[Webinar Recording] Slide Diets: Before & After Design Tricks to Slim Down your Content

Are you slides “over-stuffed” with too much content? Are they readable? Or, is the type so small, you need to include a magnifying glass to read it? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then watch this recorded webinar from PresentationXpert with designer Bethany Auck. It is the perfect chance to learn how to slim down your slide content.

Learn how to take those over-stuffed slides and transform them into bite-size snacks – easier for your audience to digest and enjoy. Bethany uses real-life before & after examples to explain how to reduce content without losing data and meaning. The focus is on producing clearer visual communication to be a better and more effective presenter. Discover how to produce better slides, how to reduce content to the essentials, and how to streamline your presentation design, better communicating the important content.

Handouts:   Slide Diets Webinar Handout

About our Presenter, Bethany Auck:

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.  Her email is bethany@sliderabbit.com

Create a Whiteboard in PowerPoint Using These Shortcuts

Have you ever wanted to make your presentations more interactive by scribbling notes on your slides? With PowerPoint you can use a combination of shortcuts to quickly get whiteboard functionality without leaving your presentation or using any other software.

This is not the ultimate whiteboard scenario, but it’s a great trick to have in your toolkit when you need to sketch something on the fly during a presentation or workshop.

Creating a Whiteboard Scenario in PowerPoint: Method #1

Step 1: Start Pen Inking Mode

While in Slideshow Mode (this will not work in the normal view of your presentation), hit CTRL+P on your keyboard to enable pen inking. Hitting the shortcut, your cursor becomes a red dot and you can now draw on your slides.

This shortcut works in all versions of PowerPoint 2007 and later, and with the pen turned on you can write on your slides, underline items, check things off in a list and more.

You also can change the color of the pen in the lower left hand corner of your screen, as pictured below.

Whiteboarding picture 1

While this by itself can be a great way to make your slides interactive, we’re not at the whiteboard scenario quite yet.

If you want to learn all of the inking shortcuts, see the video below for a demonstration:

Step 2: Select a Whiteboard or Blackboard

With your pen active (this does not work after the fact), you have two keyboard shortcut options for your whiteboard session.

#1: Hit “B” on your keyboard to turn your screen black, effectively giving you a blackboard.

#2: Hit “W” on your keyboard to turn your screen white, effectively giving you a whiteboard.

In this mode you can now write (or draw) on the blank canvas using your mouse, or if you are projecting with a tablet, you can draw with your finger or stylus (which is much easier).

For tablets, you are looking for the blackout slide option in the upper right-hand corner as pictured below in the iPad version of PowerPoint.

Whiteboarding picture 2

When you are done inking, just hit “B” or “W” to return to your presentation. From there, you can start your next session again by hitting the “B” or “W” shortcut again.

Just remember when blanking out your screen to first hit the pen shortcut (CTRL+P) if you want to write. Using the pen shortcut after blanking out your screen will automatically return you to your presentation.

Saving Your Ink

Using the freestyle whiteboard technique described above does not allow you to save your ink to your presentation. What you can do (this is a sneaky work-around of mine), is take a picture of the whiteboard session with your phone or camera before ending it.

So if you do want to save the ink from your whiteboard session, you will need to use a different method.

Creating a Whiteboard Scenario in PowerPoint – Method #2

This method involves setting up blank slides at the end of your presentation to use as a whiteboard or blackboard.

Step 1: Insert Blank Slides

At the very end of your presentation, add as many blank slides (with a white or black background) as you like.

Note: You don’t have to add them at the very end, although I do find this easier to remember and navigate to than throwing them somewhere in the middle of your deck.

Step 2: Start Your Slideshow and Start Inking

With your presentation in process, just jump to the blank slides when you want your whiteboard session to start.

Two keyboard shortcuts for quickly jumping between slides in Slideshow Mode are:

#1: Type your slide number on your keyboard (assuming you know it) and then hit ENTER

#2: Hit CTRL+S on your keyboard to launch the Navigate Slide dialog box, where you can then find and jump to your slide

You can see both shortcuts in action and more in the video below.

Now on your blank slides, all you have to do is hit CTRL+P to enable the pen and start inking.

Saving Your Ink

Once you’re done with your inking, you can simply hit ESC to end your presentation. You will then be given an option to save your ink as ink annotations.

Once you do that, your annotations will be saved to your slides as objects that you can then edit by opening up the Ink Tools Tab in your Ribbon. To open the Ink Tools tab, navigate to the Review Tab and select “Start Inking.”

Whiteboarding picture 3

Ink Currently Can’t Be Saved on the iPad

And it sucks…one of the easiest places to add ink to your slides and you can’t save it!

Although I’m sure they will fix this in a future update, the current version of PowerPoint on the iPad (version 1.9.3) does not allow you to save your inking sessions (which I assume is the same for the Android version of PowerPoint).

So yes, you can draw ink on your slides using your tablet, but you currently cannot save the ink (regardless of how you try to do it). You will have to go back to the sneaky method of taking a picture of your screen.

So that’s how you can creatively use PowerPoint shortcuts (and a few clever workarounds) to create your own whiteboard or blackboard in the middle of a presentation to create a more interactive audience experience. While probably not the best fit for a keynote address, it’s a handy trick to have in your tool kit  if you’re working with a small group or demoing things from a desk.

Editor’s Note: To learn more PowerPoint shortcuts like these and tips for using them, visit Taylor’s blog.

About the Author:

Taylor Croonquist is a co-founder of Nuts & Bolts Speed Training, which aims to make working professionals at least three times faster in PowerPoint. For more information on the company, visit the Nuts and Bolts website

The Presenter’s Dilemma: How Many Slides Do I Need?

Do these quotes sound familiar?

“I only want to see three slides.”
“My boss says we get one slide per presenter.”
“We don’t want to go over 20 slides for this presentation.”

It’s very common to be restricted to a certain number of slides in a presentation. And it’s a very silly way to do things.

Comparing Apples to Oranges

Just as the stating the ability to do the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs (You’re welcome, nerds!) is a nonsensical description of speed, specifying the number of slides in a presentation in order to limit its duration is meaningless. The number of slides in your presentation actually can have very little to do with how long your presentation lasts.

I once saw a 45-minute presentation that consisted of just one slide. Conversely, I usually develop about 60–75 slides for a 45-minute presentation.

The right question isn’t “How many slides should my presentation have?” it’s “How long does this presentation need to be?” Then you match that time to your presentation style and use that as a guide for how many slides you’ll need to create.

How Can a Presentation Have Just One Slide?

The one-slide presenter worked the room like a master. He spoke to us like he was addressing a roomful of friends. He was animated and enthusiastic, moving back and forth to engage the whole audience. He wove in stories based on his own personal experience. The funny thing was that his subject matter—a specific type of industrial machine—could have been as boring as dirt, yet he made it seem like the coolest thing ever.

What was on his slide? His company’s name, his name, and his contact information.

Why Would a 45-Minute Presentation Need 60-75 Slides?

So if this guy can get away with one slide, why do I need so many for my own presentation that lasts the same amount of time? Well, since I teach people how to get the most out of PowerPoint, my presentations tend to contain a lot of animation, slides with very few words, and slides that illustrate only one idea apiece.

The effect for the audience is seamless: everything flows much like a film. But this style tends to require a lot more slides than a more static presentation style.

The next time somebody tells you to limit your presentation to a certain number of slides, push back diplomatically and ask for more information about how long you have to present.

About the Author:

Laura Foley helps people become more fluent in PowerPoint through workshops, consulting, and presentation design services. She has developed presentations and provided training for clients such as Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions/General Dynamics, Juniper Networks and the Harvard Business School. Her Cheating Death by PowerPoint training has been featured at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Simmons College and the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst.  For more information, visit her website at www.lauramfoley.com

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




The Secrets to Great PowerPoint Handouts

PowerPoint handouts help people to remember a presentation. But too often, presenters distribute handouts that are totally useless. Here’s how to change that.

Traditionally, handouts were printed from the Handout View in PowerPoint and looked like this:

Boring handout

This layout allows the audience to write notes for each slide. The little slide icons help people to remember the presentation. But these kind of handouts pose a big problem for presenters.

The Biggest Problem With Handouts

The biggest problem with handouts is that they’re often distributed before presentations. You might think that you’re doing your audience a favor by giving them something to write on, but you’re actually helping to distract them. People probably won’t be using your handouts to write one note at a time per slide. Instead, they’ll be flipping forward and backward, reading upcoming slides and referring to ones you’ve already shown.

They’ll be critiquing your designs while you’re talking and they’ll be reading any slides with complicated tables, graphs, or dense blocks of text. In short, you’re setting yourself up to be ignored.

The Second Biggest Problem with Handouts

If you’re creating the kind of theatrical PowerPoint presentations that use lots of full-screen images, animations, videos, and transitions your deck could contain lots of slides. That makes for a giant handout, much of which will be useless for note-taking because some slides only appear for a few seconds or contain videos.

Plus, slides with lots of animation don’t make good icons, since the animated elements look like they’re on top of each other. Sounds like a huge waste of paper to me.

Handouts as References, Not Notepaper

Because presentations are an experience, an intangible thing, they fade from memory over time. Handouts are a great way for people to remember what was said and can be referred to time and time again. We need to look at handouts differently and stop using the traditional format.

Believe it or not, people are still capable of taking notes during a presentation, whether it’s on paper or using a laptop. They don’t necessarily need a picture of your slide to remind them of what you were talking about. If they do, more often than not they’ll just snap one using their smartphones.

Increasing Audience Participation: Encourage the audience to take notes

This might be a novel thing for younger people or those who are used to receiving handouts as they enter the room. You should assure your audience that handouts will be provided that contain all sorts of information, including details about your presentation, ways to contact you, any websites you may have talked about, etc. Also mention that people might remember things better if they’re written in their own words.

During your presentation, choose one or more points that you want to emphasize, and ask your audience specifically to write it down. By stopping your presentation and asking people to take notes, you’ll get their attention and focus them on what you’re saying.

Change Your Handout Format

The most effective way for you to control your message after your presentation is to create handouts that reinforce it. So make sure that your Speaker Notes are detailed and contain all of the information you want people to remember, because you’ll need them to create your handouts. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click on the File tab. Click on Save & Send, select “Create Handouts” (the last entry in the Save & Send column), then click on the Create Handouts button in the next column.Save & Send screen
  2. In the next window that appears, select “Notes below slides” then click OK.
    Notes below slides window
  3. Watch in amazement as Word automatically launches and formats your handouts! Here’s an example from the previous presentation:great handout

The best part about creating handouts this way is that now you have a Word document that you can edit as you like. You can delete slides that work for the presentation but don’t work for print, edit images and text, add hyperlinks or QR codes, etc. Do whatever you think will help your audience remember your message and make it easy to connect with you!

When you’re done editing your handout, go to File > Save & Send > Create PDF/XPS Document to publish your handouts as a PDF file.

Distribute Handouts After Your Presentation

After you wrap up your presentations, you should make your handouts available to your audience. But should you print them out or go paperless? You’ll need to determine which format is right for you. Here are a few pros and cons of each method.

Hard-Copy Handout

Bring a stack of hard-copy handouts to your presentation then hand them out at the end. On the plus side, your audience receives them right away and you get a good idea of how thoroughly they’ve been distributed. But they can be expensive to print and people might not take them, leaving you with a big pile of paper to get rid of.

Electronic Handout

Before your presentation, post your handout PDFs on your own website or using a cloud service such as Dropbox. Include a link to the file on your final slide so that people can download your handout. There are several advantages to providing electronic handouts: For one, they’re free! It’s possible to distribute a limitless number of handouts electronically.

PDF files are searchable and can contain interactive elements. and electronic handouts are “green” because you aren’t printing something that may end up in a landfill. On the other hand the audience may not take the extra step of downloading your handouts.

About the Author:

Laura Foley is a graphic designer and creative thinker who enables her clients to communicate effectively with their presentations. She specializes in Cheating Death by PowerPoint, transforming PowerPoint decks into dynamic marketing tools through training, consulting, and presentation design. Laura has helped people in organizations in a wide variety of fields, from high-tech to consumer products to higher education. For more information, visit www.lauramfoley.com

How to Insert Audio Clips in PowerPoint 2010

When you insert an audio clip into a PowerPoint slide, you can control its volume, set it to play looped, or even hide the audio icon. These are some of the advanced options available for any inserted audio clip in PowerPoint. Remember that these advanced options only exist so that you can use them when they are required, rather than using them just because they exist!

Let me now explore these options:

  1. Open your presentation, and navigate to the required  slide where you have already inserted an audio clip. Select or double-click the audio clip to bring up the two contextual Audio Tools tabs in the Ribbon. These two tabs are Format and  Playback — click the Playback tab to activate it, as shown  highlighted in red within Figure 1.Fig 1 Geetesh March
    Figure 1: Audio Tools Playback tab of the Ribbon2. Within the Audio Tools Playback tab, locate the Audio Options group, as shown in Figure 2.

Fig 2ab Geetesh march

Figure 2: Advanced audio options within the Audio Tools Playback tab

Within this group you’ll find the advanced audio options. Let us explore them as marked in Figure 2 above:

A. Volume:  This button enables you to set the volume for your audio clip. Click the downward arrow within the Volume button to open the Volume drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 3. Within the Volume drop-down gallery choose one of the following options: Low, Medium, High, and Mute.

Figure 3 Geetesh March

Figure 3: Volume drop-down gallery

Note that you are restricted to set the volume at only the Low, Medium and High levels within the Volume drop-down gallery. On the other hand, you can set the volume to whichever level you want by clicking on the Volume button on the Player Controls bar below the actual audio clip on the slide, as shown in the bottom right of Figure 4, below.

Figure 4 Geetesh march

Figure 4: Volume button in the Player Controls bar

B. Start: Here you can specify how you want your audio to start during your presentation. Click the Start list to bring up a drop-down list, as shown in Figure 5.

figure 5 Geetesh march

Figure 5: Start drop-down list

There are three options within the Start drop-down list:

1) Automatically: Play your audio when the slide (containing the audio) appears in Slide Show view, automatically.

2 ) On Click: Plays your audio by clicking on the audio itself in Slide Show view.

3) Play across slides: Plays your audio across the slide. You can learn more about this option in our Sound Across Slides in PowerPoint 2010  tutorial.

C. Loop until Stopped: Plays your audio repeatedly and continuously when the  active slide is shown.

D. Hide During Show: Select this check-box to hide your audio clip graphic in Slide Show view. This option makes sense       only if you set the Start option for the audio to be Automatically or Play across Slides. On the other hand, if you choose On  Click, you should never pair that with selecting the Hide During Show check-box — if you do so, you won’t be able to see anything you can click!

E. Rewind after Playing: Select this check-box to rewind your audio once it has played during your presentation. This can be useful if you need to play an audio clip more than once while you are still presenting the same slide which contains that audio clip.

3. Choose options based on your requirements. Make sure  you save your presentation.

About the Author:

Geetesh Bajaj has been designing and training with PowerPoint for 15 years and is a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional.) He heads Indezine (www.indezine.com)  a presentation design studio and content development organization based in Hyderabad, India. The site attracts more than a million page views each month and has thousands of free PowerPoint templates and other goodies for visitors to download. He also runs another PowerPoint-related site (http://www.ppted.com) that provides designer PowerPoint templates.


Occupy PowerPoint!

By Rick Altman

Living just 20 miles from Oakland, the city described as having the eyes of the nation upon it, I know all about protests. Having grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the ‘60s, when anti-Vietnam War demonstrations were the rule of the day, I understand the power of group emotion.

And given that “Death by PowerPoint” is a part of everyone’s vocabulary today, it comes as no surprise that community leaders have reached the following determination:

It’s time to occupy the software.

Three of the most active members of the user community have been busy creating a strategy for occupation. Steffen Ginsler, Richar Brett-Slider, and Eskimo Winsdorf have been pooling their expertise into a broad-based strategy to eliminate the abuses in our professional society once and for all.

An accomplished VBA developer, Ginsler has created a script that installs itself without the user’s knowledge and eliminates all layouts that contain bulleted text. “It is kind of like a friendly Trojan horse,” says the soft-spoken Ginsler. “It doesn’t do any real damage to your computer, but it prevents you from bringing harm to others — namely, the people in your audience.”

Winsdorf is not quite as reserved as her friend Steffen. “Hey, what do you expect us to do when all these people are acting like idiots?” she asks, without waiting for an answer. “It’s ridiculous that there are no safeguards to insure against crappy design and sloppy standards. It’s time we took matters into our own hands!”

And Eskimo has done just that with a proprietary and patent-pending JavaScript version of a PowerPoint template that prohibits all changes from the formatting set forth in the slide masters. If you try to reformat text, move a placeholder, or cover up critical design elements, you’ll receive an immediate error message. “I wanted the script to automatically format the hard drive, but the others wouldn’t go for that. Wimps…”

In the most interesting position is Brett-Slider, a former member of the PowerPoint development team. He persuaded his successors to modify the Animation engine with password protection on the following choices: Boomerang, Spiral, Zoom, and Bounce. If users attempt to apply any of them on a slide, the system intervenes and requires a written explanation of the usage.

The explanation is sent to a panel of presentation designers, led by Nancy Latte and Garth Sandals, for review. Within 24 hours, the panel issues a ruling on the appropriateness of its usage. Based on that ruling, the Animation task pane will either provide a password for entry or the animation choices in question will be permanently removed from the program.

“Some of my colleagues thought this might have been drastic,” said Richar in his characteristic baritone. (Richar’s brother couldn’t pronounce the “d” in “Richard” when he was young; Richar dropped the letter from his name in his brother’s honor.) “I assured them that it would be a great career move — everyone talks about bad PowerPoint but nobody does anything about it. This would be their big chance.”

Areas of the program yet to be occupied include sound effects attached to slide transitions, color schemes involving red text and green backgrounds, and clip-art characters not wearing underpants. “We have occupation campaigns in place for all of these offenses,” warns Winsdorf. “We’re going to put an end to Death by PowerPoint, even if it kills us.”

There it is, in one crystalized sentence: Occupy PowerPoint will keep you from killing yourself…or else it will kill you. If only the other Occupy movements could have such a clearly-articulated charter.

About the Author:

Rick Altman has been hired by hundreds of companies, listened to by tens of thousands of professionals, and read by millions of people, all of whom seek better results with their presentation content and delivery. He runs the acclaimed Presentation Summit conference, formerly known as PowerPoint Live, and is  author of the book, Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck & How You Can Make Them Better.  For more information, visit his website www.betterppt.com

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