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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: February 2017

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

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PowerPoint and Presenting News: February 21, 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST

We bring you night sky backgrounds that are starlit -- discover 5 backgrounds in amazing colors. We then interview Gavin McMahon who talks about his new Chart Chooser Cards he created with Dr. Stephanie D. H. Evergreen. We wind up the Identify Font Types series by showing how you can do so in Microsoft Windows 7. We also show you how you can create Word Clouds for PowerPoint using Word Cloud Generator.

In the Tutorials section, we explore SmartArt for all versions of PowerPoint. Additionally, PowerPoint 2016 users can learn about inserting SmartArt, converting bulleted text to SmartArt, editing points for Shapes, and adding or deleting points in shapes. Finally, do not miss the new press releases and templates of this week.



Read Indezine's PowerPoint and Presenting News.

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



The Shapes gallery in PowerPoint consists of various shapes, both open and closed. Closed shapes are ones that do not have a “visible” beginning or an end such as the Rectangle, Ellipse, and Triangle shapes. Open shapes have a “visible” beginning and an end. An example of an open shape is a straight point to point line. Some tools within the Shapes gallery let you create both open and closed shapes; these are the Freeform Line, Curve, and Scribble tools. In addition, you can convert any closed shape into an open shape and vice versa, as you will learn in this tutorial.



Learn how you can open and close paths for shapes in PowerPoint 2016.

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Monday, February 20, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST

Do you want to create a flower diagram, or just draw a normal flower? You will soon realize that PowerPoint’s Shape Gallery offers no Petal shape or even no Leaf shape. However, PowerPoint’s amazing Merge Shapes tools allow you to create almost any shape without having actually to draw anything. And they also allow you to create convincing Petal shapes. We show you two ways to create a Petal shape in PowerPoint. The first way uses the Merge Shapes' Union tool to create a tapered petal whereas the second way uses the Merge Shapes' Fragment tool to create a curved petal.



Learn to draw petal shapes in PowerPoint quickly.

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Every shape in PowerPoint is created using both points and segments. Points, also known as vertexes are pronounced areas of the shape, and segments are straight or curved lines that connect these points. It is easy to understand the relationship between points and segments using a connect-the-dots analogy. The points represent the dots whereas the segments represent the lines you draw between the dots. Both segments and points are only visible within Edit Points mode. We discuss segments in a subsequent tutorial; for now, let us explore different types of vertexes (points) in PowerPoint 2016.



Learn about different types of points (vertexes) in PowerPoint 2016.

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Friday, February 17, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



The Edit Points option gives you control over how you want a shape to look, but sometimes you might find it difficult to edit a certain segment in a shape because there are no points available to manipulate. Conversely, there could be far too many points! PowerPoint provides a simple solution for this problem: you can add and delete vertexes from a shape.



Learn how to add or delete points (vertexes) for a shape in PowerPoint 2016.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST

Word Clouds provide creative ways to explore and explain a concept or a subject using relevant terms that support a central idea. Even better, they create a visual from some words and can be used effectively in presentation scenarios, such as within your PowerPoint slides. However, creating such a Word Cloud in PowerPoint can be both a daunting and a time-consuming task! To make this process easier, we have been exploring some online applications that will help you create Word Clouds in a few minutes. Let's look at the Word Cloud Generator.



Learn how to create word clouds for PowerPoint in Word Cloud Generator.

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



When a shape is inserted into a PowerPoint slide, its default appearance is related to the points that it contains. Alter the points, and you can change the original shape to anything you want. PowerPoint's native Edit Points tool makes it almost a drawing program that provides you the option to play with vertexes (points), handles, etc. This is very similar to what you would do in Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW or another drawing program. By using the Edit Points tool, you can change a rectangle to a rhombus, or even edit a curved or freeform line differently.



Learn how to alter a shape in PowerPoint 2016 by using the Edit Points option.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 9:45 AM IST



Some applications do identify font types by placing icons next to a particular font in a listing. Such behavior is an exception rather than a norm, and many times you may not know which font type you are choosing. And by font type, we mean the various font file formats such as OpenType, TrueType, etc. that are recognized by Microsoft Windows.



Learn how to identify font types in Windows 7.

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posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST

Gavin McMahonGavin McMahon is a senior partner and co-founder of fassforward Consulting Group, where he advises Fortune 100/500 companies on business strategy. He brings a unique perspective on growth and innovation to his clients driving outcomes, traction, and results.

In this conversation, Gavin discusses his Chart Chooser Cards he created with Dr. Stephanie D. H. Evergreen.

Geetesh: Chart Chooser Cards seem like a great idea, but I am sure so much thought must have gone in their implementation. So what did you and Stephanie have to do so that the cards would be easy for others to use?

Gavin: It’s said that ‘data speaks for itself’, but this is rarely the case. In our experience, many professionals struggle to make their data sing. Most audiences are either confused by data or bored by it.

Data doesn’t need to be dry. It can tell powerful stories—if you know how to make it speak. But most of us don't. The skill to craft data into cohesive arguments is lacking.

That’s the challenge many business professionals face today. It's the challenge that Stephanie and I set out to address with our Chart Chooser Cards.

Chart Chooser Cards help professionals craft skillful arguments with data. No more using the same old pie chart over and over again. You can use the cards to choose the right chart design for your data to create storytelling impact.

Stephanie and I have worked together for years. We first met talking about presenter types, and later joined forces to develop a Presenting Data workshop for our clients. We started out developing Chart Chooser Cards for that workshop but put it on hold. Good ideas always come back, though, and here we are.

We looked at different charts that we found effective and categorized them. Some of those charts, such as bar charts, people would already be familiar with. Others are more unusual but far more effective for communicating, according to the research. What type of data you have determines the category of the chart. We color-coded those categories, so you have data based on time, that's one category. If you have data based on survey responses, that's another category, and so on.

It's not just a collection of different chart types. In the deck, we've also included information on what people are looking for in data, and how to clean up your graphs, so the story is very clear.

We also learned from our experience with the Dirty Rhetoric communication card deck. We wanted to demystify the whole process as much as possible. Each card has the name of the chart type, a visual example, and a simple definition. If the chart type goes by different names, you will find that on the card. You will also find notes on what the best use for that chart type is, and usage theory is something the data visualization community is lacking.

Chart Chooser Cards

Geetesh: Tell us more about the entire project—about Kickstarter, and about the extras such as templates you provide with the cards.

Gavin: We see KickStarter as a big brain trust for testing new ideas. It’s where thousands of innovative people go to look for unique concepts and to support projects.

Chart Chooser Cards are our second outing within the KickStarter community. We had success with Dirty Rhetoric on KickStarter. Dirty Rhetoric helps you find the perfect words. Chart Chooser helps you find the perfect chart.

KickStarter works best if you take part with comments and messages. It’s very easy—but you have to keep it alive. The more you add thoughts or content, the more that community rallies around your idea and contributes to it. And in the case of the Chart Chooser Cards, that support took us to 1297% of our goal.

Based on our previous experience we knew it was important to build in the right 'extras'. On Kickstarter, and now in the online store, Chart Chooser has extra options: an infographic poster, which is great in a classroom or cubicle, and a suite of Excel and Tableau templates that are a time-saving productivity tool.

Chart Chooser Cards

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Bulleted text slides are part of most PowerPoint presentations, even though some people abhor using bulleted content altogether. On the other hand, many others just cannot do without slides that do not contain bulleted lists. And if you are part of either of these two opposing camps, you will love this cool feature in PowerPoint that takes a middle road approach by using SmartArt. You can enhance the look of some bulleted slides by converting them to a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint 2016.



Learn how to convert bulleted text to a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint 2016.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST

In an exclusive post, Jon Heathcote talks about the need to use roadmaps on PowerPoint slides. We also explore how you can identify font types in Microsoft Windows 8--we already have similar tutorials for other Windows versions.

In the Tutorials section, PowerPoint 2016 users can learn about drawing all types of lines: Straight, Curved, Freeform, and Scribbles. Finally, do not miss the new press releases and templates of this week.



Read Indezine's PowerPoint and Presenting News.

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



SmartArt is a PowerPoint option that allows you to create diagrams easily. Did you know that SmartArt can function as a substitute for conventional bullet points? In this tutorial, you'll learn how to insert a SmartArt graphics within PowerPoint 2016. If you are new to SmartArt, do also take a look at the What is SmartArt and SmartArt Samples pages.



Learn how to insert SmartArt graphics in PowerPoint 2016.

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Monday, February 13, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST

The ZIP file that you will download contains five Night Sky Starlit Backgrounds in three resolutions: Full Size: 4000x2250 pixels (16:9), Widescreen Size: 1365x768 pixels (16:9), and Standard Size: 1024x768 (4:3). Not only can you use these graphics for slide backgrounds, but these background designs can also animate between slides using PowerPoint's Morph transition.



Download and use these night sky backgrounds.

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



SmartArt is a diagramming component first introduced within PowerPoint 2007 for Windows, and now available on most platforms where PowerPoint is available including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, etc. Among other niceties, SmartArt allows you to replace boring bullet points with info-graphic content using text within shapes.



Learn more about working with SmartArt within PowerPoint so that you can quickly create more effective diagrams.

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Friday, February 10, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST

This is a promoted post.

There are only two certainties in life; death and taxes - so said, Benjamin Franklin. While the rest of our lives can’t be so easily predicted, if you’re alive in the 21st century it’s almost also a certainty that you’ve had to (or will have to) use PowerPoint to present something. Indeed PowerPoint has become so ubiquitous as a medium for communicating ideas, stories, and plans, that there’s no sign of it going away anytime soon either. In fact, for those that have learned to exercise the strengths of PowerPoint, it can become a flexible and powerful tool for educating and persuading audiences of all kinds—on all manners of subject.

My Product Roadmap

So while PowerPoint continues to be such a fundamental part of the way we all communicate, there will always be a need to help people create and deliver great messages through the use of PowerPoint. While this challenge is very much centered around the structure, the flow, and the content, it also helps to align those components around a visual framework to keep your audience interested and engaged. And that's exactly our mission here at My Product Roadmap. We build great looking PowerPoint templates that provide structure and flow for the business specific content our customers want to create a message around.

My Product Roadmap

Now while the number of types and styles of templates available for PowerPoint is vast, My Product Roadmap has a specific focus on creating unique roadmap templates. If you are a product or services company, you will more than likely maintain a roadmap for your product or service.

A roadmap is a communication tool, used to tell a story of trends and influences driving both your business and product strategy forward. Unlike a timeline template (which typically represents some tightly defined project schedule), it is a broad-strokes view of where a product is going in the future; that could be the next 6 months or the next 6 years, depending on the size and scope of the themes presented.

Roadmap presentations are an essential part of telling stakeholders, customers and even the market you serve, how your product or service is being built around them, and their needs and why your company is best placed to deserve their ongoing loyalty and custom.

My Product Roadmap

Anyone responsible for product portfolio management will appreciate the challenge of building and maintaining a product roadmap that is full of the right details, simple enough for their audience to comprehend and a pleasure to evangelize. Having that in a format that’s easy to share with customers and senior management alike really helps too. Like with many things in life, using the right product roadmap tools will help you get the job done quicker, more efficiently and with a better outcome, giving you more time to focus on all the other parts of the product or service management process.

For that reason, My Product Roadmap has built an extensive range of roadmap templates for Powerpoint that will help to deliver the right message in the right structure for most roadmap audiences. Whether you’re doing agile planning or showing off long time frame market themes, we're sure you'll find the strategic roadmap diagram that's right for you.

Please visit us at www.myproductroadmap.com to learn more about road mapping and find the template that's right for you.


Jon HeathcoteJon Heathcote is one of the founders of My Product Roadmap, a website he passionately helped start because of the gap he saw in the content made specifically available to product managers who still need to use PowerPoint. Jon has a background in product management, sales and marketing and in a former life was also a software engineer working on hi-tech computer vision technologies. Jon loves building great products that improve people's lives, and when he's not imagining the next big thing he can be found playing racket sports, running or chasing after his kids.

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Thursday, February 09, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Drawing with the Scribble line tool is almost the same as drawing with the Freeform line tool, but there is one vital difference. You don't need to double click to create an end point for your line with the Scribble tool. Also, once you start drawing with the Scribble tool, you can’t release the mouse button until you finish drawing. So, you can’t draw a perfect, straight line as you would do with the Freeform line tool. The point where you release the mouse button will be the end point for the drawing.



Learn how to draw with the Scribble line tool in PowerPoint 2016.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 9:45 AM IST



Some applications do identify font types by placing icons next to a particular font in a listing. Such behavior is an exception rather than a norm, and many times you may not know which font type you are choosing. And by font type, we mean the various font file formats such as OpenType, TrueType, etc. that are recognized by Microsoft Windows.



Learn how to identify font types in Windows 8.

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



The Freeform drawing tool lets you draw anything almost like drawing with a pencil on a piece of paper. Also, you can create straight lines; this dual capability of the Freeform tool provides you with more creative freedom. Significantly, it takes a while to master the Freeform tool. Practice alone will make your attempts perfect!



Learn how to draw with the Freeform line tool in PowerPoint 2016.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 10:00 AM IST

We feature an amazing tutorial from Duarte that looks at working with grids. We then explore alternative ways to work with fonts that are not available on all systems.

In the Tutorials section, PowerPoint 2016 users can learn about Shape Effects, such as 3-D Rotation Options and 3-D Depth. We also explore Super Themes, Duplicating Slides, and PowerPoint Program Options. Finally, do not miss the new press releases and templates of this week.



Read Indezine's PowerPoint and Presenting News.

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Drawing a simple straight, point to point line in PowerPoint 2016 is a piece of cake. Now, in this tutorial, we'll move on further to show you how you can draw a curved line. With curved lines, you can create both open and closed shapes.



Learn how to draw a curved line in PowerPoint 2016.

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Monday, February 06, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Beyond being just a program to create slides, PowerPoint is also a great illustration program with tools and options that rival top end graphic programs. Yes, you have learned how you can use readymade shapes in PowerPoint to place rectangles, circles, and hundreds of other shapes. However, PowerPoint also has the ability to create shapes from scratch by drawing them. These drawing tools are essentially the Line shapes that can be found within the Shapes gallery. This introductory tutorial shows you how to draw a simple line on the slide.



Learn how to draw a line in PowerPoint 2016.

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Friday, February 03, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Unknown to many users, there are lesser known options within PowerPoint that can change your workflow, and make you work faster. Most of these preferences are to be found within the PowerPoint Options dialog box.



Learn about PowerPoint 2016’s Program Options that you can access from Backstage view.

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Thursday, February 02, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Why would anyone want to duplicate slides? There are many reasons to do so; you may want to such as to create another slide that is similar to what you already have. You may also want to use the same slide twice, or create a slightly edited chart than what you already have on an existing slide; duplicating and editing is easier than redoing it again.



Learn how to duplicate slides in PowerPoint 2016.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2017
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST

You all have heard about Nancy Duarte, a dear friend who is the CEO at Duarte, a presentation and storytelling company based in Sunnyvale, California.

Duarte put up some amazing tutorial videos recently that talk about some key presentation design principles. In my opinion, anyone who creates or works with presentations can benefit immensely from the foundation principles explained in these videos. In today's post, we will explore one such video that looks at how you can set up an effective Grid system to work with your slides in PowerPoint.

As you saw in the video, the design folks at Duarte do not use the Grid or the Guides features available within PowerPoint. They actually create their own Grid by drawing lines within PowerPoint.

Duarte Tutorials - Grids

I spoke to Zaki Hussain, Senior Marketing Manager at Duarte and asked him what motivated the team at Duarte to create such videos? He responded: "These videos help non-designers establish a level of design consistency to their template to create an on-brand presentation."

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Create a presentation in PowerPoint 2016, using some of the built-in Themes, and you will have more options to change the look of your presentation slides slightly. By “slightly,” we mean that you don’t have to change to another Theme altogether, and yet you can make small changes in colors or design elements that still look very similar to your existing Theme. These small changes are “variants,” and a Theme that includes such variants is called a “SuperTheme.”



Explore Super Themes in PowerPoint 2016.

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