Discovering Presentation Gems on Vimeo and YouTube

BELGRADE - JULY 11 2014 Popular social media icons vimeo youtube and other on smart phone screen close up

Did you know that video is what is most appealing to today’s professionals as a source for information? And since the digital world never seems to stop, so videos are such an important tool in our visual industry to teach us what’s new and feed our creativity.

YouTube and Vimeo are fascinating places to discover how to do presentations more creatively and productively. Besides SlideShare, they are my other go-to places for inspiration and knowledge. I wanted to share a few of my go-to channels and why I like them. Many contributors have channels on both platforms.

Need to learn how to do PowerPoint animations? You can find quick tip videos or longer videos that are more detailed. Just-in-time learning is driving content to these platforms. YouTube appears to be populated with videos that would appeal to a presentation professional. There are more variety and depth in the content offerings on YouTube. However, Vimeo was created to be more business-oriented and mostly providing content to professionals.

Let’s look at some channels on both and then make your own decision.


PowerPoint & After Effects /w Andrzej Pach

Andrzej offers quick and knowledgeable PowerPoint tutorials. They contain actionable learning which you can use almost immediately. One of my favorites is “Crop and add photographs in PowerPoint slide in any shape you want | PowerPoint template tutorial”

PowerPoint Spice

Lia, aka P-Spice, is so wonderful at what she does. She was tired of living through dull presentations and decided to shake things up. Not only does she entice you with wonderful tips and tricks that cannot wait to try, she actually tells you step-by-step how to do it. A good example is her latest video: Cool PowerPoint Tricks to Look like a Tech Genius (Live Polls, Animations and More!). She gives your great ideas and insights into how PowerPoint add-ins can add depth to your presentations. She uses Poll Anywhere in this tutorial. It is one of those “aha moments” where you can instantly see the impact that an engagement tool like this could really improve the interactivity of your presentations. On her blog, she gives written steps that match the video. Check it out.


This is a b3b creative design idea. I have really enjoyed getting to know Managing Director, Damjan Haylor. Their mission is to bring information to life which many of their projects and videos do. They are informative and well done. Their Vimeo channel includes good content for creating presentations.  Don’t miss this video: Did you know that PowerPoint could do THIS?

Did you know that PowerPoint could do THIS? from POPcomms on Vimeo.

Did you know that PowerPoint could do THIS? from POPcomms on Vimeo.


PowerPoint Pro YouTube Channel

Engagement is one of the reasons why I like the PowerPoint Pro YouTube channel. Managed by motion graphic designer, Sadman Sadik, it is full of great tips and tutorials that will take your presentations to the next level.

Check out this video:


PowerPoint for Business Professionals – Nuts and Bolts Speed Training

Many of you remember Taylor Croonquist as a frequent contributor and webinar presenter for PresentationXpert. His company, Nuts and Bolts offers in-depth intense videos on anything PowerPoint. Their “What’s the Point” learning series delivers how-to tips and tricks on animation, charts, PowerPoint cheats, and more. I wanted to share one of my favorites with you: Episode 3 of the series – Chunky Monkey.

Interesting Videos:
Joe Lewis: Where is Storytelling Going Next?

Joe Lewis is known for pushing the edge of technology and hopes to change how we watch television. He seems to have jumped on the “storytelling” bandwagon and shares his views. Worth watching this:  Joe Lewis – Where is Storytelling Going Next? (Future Of Storytelling 2016) from Paul Trillo on Vimeo.

Hand holds YouTube icon


So go exploring on your own and discover your own gems. And let us know what you find.



Adding Live, Real-Time Web Pages to Your Presentations

Have you ever wanted to demonstrate a live website during a PowerPoint presentation? But you don’t want to show your desktop or gopicture2 out of show mode in PowerPoint. Sometimes the content or message is more useful if you can show your audience information from a website. You could always use a screen shot with a hyperlink but that is like crossing your fingers and hope it works.

I work with high-tech clients, many of whom like to demo their technology during a webinar, showing proof of concept, or during a presentation. Often that means getting out of show mode and going to another application like Chrome or Bing to log onto their website or platform. It looks awkward and unprofessional each time they had to switch back and forth. They are often tearing their hair out in frustration.

In PowerPoint 2016, you can add a web page by inserting a screen shot then adding a hyperlink. It is easy. Just follow these steps:

#1: Choose Insert Screenshot.


#2: Choose an existing screenshot or do a screen clipping – one of the most useful applications in Windows.


#3: Resize the screenshot to the size you want


#4: Then, right-click on the picture and choose hyperlink. Add the hyperlink.



#5: Go to Slide Show – you will see the cursor change to the icon for hyperlinked item.


#6: Click the picture and you will open the website. But it will take you out of PowerPoint.

Hint: You can use ALT-TAB to get back to PowerPoint but it takes finesse

Although you can add a web page to PowerPoint, the process of doing it is not for the faint of heart! And it often doesn’t work! There had to be a simpler way.

Meet LiveWeb, a free add-in for PowerPoint that makes this painless and offers you easy-to-manage options. You can add web pages into a PowerPoint and then refresh them real time during your presentation so it is always current and up-to-date. And you stay in the PowerPoint slide show. What if you are online or your internet connection is slower than you like? Well, this program works with your local drive as well. Just specify what document, or path you will be storing the information. And it pulls it from there. And you don’t have to write any code.


No matter what you’re giving a presentation about, sometimes it can be useful to show your audience information from the internet. You could always create a screenshot of the web page you’re demonstrating, but chances are the screenshot may be out of date by the time you give your presentation.

Here’s how you can insert a live web page into a PowerPoint presentation so you can show the exact content you’re talking about.

LiveWeb adds two actions to your PowerPoint “Insert” Menu. One lets you create the URL link and then define the size and placement of the LiveWeb window on your slide. And the second one guides you through how to edit the page property, if you need to. And it is quick and easy to use – a great reason to download it.

So what does it really do? Well, once you set up the web page, it works its magic behind the scene. it captures the web browser control manually and it writes the code to update the web pages within its control during the slide show. We tested it during several webinars and it worked great!




slide3Your slideshow now resembles a full-screen browser without toolbar controls. In fact, to use the commands for browsing, you have to right click on the browser object. You can change the properties of the web page slide anytime from the Edit Page Property button on the Live Web menu. The size of the inserted web page can be changed by dragging the corner handles of the browser object. You can use the remaining area of the slide for inserting any other PowerPoint element.

There is a downside to using LiveWeb. You cannot package this up to share unless the receiving computer also has Live Web. Otherwise, there is a black box where the web page is. I have used Camtasia or GoToWebinar to package it as a recording and that works but obviously, the web page is not live or searchable. It is still worth downloading.

How to Build a Website Framework Using PowerPoint

Moving a website from one provider to another crashed the website. So we took the opportunity to create a new, improved framework. Our goal was to find a way to build a visual website framework that our web designer could use to visually see and emulate as he built the website.

Website wireframes template design sketch style kit

I looked at a lot of framework applications and most were cumbersome and not easy to use. I would have to learn a new software and the learning curve looked like it would take time I was looking for a way to create a website that was easy to build and still rich in information. I need a sandbox where I could move elements around, playing with different looks and navigation. I am a visual person and I needed that option. Creating an outline in Word just wasn’t enough to get things moving in the right direction.

One of our subscribers suggested I look at PowerMockup, a wireframe and mockup add-in for PowerPoint. It includes a collection of over 400 line icons, 27 annotations, 17 mouse cursor options, placeholder picture icons, touch gestures which are common hand gestures you might use on a smartphone or tablet, over 75 Windows desktop shapes such as navigation, content, input, and system shape and over 100 shapes to build low-fidelity wireframes and more.

You have the perfect sandbox to sketch user interfaces for the web and for mobile. My website developer loved that they had a Bootstrap Wireframe. It is commonly used for creating HTML, CSS pages and more. It took me less than an hour to create the framework I needed for the website I needed to build. And the best part, it was an add-in to PowerPoint.

annotation-shapes-screenshot-v1 ciommon-wirefream-shapes

What I really love about this add-in id that they provide an extensive collection of user-interface elements and icons, built our PowerPoint shapes. No new software to use. And with these elements simplify the process you need to use to easily create prototypes of mobile and web applications. And the best part, you can do it all for inside PowerPoint.

This add-in is $59 but I tried the free trial first to make sure I liked and I did. It is now on my QAT in PowerPoint. If you want to see it in action, watch the video below.

Using Stock Imagery Like the Pros and Where to Find it!

jul16-nolan-stock-imagery-PXpert-article - 1Image from

Before the internet and e-commerce sites, the world of stock photography was an intimidating and wallet-draining world of printed catalogs and rights-managed images with few suppliers— Getty Images and Corbis being the two biggest. Royalty-free imagery that could be bought outright and used in most any situation was a significant advance, although initially, it was still quite costly.

These days, there are hundreds of sources for stock photography at all price levels—even for free—so, you have few excuses for using low resolution, cheesy or outright stolen imagery.

But Wait, Why Do I Have to Pay for Imagery in Presentation Anyway?

Okay, let’s get this issue out of the way. There are many who believe that when it comes to presentation, one has the right to use any image from any source without permission or payment. Well, if you’re a 12-year old making a slideshow to convince your parents that you really deserve a dog, and those slides will never leave the confines of the family room, then I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you’re probably okay using anything you can find online, much in the same way that that 12-year old could make a similar collage from cut up magazine photos. But when you start venturing out beyond the family room, things are a bit different.

The fact is that you simply do not have the automatic right to use an image just because you found it on the internet. Photography, like most artistic creations, is generally owned by someone. Yes, there are “Fair Use” cases such as parody, news reporting and educational instances where you might not need to pay to use a normally licensable image, but I’ll leave that determination to you, your lawyers and possibly the courts.

If you are engaged in business and have paid for the hardware and the software to help create a presentation slide, then you are in a position to also pay for stock imagery. And as we’ll see, it does not have to cost an arm and a leg.

Reverse Image Searches

If you find an image on a stock site, that image is for sale. But if you find an image through a Google search, things get murkier. Just because someone else has put up an image on their website, doesn’t mean they have done so legally. Just because an image has been used legally by a news site, doesn’t mean you can take it for your own different use. There are images that are truly free (such as public domain and Creative Commons imagery which we’ll discuss shortly), but most images on the web are owned by someone. The best thing to do is to research the original source or find out if the image is for sale on a stock site by using a reverse image search such as TinEye. A reverse image search will show you everywhere the image is used online, and very often, this will lead you to a place where you can legally license it.

jul16-nolan-stock-imagery-PXpert-article - 2

So, how much will it cost? I’m going to categorize sources for stock imagery into three categories: Expensive, Cheap and Free.


“Expensive” is a relative term. It might seem pricey to purchase three images for $1,000, but if those images are used for a huge days-long employee conference costing well into the six figures and become a part of themed title slides, then $1,000 isn’t that much. Spending $2,400 for an annual subscription to Shutterstock may seem like a fortune until you consider that price entitles you to 750 downloads a month. $0.27/image all of a sudden seems quite the bargain.

Into this “Expensive” category, I put sites like Shutterstock, Thinkstock, and iStock. Sites such as these offer subscription plans or image packs (i.e. five downloads for $50) and some like CavanImages do offer a la carte downloads, although this model can get pricey at up to $500 per shot.

jul16-nolan-stock-imagery-PXpert-article - 3

Also in this category are sites for rights-managed imagery such as Getty and Offset, but in general, I would suggest staying clear of this for presentation. Unless you really know what you’re doing, it gets complicated and expensive and is best left to more commercial ventures like advertising.


The next category down is what I call “Budget” sites. These operate similarly to the “Expensive” sites some with subscriptions, image packs, and a la carte, but at far more discounted rates. At Dreamstime, 123RF and BigStock, you can purchase images for as little as $1 each. Images are $1 at Canva as well, but here you can actually create presentation slides along with banners, posters, and other items.

jul16-nolan-stock-imagery-PXpert-article - 4

What differentiates the above two categories? Mostly quality and choice of imagery. It is possible to find a beautiful professional image at one of the discount sites, but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.


Lastly, we have sources for completely free imagery. MorgueFile is one of the biggest, but you can also find free imagery at FreeImages and FreeRangeStock. EveryStockPhoto is a search engine that helps discover free imagery around the web.

jul16-nolan-stock-imagery-PXpert-article - 5
Some sites also operate on a “freemium” model, giving you access to certain content gratis, and asking payment for other. is one such site where you can subscribe and be sent packs of themed images a few times a month (about a dozen in each set), but access the entire historical archive costs $15/month. has beautiful, professional imagery that I’ve used, but the downside is that their library is very limited.

Also in the free category is public domain imagery such as the historical archives at The New York Public Library and Library of Congress. And then there is Creative Commons Imagery—content that creators have designated for public use generally with various caveats such as providing attribution. There are multiple levels of CC licenses, and it is still up to you to determine if you are allowed to use the image under the specific CC license. CC imagery can be found via an advanced search at Flickr, at Compfight and Wikimedia.

Stock Imagery Plug-ins for PowerPoint

Using stock imagery in presentation legally has become much easier in recent years. In fact, both Pickit and Shutterstock have created official add-ins for Microsoft Office that allow you to search and insert images all from within Office applications.

Shutterstock-Add-in-BOOKSHOP-768x424 (1)

To see the plug-in in action, take a look at the video below.

Read more about these options here.

jul16-nolan-stock-imagery-PXpert-article - 6
Where Can I Find a List of Stock Imagery Sources?

If you would like a more comprehensive list of sites and resources for stock imagery and other graphic assets, you can download a list from my site after subscribing and getting access to the downloads page.


nolan side shotWith more than 20 years’ experience in the field of visual communications, Nolan helps organizations and individuals show up differently and tell better stories with fewer words. Most recently as a Vice President and Director of Presentation for Edelman, he helped the world’s largest public relations firm consistently win multi-million dollar pitches by communicating more visually. 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. Nolan trains organizations to think visually and to create and give presentations that are more effective. He speaks at national conferences and writes extensively on visual storytelling. Microsoft has recognized him as one of only 11 PowerPoint MVPs in the U.S for his contributions to the presentation community. In a past life, Nolan was an award-winning magician and juggler and performed with the Moscow Circus and Vermont’s Circus Smirkus before turning to the theater. He directed and wrote professionally, creating stories on stages in New York and around the country.


Presentation Slide Design: How To Prune Your Text

We recently had a great time teaching presentation slide design theory and practice at the Colorado Non-Profit Association‘s Technology Summit, focused on creating more impactful slides and how to reduce text to make better slides.

Covered by too much information - young girl emerging from beneath books

Why is Reducing Text Important?

Your audience cannot read and listen at the same time. We are visual creatures, so our brains prioritize sight over hearing. This means your audience is reading your slide as you’re talking through your points. We read faster than we talk, so when they finish and tune back into you, you’re going over information they’ve already read. Instant glassy-eyed boredom ensues and you’ve lost your audience… to your own slides.

So how do we take back control of our presentation? By taking a more discerning editors pen to your content, you can better communicate with your audience and keep their attention. We call this process text pruning: reducing words without losing meaning.

How to Prune Text Without Losing Meaning

Here is a typical client text-heavy slide:

auck 1 This slide commits some pretty serious transgressions against presentation slide design. Of course, it’s all text and it’s several points on one slide. But it’s not possible to create ideal slides at all times for every presentation.

So if we did need all this text on one slide, how could we trim down the content so that it is more impactful?

As we reviewed earlier, this is all about reducing the text as much as possible. We want to move from spoken or written style language, to presentation style. The text should be boiled down to its leanest and most direct form. Here are a few of the red flags we look for to find text that can be pruned.


Auck 2

Obvious information is the first to trim from your slides. See Red Flag 1: this is clearly a background information slide. There is no need to take space up in the title with this unnecessary clarifier.


Now that we’ve removed the extraneous information, our title is “Tourette Syndrome.” Yet, as you look at Red Flag 2 and through the rest of the bullets, you’ll see the syndrome named another 7 times. This kind of redundancy is a good indicator that there is some pruning to be done.

Written/Spoken Language

A lot of the wordiness we see in slides, ends up in there because people write their slides as they would a script. When we write that way, unnecessary connectors and qualifiers sneak into the bullets. Red Flag 3 shows a wordy approach to a simple concept. See the after below for the “presentation writing” version of this information.

Inferable Information

At Red Flag 4, we see one of the sneakiest, text-heavy offenders. When you’re writing the presentation all this information might seem important to note. But remember, you’ll be up there to explain the result or impact of your facts. The fact here is that “symptoms persist into adulthood for 10 – 15% of patients.” That means that “many” (85 – 90%) of affected children outgrow it. Don’t crowd up you slides with information that is easily inferable

auck 3Final Product

Here’s the final text for our slide. We’ve trimmed out about half the words without losing any of our information!

We’ve boiled down our wordiness to informational phrases only. This slide is now ready to go into the design process, where we can add visual interest. There are several design tricks to make basic text more memorable and impactful.



And please join me on Wednesday, August 24th at 11 am for my webinar, Slide Diets: Before & Afters of Design Tricks to Slim Down your Content.  Register.

About Bethany Auck:

bethany_square_300dpi (1)


Bethany has been working in the presentation design industry for nine years. She cut her teeth at small litigation consultancy where she consulted on major trials helping her clients build persuasive narratives and poignant demonstratives. Bethany founded SlideRabbit in 2012 to bring high-quality design to all industries at low-cost levels.


How to Increase Your Salary by Getting to a Point

Research has shown that the single best indicator of success – for any profession – is how often you are asked to deliver presentations.

According to Estienne de Beer, author of “Boosting Your Career,” those who give more presentations tend to have higher salaries than those who give fewer presentations.


This means that good presentation skills are not a “nice to have” skillset, but instead are mandatory if you intend to move up in your organization and eventually make more money.

This is further confirmed by research firm, IDC. After combing through 14.6 million job postings, they identified the ability to synthesize, present and communicate information as one of the primary skills that is required for the top “high-growth, high-wage occupations that will account for 11.5 million new hires and 28 percent of job growth by 2020.”

That means that if you’re not working on your communication and presentation skills…well, you’re missing out – big time.

So what does it mean to be able to synthesize, present and communicate information?

It means being able to create compelling presentations with clear messages. But many presentations given fall short – mostly because they forget to make a point.

So let’s dive into a few rules to help you get to your point, and eventually, help you march up the ladder faster.

Rule #1: The Rule of Two’s

Lots of people use pie charts to communicate their information, so let’s start right there.

On the left-hand side in the graphic below, you can see a classic example of what you might put up on your slide. But what you’re trying to say is what is highlighted on the right-hand side.

jul16-taylor - Getting to the point - pix 2

And notice how much clearer your data is when you boil it down like this.

If you used the example on the left, not only would the audience have no idea what you’re trying to say, but you yourself might forget what you wanted to point out during the presentation. However, if you used the graphic on the right, I bet you would know exactly what to say and that the audience would immediately know that 70% of the web traffic is organic.

And that’s exactly what putting the “Rules of Two’s” in action looks like.

When presenting your data as a pie chart, the “Rules of Two’s” means that you can only show two data points (even if you have to consolidate your information as I did above). By boiling your data down into just two data points, you create a crystal clear visual to help you make your point.

To go deeper into the “Rule of Two’s” and some other aesthetic guidelines I have for using pie charts, watch the short 5 minute YouTube tutorial, 2 Pie Chart Tips – What’s the Point of that Slide?!

When getting to the point of your slides, the first step is to get rid of the extra complexity as we did here with the Rule of Two’s. The next rule will help you get to a more impactful point.

Rule #2: The Magic is in the Middle

When synthesizing, presenting and communicating information, it’s important to remember that context is often what drives home the point of your slides.

And context is created by simply taking your data point, fact or figure, and comparing it to something else.

For example, just having a single data point (like 70% of our traffic is from a single source) is next to meaningless without context. Chances are that your audience it somewhat familiar with your topic; but they may not know how important 70% is. Is it high? Is it low? Has it improved?

So the first step is to add some more data points around your original one.

jul16-taylor - Getting to the point - pix 3

And now this is where the “Magic is in the Middle” rule comes into play. The context (and thereby, the point you are trying to make), can be found in the space between your data points.

For example, if the graphic below was on your slide, you would want to address what happened there in between the two data points. What happened to make the purple 2015 number become the blue 2016 number on the right?

There was a 40% growth in traffic…the “Magic is in the Middle!”

Depending on your point or recommendation, you could further dive into things like:

  • What does the growth rate mean?
  • Is it sustainable? Why or why not?
  • What should your company do to continue the rapid growth?
  • What should your company do to stop the rapid growth?

And that’s the beauty of using context and then highlighting the difference to shake out a point. It gives you room to tell your story, make your recommendations, and present and communicate your information better.

The better you can synthesize, present and communicate your information, the better off your slides are going to be – and the better off your career is going to be!

For additional help with the “Magic is in the Middle” and more examples, see the short 5-minute YouTube tutorial below.

For additional help with how to better present your information by using storytelling (like turning your data points into memory glue), see our blog post on 15 storytelling tips.

Getting to Your Point to Increase Your Salary

Learning how to effectively synthesize, present and communicate information is a lifelong learning process, but it all starts with understanding how to make a point.

In this post, I covered a few rules you can apply to a wide variety of data visualizations to help you get to the point of your slide. As a quick recap, those rules are:

  • The Rule of Two’s – Boiling down complicated pie charts into only two pieces of information that you can highlight, contrasting one with the other.
  • The “Magic is in the Middle” – When comparing two pieces of data, focusing on the difference between the two data points and why it’s important enough to put it up on your slide in the first place.

At the end of the day, remember that data points are static…they don’t create themselves and they don’t explain themselves. People are what makes data talk. So staying focused on what caused one data point to turn into another is always the first step to presenting your information and crafting an interesting story.

You audience, your boss, and your wallet with thank you!



Taylor Croonquist is the shortcut and productivity guru for Nuts and Bolts Speed Training company, which helps companies build better PowerPoint slides in shorter time frames. Hailing from the home of Microsoft and Starbucks, he came up with the “One Armed Mouse” technique in order to be able to combine these two passions: PowerPoint-ing with a coffee in one hand and a mouse in the other. For more information about the company’s services, visit

PechaKucha: The Art of the Concise Presentations

Picture1PechaKucha: twenty slides, twenty seconds per slide, with the slides set to automatically advance to the next slide whether you are ready or not. When I saw this as a topic for one of the sessions at the 2011 Presentation Summit I decided that it was worth an hour of my time to find out more about PechaKucha.

My first thought was that it would be a great tool for developing presentation delivery skills, what I found out was that it does that and a lot more. The aspect of PechaKucha that took me by surprise was how effective it was in helping to hone my messaging skills. Developing a short presentation can take more time than developing a longer one because you have to be more precise and concise when you have less time. With PechaKucha, not only does your overall presentation have to be concise, each slide needs to be so as well.

The first, and only time so far, that I delivered a PechaKucha to an audience was at the 2015 Presentation Summit. I volunteered to create and deliver a presentation as part of the session at the conference because I had learned so much from watching others do it at previous Summits. It was while I was preparing to deliver my own PechaKucha that I learned how well it can help a presentation designer (content design, not slide design) learn to focus on each slide when creating a presentation. I have designed hundreds of presentations, however knowing that I could only have twenty seconds worth of content on each slide made this one unique. I wanted each slide to have a visual impact on the audience, and I wanted it to be something that they could understand quickly and once again focus on what I was saying.

Once I had decided on my content and created my slide deck, I started to practice delivering the presentation. This is Green light at pedestrian crossing lights closeup what I had originally thought was the benefit of PechaKucha, and I was not disappointed. Learning to control the pacing of my presentation so that the slide transitions matched (for the most part) what I was saying was difficult and rewarding. Too often we use the slides as an outline for our presentations, and PechaKucha forces you to learn your content inside and out, while at the same time helping you control the speed at which you deliver content to your audience.

When the time came for the session, the six of us who had volunteered lined up to deliver our presentations. Each of us had different strengths with regards to presentation design and delivery, and we were each looking to get different things out of volunteering. As an experienced presenter, I was focusing on having a clear message and smooth transitions from slide to slide. Other volunteers had little to no presentation experience; however, their slides put mine to shame, and they were looking for an opportunity to get a little experience as a presenter. During the hour, we all were able to get out of the session what we wanted, and that is one of the beautiful things about PechaKucha and PechaKucha events.

Pecha KuchaSample PechaKucha Event Posters

Yes, there are PechaKucha events, and there is even an international PechaKucha organization. You can find PechaKucha events in over 925 global cities, and I have heard that these events are well organized and a lot of fun. From what I have heard, the events are very different than some of the other, more formal presentation organizations. The nights typically have a theme, and the audience is out for entertainment and education, not to judge and critique the abilities of the presenters. These events often take place in bars and restaurants, and the casual atmosphere helps the presenters relax and helps keep the audience loose.

pechua goldJPGPechaKucha offers channels on their website which gives you a bird’s eye view of the creativity at work. Did you know that once a year on February 20th — the anniversary of PechaKucha’s founding — there are global events held to celebrate the proliferation of worldwide creativity, and the amazing connections started around the world? On the PechaKucha Global Night channel, don’t miss the enchanting video, “The Heroes Who Welcomed Me” by Luis Mendo. He shares his experiences in relocating to Tokyo and the people who helped welcome him to his new country.
Are you looking for a way to practice your presentation design and delivery skills? If so, consider PechaKucha. You don’t need a formal event to give it a try, you can create one on your own and deliver it in your living room. All you need is a desire to improve your skills as a presentation designer and presenter. It doesn’t matter what your slides look like or how well you present. What matters is your desire to learn and improve. Look for a local PechaKucha event, or organize your own. I think you might find out that the hardest part of PechaKucha is figuring out how to pronounce it.

About our author:
AAEAAQAAAAAAAAa6AAAAJDU0ZDczZDQ5LWFlYmEtNDZlMi1hODVlLThmYzFiYjJhZTUyMQJohn Rahmlow is a Retirement Planning Counselor in Vanguard’s Participant Education Department. His primary responsibilities include meeting with participants on a one-on-one basis and conducting group meetings on topics such as plan benefits, investment strategies and retirement readiness. Prior to becoming a Retirement Planning Counselor, John spent more than ten years as the Meetings Consultant in Participant Education. In that role, he was responsible for providing consulting and content design services for custom presentations for institutional clients. Before joining Participant Education in 2005, John was a team leader in Participant Services. John has been with Vanguard since 1998.

Rahmlow earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Delaware; a JD from Widener University School of Law; an LL.M. in Taxation and an Employee Benefits Certificate from Villanova University School of Law; and currently holds FINRA series 6, 63 and 26 licenses as well as the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designation from the College for Financial Planning.

[New Book] My PowerPoint 2016 by Echo Swinford

Echo Book

Retail Price: $24.99 Available via Amazon, Que Publishing, Microsoft and other stores

Echo Swinford Headshot

Echo Swinford Microsoft PowerPoint MVP

How many of us have the time to learn how to use our favorite software upgrades? It is with the best intention that we all try. But I needed to learn all about PowerPoint 2016 and Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, Echo Swinford gave me the perfect primer to get started. Her new book, My PowerPoint 2016, a new “Content Update Program Update” book highlights all the new software updates added to the latest version of PowerPoint, and if you are new to PowerPoint, she gives you the basics on how-to-get-started.

After reading the book, which has easy-to-understand step-by-step instructions, I knew that I had not tapped the full power of PowerPoint 2016, and I couldn’t wait to get started. The presentation community had been buzzing about the updated features and tools: new office themes, Morph, Design, Charts, Smart Guide, video resolution, and more. One of my favorites is “Tell Me More” and “Insights.” Both help me find information and tools within the product or via the web. Having easy and quick access to information instead of trying to remember where to find it has saved me time and fewer gray hairs!

Echo and I spoke while she was on the road for a client. She shared with me that one of her favorite new features is the Office Theme, especially the black interface option. “Imagine being backstage supporting a client during a live event and the stark white interface is staring up at you, causing eye strain and headaches,” said Echo. “The black interface option is wonderful. Now, you have the option to do online editing in a better environment. It is easier on the eyes.” She shared an example:


New Fan Favorite, Morph enables to you to make smoother animations, transitions and object movements across your slide deck. You can create the appearance of movement in wide array of objects such as SmartArt, WordArt, charts, text, shapes, and pictures. Check out the quick intro video from Microsoft showing Morph and Design in action.

What intrigued me the most about the addition of Morph and the other new tools were how they were selected to be included. Echo explained to me that Microsoft listens to the presentation community and what features or tools they want to be added to the next version of PowerPoint or any of their products. They have even set up a “digital” suggestion box with User Voice so they could get feedback for product development.

Morph was the number one request from the community voting and got more than the 20 votes it needed. “This feature was added as a direct result of user requests, and it is just one of many. Another was Smart Guides, which is now more responsive and more visually intuitive and new options for Charts across Excel, Word and PowerPoint,” said Echo. “One of my favorites is the new ‘Design’ tool which offers you five ideas on how to layout your slides. This tool has bailed me out on many projects. No matter what your design capability is, this tool gives you great ideas and place to start if you need to remake slides or create a presentation,” she continued.

PPT Suggestion box

With changing financial reporting needs, Charts now include five new charts to visualize common financial, statistical and hierarchical data including Treemaps, Sunbursts, Histograms, Box and Whisper, and Waterfall.

group charting

“With these new charts, it is so much easier to visualize data. Formatting, including color changes, are simpler now,” said Echo.

With new features comes a learning curve for remembering how to use or getting a reminder again about the steps or where you can find this tool. The new “Tell me what you want me to do” option on your ribbon is a timesaver. You can enter a word or a phrase about what you want to do next.

tell me group

I really Echo Bookenjoyed Echo’s book, My PowerPoint 2016. I have been lucky to get to know Echo over the last few years, and it is clear in the content and the style of writing that this is “Echo’s Voice.” It was easy to read, a great reference even when you have a question, and it is succinct and to the point. Whether or not, you are new to PowerPoint or just getting to know PowerPoint 2016, this book is a must read and a great reference tool anytime you have questions.

If you register the book on Que Publishing website, you get free access to bonus chapters and workshop files. It is available via Amazon, Que Publishing, Microsoft Store, and other channels. The retail price is $24.99. So add this to your summer reading list…it will be well worth it.

Sharyn sig - first name

Sharyn Fitzpatrick

How to Embed Fonts In Your Presentation


One of the most popular question asked by our attendees during our Laura Foley webinar on May 18th was, “How do you embed fonts in a presentation.” Laura liked the question so much that she provided a more detailed answer.  Enjoy!

hand of sean SF signature





You can use beautiful font types that make a statement when you create your presentations. But, if the audience doesn’t have the same font installed on their computers, it will not display correctly and PowerPoint substitutes a similar font. How do I embed fonts in a presentation so I can fix this?

Laura FoleyLaura Foley

Why embedding fonts is a great idea…

Using non-standard fonts in your presentations makes them stand out. With the right fonts, presentations can look fresh and modern (even if the non-typographically inclined can’t exactly figure out why). But you’ll know why…it’s because you took the initiative to spend a few minutes locating and installing a fresh-looking font!

There’s nothing inherently wrong with Calibri, the humanist sans-serif typeface so familiar to users of Microsoft calibiri noOffice. But everybody’s using it, so if you are too then your presentations might look the same as everyone else’s. Here’s how to stand out from the crowd.

Calibri, you’ve overstayed your welcome.

In The Incredibles, the main villain, Syndrome, declares, “When everyone’s super, no-one will be!” It’s the same with Calibri. When everybody uses it, it ceases to be special. So if your presentations feature Calibri, which was once fresh and new, then they look like millions of other presentations. That whole “blending in with the crowd” thing might work for some people. But if you’ve read this far, I’m confident that you’re not satisfied with going with the flow. It’s time to customize your presentations with a non-standard font.

Google, your main source for awesome fonts!

There are loads of websites where you can find free fonts. Ignore them all and head right on over to Google Fonts. Here, you’ll find well-thought-out font families that contain boldface, italics, ligatures and all kinds of amazing typographical goodies. But the main thing is that here you will find a typeface that 10 billion other PowerPoint users AREN’T using. Oh, and did I mention they’re all free?


1. Follow the instructions on Google Fonts to download your chosen font.
2. Unzip the file
3. Double click on the .TTF file.
4. Click on Install

These are the steps I follow to install fonts on my PC. Your operating system might be different, so if this doesn’t work for you then you’ll need to look up how to install fonts on your own PC.

Embedding a font in your PowerPoint presentation

It’s very easy to embed fonts into individual presentations. By embedding the fonts, you ensure that they will look the same when opened on other systems even if they don’t have your custom font installed.

  1. Click on the File tab in the ribbon then select Options.
  2. Click Save on the left side of the dialog box that appears.
  3. Under Preserve fidelity when sharing this presentation on the right, put a check next to Embed fonts in the file then choose Embed only the characters used in the presentation (best of reducing file size) or Embed all characters (best for editing by other people).
  4. Click OK and continue saving normally.


The bad news for Mac users

The Mac version of PowerPoint doesn’t allow you to embed fonts. I guess it’s just too complicated to ensure that embedded PC fonts display the same on a Mac and vice versa.

About Laura Foley:
As the Cheater of Death by PowerPoint, Laura Foley provides training and presentation design services to help people communicate their ideas and be better presenters. She has worked with Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, General Dynamics, Juniper Networks, Harvard Business School, DST, Eloqua, EMC, TE Connectivity, and VMware and has conducted training sessions at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Simmons College, the Central Mass Business Expo, and the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. Her speaking engagements include HOW Design Live, the largest conference for creative professionals in the world. A graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Laura has over two decades’ experience in presentation design, marketing, and copywriting. She lives in Central Massachusetts with her husband and two sons. Laura serves as Cubmaster and Den Leader for Hubbardston Cub Scouts Pack 12. It’s like herding cats, but more rewarding.



Webinar Wrap-Up: More Q & A with Laura Foley

In our May 18th webinar, Cheating Death by PowerPoint with presentation designer Laura Foley, the questions were coming faster than we could share them with both Laura and the attendees. Our presenter was kind enough to answer many of the webinar questions so we could share them with you.

To watch the webinar and get the handouts, click here

Do you have any tips for a “welcome” slide that might be used during opening speeches, etc. but not actually referenced directly?

It’s always a good idea to have your organization’s logo, the name of your presentation, your name and your contact information on your opening slide. Repeat this at the end of the presentation so people know how to get in touch with you if they have questions.  See example below:

CDbyPPT-From Awful to Awesome

Do you have font recommendations? Including size

Think of a slide as a billboard. If you have to slow down to read it, then the type is too small. While I have no set and fast rule for point sizes of type on a slide, I try to make the text very large so that people can read it no matter how far away from the screen they may be.

I notice you use a lot of Orange against a white background. Has this combination been proven successful or just your preference?

It’s one of my corporate colors.

How do you work with (around?) a mandatory company template or one that is a very generic company background?

I use the typeface and colors specified in the template, but I’ll usually never use the established text boxes and bullet points. I prefer to use very large text on a slide and no bullet points. Also, you can make text bold, italic, or all caps to give it many different looks while still using the same typeface.

Are gradients opportunity or threat?

Now that flat design is the rage, I don’t use as many gradients. When I do, they’re very subtle. Any gradient and highlight that makes a graphic look three-dimensional or glasslike also make it look dated.

Could you comment on using company logos and names, etc. in the footer?

Do it if the client demands it. Otherwise, you can just use it at the beginning and the end of the presentation. By deleting the standard header and footer, you free up a lot more slide real estate to be used for information.

What do you think about decorative themes? For example, if we create a title slide that looks like a movie poster (maybe an ocean theme to discuss a “deep dive” into a subject)…do you think keeping ocean imagery on every slide is cohesive and engaging, or purely decorative and distracting?

There’s nothing wrong with being creative with your slides. But if the theme is as you suggest a “deep dive,” that’s just another way of saying an in-depth view of a subject. I wouldn’t carry the “deep dive” analogy through every slide, maybe just the title. Make sure that the design of your slide reflects the content of the presentation, not the type of presentation it is.

What is the best font to use for numbers (like in charts)?

The same typeface that is standard for the template you’re using.

What are your thoughts on using custom (non-standard) fonts?

It’s amazing! Your presentations will look different from everyone else’s, which helps make them memorable. For more ideas, and step-by-step instructions on how to do it, click here.

About Laura Foley:
As the Cheater of Death by PowerPoint, Laura Foley provides training and presentation design services to help people communicate their ideas and be better presenters. She has worked with Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, General Dynamics, Juniper Networks, Harvard Business School, DST, Eloqua, EMC, TE Connectivity, and VMware and has conducted training sessions at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Simmons College, the Central Mass Business Expo, and the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. Her speaking engagements include HOW Design Live, the largest conference for creative professionals in the world. A graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Laura has over two decades’ experience in presentation design, marketing, and copywriting. She lives in Central Massachusetts with her husband and two sons. Laura serves as Cubmaster and Den Leader for Hubbardston Cub Scouts Pack 12. It’s like herding cats, but more rewarding.

Pin It on Pinterest