applications that allow you to build interactive elearning.

  • Articulate Presenter '13 leverages PowerPoint's easy authoring. Essentially, what you build in PowerPoint gets converted to an elearning course. That includes syncing narration to animations and building branched interactions.

  • Articulate Quizmaker '13 is used to create quizzes and surveys that can be inserted into the slide or published on their own. Most elearning courses require some sort of quiz to assess the learner's understanding. PowerPoint doesn't offer this feature but Articulate Quizmaker '13 does. You can also build drag and drop interactions and interactive scenarios.

  • Articulate Engage '13 offers 20 professional looking interactions. PowerPoint authoring is easy but there are some constraints when it comes to interactive elearning. That's where Articulate Engage '13 comes in handy. They're super easy to build and add a lot of capability to your PowerPoint-based courses.

  • Articulate Replay '13 allows you to create screencasts and video tutorials. They can be published as standalone videos or inserted into your elearning courses.

Here are some examples of course that include PowerPoint slides, Quizmaker ‘13 quizzes, and Engage ‘13 interactions:

elearning examples created in Articulate Studio '13 and PowerPoint

Now that you have a basic understanding of what makes Articulate Studio '13, let me share some of my favorite new features:

Illustrated Characters: Building elearning courses often requires characters. All three of the Articulate Studio '13 applications come with 40 illustrated characters that can be used in all sorts of settings. Each character comes with 12 expressions and a host of poses. There are over 47,000 variations of these characters which really helps those on a budget who want to build engaging elearning. The applications also include a photographic character bundle with hundreds of poses.

Examples of free illustrated characters that come with Articulate Studio '13 when using PowerPoint

Customizable Unified Player: I love the new unified player for two main reasons: it can be customized and when adding the other applications you get a single player with a unified look.

Articulate Presenter '13 allows for a lot of player customizations. For example, you can place the menu on the right, on the left, or as a drop down in the top bar. It also comes with a built-in glossary. Just add the words and definitions and you're done. Of course, if you want a more dynamic multimedia glossary, use Articulate Engage '13.

I also like that I can turn off features I don't need. The Previous and Next buttons make sense when you have previous and next content. But there are times when you don't need those buttons. For example, the first or last slides of a course only need either a Next or Previous button, respectively. Or perhaps I want the learner to interact on the screen to navigate. Having navigation buttons in the player can be confusing. No problem in Articulate Presenter '13, you can turn them off.

The unified look in the player is also important. Most rapid elearning courses augment the PowerPoint slide content with interactions and quizzes. That means adding content created in separate applications. In the past, adding additional content created conflicting players since Presenter and the individual applications each had their own players.

That's not the case with Articulate Studio '13. When you add an interaction or quiz to your PowerPoint slide, you’ll see only a single player. This makes the course look more polished and provides a better user experience. You'll also notice that the Engage '13 interactions steps are visible in the player's menu. And the same goes for Quizmaker '13. The menu even includes the right and wrong quiz answers.

Example of right and wrong quiz choices in the player

Drag and Drop Interactions: One of my favorite features is that you can create drag and drop interactions in Quizmaker '13. That's something you can't do in PowerPoint. The cool thing is that it only take about 30 seconds to build the drag and drop interactions.

Here's an example of a drag and drop interaction built in Quizmaker '13:

Example of a drag and drop quiz

Click here to view the above example.

Import Questions from Excel: Another new feature in Quizmaker '13 uses Microsoft Excel to create and upload quiz questions. That means you can have your client or subject matter expert create the questions for you. And all you’ll need to do is import them. That's a big time saver.

Engage '13 has a new look: The old interactions have been updated and we've included a bunch more. Publish the interactions as standalone files or insert them into the PowerPoint slides. As I mentioned earlier, they're really easy to build and allow you to augment the linear PowerPoint content to create engaging and interactive elearning.

Bonus Application!: Articulate Studio '13 also includes Articulate Replay '13 which lets you quickly create tutorials and screencast videos that you can add to your courses or use as standalone videos. See an example of an Articulate Replay video.

Articulate Replay for screencast tutorials

Geetesh: And will PowerPoint users be happy? Tom: PowerPoint users will love Articulate Studio '13! PowerPoint is an awesome application. Personally I think it's one of the most powerful pieces of software out there because it combines ease of use with all sorts of multimedia capability.

Your success building good elearning courses depends in large part on how well you know PowerPoint's features. What you build in PowerPoint is converted to an elearning course. So if you’re a happy PowerPoint user, you'll be a happy Presenter '13 user.

Another nice enhancement is not being limited to slide dimensions. In the past, PowerPoint and most elearning was designed around the 4:3 aspect ratio. But PowerPoint doesn't have that constraint and your Articulate courses won't either. You can use any aspect ratio you desire.

On top of all of those features above there are a lot of user interface improvements and under-the-hood production efficiencies. You’ll notice a lot less clicking when editing quiz questions and working with the interactions. You'll also notice that the slide properties manager is a lot easier to use to make slide-specific adjustments like branching and whether or not to include navigation controls.

Of course there are a lot more new features. You can learn more here.

Geetesh: I wanted to ask you about iPad compatible outputs -- can you tell us more. Tom: Yes. All three of the applications publish with the same output options. They are Flash, HTML5, and iPad app. I always select all three by default so I have access to any version.

Publish for HTML5 mobile and iPad using Articulate Studio '13 and PowerPoint

On the iPad, you can view the HTML5 output through the mobile browser or use the free Articulate Mobile Player app (see in the image below). The best option is to view the course through the mobile player. It's optimized for the iPad and gives you a very Flash-like experience. Otherwise use HTML5. However, if you choose HTML5 as an option, you'll want to test your content and become familiar with some of the constraints of delivering interactive, multimedia courses on mobile devices. You can learn more about the browsers via HTML5test.

Example of an elearning course on the mobile player

There are a lot more features that make Articulate Studio '13 the ideal product for those who do PowerPoint-based elearning. And of course, the community of Articulate users is itself a bonus because they’re other elearning developers who are quick to help you build better elearning.

See Also:
Articulate Storyline: Conversation with Tom Kuhlmann
Articulate, PowerPoint, and E-Learning: Conversation with Tom Kuhlmann
Articulate Presenter ’09: Conversation with Mark Schwartz

Categories: add-in, articulate, elearning, interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



It's easy to insert a new table on your PowerPoint slide and then enter content within this table as required. However, as it happens in most offices or other work places, the table content may already be populated in a bunch of contiguous Excel cells. Whether you have a ready-made table, or just a group of in contiguous cells in Excel, it is very easy to use it in PowerPoint as a table.



Learn how to use content from your Excel sheet as tables in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: excel, office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tables, tutorials

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Friday, December 20, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 5:21 PM IST



Two animated Christmas presentations are included within this package. The first presentation is available in two color variations: white and black. The second presentation is available in seven color variations: grey, khaki, midnight blue, peach, plum, royal blue, and teal. Go ahead and download these and use as you want -- retaining credit for these slides is something we will appreciate!



Buy and download for $0+

Categories: animation, design, powerpoint, presentation_samples

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



These Snowflakes are already placed within PowerPoint slides as silhouette style graphics – and are provided in both black and white colors -- both variations are contained within two separate sample presentations that you can download.



Download and use these graphics in your slides.

Categories: clip_media, graphics, powerpoint

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0 comments




posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



PowerPoint's Slide Backgrounds can be applied with a solid color, a gradient, a texture or a picture, or even one of PowerPoint's built-in patterns. This tutorial explores how you can use a solid color as the fill for your Slide Background -- solid color fills have the advantage of showing a large expanse in just one color. This does keep the slide uncluttered and draws the audience's attention away from the background to the foreground elements -- and that's a good thing! Unless you use a bright orange, a fluorescent yellow or some other striking color as a background for your slide! So do choose your colors with caution - neutral colors such as white, grey, black, blue, and green always work better.



Learn how to apply solid fills as Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013.

Categories: background, powerpoint_2013, tutorials

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Thursday, December 19, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



These Snowflakes are PowerPoint-ready small icon style silhouettes that are already placed within PowerPoint presentation slides. These awesome snowflakes have been provided in both black and white colors -- both variations are contained within two separate sample presentations that you can download.



Download and use these graphics in your slides.

Categories: clip_media, graphics, powerpoint

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