powerpoint hints, tips and resources
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The following tips & hints are for all versions of powerpoint
- The best tip you can have about powerpoint is to use the "Slide Master" page to design the style of your pages BEFORE you start designing your presentation. This is the place to put your company logo, instead of placing it on every single slide put it on the slide master. This is also the place to set up all your fonts, size, and "slide color scheme". This will save you hours of extra work formatting every single slide
- Upgrade to powerpoint 2003. Or at least upgrade to powerpoint 97. If you are still using powerpoint 4 upgrade!. If you are using powerpoint 95 upgrade!. Just the smaller file sizes and faster loading and saving make it worthwhile. Other vast improvements are they ability to animate any object and fine tune build-up slides. Also the ability to add a hyperlink to any object is also very handy
- Upgrade to powerpoint 2007. The built in special effects are worthy of the word awesome
- If you are considering upgrading to powerpoint 2002/XP/2003, we have some great news. Microsoft PowerPoint XP (2002) now has a new viewer to go with it. It's free to download the viewer from the microsoft website. PowerPoint XP has much improved control over the animation of objects, including smooth fades, the ability to have enter and exit animations.
- Keep backups of your work (common sense really!)
Try to think of how long it would take to replace your work...
instead of thinking about how long it would take to do the backup!
- Keep saving versions of your presentation
This way if anything horrendous happens (such as the power going off half way through saving the presentation that took you weeks to design, or saving over important files by mistake) you can go back to the previous version. Get the free automatic sequential save add-in
- Use the right quality. If you are including scans in your on-screen presentations, only scan your images at the appropriate resolution. For example - If your presentation will only ever be shown on a PC at SVGA (800x600) resolution. Then why bother scanning anything higher than 800x600 pixels? Also try changing the number of colors in the pictures to 256 colors (indexed color). This saves time, disk space and your presentations will run a lot faster and smoother. You might even be able to email them to people now that they are a lot smaller!.
(Click Here to a Full and In-Depth PowerPoint Tutorial)
- Learn the quick keys. Creating a lot of powerpoint presentations? Then download this printable quick key and shortcuts reference sheet. (Right Click, Save Target As....) Print it out, attach it to your monitor, impress your boss with your speed improvement using these shortcuts.
- Speed up your slideshows... Turn off "Render 24-bit bitmaps at highest quality" from the "Tools","Options", "Advanced" menu.
Powerpoint 97, 2000, 2002 (aka XP) 2003 and 2007
- Turn off "Fast Saves" This will make your actual .ppt files smaller. This is especially useful when trying the fit them on a floppy disk or to email them
- An extra tip to squeeze your powerpoint file even smaller.... Choose "File", "Properties" and turn off the "save preview image". This also speeds up saving the file, as powerpoint does not have to make up the little image preview
- Consider using a third party utility to automatically reduce the resolution of your scans in your presentation. One such great utility is the excellent The RnR Presentation Optimizer
- To get the best possible black & white hardcopy from powerpoint. From the "view" menu choose "black & white". This will show you what your hardcopy will look like. To alter the way any object will print, simply right click on that object, and then choose the appropriate option. ie. "Black with White Fill". No more saving two versions of a presentation (one for black & white, one for die). Now there is no excuse for those dreadful solid black background hardcopies!
- To copy an object on your page quickly and easily instead of using cut & paste, try this instead. Select the object you want to copy by clicking on it. Hold down the "CTRL" key on the keyboard. Click (with the left mouse button) and drag the object to the new position. Simple & quick. Now try it again but press the "Shift" key at the same time as the CTRL key, this will keep the objects aligned. Great for making diagrams etc.
- Quick Zoom. If you are lucky enough to be the proud owner of a "wheel mouse" (wow!), then the following tips is just for you. While you are editing your lovely presentation (in slide view mode) simply wheel the mouse forward while pressing the CTRL key. Instant zoom! To zoom into a particular object, then select that object beforehand.
- If you type in a lot of presentations containing all those weird characters, you know the ones, the sub-scripts and superscripts, the ± © ® ˝ ÷ and all those other symbol that are just not on the average keyboard.....well today is your lucky day....here's what you do in PowerPoint...Tools menu, Customize, Commands, Scroll down the list on the left, Click on "Insert", scroll down the list on the right until you see a lovely Omega symbol (like an upside down horseshoe), Click and drag this symbol into any toolbar you like. Click "Close". Then next time you want a symbol just click it, then if you don't see the character you require just change to one of the other popular symbol fonts, such as:
- Common Bullets
(one word of warning, if you are giving out your presentation to other people stick to these common fonts as they will be installed on most modern PCs).
- Still on a similar theme to the above tip... why not make your own toolbar, particularly if your a "power" user. It will save you a lot of time, particularly if you use the "Draw" menu a lot. To do this do the following: Tools menu, Customize, Toolbar, New, Enter a name e.g. My ToolBar, Then it's just a case of clicking on the Commands tab, and selecting each button and dragging it to the "My Toolbar". You can also rename certain options, and also change the icons, experiment, have fun!
Here's ours . . . . . . . . . . . .
Note: LS=Line Spacing. The Yellow Smiley face, "Camcorder" and "Speaker" icon are for "inserting pictures, movies and sound from file". The "empty smiley" is for setting transparency on a picture. IO=Insert Object, Cc=Change Case, and the Omega symbol is for inserting all those characters that are not on the keyboard!
- Get those original bitmaps. OK, you've been sent a presentation with some scans/bitmaps in. Maybe screen grabs of a piece of software or something similar. You want the original bitmaps but you don't have them. All you have is the powerpoint file. You want those bitmaps badly. You want them out of powerpoint and into your image editor. But the crucial thing is you want them in their original resolution. You've tried copying them to the clipboard and pasting them into PhotoShop / PaintShop Pro and you get the bitmaps but it just isn't the same resolution as the original bitmaps. There either too big or too small, you've tried setting the size of the images in powerpoint to display best at 640x480 or whatever, and your getting nowhere fast!. Here's what you do:
You can then edit the saved bitmap how you like. You can even downsize the image to make your powerpoint files smaller.
- Select the image
- Copy it to the clipboard
- Load up MicroSoft Photo Editor.
Why this method does not work with photoshop and paintshop pro I don't know. I just know Photo Editor works a treat for this.
(You may have to install it from the original powerpoint CD)
- Edit menu, Paste.
- Save the bitmap.
- This method even takes into account any clipping or brightness/contrast effects you have applied in powerpoint, to cancel these effects, first display the "picture toolbar" in powerpoint, then choose the "reset picture" icon. Then follow step 1.
Workaround bugs & limitations
- If you get these error messages when you try to drag and drop an AVI video clip. "Video not available, cannot find vids:mjpeg decompressor" or "Cannot display this type of sound or movie" or "MMSYSTEM006 There is no driver installed on your system". Or if you "insert movie from file" and powerpoint simply ignores you. Then try this mjpg mpeg tip that is so simple even we were gobsmacked/astounded.
Rename the file from a .AVI to .MPG - That's it!
(even renaming the file to .QT .MOV .m1v works). We found that you tend to have a greater success rate with AVI files from digital cameras that create movies. We believe this is because most of them use the Motion jpeg codec or mjpeg for short.
Still stuck?.. A logical approach to troubleshooting video in powerpoint.
Software called gspot will tell you what codecs (audio and video) are being used in your video files
- If you find yourself losing your speaker notes text then upgrade to Service Release 1 (SR-1). Available for download from the microsoft web site. Also never save the presentation while in "notes view". Better to use "slide view"
- You've pasted an Excel spreadsheet and the right hand side is clipped off....
- Go back to Excel and select the spreadsheet again but this time slightly less
- Re-paste it
- Go back to Excel and select the rest of the spreadsheet continue until you have all the parts pasted into PowerPoint
- Group the parts together in PowerPoint.
- Re-size them as necessary
- Un-group them and position them correctly
- If you open a presentation and start seeing a Big Red X then try some of these options:
- Certainly don't save the presentation.
- Check for a service release of Office Update
- If you have the original bitmap save it as a .BMP file and not a .PNG or .TIF or .JPG, then try re-inserting it
- Try shrinking the offending image until it will display properly...
- Then press and hold the "Alt Gr" key
- Press the "PrtScn" key.
- Choose "Edit", "Paste-special", "picture", "OK"
- If you still see the "Big Red X"....take a break!
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