How to Take Your PowerPoint Skills to The Next Level
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Did you know?—

  • PowerPoint was released on 1987 for MacIntosh computers?
  • Microsoft acquired PowerPoint for $14 million three months later?
  • PowerPoint was initially developed to design transparencies, but evolved over time to present content?

Wow! PowerPoint has gone through many changes since 1987, but it’s still an easy-to-use tool for presentations and more. We’re going to show you some ways to up your “PowerPoint game” and impress others with some new features.

MASTER SLIDES & LAYOUTS

PowerPoint has always provided Templates & Layouts you can choose from. In PowerPoint 2016 you can pick a template, go into the Master Slide (the slide that dictates the look and feel of all slides in your presentation) and customize it to your liking. When you make changes to a Master Slide, you can use that as a template for other presentations you create.

After you complete your Master Slide, close out of that view and PowerPoint will take you back to your actual presentation slides. Here you’ll see the effect you created in all of your individual slides. But, what if you don’t want the template from the Master Slide to appear in all of your slides? You can click on a section called “Layouts” that brings up all the templates you saw when you created your Master Slide. You can apply these to individual slides as you like quickly and easily.

IMPROVE YOUR IMAGES

The best presentations use more pictures than words. Thankfully, PowerPoint has upped its game with new photo-editing capabilities. You no longer need to leave PowerPoint to enhance your images and photos. Simply click on your image, go to “Picture Tools” > “Format” and you’ll be provided with a multitude of options. You can brighten photos under “Corrections.” Or, go to the “Color” tab and work with tones to make your photo the way you want. You can even convert your photos from color to black and white.

If you’d like, you can crop an image to focus on just one part of it. (Here, we cropped the men under the flag.):

You can go to the dropdown menu under “Crop” and it will provide you other options like “Crop to Shape” where you can choose from a variety of shapes. Below you’ll see that we chose a circle.

You can even remove the background of an image. Select the image, go to “Picture Tools” > “Format,” and a tab on the top left entitled “Remove Background.” PowerPoint will attempt to select the background to remove. However, you can tweak this if it isn’t quite right, by clicking “Mark Areas to Keep” and work around the image to format it just the way you want. This may take some time to get just right, so be patient!

This needs a bit more work as you can see.

EASY-TO-READ CONTENT

When you’re dealing with a lot of text, there are a number of options to choose from to simplify your content. One way is to improve the look of your text to make it easy to read for your audience. If you’ve created a text box and pasted it into PowerPoint from Word or another program, you can change the format and size of your text right from within PowerPoint. Simply click on the text box and click on “Drawing Tools.” This is similar to what you did with images, instead of “Picture Tools” you use “Drawing Tools.” Click on “Format” and PowerPoint provides you a variety of options to choose from to format your text.

When you “right click” on the text box, you’ll have an options color, shape and even text options. You can get really specific in terms of alignment, margins, and more. You can even create columns in you text box.

Sometimes the spacing appears cramped or makes it difficult for your viewers to read. Rather than hitting “Enter” to make more spaces after a line, select the text box and go to “Line Spacing” > “Line Spacing Options.” PowerPoint brings up a window where you can space before or after a bullet, or line. The line won’t double, just the space between the bullets.

Remember, if your audience can’t read your content, your presentation won’t be as effective as it could be.

Another Tip: You might want to go one step further and place each of you bullets in easy-to-read boxes. This will certainly get your viewers’ attention. (see below)

IMPROVING TABLES

Most people create tables in Excel and copy and paste them into PowerPoint. However, you now have the option to tweak your tables from within PowerPoint. Simply click on your table and an option will appear for “Table Tools.” You can select the “Design” tab and define the look of your tables with banners, headers, colors and more.

By highlighting individual columns or rows, you can change their color, formatting and more. You can even align the content in your columns to the top, middle or bottom. NOTE: It’s much easier to read the content in tables when the numbers are aligned to the middle as you see above.

GRAPHS

You can copy and paste graphs from Excel. However, when you do, they’ll be imported as an image that you can’t change. If you want to make changes to a graph from within PowerPoint, you must copy and paste it as an Excel document.

PowerPoint will open an “Excel version of itself” so you can make changes from within your presentation. You’ll even have access to the spreadsheet the data comes from, so you can make changes that will convey to your graph. Or you can directly select a column and make changes to it, change data labels and more. Remember, the goal is to make your content as easy to read as possible.

NOTE:

You do need to make sure the linkage between your PowerPoint Excel spreadsheet and your Excel document is intact or the changes you make to the spreadsheet in PowerPoint won’t be reflected in your original Excel document.

NEW FEATURES

With the 2016 deployment of PowerPoint, you find more graphical features, features that align with tablets for educational purposes, and components for training and webinars.

Icons

PowerPoint now has its own icons that you can edit according to your needs. Simply go to “Insert” and to the “Icons” tab. You can select one or more as you wish. Under the format option you can change colors, add shadows and more. The icons are transparent, so you can put them on top of other images.

Photo Album

This feature is interesting. It’s helpful for making photo albums, however the photo-album presentation it will be an entire project all its own. You can paste the content from a photo album into another presentation if you wish.

To make a photo album, select photos from your computer and insert them into PowerPoint. From here you can do some formatting, choose their placement, size, if you want them framed, and more. You can also add themes, captions and text boxes.

Once you finish your photo selection and formatting, simply click “Create” and your photo album will

appear.

Now, you can do additional editing as you wish.

The New MIX Extension

This is only available in PowerPoint 2016. You will need to add the extension to your PowerPoint application. When you click on ‘MIX” you’ll see third-party apps you can use, like “quizzes.”

 

Screen Recordings

You can literally record anything that’s on your screen. This is helpful for doing demonstrations. Click “Screen Recording” and take a screen shot of your screen. PowerPoint lets you import it into your presentation without leaving the application. You can even crop the screen shot right from within PowerPoint.

Insert Videos

Try inserting videos into your PowerPoint presentation. Maybe you want to import a video of you talking while a demo is shown in the presentation. You can post the video in the corner of your screen while the presentation is playing. How cool is that?

Press “Record” and record your computer screen as you use the pointer to demonstrate something. PowerPoint will record you speaking while demonstrating. Use this for team meeting recordings for the folks who couldn’t attend. Or use this feature to show clients how to use a product. Output your presentation as an Mp4 file and post it on your website! These files are quite large, so you’ll want to upload them to your cloud storage.

Morph Transition

Animation capabilities have been part of Microsoft for many years. However, the animation in PowerPoint can be a bit difficult to finesse. The Morph Transition makes this much. Choose a slide and click “Duplicate Slide.” On the second slide, move the various images and wording where you want them to end up. You can also change colors, and more.

Next, select the original slide, and go to the top bar and click “Transitions.” Then click the second slide and click >”Morph.” Your original slide will “morph” into the new one, and objects will appear to move across the screen. You can do this with more than one slide as well to get some interesting animation going.

The Zoom Feature

This is helpful for creating a summary of your presentation. Simply select your slide, go to the bar at the top and select “Zoom.” You’ll be provided a number of options. Try clicking on the “Summary Zoom.” You’ll see a pop-up window with all of your slides. Check off the ones you want to use as your “summary buttons.” For example, the title pages for Sections of your presentations would be a good choice.

 

PowerPoint will create “buttons” of the slides you just checked:

Clicking one will take you to that place in your presentation so you can go back and summarize the content in each of the sections. Once complete, PowerPoint will bring you back to the summary with the buttons you created. This will make your presentation much more dynamic rather than appearing linear as you can go back and forth between section as you wish. NOTE: This doesn’t work well with slides you haven’t created. So, wait to use this feature when your presentation is complete.

That’s it for now! Give these tips a try to take your PowerPoint skills to the next level!

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