[Video] Dishing on Presentations with Dr. Carmen Simon

Dr. Carmen Simon is an accomplished cognitive scientist and author. Her book, Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions, showcases a groundbreaking approach to creating memorable messages that are easy to process, hard to forget, and impossible to ignore using the latest in brain science. She helps businesses use brain science to create memorable messages. Editor, Sharyn Fitzpatrick spoke with her about her book, her new company – Mezmy – and what her keynote speech at Presentation Summit will be.

29 PowerPoint Tips, Tricks, and Hacks

Go to the eLearningArt blog, to get a free eBook of all 29 expert PowerPoint tips + additional bonus tips. You can also get some free PowerPoint images, graphics, and templates.

PowerPoint is an extremely powerful tool when used correctly. But when you’re new to it, it can feel like it’s just blank screens and bullet points. It can take years (or decades) to fully master it.

But I decided to save you some time…

I asked the world’s leading PowerPoint experts the following question:

What’s your single best PowerPoint tip, trick, or hack?

Below you’ll see responses from some amazing PowerPoint gurus, including top authors, speakers, instructors, bloggers, and even a handful of PowerPoint MVPs and Microsoft employees!

Here’s a two-minute video that summarizes all 29 PowerPoint tips:

Enjoy the full tutorials by scrolling below or jump to these sections:

Summary | Presentation Approach | Design | Shortcuts | Delivery | Setup | Beyond Presentations

PowerPoint Presentation Approach Tips
  1. Use the Tell ‘n Show method: a headline with a single point and media to support it

To get your audience to understand and remember what you say, use the Tell ‘n’ Show(SM) method.

Use the slide title to tell your point–what you want them to remember. For example, write “3rd quarter sales rose 5% over last year” instead of just “3rd quarter sales.”

Then use the rest of the slide to show your point with an image, animation, graph, or diagram.

Research has shown the students who see slides done like this do better on tests and similarly, your audience will “get” your point more quickly and easily. They’ll be more engaged, too.

Ellen Finkelstein is the President & Owner of Ellen Finkelstein, Inc. She is one of only 12 Microsoft designated PowerPoint MVPs in the United States and is the author of one of the most popular blogs on the web.

  1. Don’t open PPT until you have a clear message

Don’t launch PowerPoint until you have a clear message. Many people launch PowerPoint, think what they want to present, add slides, then think again, and add slides again.

To compare with an analogy, they are on a fun journey, driving their car, stopping wherever they want, and then driving to wherever they fancy. It’s good to have an amazing journey–but a journey without a destination will get you nowhere.

Continuing this analogy, a “clear message” is the destination where you want to go, and you want to take your audience along with you. So, make sure you have a message before you begin creating your slides.

Geetesh Bajaj is the Owner of Indezine.com. He is a PowerPoint MVP and the author of the Indezine blog, one of the most visited PowerPoint and presentation websites.

  1. Start with the end-scenario in mind

As a designer, I recommend you think more about the end scenario than the beginning.

Practical considerations – is this a printout, email attachment, onscreen presentation, interactive discussion tool or a combination of those? Where will it be seen – in a stadium, boardroom, café, at their desk?

Then consider the conceptual considerations – who is your audience and what do they currently think about your topic? What would you like to change in that thinking? Based on what you know about them, how can you change that thinking?

Write those things down, then build your presentation with that at the forefront.

Tom Howell is the Agency Director at Synapsis Creative. He was recently designated a PowerPoint MVP by Microsoft. His presentation blog is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their presentation design.

  1. Tease the audience by revealing info in parts

Do you struggle to hold your participant’s attention – especially when your training topic is dull and boring?

There’s a secret technique I use that works like a charm every time. It is…

“Tease your audience by revealing your information in parts”

Let me give you an example…

Want to present a Framework?

Present just the skeletal structure first. Explain the context. Then reveal the first step. Explain.

Then reveal the next step and so on.

Your audience can’t take their eyes off, till you finish your explanation.

Why does this work so well?

Studies have shown that as humans – we experience ‘tension’ when we leave things incomplete.

We feel subconsciously compelled to pay attention to the task till we see it finished. It’s called the ‘Zeigarnik effect’.

Try it in your next presentation. All you need is to apply a simple custom animation to your visuals – to reveal information in stages.

Ramgopal is the Director and Co-Owner of PrezoTraining. He also runs a popular YouTube Channel focusing on PowerPoint.

  1. Don’t open PowerPoint first. Instead, sketch on a notepad

The first step on PowerPoint is…don’t open PowerPoint.

Sketch out your presentation on a notepad (regular or digital) and plan the whole thing.

Then rewrite, numbering and ordering your thoughts. That’s your slide order.

Doug Thomas is a Video and Webinar Creator at Microsoft. He has created and appeared in over 250 videos at office.com.

PowerPoint Design Tips
  1. Use transparent overlays on images for text contrast

My favorite trick to do in PowerPoint is to create transparent overlays over slides, videos, photographs in PowerPoint!

First, you create a rectangle to cover up the slide > Then you set it to a solid color or a gradient > You right click, set the transparency of each color to around 20% or any value you like depending on the project > and there you have it!

You can dim photos, create duo-tone overlays, darken, brighten, add exposure, add a vignette or do pretty much anything regarding colors with this type of object!

The best part is – you can freely copy it between slides or even separate PowerPoints! Awesome to know about and use 

Andrzej Pach is an Online Instructor for Udemy & Skillshare. He also hosts one of the most popular YouTube channels to focus on PowerPoint with over 2 million views and 19,000 subscribers.

  1. Go big with visuals. Bleed photos and videos to the edge

Go big with your visuals.

My top tip to presentation designers of all levels is a simple, elegant, and often overlooked technique: bleed your inserted photographs and videos all the way to the edges.

Insert your image. Scale (don’t stretch!) and crop appropriately. If next is necessary, set it in a semi-transparent shape with sufficient contrast against the text color.

Think about some of the best presentations you’ve ever seen. Think also about your favorite movies and TV shows. Their images take up all available screen space. Yours can too.

Tony Ramos is the Director of the Presentation Guild and the Owner of TonyRamos.com. He was the first blogger on the internet to cover PowerPoint topics. Tony is an expert designer and producer of PowerPoint presentations and proposal graphics.

  1. Create quick native PPT icons using your subtract and combine tools

Create quick native PPT icons using your subtract and combine tools.

Bethany Auck is the Founder and Creative Director of SlideRabbit. As a presentation and communication specialist, she helps clients build high-quality presentations, from basic slide design to complex animations and infographics.

  1. Structure clean layouts by using a grid system on slide masters

Keep your layouts clean and well-structured by implementing a grid system with guides on the pasteboard of your master slide.

Stephy Lewis is a Senior Designer for Aerotek and a Director of the Presentation Guild. She is a top visual designer of presentations and websites.

  1. Find a beautiful, fresh font pair. One for headers and one for body

When I create PowerPoint tutorials on YouTube I am always thinking about techniques that would be simple to implement and yet would have the biggest positive impact.

So, if you have 2 minutes to transform your presentation from good to awesome, I would suggest looking at your fonts.

Find a beautiful, fresh looking font pair (one font for the headers and one for the body) and you can instantly change how your presentation feels and looks like.

I am planning to do a video soon on this topic, so please visit my YouTube channel soon, if you are interested in awesome font pairs for your ppt  Good luck everyone!

One Skill (aka Kasparas Tolkusinas) is the CEO of One Skill PowerPoint Tutorials. He hosts one of the most popular PowerPoint YouTube channels, with over one million views and 14,000+ subscribers.

  1. Create an arrow with broken SmartArt

I have an easy favorite that I often use. You know the arrow type that looks like a Nike Swoosh logo? The ones that start at a point then become thicker as they softly curve up or down? I have an easy hack that uses broken SmartArt to create such an arrow.

Of course, if you have the newest version of PowerPoint (2016/Office 365), you can insert this arrow style as an icon, but it’s not easily editable (other than to recolor). Do this instead: 1) Insert > SmartArt > Process > Upward Arrow (or Descending Process) | 2) Ungroup | 3) Ungroup again | 4) Delete all extra shapes and text boxes, leaving only the arrow.

You’re left with an adjustable arrow that allows you to use the yellow handles to change the swoosh width and arrow head size. Rotate, Flip Vertical, Flip Horizontal, or resize to further customize.

Sandra Johnson is the Owner and Chief Presentation Officer at Presentation Wiz and is Vice President of the Presentation Guild. She has also been designated only 1 of 12 Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs in the United States.

PowerPoint Shortcuts, Tricks, and Hacks
  1. Power-crop photos with SmartArt

The favorite hack is Power Cropping a bunch of photos in seconds.

(1) In PowerPoint select a bunch of odd sized (or shaped) photos
(2) Navigate to the Picture Tools Format Tab
(3) Open the Picture Layout drop down
(4) Select a SmartArt layout (Bending Picture Semi-Transparent Text is my favorite)
(5) CTRL+SHIFT+G to ungroup the graphic twice.

It’s a great little PowerPoint hack that not a lot of people know about.

Taylor Croonquist is the Co-Founder of NutsAndBoltsSpeedTraining.com. He is the guru of time-saving PowerPoint tips. If you want to be blown away by how fast someone can whip a PPT into shape, check out his blog or videos.

  1. Use Ctrl + arrow keys to nudge objects on the screen

Here’s a quick and easy one I share in my PowerPoint for eLearning 101 classes:

Want to move something just a smidge using the arrow keys? You may notice that it’s hard to get to just the right spot using the arrow keys.

Try holding down the [Control] key with the arrow keys and watch as your slide objects move by just a pixel at a time.

AJ Walther is the Chief Creative Officer at IconLogic. She is also the instructor for several PowerPoint courses: PowerPoint for eLearning 101 and 201, and the author of 2 PowerPoint books.

  1. Use SmartArt to break bullet points into text boxes

Use SmartArt as a tool to eliminate bullet points and “chunk” your information out visually.

Select your text box of bullet points and either right-click or choose from the Home tab “Convert to SmartArt.” Select a SmartArt graphic that contains horizontal boxes. Select the newly created SmartArt containing your text, right-click and ungroup it twice, giving you text in rectangles.

Now, delete any extraneous SmartArt items (i.e. arrows) and format the boxes however you like. Voila, you have magically turned a page of bullet points into visual chunks—much easier to read!

Nolan Haims is the Principal of Nolan Haims Creative. He leads a team of visual design professionals dedicated to all types of visual communication. Nolan blogs at Present Your Story and hosts the popular Presentation Podcast.

  1. Create “smokey letters” with PPT’s new Morph transition

Magic Smoky Letters!

I recently went on a crazy experimentation spree (channeling my inner mad scientist!) with the Morph transition and discovered this bizarre but very cool “smoky letters” trick.

Let’s say, for instance, that you want the word TEXT to come out as smoke from a chimney (or fireplace, tailpipe, cigar, teapot, magic lamp, etc.).  You first put a picture of the chimney on your slide.  Next, you create smoke “seeds” by inserting a rectangle and editing one of the points (Format – Shape – Edit Points) – then making 4 copies of this rectangle (one for each letter in TEXT).  Make these “seeds” tiny and transparent, then place on top of the chimney (where you want the smoke to come out).

Next, duplicate the slide and on this new slide, delete the “seeds” on the chimney.  Then, vectorize the word TEXT (by writing it in a text box, putting it on top of a colored rectangle, selecting both objects and going to Merge Shapes – Fragment and deleting the stuff around TEXT).

Finally, add a Morph transition to the second slide, and you’re done!

Simply view in presentation mode and prepare for your jaw to drop… check out this trick with more details and examples here.


Lia (aka P-Spice) is the queen of PowerPoint animations and tricks. She hosts the most popular YouTube channel on PowerPoint, with over 4 million views and 36,000+ subscribers. She is also the author of the Spicy Presentations blog.

  1. Convert text to an image if the custom font might not be installed.

One of my favorite frustration-busters involves a workaround when I know my client won’t have a custom font installed.

For example, if the slide would benefit from a gorgeous script as an accent element, I will turn that piece of text into an image.

I do this by selecting the font as an object, copying it and then pasting it as a picture (either right click to paste or use the paste button in the Home menu).

Now I know the “text” will display as designed on any computer.

Lori Chollar is the Co-Founder of TLC Creative Services, Inc.

PowerPoint Presentation Delivery Tips
  1. Use the notes panel for detailed printed notes

I’m a College Professor and use PowerPoint for Lecture notes.

Many students want detailed lecture notes, but get bored quickly reading mountains of text on a slide.

So, I use the “Notes Pages” panel for detail while keeping the slides simple – I urge students to read the notes which may contain more information than given in a lecture.

If printing out the slides, it is essential to use “Notes Pages” print layout option.

Dr. Eugene O’Loughlin is a Lecturer in Computing at the National College of Ireland. He also hosts one of the most popular YouTube channels that covers PowerPoint topics and has over 12 million views and 26k+ subscribers.

  1. Leverage “Presenter View” and “sections” when there are multiple presenters

Increase the power of Presenter View with PowerPoint Sections.

Sections are used to organize slides within a presentation by grouping slides and giving each group a name.

In addition, Presenter View leverages these Sections that can be seen in Presenter View’s Grid Layout.

When running a presentation with multiple presenters, or an awards show with multiple award categories, I add lots of PowerPoint sections. The ability to minimize live-show stress and find the correct section to jump to is amazing!

Troy Chollar is the Co-Founder of TLC Creative Services, Inc. He is also a Microsoft designated PowerPoint MVP, PowerPoint blogger, and host the popular Presentation Podcast.

  1. Use “triggers” to create interactive presentations

Create interactive presentations with triggers to start animations through hot spots on a slide.

You can reveal specific parts of a diagram, make something change color by clicking it, or give people multiple choice questions and have the correct answer pop-up.

It takes seconds to do and works brilliantly, particularly with visual slides.

Right click on any animation, choose Timing, then Triggers in the pop-up window, and choose which object you click to start (trigger) the animation.

You can have multiple triggers on one slide and multiple animations triggered by the same object.

It makes compelling and effective presentations.

Richard Goring is the Director at BrightCarbon. He creates compelling and persuasive presentations using visuals and diagrams. Richard also blogs at the Bright Carbon blog and has a post on this trigger technique mentioned above.

  1. Use a formatted “Notes” page for presentation handouts.

I open the most eyes when I discuss how to use the Notes page to create handouts that are contained within the same PPTX file as the slides.

Most people have never spent even a second in the Notes master so they never knew you could globally reformat the Notes pages to allow them to better accommodate the creation of handout pages.

Rick Altman is the Director of R. Altman and Associates and the Conference Host of The Presentation Summit. If you looking to create PowerPoints that don’t suck, he literally wrote the book on it.

PowerPoint software and hardware setup tips
  1. Add “align” to your Quick Access Toolbar

Tired of eyeballing that slide to see if all the objects are all even or in the same grid? That is why my favorite tip is to make Align one of your favorites on your QAT.

Imagine a slide that might introduce three speakers’ headshots and captions but they are not aligned or equidistant from each other. Let’s fix it.

Select all three objects – click on the first object, then press and hold CTRL when you click on the others.  You can also use SHIFT and your mouse to draw a box over what you want to align – I call it a “Lasso”. To arrange the three headshots, click on the Format Tab in the Picture tools, you will see an option to align objects. You can choose to center objects horizontally, vertically or to a box of text.

You do the same when working with shapes, text boxes, SmartArt graphics, and WordArt by selecting Format in the Drawing Tools.

The result:  your objects snap to the grid and the smart guide lines that appear on your slide will help confirm it.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick is the Editor of PresentationXpert and the Chief Marketing and Webinar Guru at Marcom Gurus. She also lives in my home town (Los Altos), is a raving Penn State fan, and a former competitive swimmer!

  1. Customize your “quick access” toolbar with frequently used buttons

I don’t have a ton of keyboard shortcuts in PowerPoint, but I do customize my toolbar.

When I do that (right-click on the toolbar at the very top of the window), I can add any button I want, especially the alignment buttons, which makes life a lot easier when you’re working with different slide objects such as text, images, and graphs.

In Excel, my favorite keyboard shortcut is CTRL+1 (CMD+1 on Macs), which will bring you to the Format menu. And it works for everything–cells, line charts, bar charts, axis labels, gridlines, whatever you need.

Jonathan Schwabish is the Founder at PolicyViz.com and a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute. He is well known in the presentation community for his presentation book Better Presentations and his expertise in data visualization.

  1. Name screen elements on the “Selection Pane” for easy design layering and more

The Selection Pane is one of PowerPoint’s best-kept secrets.

By default, it’s hidden in the “Select” menu on the “Home” tab.

I add it to my Quick Access Toolbar and keep the Selection Pane open anytime I’m working in PowerPoint.

Once open, you can name all the objects on the screen. This really helps when you’re trying to change the layering order of the objects, add animations, and more.

You can also hide objects by clicking the “eye” icon next to each object. That’s helpful for revealing objects beneath that layer.

Without the selection pane, both layering and animations are next to impossible.

Bryan Jones is the Founder and President of eLearningArt. He runs a stock photo and template site to help people build better presentations and graphics. He also blogs frequently about eLearning, PowerPoint, and presentations.

  1. In a dark working environment, change the default interface for more contrast

When I’m working in a dark environment (at night in my office, backstage at a conference, etc.), I find it extremely helpful to change PowerPoint’s interface from the bright white and orange to black or at least dark grey.

To do this, click File, then Account, then select Black or Dark Grey from the Office Theme drop-down.

Note that _these_ Office Themes control your interface elements such as the Ribbon and the workspace; they aren’t the same Office Themes that you may think of when we talk about PowerPoint templates and themes. (Thanks for naming everything the same, Microsoft!)

Echo Swinford is a PowerPoint Corporate Presentation and Template Expert at Echosvoice. She is designated as 1 of only 12 Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs in the United States. Echo also authored a book on building PowerPoint templates and is the President of the Presentation Guild.

  1. Get a good external mouse. One with a scroll wheel can zoom in and out

A comfortable external mouse is a must-have for quick toolbar navigation and graphics editing.

Make your work even speedier by choosing a mouse with a scroll wheel. In PowerPoint, hold the Ctrl/Command key and scroll forward or backward to change the Zoom level. Go from the big picture to the smallest details in an instant.

Julie Terberg is a Presentation Expert, Visual Communicator at Terberg design. She is a designated Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, author of a book on creating PowerPoint templates, and is the Art Director for the Presentation Guild.

Think beyond PowerPoint presentations

  1. Think of PPT as a tool beyond liner presentations

Strangely enough, my best tip/hack is to start seeing PowerPoint as a tool that can do much more than linear presentations.

Here are a few examples:

1) Produce better visuals & handouts at the same time by moving text to the notes pane, and design your Notes Master so it has your corporate colors and logo

2) Use PowerPoint’s screen capture tool (PPT2010 and up), or screen recording tool (PPT2013 and up) to create quick tutorials without needing other software

3) Get to know the drawing/shape tools to create your custom graphics and save them as images.

Chantal Bossé is the Owner of CHABOS, Inc. where she helps clients, such as TEDx speakers, maximize their presentation impact. She is also a designated Microsoft PowerPoint MVP.

  1. Export to video and PDF to make content portable and reach a wider audience.

Exporting to video and PDF is a quick and easy way to make your content much more portable and mobile-friendly to reach a wider audience.

The PDF option allows you to totally rethink your documents and make the switch to interactive “e-books”.

The video option gives you a super flexible MP4 video file that you can use virtually anywhere.

To see an example of each, visit this tutorial.

Mike Taylor is a Learning Technologist at Mindset Digital, as well as a former Community Manager at Articulate He is also a frequent speaker and popular blogger.

  1. Hyperlink between slides to create a non-linear experience

Hyperlinking: Many who build eLearning with PowerPoint rely too much on the default linear slide 1- slide 2 -next-next-next setup.

Learning to hyperlink across slide decks enables you to build interesting interactions like branching simulations and quizzes with scaffolded feedback.

It takes patience and thinking through but isn’t technically difficult.

Another tip: Figure out how to do the planning/layout the way that works best for you: I like to use Post-It notes I can move around. Others like to draw it out, and still others use the PPT flowcharting tools.

Jane Bozarth is an E-Learning Coordinator for the State of North Carolina. She is the author of several popular books, including Better Than Bullet Points: Creating Engaging e-Learning with PowerPoint.

  1. Build clickable prototypes and hyperlink from any object to other slides

Creating prototypes is tough, right? Difficult software, expensive too.

But wait…

Do you realize that PowerPoint can be used to build prototypes?

One of the coolest and simplest features that you’ll find in PowerPoint is the ability to put hyperlinks on any object on your slide and have it link to other slides.

This way you can mock up any kind of e-learning, interactive job aid, software simulation or app you’d like and get a real feel of how it would work. Just create the screens you need for your prototype, add clickable areas (transparent shapes are great for that!) and voila!

Jeff Kortenbosch is a Performance Consultant at Bright Alley. He’s a PowerPoint guru and has a series of YouTube videos where he teaches users how to draw in PowerPoint.

29 PowerPoint Tips, Tricks, and Hacks Summarized

PowerPoint Presentation Approach Tips

  • Use the Tell ‘n Show method: a headline with a single point and media to support it | Ellen Finkelstein
  • Don’t open PPT until you have a clear message | Geetesh Bajaj
  • Start with the end-scenario in mind | Tom Howell
  • Tease the audience by revealing info in parts | Ramgopal
  • Don’t open PowerPoint first. Instead, sketch on a notepad | Doug Thomas

PowerPoint Design Tips

  • Use transparent overlays on images for text contrast | Andrzej Pach
  • Go big with visuals. Bleed photos and videos to the edge | Tony Ramos
  • Create quick native PPT icons using your subtract and combine tool. | Bethany Auck
  • Structure clean layouts by using a grid system on slide master. | Stephy Lewis
  • Find a beautiful, fresh font pair. One for headers and one for bod. | One Skill
  • Create an arrow with broken SmartArt | Sandra Johnson

PowerPoint Shortcuts, Tricks, and Hacks

  • Power-crop photos with SmartArt | Taylor Croonquist
  • Use Ctrl + arrow keys to nudge objects on the screen | AJ Walther
  • Use SmartArt to break bullet points into text boxes | Nolan Haims
  • Create “smoky letters” with PPT’s new Morph transition | Lia (P-Spice)
  • Convert text to an image if the custom font might not be installed | Lori Chollar

PowerPoint Presentation Delivery Tips

  • Use the notes panel for detailed printed notes | Dr Eugene O’Loughlin
  • Leverage “Presenter View” and “sections” when there are multiple presenters | Troy Chollar
  • Use “triggers” to create interactive presentations | Richard Goring
  • Use a formatted “Notes” page for presentation handout.  | Rick Altman

PowerPoint Software and Hardware Setup Tips

  • Add “align” to your Quick Access Toolbar | Sharyn Fitzpatrick
  • Customize your “quick access” toolbar with frequently used buttons | Jon Schwabish
  • Name screen elements on the “Selection Pane” for easy design layering and more | Bryan Jones
  • In a dark working environment, change the default interface for more contrast | Echo Swinford
  • Get a good external mouse. One with a scroll wheel can zoom in and out | Julie Terberg

Think Beyond PowerPoint Presentations

  • Think of PPT as a tool beyond liner presentations | Chantal Bossé
  • Export to video and PDF to make content portable and reach a wider audience | Mike Taylor
  • Hyperlink between slides to create a non-linear experience | Jane Bozarth
  • Build clickable prototypes and hyperlink from any object to other slides | Jeff Kortenbosch

This article was written by Bryan Jones and originally appeared on the eLearningArt blog, where you can get a free eBook of all 29 expert PowerPoint tips + additional bonus tips. You can also get some free PowerPoint images, graphics, and templates.



[Video] Dishing on Presentations with Peter Arvai, Prezi’s Co-founder and CEO

In this month’s “Dishing on Presentations”, PXpert editor, Sharyn Fitzpatrick chatted with Prezi’s co-founder and CEO, Peter Arvai while he was on vacation in Sweden, visiting the farm he grew up on. It is timely that we spoke with Peter because Prezi has been in the news quite a bit over the last few weeks. We talked about how Prezi Next was created with feedback from their 85M users, the thoughtful acquisition of Infogram and how it fits into their product roadmap, the presentation industry and the role of cognitive thinking, and the Harvard study results. We hope that this is the first of many conversations we have with Peter. His passion and deep thinking about the medium comes through – he is an engaging speaker. To learn more about Prezi, go to Prezi.com.


[Video] Dishing on Presentations with Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, Geetesh Bajaj

Editor Sharyn Fitzpatrick and Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, Geetesh Bajaj have a lively discussion about what are the latest trends in PowerPoint, tips for how to maximize your PowerPoint experience, and what features we hope Microsoft brings to Office 365.

About Geetesh Bajaj:

Geetesh Bajaj is an awarded Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for over a decade now. He has been designing and training with PowerPoint for 15 years and heads Indezine, a presentation design studio and content development organization based out of Hyderabad, India. Geetesh believes that any PowerPoint presentation is a sum of its elements–these elements include abstract elements like concept, color, interactivity, and navigation–and also slide elements like shapes, graphics, charts, text, sound, video, and animation. He has authored six books on PowerPoint and trains corporate clients on how to plan, create, and deliver presentations.  For more information on Indezine and Geetesh, click here.

[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

Test Drive: How To Use Pre-sized Templates to Create Graphics

Editors note

Like many of our readers, we have to do presentation design or graphics for our magazine.  With the complex landscape of social media and the lack of standardization, you have to get creative for how you can implement and represent your brand across multiple platforms. Not an easy task.

So take a test drive with us and experience how we created our own branded graphics across branded graphics style and extensions.  We share the steps we took to create banners for Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and even the “Editor’s Note” image we created for this article. Using pre-sized templates to create branded banners across platforms is efficient and saves you lots of time (and less gray hair!)

For this test drive, we choose to use Canva, an online graphic design platform. They offer a wide range of pre-sized templates, images, and typefaces to choose from. Their drag and drop feature makes it easy to create multiple versions – I like to do that to see visually what I like, and it stimulates others ideas.  So let’s have fun!

I have seen Guy Kawasaki demonstrate Canva and how he uses it at The Presentation Summit in New Orleans and at two other conferences here in the San Francisco Bay area.  His passion and imagination for designs bring alive the power of what you can do. He says, “Canva is democratizing design.” What he means is that Canva is a technology that enables the everyman to do graphic design with customizable templates and industry standard templates for social media and marketing materials   We can now add banners to our social media profiles.  But creating them is simple and easy to do.  That is where the power of Canva shows how smart their technology is.

First, they have already built custom layouts for each social media platforms with the “correct” sizes for each.  All you have to do is customize it for your brand.  First, you choose your platform, and the size is correct for where you need it – no more trying to figure it out in PowerPoint or opening a huge project file in Photoshop or Illustrator.

Just select the specific banner you will need for your social media account and start designing:

SFcanva 1

Putting Canva to the Test:

I selected the Instagram banner so I could create the “Editor’s Note” graphic at the top of this article. Let me explain how I created it.  First, I found the graphic image I wanted to use on Big Stock.

instagram step 1

Next, I uploaded the graphic to the template then added two lines of text to make it mine.  I also played around with some sizes and layouts that I thought would be additional options:

editors note option 2

And then I decided to use a different layout and by using a variety of fonts to personalize it –


It was easy to do, and it looks very professional. You can drag and drop individual elements so you can find the right formula for what your design goals are.

How we used Canva-designed banners in our social media:

We also used Canva to create PresentationXpert’s social media banner. We created a brand for the social media look then we implemented across all the social media platforms.


One of the features that made it easy to create banners for Twitter, Google+, Facebook and others. Check them out below:

Sharyn G= Presentatoinxpert

PXpert Google+ Page

twitter header

Twitter Banner and Profile

In creating some these banners, I discovered that Canva offers a “magic resize” option which offers you an easy way to create different size and type banners for different projects. It is as simple as clicking a few buttons and “Abracadabra – Resize!”. You can remix and reuse your design project by accessing them in your library.

This is just one example of a “How To” tip I found on Canva’s website and their wealth of resources and idea books to get you started. They offer several “design school” online courses that are great primers for designers. You can definitely enhance your skill set with some of their well-executed ideas.

How does Canva fit with PowerPoint?

emma bannisterGood question.We asked Presentation Studio’s Emma Bannister, who is a member of Canva Experts Design Community. Their members are leaders in the design industry who are passionate about Canva and committed to changing the way we think about design. Here is her viewpoint:

“The presentation layouts in Canva are simple and contemporary. It’s super-easy to click and drag to create professional looking designs. Utilize the numerous royalty free templates (see terms and conditions) or simply using them to kick-start your creativity. All you have to do is change the text to suit your needs! Editing of imagery is simple and efficient (think Instagram). Once your presentation is complete, share finished files via email or social media. Plus you can download a print quality PDF – perfect for hosting your presentations on slideshare.com.

Canva isn’t PowerPoint or Prezi. If you want animation or interactive presentations you won’t find it here. You can’t drag files into PowerPoint. Your only option of reusing assets is to save as a PDF and import the art files into illustrator and then reconvert. Not something I would suggest – why would you need to?

Yet Canva is a great resource for Infographics and typography layouts. If you’re a designer and know what you’re doing, Illustrator has more professional features. But for the everyday user who just needs an idea, and simple tools to create layouts Canva provides so many solutions. Just take a template, and follow your nose!”

Thanks, Emma!  In my opinon, Canva is a great compliment to PowerPoint or any other design platform. The only limit is your imagination.


About Sharyn Fitzpatrick:

The Presentation Summit 2013Sharyn has been part of the PresentationXpert team since June 2012.  She is the host and produces all of our webinars in addition to her new duties as editor.  Her journalism background, her love of design and technology gives her a passion for anything to do with presentations.  In addition to PresentationXpert, Sharyn is the Chief Marketing and Webinar Guru at Marcom Gurus which she started the agency in 2000 and is known as the “Webinar Chick” online.  Email her at sfitzpatrick@presentationxpert.com. Follow her on Twitter, @PXpert and @themarcomguru.

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