Here’s What PowerPoint 2016 Can (and Can’t) Do For You

It’s time to talk about PowerPoint 2016, since it’s been out for a few weeks now. Here’s a screenshot of it.

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Different Look

With each release, the look is a little different. The tab titles are no longer all upper case and have returned to the 2010 (and previous) initial caps. Upper case letters are considered a little harder to read — keep that in mind when creating slide titles.

You have a choice of three color variations. The one you see above is called Colorful. To change the “Office Theme” — called that just to confuse you and make it sound like the type of Office theme that lets you create backgrounds, theme colors, and font sets — choose File, Options.

In the General category, choose one of the Office Theme options. Here you see the others: Dark Gray and White (which looks like PowerPoint 2013).

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powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-4a‘Tell Me What to Do’

There’s a new Help feature called “Tell me what you want to do.”  It’s at the upper-right of the PowerPoint 2016 window. While you can access the standard Help content there, the unique aspect of it is that when you type something and choose one of the options that are presented, PowerPoint opens the actual interface right there so you can use it.

It’s great for people of a certain age, like me, who read instructions and then can’t remember all the steps when I return to PowerPoint to actually try to do them.

For example, if I type “Save a theme” and choose Themes, I see the screen below, where I can actually choose Save the Current Theme.  I’m not sure how much I’ll use this — I know PowerPoint pretty well! — but I like the idea.

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Use Smart Lookup

You can right-click a word and choose Smart Lookup to open the Insights task pane with links to definitions from Wikipedia and other places on the Internet. You’ll also get an image search. It’s all powered by Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

General tip: Be very afraid of online image search! While the process tries to find images with Creative Commons licenses (for which you generally need to provide attribution), it’s often impossible to check the license.

6 New Chart Types

  • Treemap: Treemap charts are popular these days and they provide a hierarchical view of your data. The hierarchy levels are called branch, stem, and leaf. Each value is shown by the size of a rectangle. Treemap charts are good for comparing proportions and can show a lot of data in a small space. See the treemap below.
  • Sunburst: A sunburst chart also shows hierarchical data, but in layers around a center. A sunburst chart shows how one ring is broken into its components. See the sunburst below.
  • Box and Whisker: A box and whisker chart distributes data into quartiles, showing the mean and outliers. “Box” refers to a basic column chart, but lines extending above and below (whiskers) indicate variability outside the upper and lower quartiles. Any point outside those lines or whiskers is an outlier. Box and whisker charts are often used in statistical analysis.
  • Histogram: A histogram is a column chart that shows the frequency of data. It’s also used in statistical analysis. Bins are ranges, so the results show how many data points are in each range. You can use the Automatic option or specify your own bins by formatting the axis. See the histogram below.
  • Pareto (a histogram option): A Pareto chart is a variation of a histogram. The columns are shown in descending order and a line (actually a curve) shows the cumulative value of the columns. See the histogram/Pareto chart below.
  • Waterfall: A waterfall chart shows a running total that adds or subtracts subsequent values. You might use a waterfall chart for financial results, since income (positive values) and expenses (negative values) affect initial revenue. See the waterfall chart below.

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A treemap chart

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A sunburst chart

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A histogram/Pareto chart

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A waterfall chart

Easier Math Equations

Mathematical equations have always been difficult to create, with all of those numerators, denominators, square roots, squares, etc. I explained the old Equation Editor in “How to display equations and formulas in PowerPoint.” It’s so much easier to just write them, and now you can.

If you have a touch device, you can use your finger or  a stylus; if not, you can use your mouse. The only problem is that it doesn’t work too well. Here’s my attempt at the quadratic equation. Can you read my “handwriting” done with my mouse? People beat out computers, don’t they?

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powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-10More Shape Styles

When you insert a shape, you can quickly choose a style for it from the Shape Styles gallery. These styles have changed slightly — and I think Microsoft applied the change to 2013 as well, if you’re updated. I might be wrong about this. In 2007 and 2010, the last row is a 3D look and that’s now gone. (3D is now out of favor in design circles and I like the flat look, but sometimes the design police think they can tell us what we should like.)

There are now 5 more rows of styles, which are called presets. (I don’t know why they’re called that, as all of the styles are really presets.) What I do like is that some of them have transparent and semi-transparent fills.

Insert a Screen Capture Recording as a Video

In PowerPoint 2013, you could take a screen capture and insert it on your slide. Now, you can now include screen recordings as well! Go to Insert > Screen recording, select a region of your screen to record, and specify if you want to include the mouse pointer and audio. The click the Record button and record your video. You press Windows logo + Shift + Q to stop recording and then you’ll find the video on your current slide. If you have the most recent updates, this option is also available in PowerPoint 2013.

Higher Video Resolution

When you export your presentation as a video, you can create a file with resolution as high as 1920 x 1080. This is ideal for large screens. If you have the most recent updates, this option is also available in PowerPoint 2013.

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…and more

If you keep presentations on OneDrive or Sharepoint there are also new options for easier sharing, better collaboration, and improved version history.

About the Author:

Ellen Finkelstein is a PowerPoint MVP who can train you or the presenters in your organization to create high-impact, engaging, professional presentations for training, sales, business, or education. For more information visit www.ellenfinkelstein.com

The Sit-Down Presentation: Can it Be Effective?

One question I get asked regularly is about sitting down to present. If there are only a few people in the room, if it’s an informal setting or if it’s a board meeting and all the board is sitting,  I want to send out a casual message. I don’t want to be too authoritative – then can I present sitting down?

Often the real reason people want to present while sitting down is that something happens in their head when they sit: it no longer feels like a presentation or a speech, but rather a conversation. And so they don’t get nervous.

Anything to avoid that horrible feeling of adrenaline coursing through your system, right?

And that becomes a circular argument for sitting down – if I don’t get nervous then I present better and if I’m presenting better doesn’t it make sense to sit down?

A recent study comparing students who sat and students who were given standing desks sheds a little light on this question. It turns out that the standing students were able to focus better and longer than the sitting ones. So you think better on your feet.

Now there’s a reason for speakers to stand. You think better. That reason alone should nullify all the other arguments for sitting.

But if it doesn’t, then here’s a more reasoned one. Think about what you’re giving up when you sit. Authority is naturally taken by the person standing in a room full of seated people. If you sit down, you give up the authority and let other people take it or at least share it. The result is that it’s much harder for a speaker to hold the floor if he is seated during the presentation.

I worked with a CEO once that I persuaded to try the following experiment. He had issues with people deferring to his authority too much, and he was working with me on developing a more collegial style of communications. Just for fun, I suggested that he use a body language trick to change the authority dynamic in the room when he was meeting with his direct reports.

I suggested to him that they would naturally defer to him by keeping their head lower than his. He was skeptical, but offered to watch out for it. Specifically, I instructed him to start lowering his head in his next meeting, very slowly, by leaning back in his chair and sliding down surreptitiously.

When I chatted with him after the meeting, he was still laughing about it. He had become a believer in the power of body language, because as he lowered his head (very, very slowly) he saw each of his direct reports do the same thing, keeping their heads lower than his. By the end of the meeting, everyone was nearly under the table.

Here’s the kicker. No one was aware of what was going on. The CEO couldn’t believe it, but he had seen it (indeed, controlled it) himself.

Authority is very precisely determined by relative height. Standing up takes authority naturally without having to be pushy. Sitting down gives it up.

I usually recommend people to do the opposite – i.e., start out seated, and then seize the moment and the authority when you’re ready to speak by standing up. It’s a natural, effortless sign that you’re ready to go.

Why would you do otherwise?

Many times working with clients I’ve seen the moment when a client gets the new way of thinking about his or her topic that I’m suggesting – it’s usually when they stand up. They’re taking charge. They get it. They’re ready to run with the idea.

Now I’ll be doubly pleased because I know that they’ll think better on their feet. And it’s my excuse to keep standing.

So you can sit down to present. But now you know how much you’re giving up.

About the Author:

Dr. Nick Morgan is one of America’s top communication theorists and presentation skill coaches. In his blog he covers modern communications from a variety of angles, including the latest developments in communication research, the basic principles and rules of good communication and the good and bad speakers of the day. For more information about his coaching services or books, visit www.publicwords.com

Five Presentation Silver Bullets You Can’t Live Without!

PXP_WatchNowIconIn this very engaging webinar with graphics guru, Mike Parkinson, you’ll learn the 5 silver bullets that guarantee a successful presentation. Each is proven to improve understanding, adoption, persuasion and/or performance. Use one or all of the silver bullets to make your next presentation a winner.

After this educational, interactive session you will:
• Build better presentations—fastersilver bullets2
• Increase understanding and recollection of even the most complex content
• Make compelling presentations
• Craft presentations that get results

Have you seen an amazing presentation? If so, one or all of the 5 silver bullets were used. The best-of-the-best presenters and presentation designers use them to make their content stand out and be remembered. Apply what you learn to PowerPoint, Prezi, Keynote, SlideRocket, Google Presentation, Emaze, Articulate Presenter, and any other presentation software you choose. The 5 silver bullets work in any presentation situation. Watch this recording now and it will change how you make presentations.

Mike Parkinson captionAbout Our Speaker:
Mike Parkinson of Billion Dollar Graphics brings a wealth of experience and talent to today’s webinar. He really understands the power of graphics. You will see him transform simple PowerPoint graphics into powerful visuals that make a statement. Mike has authored several books on presentation graphics and created several resources that any of us can used to enhance any PowerPoint presentation.

Here are the handouts for this webinar:

Slide001

Copy of Mike’s Slides 

Slide046 “Free” Graphics Cheat Sheet

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do in PowerPoint

PowerPoint is a massive program with lots of capabilities built in, and there will always be things that not everyone knows about. Here are four awesome PowerPoint tricks we’ve found that 99% of people don’t know they can do in PowerPoint (including some of the pros):

#1: Break a table
#2: Break SmartArt
#3: Break up a list of bullets
#4: Resize and crop multiple pictures in one go

PowerPoint Trick #1: Breaking A Table

Breaking a table is the fastest way to get all of the information out of a table.

To break a table, simply:

  • Copy and paste your table as a Metafile (CTRL + ALT + V for the Paste Special dialog box).
  • Once you have a Metafile, simply ungroup it (CTRL + SHIFT + G) to break the table into shapes, lines and text boxes.

This will leave you with an individual text box for each entry in your table. From here, you can massage the pieces into your layout of choice.

This PowerPoint trick alone should radically increase the amount of things you can do in PowerPoint with your existing data.

PowerPoint Trick #2: Breaking SmartArt

SmartArt is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing in that it can quickly generate slide layouts, but it is a curse as it’s often a pain to format and work with. To bring SmartArt graphics back into a format that’s easier to manage, you can “break” it into shapes, lines and text boxes:

  • Simply select the SmartArt graphic, ungroup it by hitting CTRL + SHIFT + G.
  • Ungroup it a second time, and the SmartArt graphic is now simply a collection of shapes, lines and text boxes.

Now you can go ahead and massage the individual pieces into whatever slide layout you need.

PowerPoint Trick #3: Breaking Up A List Of Bullets

Everyone knows that you are not supposed to use long lists of bullets in your layouts, but the question becomes, what can you do with them without spending hours at the drawing board?

The fastest way to break up a list of bullets and generate layout ideas is to throw it into SmartArt:

  • SmartArt will force your bullets into the different SmartArt layouts (you get a live preview of the graphics), so you can quickly generate layout ideas for your bullets.
  • Once you find a SmartArt graphic that is close to what you want to work with, you can simply break the graphic apart (see #2).

I often use this technique to quickly break up my content, and end up combining two or three different SmartArt graphics into my final presentation layout, to create something unique and interesting.

PowerPoint Trick #4: Resizing And Cropping Multiple Pictures In One Go

How often have you had several pictures on a slide that were all different shapes and sizes and that you needed to make uniform to fit into your layout?

While cropping and resizing images manually is the more technically correct way to address this, it can be an extremely time-intensive and frustrating task. To shortcut your way through the process, simply throw the pictures into SmartArt:

  • Select the pictures that you want to resize, select the “Picture Layout” button, and choose a SmartArt graphic.
  • Just like with bullets, SmartArt will force all of the pictures into uniform shapes by cropping and resizing each picture for you.
  • Once you find a SmartArt graphic that is close to what you want to work with, you can simply break the graphic apart (see #2).

If you don’t like the cropping and resizing that SmartArt does, you can always manually adjust the pictures yourself afterwards.

With these 4 PowerPoint tricks, you now know more than what most PowerPoint users know they can do in PowerPoint, so welcome to the inner circle. For a video summarizing the 4 tricks, see below:

 

About the Author:

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 nutsandboltsspeedtraining.com

 

 

 

PowerPoint Paradigm Shift: The Power of Going Dark

Do you ever get into the rut of doing what you’ve always done because it’s comfortable – or because it’s the way it’s always been done?

I’m talking about presentations – specifically the ones where you use PowerPoint. We were reminded of this when a client recently shared that he led a talk to 1,000 brand managers at Procter & Gamble with no slides. He was strangely terrified of the idea initially, yet he loved the outcome when it was done.

Slides can be effective for speakers when they highlight key points. Nothing tells a trend story like a graph, and nothing illustrates the analogy you want to make like a picture. When we use slides correctly, we are more effective.

But we’re not using them correctly most of the time, or at least we can do better – it’s hard to argue with that. This article is not to remind you that we use too much information on a single slide  – too many bullet points or even words – and that pictures are better. I have no doubt that you already know that.

This article is about actually having the boldness to go dark.

Specifically, use black slides.

A black slide simply has a black background with no master template, and you insert it between your slides – or where it makes sense.

Adding black slides will do three things:

1. Clear the screen. Once you’re done with the picture, graph or supporting information, you want to remove distraction and go to a black slide so you can amplify, tell a story, or make an additional point. Audience minds will wander if you allow it to happen.

2. Bring the focus to you. It’s amazing to see the eyeballs go from the screen to you when you put up a black slide. It’s actually invigorating, and it helps connect you with your audience and so much more! It also opens up the room and allows you to go in front of the projector and not be stuck in one place (although we’re seeing less projectors, more TVs and large monitors).

3. Totally change your mindset. Create your message first, then add support. (Of course, I recommend using the Decker Grid™.) When you are delivering your key points, the background should be black so that people can hear what you are saying.

Slides should be used to accent and add support – think graphs, pictures, video clips and other SHARPs to bring memorability and power to your Point Of View.

Try it in a low risk opportunity, and you’ll love how it helps the experience.

About the Author:

Ben Decker is the CEO of Decker Communications, a presentation skills coaching firm that coaches senior executives and managers to transform business communications. For more information about the company, visit www.decker.com

 

 

2 Ways to Improve Collaboration on Presentations

Many presentations are collaborative efforts and you may have discovered that putting your comments in an email and attaching the latest version of a PowerPoint file gets confusing fast. Here are some problems with that method:

  • There are multiple versions of the file all over the place
  • It’s hard to know who has the latest version
  • It’s hard to know which edits are approved and which aren’t
  • Some people open the file from within the email (you should always save it to your computer first), make changes, and then can’t find the file

If you’ve been in collaboration hell, here is Part I of two techniques that might help.

Lots of people would like a Track Changes feature in PowerPoint, like the one in Microsoft Word. But so far it doesn’t exist. But there are two features you can use instead to collaborate with others. In fact, the second one comes close to a Track Changes feature…in a roundabout way.

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Add Comments to a Presentation

This is how the Comments section of the Review tab looks in PowerPoint 2013 (right). Comments provide a way for you to add your opinion or suggest changes. On the Review tab, click New Comment to open a text box, either on the slide (PowerPoint 2007 and 2010) or in a task pane (PowerPoint 2013).

Type your comment and press Enter. A new feature of PowerPoint 2013 is that others can reply to comments so that you can create a conversation. Comments will show your initials or even your photo, if you’re using a Microsoft account. You can easily move from comment to comment and, of course, you can delete comments.

Here’s a short comment conversation in PowerPoint 2013.

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If a comment is collapsed or just shows as an icon, double-click it to display it.

Compare Two Presentations

The Compare feature lets you compare two presentations. For example, you can have a presentation on your computer and then send a copy of it to someone else to review. That person will make changes and return it to you. The Compare feature shows you the differences between the 2 presentations. Follow these steps:

  1. Save your presentation on your computer. You’ll compare this presentation with the one that your colleague changes.
  2. Send the presentation to a colleague. If you attach it to an email, this process creates a copy. You can also post the presentation to a shared location, such as your OneDrive storage. In that case, you’ll need to give your colleague the link to the presentation and provide editing permission. In the email or link notification, ask your colleague to make suggested changes and return it to you with another name (such as v2 at the end of the file name).
  3. When the changes are done, open your original presentation and choose Review tab, Compare.
  4. In the Choose File to Merge with Current Presentation box, navigate to the changed presentation and click Merge. The Revisions panel opens, listing the slide and presentation changes. (Changing the theme or adding a slide would be presentation changes.) You’ll also see an icon on a changed slide showing the changes, as you see below. This is as close to Track Changes as you can get in PowerPoint.

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  1. To accept a change, check the checkbox in front of it. When text was replaced, you need to check both the insertion and the deletion. If you don’t accept a change, the presentation stays as is on your computer.About the Author:

    Ellen Finkelstein can train you or the presenters in your organization to create high-impact, engaging, professional presentations for training, sales, business, or education. For more information, visit her website at www.ellenfinkelstein.com

A Primer for Creating Diverging Stacked Bar Charts

When I first heard the name of this visual, diverging stacked bar chart, it seemed complex. As I learned more about it, I realized how valuable it is to know about this type of visual in business presentations.

Let’s start with an example of such a visual:

Issue 310 visualsA diverging stacked bar chart is a bar chart that can have one or more segments on each side of a dividing line. The dividing line separates the two groups or categories of data. The above example has only one segment on each side of the dividing line (which is not explicitly shown) and the two groups of data are hardware sales (HW) and software sales (SW).

The reason that this type of graph works well is that it allows the viewer to easily compare the relative size of each group of related data. Each group starts at the dividing line and moves either right or left. In the above example, it is easy to see that in each year software sales are much larger than hardware sales.

Here is another example. In this case, there are multiple segments on each side of the dividing line. The dividing line here represents the goal for customer service ratings (8 out of a possible perfect score of 10). To the left of the line are the ratings below the goal and to the right of the line are the ratings above the goal. The more the overall bar is to the right, the more that call center has ratings above the goal.

DivergingStackedBarChart

It is easy for the audience to see how much of the bar is to the right of the dividing line, indicating performance above the goal. Because we wanted to also see the breakdown of scores on each side of the goal, the data is broken down into segments based on the score given by the customer (5 or lower, 6-7, 8-9, and 10). There are more good examples in this article by Darkhorse Analytics.

It seems like this would be a complicated graph to create, but it is actually much easier due to an online calculator I created. You can use the Diverging Stacked Bar Chart Calculator to calculate the values you enter into the data table for a regular stacked bar chart in Excel or PowerPoint. The values to the left of the dividing line are negative and the calculator organizes them so that they appear correctly. The calculator page has additional ideas on formatting the chart and adding text labels to create the type of charts you see above.

When you want to communicate the values of two groups of data that are related, consider whether a diverging stacked bar chart would work for you.

About the Author:

Dave Paradi runs the Think Outside the Slide website, is a consultant on high-stakes presentations, the author of seven books and a PowerPoint Most Valuable Professional (MVP.) For more information, visit www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com

Surviving Handout Hell with Rick Altman

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Have you ever fallen prey to the conventional wisdom of printing slides to create a handout. Then this lively and interactive webinar with presentation specialist and author, Rick Altman is for you!

If the most annoying trait of all PowerPoint users is placing too much text on a slide (and it is), the leading cause of this offense is the printout. If you harbor the belief that you can create a slide that will be effective as your live visual and as your printed handout, this session attempts to disabuse you of that misguided notion. Responsible presentation designers must separate the tasks of creating visuals for their live presentation and creating printed handouts. In so doing, they distinguish themselves from 99% of everyone creating slides today.

Highlights include:

  •  How to move away from the Print button
  • Did you know that PowerPoint has a Handout master?
  • Too bad it’s useless for this purpose Learn how to create two documents within one PowerPoint file

 

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ABOUT RICK ALTMAN: 

He is one of the most prominent commentators in the presentation community today. Rick is the author of 15 books. He is the host of the Presentation Summit, the internationally-acclaimed learning event for presentation professionals.  An avid sportsman, he was not a good enough tennis player to make it onto the professional tour. All the rest of this has been his Plan B.

PowerPoint, the Swiss Army Knife of Communication Tools

One of the story lines to emerge from the recent Presentation Summit conference in Fort Lauderdale was the growing use of PowerPoint beyond its traditional slide design-and-projection purpose. The upshot: if you’re only using the software for it’s original, intended function, you’re missing out on opportunities to improve communication and marketing materials across the board.

Troy Chollar, head of TLC Creative Services, delivered a conference session titled PowerPoint is My Creative Suite.  Chollar said PowerPoint’s massive user base and user-friendly interface, as well as its ability to import and export many formats, makes it an ideal app for uses beyond traditional slide presentations. Among them: photo and video editing, mockups and prototypes, graphic drawing, e-learning, as a music player and for signage design.

In another session, Insider Secrets for Paper Presentations, presenter Ric Bretschneider explored best practices for using PowerPoint to create presentations meant to be passed out rather than presented. Bretschneider, who spent 17 years on the Microsoft team that develops PowerPoint, said much of the work done by that team for Office 2007 was focused on printed presentations. His session looked at using PowerPoint to create everything from formal pitch books to documents designed to facilitate group brainstorming efforts.

Nolan Haims, vice president and New York director of presentations for Edelman, the world’s largest PR company,  wrote about how he uses PowerPoint beyond slide presentations, including for text-heavy documents and white papers, in a post-conference wrap up. Read the post at his excellent Present Your Story site here.

(Note: Nolan delivered a free webinar for PresentationXpert on Wed. Nov 13 titled In the Trenches: Real-World Solutions to Corporate Presentation Challenges. He shared numerous techniques and strategies, developed out of pure necessity, for achieving best presentation practices while still meeting tight deadlines and contending with difficult clients. For a recording of the webinar, click here.)

And in her 500th blog post, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP Ellen Finkelstein listed the many ways PowerPoint can be used beyond its original purpose, and her readers joined in to add to the list.  Read the post here

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