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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: January 2014

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

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GoSkills PowerPoint Training: Conversation with Bhavneet Chahal

Friday, January 31, 2014
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Bhavneet Chahal Bhavneet is Managing Director and Co-Founder of GoSkills, an online learning company that helps anyone learn business skills to reach their personal and professional goals. Her passion for accessible online learning began when she saw a need for flexible learning options for busy professionals, combined with a website that was modern, well-designed and intuitive. GoSkills provides online courses for career advancement and selects the top tutors in the world to help design and develop their courses.

In this conversation, Bhavneet discusses about GoSkills' new PowerPoint Training.

Geetesh: Why is it so important to get the right training in PowerPoint skills? Can you share some thoughts?

Bhavneet: I believe PowerPoint is a tool that many business professionals use in their daily work, but fail to explore its many useful and helpful features. This is because it's often a self-taught application -- we aren't taught how to use PowerPoint at school or at university, but are expected to know how to use it!

As a result, we learn just what we need to know and fail to discover the treasures that lie beneath. PowerPoint really has so many wonderful features that many people don't know how to use or may not even know existed -- we feel it's important to share these and to help people create beautiful and engaging presentations.



Geetesh: Tell us about the PowerPoint video training options available from GoSkills and what sets your training options apart from others?

Bhavneet: The GoSkills PowerPoint course consists of 34 business-focused course modules, covering the basics and interface to advanced topics like removing picture backgrounds. The course was designed and developed by award-winning PowerPoint experts (including Indezine's very own Geetesh Bajaj) and consists of HD video tutorials, transcripts, cheat sheets, exercises and short quizzes for each module.

Special Promo Offer for Indezine Readers

Get this course now for a special rate! Pay only $99 for a year rather than the full price of $299! To avail this offer, go to www.goskills.com/coupon, and type in the coupon code WOW99.

What sets us apart? We don't only cover PowerPoint's technical features. As it's not just about the tool, we wanted to show people how to use PowerPoint effectively. So our tutorials are a mix of technical features and advice on how, when and where to use those features to truly engage your audience with your next presentation.

Categories: interviews, powerpoint, training

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Textures are the "in" thing even in a world that looks so much at the new flat design concept -- and the reason is not difficult to understand. The right texture can add interest, and make your slide content look crafted. If you cannot find the perfect texture, it's best to leave your slide background unaltered. Texture and picture fills for slide backgrounds have so much in common. Yes, the same picture can be used for both a texture or a picture fill, but the results will differ. The main difference is that while a picture background results in your slide using a single picture as a backdrop, using a texture background can result in the same picture being tiled across the slide background.



Learn how to apply texture fills as slide backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013.

Categories: background, pictures, powerpoint_2013, tutorials

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Thursday, January 30, 2014
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



This post is written by Herb Rubinstein.

The new PowerPoint 2013 has some extremely good features...but.

I hate to start out with a negative. However the very best new feature in PowerPoint 2013 was the ability to embed video from any of the sharing sites like YouTube, Vimeo, etc. This feature alone was worth upgrading for. Because Google and Microsoft always seem to be butting heads, Google made changes to YouTube and this feature no longer works. There is much buzz that this will be resolved but for now the only video service you can embed from is through a SkyDrive account.

Many of the improvements are related to alignment and organization. Below are the ones that will be of interest to the Trial Lawyer.

Enhanced Presenter View: Lawyers will especially appreciate the new Enhanced Presenter View. The Presenter View in PowerPoint 2013 displays the active slide on the left side, the next slide at the top right, while the Notes for the current slide are displayed in the bottom right corner. A timer appears above the preview of the current slide, and extra controls are available at the top and bottom of the Presenter View window.

This presents much useful information to the lawyer, allowing him to see exactly where he is in the presentation and what comes next before it is presented in the courtroom.

Some changes have also been made to the console. Now you have an extra Laser Pointer Pen Tool, option to zoom parts of a slide, see all slides at a time, and ability to switch Slide show and Presenter Views between the connected display monitors.

Account Management: The Account Management window allows you to connect to your SkyDrive account, and add services to use with PowerPoint. Sign in to your Microsoft Account, and it will automatically connect to your SkyDrive account. You can use the same account to sign in to Microsoft Office 2013 on different devices. This way, all your saved documents will be synced to the cloud and will be available for viewing and editing from any device. This eliminates the need to carry your documents in removable storage drives. Using the SkyDrive account, you can easily share your presentations and invite others to collaborate on required presentation projects.

Cloud based storage and computing are definitely the wave of the future. Especially for the legal profession. Now you can have staff back at the office working on parts of a presentation, editing deposition video clips and uploading it for you to use in the courtroom all while the trial is going on!

Final Verdict: Other than the disappointing removal of the video embed feature, all in all, the updated PowerPoint 2013 is well worth the investment. The ability to hook up to the cloud and manipulate your presentation from off site locations during a live trial is major game changer.



Herb RubinsteinHerb Rubinstein has been involved in computer graphics for over 15 years as founder and CEO of ReGraphix, an award winning creative house for graphics and design. The past few years, Mr. Rubinstein has taken his presentation graphics experience and applied it to developing presentation techniques for the Courtroom. He has worked with the FBI, DEA, U.S. Customs Service and other government agencies, as well as many law firms across United States.

Herb Rubinstein is the author of PowerPoint For Court, a Complete Courtroom Presentation Solution. More at http://powerpointforcourt.com/

See Also: PowerPoint for Court: Conversation with Herb Rubinstein

Categories: guest_post, legal, opinion, powerpoint_2013

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



The borders for tables that you create within PowerPoint are thin lines by default. You can change the thickness of these borders -- but even before you do so, there are certain prerequisites to take care of. First of all, if you use Table Styles, then some borders may have been set to be invisible. So first of course, you need to set them to be visible since there's no sense in thickening an invisible border. Once borders are visible, you can make changes to their appearance such as changing their color, line style, or the thickness of the table borders. We will now explore how you can make table borders sport dashed or dotted lines instead of simple thin lines.



Learn how to set line style for table borders in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tables, tutorials

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Damith RajapakseDamith C. Rajapakse is a faculty member at the School of Computing, National University of Singapore. He has a deep interest, and many years of experience, in presentation design and the craft of software building. He is the project mentor for the PowerPointLabs project and other similar efforts.

In this conversation, Damith discusses the currently free PowerPointLabs add-in for PowerPoint.

Geetesh: Tell us more about your PowerPointLabs add-in for PowerPoint – how did this evolve?

Damith: Out of the box, PowerPoint creates boring slides. Though it’s capable of creating awesome slides that takes much more effort than it should. For example, animating a shape requires you to figure out its path, size, and angle. It’d be a lot easier if you could just specify where the shape should start and where it should end up, then have the animation done automatically for you. That’s the type of thing we want to do with PowerPointLabs: make it really easy to create good, engaging slides.

The PowerPointLabs team is based in the School of Computing at the National University of Singapore, and currently consists of Jerome, Raunak and myself. We aim to help presenters create better slides with less effort.



Geetesh: You already have an add-in available but you did mention that newer features are planned – can you tell us more?

Damith: We have a long list of PowerPoint pain points we want to fix, but we want to take a few steps at a time and perfect what we have before moving on to the next stage. One of the features we’ll be releasing soon is the ability to generate audio narration and captions from slide notes. We hope this will help users get a rough idea of how the presentation will sound to their audience during preparation, and also in creating self-learning materials without actually having to record audio/video.



Something else we're working on is the ability to simulate zooming in to an area of the slide - just like our existing auto-animate feature, this helps make presentations more dynamic, and also lets the presenter emphasize a certain section of their materials.

Categories: add-in, interviews, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



It's always been possible to add pictures from an online source within PowerPoint -- for more than a decade this online source has been the pictures available online at Office.com -- in most previous versions, this was achieved through the Insert Clip Art option. Now in PowerPoint 2013, this option has been greatly enhanced -- and you are no longer restricted to content from just Office.com. Of course, this also has a new name now, it's called Online Pictures. This feature is very helpful as you are not limited to just the pictures available on your system. You get variety of other picture source to choose from. Some of the picture sources also allow you to choose from Creative Commons pictures. And all this happens within PowerPoint -- there's no need to open your web browser.



Learn how to insert a online picture on a slide in PowerPoint 2013.

Categories: pictures, powerpoint_2013, tutorials

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014
posted by Geetesh on 10:30 AM IST



We first begin with looking at pre-created jigsaw shapes that you can use within your PowerPoint slides -- these jigsaw shapes make a seemingly difficult task very simple! We then have an exclusive conversation with Greg Flynn of Brainshark who discusses their newly released Cloud Packages. We then explore Adobe Presenter, an amazingly capable add-in that plugs right inside PowerPoint and helps you create and distribute your slides in many different ways. It also allows creation of elearning content. PowerPoint 2013 for Windows users can learn about how the lesser known slide background fill can help you create puzzle pictures within the program. You will also learn about picture fills for slide backgrounds. PowerPoint 2011 for Mac users can learn about erasing table borders, toggling their visibility, and setting border colors. 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 9:00 AM IST



Do you want to create a jigsaw puzzle from a picture in PowerPoint 2011? This is actually much easier than it sounds -- the tutorial on this page will lead you through the entire process step-by-step. By the time you are done with this tutorial, you will create a jigsaw on your own.



Learn how to create puzzle pictures from jigsaw shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: graphics, office_mac, pictures, powerpoint_2011, tutorials

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Monday, January 27, 2014
posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



One of the worst things that you can do to your PowerPoint presentation is to add a busy, multi-colored background to your slides. However, people do that all the time and in the process, they compromise the subtlety and contrast of any content on their slides. Fortunately, recoloring pictures can help.



Learn how to recolor a picture background in PowerPoint 2013.

Categories: background, pictures, powerpoint_2013, tutorials

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Friday, January 24, 2014
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



By default, the table borders in PowerPoint take the color from the Theme applied to the presentation. However, you can change this color as required. Not only you can set the table border color for the new tables to be drawn, but also you can change the color of existing table borders.



Learn how to set color for table borders in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tables, tutorials

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Thursday, January 23, 2014
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



In our last post about Adobe Presenter, we looked at its beginnings as Presedia Producer. And that’s where the comparison ends. Adobe has added features and possibilities over successive versions to make this new version such a power-packed program that there’s little to compare.

Rather than do an introduction to Adobe Presenter conventionally, we decided to do this as a small FAQ post – so here are the questions and answers you want to explore!

  1. What exactly is Adobe Presenter? Is it an add-in, or is it a standalone program?

    The answer could be both: an add-in that works inside PowerPoint, or a standalone program -- but if we had to choose just one answer, then this program is certainly an add-in. It does much more within PowerPoint than it does outside it.

    Presenter shows up as a tab within the PowerPoint Ribbon, as shown in Figure 1, below.


    Figure 1: The Presenter tab within the PowerPoint Ribbon

    The various options available are placed within groups:

    • Audio: Record, sync, import, and edit voice-overs.

    • Video: Record your screen activity along with your webcam -- and this is where Presenter springs up as a separate, standalone program outside of PowerPoint.

    • Application Simulation: Record application simulations -- this option requires that you also have Adobe Captivate installed on your system.

    • Insert: Insert characters, interactions, scenes, videos, and Flash movies.

    • Quiz: Create and manage quizzes with a full featured module.

    • Theme: Apply Themes to create a standardized look for Presenter's output -- note that these Themes are not the same as PowerPoint's Themes.

    • Presentation: Publish your Presenter project as a finished file that can be shared -- Presenter 9 allows you to publish to tablet platforms such as the iPad.
  2. How much of a learning curve is required to be productive with Adobe Presenter?

    Essentially, you must be a PowerPoint user to be able to work with Presenter -- if you already know how to use PowerPoint, then Presenter will provide you with a feel of working within that same program -- in fact the integration is so seamless, you may as well think you are working inside PowerPoint. Presenter is just another tab in your PowerPoint Ribbon and all options work in the same way as you would expect typical PowerPoint options to behave like.

  3. What’s the newest version of Presenter, and how much does it cost?

    The newest version is Presenter 9, and it costs $499. You can also upgrade from Presenter 8, the older version for $199. Additionally, Presenter is also available as a subscription product -- you will pay $14.99 a month for an annual subscription.

  4. Are there any resources that will tell me more about Adobe Presenter, and give me a head start with learning the program?

    Here are some great resources:
    • Adobe Presenter has an active YouTube channel with plenty of tutorials and walkthroughs.

    • The Adobe TV site has several videos on Adobe Presenter -- these are higher in resolution than the ones available on the YouTube channel.

    • Rapid eLearning is the name of the Adobe Presenter blog.

    • The Adobe for Academics site has plenty of informative content on all Adobe products -- make sure you filter the content by product, and choose Adobe Presenter.

Here's a video that discusses Presenter 9, the newest version available.



Also here's an informative video that walks you through Presenter



Categories: add-in, adobe_presenter, online_presentations, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



For most of our presentations, we all use pictures so often! A picture in PowerPoint can be used in many ways -- as a picture you insert, as a picture you place within a shape, or even as something that covers the entire slide as a background. In this tutorial, we will look at the last option -- that lets you use a picture as a slide background. Before you begin, you need to put in plenty of thought into whether the picture you are using will work as a slide background or not? So how do you determine if a picture will work as a background or not?



Learn how to apply picture fills as slide backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013.

Categories: background, pictures, powerpoint_2013, tutorials

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Greg Flynn Greg Flynn is president of Brainshark, Inc., a leader in cloud-based business presentations. Brainshark’s offerings include Brainshark On-Demand -- for turning static content such as PowerPoint documents into online and mobile video presentations -- and SlideShark, the award-winning app for showing PowerPoints from the iPad and iPhone. Thousands of companies use Brainshark to improve the reach and results of their business communications, while dramatically reducing costs.

In this conversation, Greg discusses Brainshark’s new solution packages and Analytics Dashboard, being unveiled today.

Geetesh: Can you tell us more about the new Brainshark Cloud packages?

Greg: I'd be happy to. We're very excited to announce the launch of the Brainshark Sales Cloud, Brainshark Marketing Cloud and Brainshark Learning Cloud to help businesses improve the effectiveness of their sales, marketing and training communications.

As your readers may recall, Brainshark's cloud-based technology lets you turn static documents such as PowerPoints into online and mobile video presentations. We have millions of users across dozens of industries. With these new solution packages, we're making it even easier for these customers to use Brainshark according to their functional needs and improve the results of their business communications.

Brainshark's most popular and prevalent use cases are reflected in the new offerings. Here's a quick look at the packages:

  • Brainshark Learning Cloud: Organizations can quickly create, deploy and manage mobile-ready presentations, courses and curriculums for eLearning and mLearning needs. Detailed reporting allows management to track enrollment, viewing behavior, course completion, exam scores and more.

  • Brainshark Marketing Cloud: Marketers use this package to improve demand generation and external communication activities. Using Brainshark’s analytics, they can also measure the effectiveness of each piece of content. Integrations with marketing automation systems also make it easy to identify, score and nurture the best leads.

  • Brainshark Sales Cloud: Incorporating the capabilities of the Learning Cloud, Marketing Cloud and more, the Brainshark Sales Cloud is a comprehensive sales enablement solution for sales training and onboarding, prospecting and social selling, and on-demand and live presentation needs. Analytics help reps identify hot prospects, while giving managers insight into rep activity and best practices.

Beyond these primary offerings, we've introduced additional packages as well, including the Brainshark HR Cloud for increasing the reach of corporate communications, and the Brainshark Learning Cloud – Authoring for LMS, which lets users author courses to be distributed through a learning management system.

Geetesh: How does the Analytics Dashboard help those who have subscribed to the Cloud packages?

Greg: The Analytics Dashboard is brand new and an integral component of the Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Learning Cloud and HR Cloud packages. As you may recall, when you send out a Brainshark presentation, Brainshark collects a lot of important data around viewing activity -- who saw it, when, how much was consumed, what type of device was used, where viewers are located and much more. The dashboard brings all this data to life, making content even more useful and actionable. It combines different, real-time data on presentation views and usage into intuitive, visual representations -- all on a single screen, with drill-down capabilities for detailed insights on audience activity and engagement.



Say you're a sales rep. The dashboard makes it easy to see how your content is performing and when interest is hot. Marketers can likewise assess video content performance and take appropriate action. And organizations can see how eLearning presentations and courses are being consumed, reinforcing proper training. Users can also observe all these trends over time.

Some additional features include role-based viewing, enabling content authors, managers and administrators to access key metrics that are important to them. An activity feed, updated in real time, provides information on content that has been recently watched, created and shared, helping users stay abreast of trends. Colored maps show where content is being viewed across the globe, while intuitive viewing charts make it easy to pinpoint the most popular and recently viewed presentations, with the ability to access further specifics on individual views. Users can also access in-depth reports and schedule them for regular delivery.



Thanks for the opportunity to discuss these new offerings, Geetesh. We’ve already had great feedback from customers, and we look forward to helping users apply these solutions to create and deliver high-impact presentations that drive their businesses forward.



Categories: brainshark, interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



While PowerPoint allows you to create tables in various ways -- from inserting them with a pre-decided number of rows and columns to something as intuitive as actually drawing your own table, most of the tables you create using either of these two methods will show borders between individual cells. These borders are great and they make the segregation between cells obvious. Yet, what if you don't want to see the border altogether? The Border options allow you to make some of table borders visible/invisible for the entire table, or for a bunch of contagious table cells that are selected.



Learn how to toggle the visibility of table borders in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tables, tutorials

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014
posted by Geetesh on 10:30 AM IST



In this issue, we start by looking at how you can animate a ceiling fan in PowerPoint -- you'll love this not because it is so intuitive but also because there are ways of making things happen that are not obvious! We then explore the entire gamut of bar charts in a few words. And then we teach you how you can add sound or music to your PDFs, including the PowerPoint slides that you save as PDFs. PowerPoint 2013 for Windows users can learn about how they can convert their text into individual shapes for each character. And we also show you how you can create jigsaw shapes with nothing other than PowerPoint! PowerPoint 2011 for Mac users can learn about text alignment in tables, and how you can draw tables just like you draw them with paper and pencil. 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



Many users do get in touch with us to ask how they can create a jigsaw puzzle from a picture in PowerPoint 2013? This is actually much easier than it sounds -- and the tutorial on this page will lead you through the entire process step-by-step. By the time you are done with this tutorial, you will create a jigsaw on your own.



Learn how to create puzzle pictures in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows.

Categories: graphics, pictures, powerpoint_2013, tutorials

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Monday, January 20, 2014
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Here are a bunch of jigsaw slides that you can use to create your own jigsaw puzzles quickly within your own slides! This entire kit contains 5 different styles of jigsaw pieces: typical jigsaws, arrows, hearts, ovals, and rounded squares. Each jigsaw shape is available in three counts: small, medium, and large. We made these available in two slide sizes for both standard (4:3) and widescreen (16:9) resolutions.



Buy and use these in your slides.

Categories: animation, design, graphics, powerpoint, presentation_samples

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



As we have already explored in our Draw Tables in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial, you can manually draw tables and divide your tables into numerous rows, columns, and cells. In the same way, PowerPoint allows you to erase segregations (borders) between cells and thus merge cells.



Learn how to remove borders within a table cell in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tables, tutorials

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Friday, January 17, 2014
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



How can you create a ceiling fan in PowerPoint and animate it to play? That was certainly an interesting challenge and actually quite easy to achieve in PowerPoint. You can download and reuse this slide for your own presentations.



Download and use these slides.

Categories: animation, graphics, powerpoint, presentation_samples

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



PowerPoint's Merge Shapes commands open new opportunities and possibilities for you. Typically, whenever we needed to create a jigsaw puzzle in PowerPoint, we would source the actual jigsaw shapes from Office.com or from one of the many stock image sites. However, the Merge Shapes commands make it so easy to create your own jigsaws with nothing more than a few shapes!



Learn how to create jigsaw shapes using Merge Shapes commands in PowerPoint 2013.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2013, shapes, tutorials

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Thursday, January 16, 2014
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



In PowerPoint, you can insert a table quickly by specifying your required number of rows and columns -- that's easy but there are other intuitive ways to create tables. Speaking about intuitive, what can be more intuitive than directly drawing a table on your PowerPoint slide almost like sketching with pen on paper?



Learn how to draw a Table in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tables, tutorials

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