More Creative Ways to Use PowerPoint
3. Make a Movie in PowerPoint
You can encode any PowerPoint presentation as a movie. Turn animations, photo albums and the like into videos that you can distribute as movies or upload them to YouTube.
Here's how to encode your presentation as a movie: choose File > Export > Create a Video. Next, select the desired output device so that your encoded movie will be the best size and quality for that device. If you have recorded timings and narrations, you can include them in the movie, too. You can encode movies as WMV or MP4, save them to your hard disk, and later upload them to YouTube, the Web or you can distribute them to clients and customers.
Figure 3: You can easily encode any PowerPoint presentation as a movie for distribution or sharing on the Web.
4. Quizzes in PowerPoint
PowerPoint's Action options let you create quizzes very easily. To see how it works, create a new slide with two textboxes: one that contains a question and another one that contains the answer to your question.
Select the textbox that contains the answer, click on the Animations tab and then select an Appear animation for this shape. Click the Trigger button and select On Click of TextBox1. Now, when you run the slide show, only the question textbox will be visible. If you click this textbox, then the answer box will appear.
While this is a very simple example, it's possible to create more complex quizzes—for example to test an employee's understanding of a training topic.
5. Making Animations
Many dedicated tools for making animations are complex and time consuming to learn. If you're already familiar with PowerPoint then you can produce complex animations using its animation features.
This ability to animate text and images and to then render the result as a movie file makes PowerPoint a great tool for animators. If you'd like to see what's possible, Satellite Visual Communications offers two interesting an examples created in PowerPoint. Here's one animated PowerPoint sequence. And here’s the second animated sequence.
Start your first animation: insert an image (such as a picture of a car) off to the left of a slide. Add a text box and type "We help get your business moving" into it. Click on the car and, from the Animations tab, click the dropdown animation list and choose Custom Path from the Motion Paths list. Click on the front of the car, and draw a line across the slide from left to right. When you're finished, press Enter and the car will appear at the left of the slide and move across it in front of the textbox.
You can animate any element on a slide and use the timeline in the Animation pane to configure when each animation starts and stops. Each element can appear, and disappear within its animation sequence.
Figure 4: PowerPoint has an easy-to-use animation tool capable of handling complex animation sequences.
PowerPoint will always be the tool of choice for designing slide show presentations, but don't limit its potential to creating slides. Instead, harness the PowerPoint skills that you already have and take them in new directions.
Helen Bradley is a respected international journalist writing regularly for small business and computer publications in the USA, Canada, South Africa, UK and Australia. You can learn more about her at her Web site, HelenBradley.com.
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