Add these 10 PowerPoint tips to your work-day arsenal and increase your productivity.
Whether you’re a regular or occasional PowerPoint user, chances are that you are unaware of some of its handy features. Indeed some of the most powerful and useful PowerPoint features aren’t easy to find and yet knowing where they are and how to use them can save you hours of work. So, whether it be harnessing the power of slide masters or configuring standalone presentations, the tips in this article will help you work more effectively every day in PowerPoint.
Some of the topics for our 10 PowerPoint tips include: playing sound across a presentation, creating chart templates and creating PowerPoint handouts in Word. Interested? Read on…
The PowerPoint slide master controls the default design of all the slides in a presentation. So, when you need to change how your slides look you can change the slide master and all the slides will update automatically. To view the slide master choose View > Slide Master and a panel will appear on the left of the screen showing the master slide at the top and all its associated layouts below.
Changes made to the slide master will flow through to all the slides in the presentation and changes made to a layout will flow through to all slides which use that layout. For this reason, make all your global changes to the slide master and only make changes to a layout which are specific to slides using that layout. If you need two versions of a layout, right click the layout, choose Duplicate Layout and then edit the second version to create a second ‘look’ for that type of slide.
Self-running PowerPoint presentations don’t require any user input so they can be used to display information at a tradeshow, for example. Any presentation can be configured to be self-running and to do so, first set the slide timing by selecting all the slides and choose click the Transitions tab and, in the Advance Slide area disable On Mouse Click and select the After checkbox. Set the default number of seconds for the slides to show on the screen. If any slides need to be shown for a longer or shorter time adjust this time for that slide only.
To set up the show click Slideshow > Set Up Slide Show. From the Show Type options click the Browsed at a kiosk (full screen) and from the Advance slides list select Using timings, if present and click Ok. Now, when you run the slideshow it will run automatically and it will loop when finished and replay repeatedly until you press Esc.
For best results, ensure that any animations in your presentation are set to play automatically so they don’t require a mouse click to appear. Also disable your computer’s screensaver so it won’t trigger due to keyboard inactivity.
As you finalize your presentation you’ll be switching between previewing how it looks and editing the slides to make last minute changes. Instead of doing one or the other it is possible to do both at once and to open a smaller size preview of your presentation so you can view the slides and still have access to them in the editing window to make changes. To do this, locate the Slide Show icon in the bottom right of the screen and hold Alt as you click it. PowerPoint then launches a small preview version of your slideshow in the top left of the screen – it will show the slide currently visible in the editing window. You can now switch between navigating the slide show and editing it and all your edits will appear in the preview window as you make them.
Using the right tools for the job will always make your work easier. So, when it is time to make handouts for your presentation, send them to Word and work on them there. To do this, first make sure your presentation is complete as you won’t be able to easily update slides or reorder your presentation once the slide handouts have been sent to Word.
Choose File > Export > Create Handouts and click the Create Handouts button. From the dialog which appears, choose what you want to send to Word in addition to the slides – notes or blank lines – and the placement on the page – next to the slides or below them. Click to select Paste or Paste Link (Paste is the more reliable option) and click OK. Microsoft Word will now open with the slides in position all ready for formatting.
When formatting changes are applied on a slide by slide basis rather than using the slide master it can lead to problems if you later change the presentation’s design or change the slide master settings. In this situation you may find that the changes to the slide master don’t flow through the presentation as you might expect them to. The reason for this is that formats applied to individual slides take precedence over the slide master formats so you will need to remove special formats in order to restore consistency to your presentation.
So, when a slide’s text or layout doesn’t match the formatting of the other slides, reset the slides by selecting the thumbnails for one or more slides, right click and choose Reset Slide. This strips away any custom formatting and returns the slide to the look of the other slides in the presentation.
When you need to show a video during your presentation you can embed it into your presentation – provided of course it is available on your computer. You can also edit the video if needed to trim unwanted content so it won’t play. To do this, first add the video to a slide using Insert > Video. Then select the video and choose Video Tools > Playback tab.
Options here include Trim Video which lets you trim content from the beginning or end of the clip. Click this to display the Trim Video dialog and then drag the red and green sliders to mark the beginning and end of the portion of the clip to play.
At presentation time it can be handy to be able to hide something on a slide with a single click. You can do this using a click animation effect where the mouse click triggers an object to appear over the top of something on the slide effectively hiding it. This works best on a slide with a solid background color and you achieve this effect with a rectangle filled with the background color sized and placed over the content you want to hide at presentation time.
Select the shape, click Animations and, from the Animations Gallery, select an Entrance effect such as Fade. Set Start: to read On click and set the Duration to around 2 seconds. Now when you play the slide show and click on the slide, the shape will appear and it will hide the content underneath it. In a similar way you could apply a Fade out effect to a similar shape to behave as a reveal on a slide.
Typically, when you add a sound clip to a presentation it will play for the length of the current slide and will stop when you move to the next slide. In some situations such as a self-running presentation you will want the sound to play across some or all the slides in the presentation. To do this, locate the slide where the sound is to begin. Choose Insert > Audio > Audio on My PC, locate the sound file to use and click Insert. From the Audio Tools > Playback tab select Start: Play Across Slides, set the Start to Automatically and click the Loop until Stopped checkbox. Enable the Hide During Show checkbox so that the sound file won’t show on the slide but the sound will play when the slide appears. Now the sound file will play across the entire remainder of the presentation.
If you want the sound to stop before the end of the presentation you can configure it to play across only a selected number of slides. To do this, click the Animations tab and click Animation Pane. Right click the Play link in the task pane and choose Effect Options. Locate the Stop playing settings and set the number of slides to play the sound across.
When you need to show a website during a presentation you can do so from inside PowerPoint. To do this, create a link to that website by anchoring it to a shape or, better still, an Action button. Choose Insert > Shape, select the Action Button: Custom and draw the button on the slide. When you do, the Action Settings dialog will appear automatically. If you elect to draw a regular shape, then do so and with the shape selected choose Insert > Action. Click the Mouse Click tab, click Hyperlink to, choose URL and type the URL to link to the button. At presentation time, you can click the button and, provided you are connected to the web you will be taken to that site in your default browser.
PowerPoint’s integration with Excel extends to being able to store chart templates that you can use over and over again. These templates help you create consistent looking charts in your presentations. To create a template first create a chart on a slide and format it the way you want your charts to look in future. Then select and right click the chart, choose Save as Template, and give the template file a name.
In future, when you create a chart you can apply your saved format to it. To do this, select the chart, choose Chart Tools > Design tab > Change Chart Type > Templates. Select the template you saved and click Ok. The selected chart will readjust to match the look of the template chart. If necessary, to update the data in the chart, select it and choose Chart Tools > Design > Refresh Data.