PPT Tips and Tricks

Most of us have either viewed or given a PowerPoint presentation at one time or another. Microsoft PowerPoint has been the most popular software for creating and delivering presentations on just about anything for decades. Even if you don’t work in a so-called “white-collar” job, you probably at least have heard of PowerPoint. Most likely, you have also viewed a less than engaging, and possibly downright dull PowerPoint presentation and possibly have even given one because you didn’t spend or have the time to explore all its functionality and features. However, you probably were still able to create an adequate presentation because despite being very robust and powerful, PowerPoint is very easy to learn and quite intuitive.

Bad presentations can be the result of any number of different pitfalls or overused patterns. How many presentations have you been subjected to that are nothing but endless slides of blatantly obvious bullet points that are little more than talking notes for the presenter that are read aloud word for word? Also, what about those terrible slide transitions that are at the same time underwhelming and distracting? Along this same vein are the constant starting and stopping for the inclusion of poorly done or off-topic videos and other forms of confusing multimedia attention breakers. Don’t even get me started on boring, uncreative, elementary ClipArt splattered all over every slide.

Most ineffective presentations are caused by presenters who just don’t take the time or have the time to spend learning how to properly use the software above its most rudimentary level. Most presenters are content with being able to create slides with a colored background that has bullet points dropped on them and that includes some if not all of the pitfalls discussed above. Probably the best way to learn how to create a dazzling, professional presentation is to enroll in a PowerPoint course. Short of that, though, let’s take a look at some tips and tricks that can help to create engaging, insightful presentations that will help to drive your point home.

  1. Align Graphics on Your PowerPoint
    Align graphics and images easily with the Format command. Select the images or graphics that you wish to align and then use the Format -> Align menu command to arrange them. If you want to align multiple objects, hold down the Shift key while selecting each object.

  2. To make the above tip even more effective, use the built-in gridlines and rulers provided by PPT. You can activate these alignment features by selecting the View -> Guides to show the center of the slide horizontally and vertically and then the View -> Gridlines command to provide a grid to snap the images to and help with alignment.
  3. Add Commands in PowerPoint for Efficiency
    Add commands to the Quick Access Toolbar or Office Ribbon to make working with slides more efficient. To customize PowerPoint toolbars, simply right-click anywhere on the toolbar to bring up the context menu. From there you can modify the controls to make more sense for how you utilize them.
  4. Below is a list of useful keyboard shortcuts that make working with slides much quicker and more efficient since you aren’t spending time hunting down the right commands contained in the different toolbars and ribbon.
      • Alt+F: Open the File tab menu
      • Alt+H: Go to the Home tab
      • Alt+N: Open the Insert tab
      • Alt+G: Open the Design tab
      • Alt+K: Go to the Transitions tab
      • Alt+A: Go to the Animations tab
      • Alt+S: Go to the Slide Show tab
      • Alt+R: Go to the Review tab
      • Alt+W: Go to View tab
      • Alt+X: Go to the Add-ins tab
      • Alt+Y: Go to the Help tab
  1. Create Custom Animations For Your Slides
    Custom animations can be added to any image or graphic in your presentation with the Animations menu. Click the Animations menu option from the main PPT toolbar. This will bring up the Animations toolbar. From there, select the graphic that you wish to animate and then click the Add Animation button. A menu containing different types of animations will appear that will allow you to apply animation and tweak the settings to fine-tune how the graphic will behave.
  2. Embed Custom Videos & Graphics
    This is another way to set your presentation apart from the normal old bulleted list talking point guides. However, remember not to insert a video on every slide. That too can become tiresome. Creating a good mix of video and live discussion will help keep your audience engaged. To insert a video, click the Insert menu item at the top of the screen and then the Video button on the far right-hand side of the toolbar. This will bring up the video location menu where you can select where the video you want to insert is stored.
  3. Create Your Own Custom Slide Template
    Probably the best way to make your presentations stand out is to create your own custom slide template. To create a new slide template, design a new slide that fits your own specifications. You can change fonts, graphics, themes, slide transitions, background colors, and lots of other settings that will really make the presentation pop. After your masterpiece is finished, you can save it and use it for future presentations the same as if it came with PowerPoint. Simply click the File -> Save As menu item and then select the PowerPoint Template type from the file type drop-down list. To use your new template, select it from the Custom Office Templates folder the next time you create a new presentation.
  4. Add a 3D Model To Your Slide
    This is achieved much the same way as adding a video or other graphic. Select the Insert menu item to change the toolbar and then click the 3D Model button. This drop-down menu will provide the ability to insert a 3D Model from your device or from the Office 3D Model gallery, which provides a large selection of previously created objects.
  5. Insert Screenshots Into Your Slides
    A clever feature that can be used for software demonstrations is the ability to insert a screen capture directly into a slide. To fire the screen capture directly from PPT, click the Insert menu item and then the Screenshot button. The drop-down menu will give you a list of the programs you currently have running or the ability to do a screen clipping.
  6. Use Slide Master To Edit Your PowerPoint Presentation
    If you need to quickly make a change to all of the slides in your presentation, Slide Master contains all of the information on the slides’ color, fonts, layout, theme, and positioning. To view the Slide Master, click the View menu item at the top of the screen and then the Slide Master button. Now you can edit the underlying template and change any number of settings for your presentation.

These 10 tips and tricks only scratch the surface of the presentation building magic provided by Microsoft PowerPoint. Probably the best way to learn how to use all of the features included with PowerPoint is to enroll in a training class. You might even make a career out of it and get your PowerPoint Certification to become a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS). ONLC offers just such courses and even has a class that will help you get your MOS certification. Why not contact them today to find out how to become a PowerPoint expert?

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