[Webinar] PowerPoint Presentation Hacks for Business with Nolan Haims

Nolan Haims
Microsoft PowerPoint MVP

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
11 am PDT/ 2 pm EDT

Special PXpert Subscriber Discount: $199


Effective and impactful presentations are integral to your job success. We use presentations to sell an idea or a product, both internally and externally. How do yours stack up? We all know the kinds of presentations we like to see: those with less text, fewer bullet points, and more visuals. And yet time pressures and habit too often lead us to break the “golden rule of presentation” when we have to create our own slides. Join presentation expert and Microsoft PowerPoint MVP Nolan Haims for a 1-hour special PresentationXpert webinar on creating better presentations through more efficient use of PowerPoint and by implementing time-tested techniques for eliminating the major causes of tiresome slide decks in the corporate world.

Nolan will show you how to:

• Work faster and more efficiently using the best unknown PowerPoint tricks & hacks
• Customize your Quick Access Toolbar to reflect your working style
• Reduce text with the “three-word challenge”
• Eliminate bullet points through “chunking”
• Avoid creating slides destined to be cut later through “bumper stickers”
• Easily create handouts by exploiting PowerPoint’s notes page design features
• Write effective headers
• Source and choose effective imagery

Managers, supervisors, graphic and PowerPoint professionals, administrative assistants, sales professionals, marketers – anyone who uses Microsoft PowerPoint and wants to save hours and save hours of productivity.

You’ll get a list of sources for imagery – both paid and royalty-free, access to Nolan’s magic list of corporate brand logos, a cheat sheet for hacks and shortcuts, and more.

With more than 20 years experience in the field of visual communications, Nolan Haims helps organizations and individuals show up differently and tell better stories with fewer words. As principal of Nolan Haims Creative, Nolan leads a team of visual design professionals dedicated to all types of visual communications including presentation, data visualization, traditional print and identity design. As a designer and art director, he has created high-end presentations, keynote addresses, and pitches for Fortune 500 CEOs, leading financial institutions, top foundations, and all the major television networks. Most recently as a Vice President and Director of Presentation for Edelman, Nolan helped the world’s largest public relations company consistently win multi-million dollar pitches by communicating more visually. Nolan trains organizations to think visually and to create and give more effective presentations. He speaks at national conferences and writes extensively on visual storytelling, including at his own site, PresentYourStory.com. For his continuing contributions to the presentation industry, Microsoft has designated Nolan one of only eleven PowerPoint MVPs in the U.S. As such, Nolan consults regularly with the development team on the industry standard software. In a past life, he was an award-winning magician and juggler and performed with the Moscow Circus and Vermont’s Circus Smirkus before turning to theatre. Nolan directed and wrote professionally, creating stories on stages in New York and around the country for a decade. He holds a degree in media writing and theatre from Northwestern University.

The Evolution of the Presentation Specialist Job Grows as Does Demand for Talent

The demand for presentation design experts is growing significantly as the role becomes a critical part of an organization or team. Why? First impressions can mean the difference between the success and failure of a product. Today, presentations are a critical part of how we communicate our business messages.

A text-heavy slide that is hard to read is not going to win you any business. Would you want to buy anything from someone who used any of these slides?

But, you are swamped with multiple projects and you really don’t have the best PowerPoint skills. So, what do you do? Organizations are realizing that they need to work efficiently and use their resources wisely. This is a perfect reason to work with a presentation specialist who can help your presentations be that strong visual message needed to close that deal. It can be an internal resource, often found working in marketing and sales, or an external resource.

Presentation Specialists are in high-demand both internally and externally. According to Artisan Talent Agency, there is a growing demand for high-end presentation design skills by their corporate customers. It is a job position that they have a high demand for qualified candidates. 

“What is driving this increased demand for presentation specialists?”, I asked. She explained that for their agency, it is the emergence of the infographic as a key information tool that has really been a driving factor. Health-care and consulting firms are the sectors that seem to be driving the increased reach of infographics as a messaging tool. Did you know that in the last five years, the use of infographics has increased 800% per year? Google trends research concludes the demand for mobile and visual learning are key factors to the continued growth.

End of the year financial data projects has also become a perfect project for a specialist who can create an understandable way of presenting financial and other analytics. Here is one example of a bad data slide which also happens to be one of Nolan Haim’s favorite for “Worst Chart Slide”:

Nolan Haims did a wonderful PXpert webinar on how to tell the story of your data. It doesn’t have to be hard to understand or boring. He shows us how to design charts that are both clear and beautiful. Here are two examples of how to show the story of data:

Having the ability to see the story of the data and how to present it is an important skill to have.

Who are presentation designers?

They go by many names or classifications. They are called PowerPoint experts, PowerPoint designers, Presentation Experts, Presentation Specialist and more. There is now a wonderful trade association, Presentation Guild, that is a great resource for this role. I am proud to be a member. One of my favorite descriptions of this job is theirs. Their job title is “Presentationist”.
In their 2016, Presentation Guild Salary Survey Report, they offered a great profile of a presentationist. Let me share it with you.

Another interesting detail is that 39% of the participants in the survey have “presentation” as part of their job title which is great news for the industry and a show of respect for this role.

The Salary range in the Presentation Guild report was between $51K and $75K. This is consistent with other salary surveys for this role. Glassdoor.com, a job searching site, has the salary range between $43K and $69K with the national average being $57K. Indeed.com also offered salary ranges but at $20.70 per hour or $43.6K per year, their information seems too low.

To get more details on the information provided in the Presentation Guild Salary Survey Report, click here. It is free for members. You can join for $99 per year and get it free. Or buy it for $59. Guild membership is a worthwhile investment in yourself. It is a great resource and community.

Experts, Recruiters, and Agencies all seem to agree that a presentation specialist needs to be a good business communicator with a creative visual eye. They should be proficient in Microsoft PowerPoint and use graphic tools like Illustrator, InDesign, PhotoShop, and others. In addition to PowerPoint, presentation specialists should also be proficient in Keynote, Haiku, and/or Prezi.

Where do you fit into this world of presentations? I am curious. Email me.

The Graphic Design Industry – Where Does a Presentation Designer Fit?

In the last decade, the emergence of Presentation/PowerPoint Designer roles has skyrocketed from the darkened corner of Desktop Publishing (DTP) to the heights of keynote speeches and world-viewed presentations as well as touched on practically every design discipline in-between. The niche lovechild of DTP and Graphic Design, Presentation Design, now sits on the precipice of becoming the newest specialization in Graphic Design.

A Phenakistoscope

The history of graphic design has seen the development of three major disciplines each of which have various levels of overlap. Of the three key disciplines, the print-based design was the first and oldest. The next development was motion design with the earliest examples being the Phenakistoscope and then the animated flipbook in the early-to-mid 1800s. As the century ended, there was an explosion of interest in motion and animation design which then thrived for the next 100 years and now every time you turn on a TV, you are bombarded with motion design, everything from the intro reel of your favorite news channel to the credits at the end of a movie. The third discipline, Interactive Design, evolved broadly with the advent of computing. The user not only watched motion or looked at print, but could also interact with it by giving commands or prompts. The first broad use of interactive design was in the mid-to-late 1900s with early computer systems. As computers became more sophisticated and operating systems were designed and improved upon, the visual design became more and more important. This was the first boom in interactive design, with early operating systems leading the way. As the World Wide Web developed, this form of design branched out and exploded across the world, every website is an interactive design, every program on your computer (including PowerPoint) is an example of this design discipline. In fact, anyone reading this article either on a phone or on a computer is engaging in at least 3 levels of interactive design.

The development and emergence of these disciplines of design have been largely chronological, however, the big question that is most relevant to us today is: where does Presentation Design sit? After discussions with many people from these disciplines, there is a feeling that Presentation Design sits outside the scope of Graphic Design altogether. I’ve met many professional and highly skilled Graphic Designers across all these disciplines who will simply not touch Presentations. Why? Because there is a significant stigma associated with working within the programs available to create presentations (PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc.). Some blame lack of features, some blame inexperience, some blame operability, but ultimately it stems from the elitism of specialist Graphic Design software and the ‘commonness’ of Presentation Design software.

I see PowerPoint a little differently. I see it as a tool that can encompass all of these design aspects. Admittedly, there are pros and cons of using PowerPoint as a tool to produce each of these designs, however, show me a program that allows you to display on one screen your design, which encompasses the principles of print design, then seamlessly integrates animation into the design all the while allowing the end user to navigate them, or allowing a pilot to navigate an audience through a non-linear presentation based on the needs of the audience, all whilst being a program that is included in the world’s most famous productivity suite of applications and on over 500 million computers worldwide. Nearly everyone with a computer has PowerPoint. Anyone can open the program, create some slides, some bullet points and press ‘Start Slideshow’. This does not make them a Presentation Designer. The hurdle we need to overcome is not introducing Presentation Design to the world, the hurdle is to show the world what Presentation Design SHOULD be.

The good news is that a Presentation Designer is always in relatively high demand. Industry demand will only ever grow for this service as pitches and inter-business presentations become so competitive many companies are moving from ‘getting whoever knows how to use PowerPoint in the office’ to ‘getting a professional with knowledge of audience communication and best practice in designing for these circumstances’.

The big question is, will the Graphic Design industry eventually accept Presentation Design (and by extension, PowerPoint) as a new specialization? What do you think? Let’s get the conversation started.

Email me and editor@presentationxpert.com with your thoughts.

About Tom Howell:
Tom Howell is a PowerPoint designer and the founder of Synapsis Creative, a boutique presentation design agency. Tom started his career as a designer for multiple disciplines and specialized in PowerPoint 10 years ago, and has never looked back. With a talent for animation and interactivity, his work has been featured on Microsoft’s webinar series on PowerPoint and in multiple online magazines and articles. He regularly speaks at conferences and seminars and is a key figure for presentation design in the industry. His clients come from an array of different industries. Tom loves the challenges and successes that are achievable in PowerPoint and lives to make presentations stand out for all the right reasons.


Don’t miss my “Dishing on Presentations” conversation with Tom Howell. It is engaging and packed full of presentation wisdom from “down under”. Click  here to watch


[Video] “Dishing on Presentations” with Tom Howell

In this month’s “Dishing with Presentations” interview, we went “down under” to speak with Professional Presentation Evangelist, Tom Howell in his Synapsis Creative office in Sydney, Australia. What comes across in the conversation with our editor, Sharyn Fitzpatrick, is how much Tom is passionate about PowerPoint and all it can do for his clients and our industry. He is enthralled with what you can achieve with presentations using skills and creativity and how it continues to evolve as a creative tool for graphic designers and presentation designers. His global client list includes Microsoft, Universal Pictures, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Goldman Sachs Investment Banking, Proctor & Gamble, Nestle, and the United Nations. All of which add credibility to his successes and his wealth of knowledge and experience. He shares his insights into how to become and grow as a presentation designer. Enjoy!

Sharyn Fitzpatrick
Editor, PresentationXpert
eMail: sfitzpatrick@presentationxpert.com

How to Make a Viral PowerPoint Infographic

Making a PowerPoint infographic is relatively easy. Making a viral PowerPoint infographic is difficult. The five steps listed below can help:

STEP 1: Start with a popular topic that is in the news or trending on social media. If your subject is not highly sought, find a way to connect it with one that is popular. For example, if your subject is about file sharing technology, perhaps you link it with keeping files safe from hackers, such as “Stop Hackers with Safe File Sharing Solutions.”

STEP 2: Choose a provocative headline that mentions an in-demand topic. This becomes your title. The title should give your target audience a reason to care about your infographic. They must quickly know the benefit(s) to them for reading it. If there is no benefit, why would they want to share it? (The benefit can be implicit or explicit, but I recommend the latter). Sharing a specified number of tips, tricks, or secrets is a popular approach to get more “likes” and “shares.” Here are a few examples:

  • Retire 10 Years Earlier with this 1 Life Hack
  • Conor McGregor’s Top 3 Fitness Secrets
  • 20 Websites for Free PowerPoint Graphics
  • 5 Ways to Win Proposals in the Trump Administration

STEP 3: Write or find supporting data and content that can be chunked in your infographic. (Chunked means breaking your information into bite-sized, digestible pieces then assembling them to tell a story.)

STEP 4: Render and export your infographic. Start by changing your page layout. Select dimensions that are optimal for the amount of content you include. (To change the size of your PowerPoint document, select Slide Size and then Page Setup in the Design tab. Enter your new height and width.)

Next, use a grid. Depending upon your version of PowerPoint, you can show your Gridlines under the View tab or make a grid. A grid ensures your content is evenly spaced, aligned and easy to read. The following is a sample layout using a grid guide. I made the grid by drawing one horizontal line that was the width of my page. Next, duplicate and move the copies of the original line so that they are roughly evenly spaced and fill the page. Next, select all of your lines and click Arrange/Align/Distribute Vertically under the Home tab. Group all your lines using Arrange/Group. Copy your line group and paste a duplicate. Now, rotate the duplicate line group 90 degrees. Scale vertically and add or delete lines as needed. Be sure to delete your grid when your design is complete.)

To download the grid as a template, click here.

Arrange your words as needed as placeholders. Below is an example of an infographic that has an alternative layout using the same grid guide.

Next, choose your color palette. I recommend using a website like color.adobe.com to select a visually appealing color set. Pick colors that complement and echo your subject matter or target audience. For example, if you are talking about the United States Army, use their colors. If you want to communicate danger to a Western audience (color has different meanings in different cultures), consider a palette that uses red.

Next, look online for PowerPoint graphic elements. These are my two favorite websites to find and download PowerPoint graphics:

For high-quality, affordable photographs, I search these stock websites:

Alternatively, you can build graphics within the software using PowerPoint’s Shapes, Merge (or Combine) Shapes, and built-in charts. If you know how, you can make professional icons, symbols, and graphics quickly and easily, because basic, simple shapes comprise every graphic. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to better understand how to use PowerPoint’s built-in tools to create graphics. Give yourself a project to practice. Explore and play around.

Tip: Use this Graphic Cheat Sheet to help you pick the right graphic type.

Next, using your grid, color palette, content, and imagery, arrange and format the elements to tell a story. Here are three examples of PowerPoint infographic templates I made using this process.

Finally, export your graphic as a JPG to make you file easy to share and protect the integrity of your design. (JPG “flattens” your infographic and is not easily edited.)

Tip: For print resolution (on Windows), use PPTools.com’s Image Export to save your file at 200 or 300 dpi.

STEP 5: Upload your infographic to social media, your website and blog. Include it in your newsletter. Share it wherever your target audience will find it. Remember to include hashtags on social media that highlight the subject matter and benefits. When posting it, tag organizations and individuals in your field that may be interested in the content and will likely share it. For example, if your infographic favorably mentions a company, tweet it with the company’s hashtag (e.g., #powerpoint, #applecomputer, #urbanoutfitters)

Contact online news websites and ask them if they would like to share your infographic. (They are likely to do so because it is free content for them presented in a popular format.)

Tip: Click on the following link to get Piktochart’s “20 Websites You Should Leverage to Promote Your Infographic.”

Experience is the best teacher. Over time, expect to get better and better results the more you apply what you learn.

About the author:

Mike Parkinson (Microsoft MVP and APMP Fellow) is an internationally recognized visual communication and presentation expert, professional speaker, and award-winning author. Mike is one of 16 Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs in the United States. He regularly conducts workshops and creates graphics, presentations, and learning materials for companies like Microsoft, FedEx, Xerox, Dell, and Boeing as well as at learning institutions and organizations.

Mike owns both 24 Hour Company (24hrco.com) and Billion Dollar Graphics (BillionDollarGraphics.com). He authored a popular Do-It-Yourself Billion Dollar Graphics and is completing his latest book on PowerPoint for educators. Contact Mike at mike@billiondollargraphics.com now to learn more about how he can help you hit your goals.

The Effectiveness of Visual Infographics as Content Marketing Tools

Content marketing continues to be more “image-centric,” which is why an infographic is often the best way to visualize any data set and engage your target audience in a conversation about your message. It could be as simple as liking it, sharing it, or starting a discussion about it in their community. You get the buzz going for your content and enables you to visually present content so it is effective and not lost in an Excel “eye chart” so small it is not readable. You are looking for a way to stand out among your competition. And if your infographic is widely distributed via website traffic, social shares, backlinks, and more, then you have a strong case that its ROI proves it to be a great content marketing asset.

So, are you worried you might not have the budget to design an infographic? Or, creating one on your own might beyond your skill set? It is not. It is easier than you think. In his article this month, Mike Parkinson offers a great step-by-step tutorial on how to create an infographic in PowerPoint. He has a great tip, suggesting you follow the link to get Piktochart’s “20 Websites You Should Leverage to Promote Your Infographic.

Before you start designing and creating your infographic, you should create a social marketing plan that will maximize the number of impressions your infographic gets. Having it trending amongst social media targets will increase its visibility and see it trending. So how do we get there?

Do your homework. Spend time before you create your infographic to understand what your target audience likes. Is there a topic or a style of an infographic that seems to work better than others? Your content may be different but you want to appeal to your target audience.

Know your Data and its value to your audience. This is critical – your data must be relevant and actionable. If your audience doesn’t perceive that the data you are sharing has value to them, then they won’t share it. An infographic is a great way to tell your data story and control how it is presented.

Big Data

by wakeuptj. From Visually.

Source: Business.com

Be creative. Use out-of-the-box ideas to design a memorable theme for your infographic. Find a fun, innovative graphic to illustrate your information. You want to create that “aha” moment with your final infographic. Unusual facts such as (insert infographic themes). The best infographic designs are ones that are laser-focused on giving the audience what they need. Don’t be too generic for an infographic. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you want high-interest, high-value leads from your target audience. Remember that you are competing for people’s attention amongst a crowded and overwhelming digital world. When designing a persuasive infographic, tell your data story with the most important information first to get their attention. The litmus test for your information is to think about from your audience’s perspective. Can you answer: What is in it for them? If your information passes this test, you are moving in the right direction.

Be social and smart about it. Create a social marketing plan before you create your graphic. Mike’s advice on chunking your graphics is a great way to think about how you could use it for your social marketing. Let me explain. Your infographic is built on key messages. You can reuse and redistribute your infographic as one image or a series of images. For example, in the “Whistle While You Work” infographic, you can see that there are five key messages. You can focus on each one as a topic and do social marketing around each topic on this infographic.

By using each section as well as the whole infographic, you are gaining multiple impressions of your data. Chunking each section gives you a snapshot of each of your key facts. You link it back to the complete infographic which you have explained in your matching blog!

Check out this infographic from Feldman Creative. They use each letter in the word, HEADLINE in their YOUR CHEAT SHEET FOR WRITING HEADLINES. It is clever and very marketable as a complete infographic and focusing on the content of each letter.

Social Marketing Tips to Promote Your Infographic
  • Share it each one on social media.
  • Send it out at multiple times using hashtags and multiple channels.
  • Create a blog that tells the story of the infographic and allows readers to share it.
  • If you use an expert in this field, then use their social network to expand the reach of your information to their network.
  • Use the aggregators that you find on Piktochart’s “20 Websites You Should Leverage to Promote Your Infographic.
  • Use the right tags for Social media so your infographic is widely distributed.
Checkout http://hashtagify.me/.

Think of it as your Twitter Hashtag search engine – they have both a free and a pro version. You can identify the value of a hashtag by searching to see how it is used. They have both a free and a pro version. Is it is trending? Are any of your industry influencers or target market using it?

Let’s do a search using #presentations. And look who we found: Nolan Haims and the Presentation Guild.


In the pro version of Hashtagify, you have a great analytics dashboard. This gives you actionable results on the impact of your hashtag campaign.

Now you have the power of knowledge and resources to create an infographic on your own using PowerPoint and now you know what to do with it so have fun. Let us know your hashtag and we will social share it.

[Presentation] Dapper Design for the Non-Designer

This week, I was at ON24’s Webinar World 2017 in San Francisco. It was packed full of tips, tricks, best practices, and case studies, presented by marketers from both ON24 and their customers. I took over forty pages of notes so it was rich in content and well done.

One of the sessions was around slide design and I will admit to being skeptical about the content but I shouldn’t have been.  Kate Schmeisser, SendGrid, told us upfront that she was not a designer but she believes that design is your secret weapon.  She told us that she believes that the right design gives you and your message more creditability. And that content is king. She has the right eye and the right instincts to be a designer and the added bonus of being a content marketer.  She told a story of design, balanced with effective marketing content that resonated with the audience of marketers.  She has made her slide deck available to download – click here

She divided her presentation into three sections:

  • Why
  • Strategy
  • Design

Think about how your slides make people feel

Does this slide make you believe she cares about this presentation? It looks like what it is. Just text on a slide with no thought to her audience – good thing she did on purpose to make her point.

This is a better option, don’t you agree?

It is not what you say but how you say it. Which one of the next two slides works? A or B?



The second one is a great example of how you say it.

Design is your Secret Weapon

Here are two pictures of jeeps. Which one would you take a ride in? What do they mean?

Yikes, I would be very hesitant to take a ride in this beat-up jalopy. But the one below looks well cared for. Kate made the connection that it looks like this Bronco owner cares about their vehicle. We need to care about design.

She told us that she believes that the right design gives you and your message more creditability. Think outside the box both in design and how you share content.



Kate stresses that content is king. If you don’t bring value to the content than it doesn’t matter how it looks.

Her favorite strategy and a good place to start is to “Keep Your Design Bright and Tight”. To keep it “bright”, it must be “lively, engaging and smart”. Then you marry that with “tight”, organized, strategic, and targeted. Makes sense? Do your slides measure up?
We know about working with the Brand Police and why branded templates give life to themes.

Kate shared some great examples of how using a theme or analogy could be a great way to tell your story in a fun and creative way. One of the campaigns mentioned above, Stellar eMail Marketing, used the analogy of space and the stellar theme to deliver key messages. They were clever and make an impact.

She shared another one around a baseball theme – see below. They are clever and stand a better chance of appealing to a larger audience because they are interesting.

And another one about Good Taste

Tactics and Tools

Stock Photos are your Friend – Learn how to use them.

Good advice. Kate is a huge fan of stock photos. She said, “I think that they give energy, complexity, and beauty to slides.” I agree with her.

Utilize Design Basics such as using white space, sticking to a color theme, don’t use more than two fonts,lLook for natural lines on an image slide where you could add text, and many more.

Kate shared her “Quick and Dirty” formula for getting your slides done fast and efficiently. So, take thirty minutes and do the following:

The takeaways she shared offer great advice:
You need great content first
Limit the amount of text you put on a slide

Keep your strategy bright and tight (one of my favorites)

A little extra design effort goes a long way

Start small with the quick and dirty formula

Believe you can do it!

Then let your creativity flow. You can do it! The information was great and relevant to the audience in the room. But Kate sold it. She has personality, creditability and she made it fun. You wanted to listen. You can tell she is passionate about what she does. It came through in her presentation. She rocked it – content and presentation. I can’t wait to see what she does next. You can reach Kate Schmeisser via email.  Connect with her on LinkedIn. 

If you want to learn more about how to use imagery, watch Nolan Haims’webinar on Using Imagery to Create Powerful, Impactful Presentation Stories.

[Video] Dishing on Presentations and Infographics with Mike Parkinson, Microsoft MVP

It is always a pleasure to have a conversation with Microsoft MVP, Mike Parkinson. He is so knowledgeable and passionate about what he does. Infographics continue to grow in popularity and Mike has written an insightful article for us on how to create them in PowerPoint.  In his conversation with Editor, Sharyn Fitzpatrick, the Microsoft MVP shared his views on how to capitalize on the social marketing opportunities you can take advantage of in promoting your infographic. His nuts-and-bolts tutorial provides easy-to-understand instructions. For more information and to read his article, click here




Sharyn Fitzpatrick
Editor, PresentationXpert
eMail: sfitzpatrick@presentationxpert.com

[Webinar Recording] Using Imagery to Create Powerful, Impactful Presentation Stories

Try GoToWebinar free for 30 days, and save 20% on an annual subscription. Give it a try today.A picture is worth a thousand words and using imagery in your presentations does make an impact enabling your content to come alive. In this webinar, moderated by Editor Sharyn Fitzpatrick, we share tips on how to find the right imagery for your content and how to use it in a design. Microsoft PowerPoint MVP Nolan Haims showcases several design options for

Register on Nolan’s site, Present Your Story.com to get access to the handouts.

each slide and why it works. This is a perfect tutorial for the non-designer.

Topics include:

  • How to identify a good image from a bad image in your searching;
  • Harnessing the rule of thirds;
  • Creating “image sets” for consistency;
  • The power of transparency and gradients in PowerPoint;
  • Why you should cut the heads off people yes, really!;
  • Advanced image editing, no Photoshop needed;

The right way to compress files As a bonus, we explore where you can find images to use including sourcing across a variety of stock websites for all budgets.

About Nolan Haims:
Nolan runs Nolan Haims Creative, a visual communications and design consultancy that help organizations and individuals tell more effective stories with fewer words. As a Vice President and Director of Presentation for Edelman, he created and ran a department dedicated to raising the bar on visual communications and ensuring the firm showed up differently at pitches. During his tenure with Edelman, he oversaw nearly 500 high-stakes new business pitches as the firm grew by 64%. As a designer and art director, he has created high-end presentations for Fortune 500 CEOs, leading financial institutions, top foundations, and all the major television networks. Nolan trains organizations to think visually and to create and give more effective presentations. He speaks at national conferences and writes extensively on visual storytelling including at his own site, PresentYourStory.com. Microsoft has recognized him as one of only 11 PowerPoint MVPs in the U.S for his contributions to the presentation community. He is also one of three co-hosts for the Presentation Podcast.

Reader Questions: How Do You Bring PowerPoint Files Down to a Smaller File Size?

“by Nolan Haims, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP”

Bringing PowerPoint Files Down to Size

Hard drive capacities, cloud storage, and bandwidth keep increasing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we can or should let our PowerPoint files increase in size unchecked.

Text, vectors (such as .svg and emf content) and animation won’t add much to your file size—in fact, I’ve seen 100-slide decks without any images take up just a couple of megabytes—but photos and video can quickly balloon the size of your presentations if you don’t take care.


You can begin to control file size by choosing smaller images, to begin with before inserting them into PowerPoint. JPEGs will generally be smaller than PNGs (but always use PNGs for logos and detailed illustrations), and presentations designed to be printed or shown on extremely high definition screens will want higher res images. I won’t go into all the technical details of pixel size here but will say that the easiest thing to do to make sure your image has enough resolution is to place it in your presentation and project or print it and judge quality with your own eyes. Unfortunately, this will tell you if it’s big enough, but not if it is larger than it needs to be.

And so, you may find yourself in a situation of wanting to reduce the size of your images after they have been placed in PowerPoint. The easiest solution is to select the image in question and then select “Compress Pictures” from the Format tab (or Picture Format tab on the Mac). Here you’ll find options for compressing the image at different levels of quality as well as checkboxes for deleting cropped areas of pictures and compressing ALL the images in the file or just the selected one.

You’re free to make use of PowerPoint’s built-in compression tools, but be warned that they’re just not very good in my opinion. In the words of my friends at SlideRabbit, PowerPoint’s compression tools are more like a hatchet rather than a scalpel. The compression results in clunky sometimes over-pixelized images. And once you compress everything, there’s no going back, so be sure you have made a backup of your file first.

NXPowerlite to the Rescue

If Microsoft’s tools are a hatchet, then the scalpel you want comes from a company called Neuxpower in the form of NXPowerlite—hands down the best compression software for Microsoft Office that there is. NXPowerlite comes in a few different forms for Mac, PC, desktop, enterprise, etc. It is not expensive and entirely worth the investment if you spend your days creating presentations. How it works I have no idea, but I can say that I use it all the time and the results are magical. The interface is drag and drop, and it is all very well thought out. I’ve seen 100MB files filled with images compressed down to 5MB with no visible loss of image quality. I should note that while it is compressing images, it is also compressing the PowerPoint file itself, removing old and redundant code and other items. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy here.


While you can insert YouTube videos onto slides (PC-only) or even just hyperlinks to nonYouTube videos, in general, I recommend embedding videos as you never know when internet access will be spotty or unavailable. None of the above tools will help with compressing video, and unless you want to compress your videos outside of PowerPoint (by re-encoding them using video software), your only solution is to head to PowerPoint’s “backstage” File tab: Info and select “Compress Media.” Here you’ll be given options for levels of compression. In my experience, PowerPoint’s video compression is a bit better than the image compression, but you’ll just have to experiment and judge the results for yourself.

Final Tips and Tricks

Every once in a while, compression will still fail to reduce file size enough for your needs. In these cases, you can actually unpack a PowerPoint file by changing the file extension to .zip, unzipping it and navigating to the media folder to search through all the image and video assets used by the file. If you discover a 20MB image somewhere, you can target just that one item.

And if you find yourself expending time and energy trying to keep file sizes down, take a step back and ask if it is worth the hassle. If your file is too large to be included as an email attachment, you can always make use of services like WeTransfer, Hightail and Box to transfer large files to others. My typical workflow is to keep presentation files in Dropbox folders and then simply send a download link to clients for items that are too large for email.

Don’t forget to register for my free webinar on Wednesday, February 15 in which we’ll discuss much more about using imagery in your presentations.

About Nolan:

Nolan runs Nolan Haims Creative, a visual communications and design consultancy that help organizations and individuals tell more effective stories with fewer words. As a Vice President and Director of Presentation for Edelman, he created and ran a department dedicated to raising the bar on visual communications and ensuring the firm showed up differently at pitches. During his tenure with Edelman, he oversaw nearly 500 high-stakes new business pitches as the firm grew by 64%. As a designer and art director, he has created high-end presentations for Fortune 500 CEOs, leading financial institutions, top foundations, and all the major television networks. Nolan trains organizations to think visually and to create and give more effective presentations. He speaks at national conferences and writes extensively on visual storytelling including at his own site, PresentYourStory.com. Microsoft has recognized him as one of only 11 PowerPoint MVPs in the U.S for his contributions to the presentation community.


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