Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints - Training Handout
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Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints - Training Handout

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Written summary of the Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints workshop that I teach. Provides most of the detail from the live lecture and includes links to additional resources.

Written summary of the Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints workshop that I teach. Provides most of the detail from the live lecture and includes links to additional resources.

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Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints - Training Handout Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints - Training Handout Document Transcript

  • Make Visually StunningPowerPoints: Tips & TricksIntroduction................................................................................................................................... 2Recommended Reading ........................................................................................................ 2A Good Rule of Thumb ............................................................................................................ 2Don’t Use These Tips for Evil. .................................................................................................... 2Slide Master ................................................................................................................................... 3Colors.......................................................................................................................................... 3Fonts............................................................................................................................................ 3Quick Styles................................................................................................................................ 3Layouts ....................................................................................................................................... 3Text.................................................................................................................................................. 5Fills and Outlines........................................................................................................................ 5Autoshapes ................................................................................................................................... 6Positioning Tricks........................................................................................................................ 6Pictures........................................................................................................................................... 8Animations..................................................................................................................................... 9Four animation types................................................................................................................ 9Animation Pane ...................................................................................................................... 10Transitions ................................................................................................................................. 10Action Buttons............................................................................................................................. 11Additional Resources ................................................................................................................. 12
  • Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints: Tips & Tricks 2IntroductionThe goal of this class is not to teach you the theory behind good slide design. There are manyexcellent resources, books, presentations, video, that can teach you the basic concepts you’llneed to create great looking slides. The focus of this class is on what you do after youunderstand the theoretical stuff. We’ll focus on how to use PowerPoint as an expert user, anddifferent techniques that will help elevate your slide deck.Recommended ReadingIf you’re looking for more on slide design theory I would recommend Presentation Zen by GarrReynolds or slide:ology by Nancy Duarte. Both are well-respected presenters and both books areeasy to digest. While I like Presentation Zen, I encourage you to remember Garr’s point that themessage is most important, not the exact way you present. So even though Garr’s personal styleis to use big full color stock photos on every slide, that’s not the only way to make a greatpresentation.A Good Rule of ThumbThink of each slide as a billboard. Text and graphics should be largeenough that they can be easily interpreted from a distance (the backof your meeting room) and the message should be simple enoughthat it can be understand in only a few seconds. You want theaudience focused on what you’re saying, not trying to readeverything on a densely filled slide.Don’t Use These Tips for Evil.PowerPoint is just a tool; its effectiveness depends entirely on how you chose to use it. Whenused thoughtfully and in moderation the tips shared in this class will enhance yourpresentation. If you slap tons of colorful effects and animations on all your slides in an effort tomake them “cool” you’ll probably end up with something worse than when you started.
  • Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints: Tips & Tricks 3Slide MasterThe Slide Master (View ribbon > Slide Master button) has settings thateffect all slides in the presentation. You can also make changes toindividual slide layouts: adding background graphics, settingplaceholders, etc.ColorsThe color palette that appears when you change colors for text,shapes, and lines is determined by the slide master color setting.This also decides the color options for quick styles, smart art, tables,and charts. There are several built-in color themes to choose fromoryou can also create your own custom set.FontsYou can select a pair of fonts as part of the slide mastertheme. One font will be used in all title placeholders, and theother will be used for all other text. Again, there are severalbuilt-in font pairs to choose from or you can create a custompair using any fonts installed on your machine. Setting these default fonts is helpful becausethen every text box you create will always use your theme font.Quick StylesThe quick style options that appear for shapes are also set in the slide master under“Effects”. The differences between the available options are subtle, so I’drecommend creating a test slide to better see the differences. I’ve never changedthis from the default setting in any of my presentations.LayoutsThe default slide master comes with a large variety of layouts, whichyou can edit, or you can create layouts from scratch. The mostcommon layout people use has a title and a content placeholder (seescreenshot at right).You can also use placeholders that only acceptspecific types of content. Any changes you make to a selected layout
  • Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints: Tips & Tricks 4will be reflected in all slides in your presentation that use that layout. So if I added a picture of ashark to this layout, every slide in my presentation using that layout would now have a pictureof a shark on it.LimitationsAny images, text, or shapes applied to the layout will appear in all slides using that layout andcannot be changed on those individual slides. So if I create a layout with a picture of a shark,when I use that layout for a slide I can’t edit the picture in any way, including moving it to theright side of the title.That’s why you should only put things in the master that really ought to go on most/every slideof your presentation.Content placeholders can be edited on layouts to change fonts and styling.I like to change the bullet styles to a Wingding, although I try to rarely use bullets on my slides.
  • Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints: Tips & Tricks 5TextDon’t immediately jump to the built-in WordArt styles when you want to jazz up your text.There are a range of visual effects that can be added to create your own unique word art.Most of these options are self-explanatory, and you’ll learn best by playing around with them.Find them under Drawing Tools (Format) ribbon > Text Effects.Fills and OutlinesYou can add excitement and create additional contrast with the slidebackground by added a text outline. You can also get very creative with thetext fill. In addition to changing the color, you can fill the text with a gradient,or even an image. The image trick can be nice with texture images, so your textlooks like it’s cut from wood or grown out of grass.Reminders:Once you settle on a style you like use the Format Painter tool ( ) to quickly apply itto other text on your slides.Remember that changing the font style can do a lot to make text stand out, just don’tinclude too many fonts in a single presentation or it will look hectic and confused.Use the 3-D Rotation and Transform effects cautiously! They inherently make it moredifficult to read the text, so only use it occasionally and when it adds to your message.
  • Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints: Tips & Tricks 6AutoshapesMost people are familiar with autoshapes, but many don’t know about the curved line andfreeform tools ( ). These two options let you create any line or shape you could ever want.If the standard shapes work, then by all means use those, but if you’ve ever found yourselfthinking “I wish PowerPoint had this shape,” then the freeform tool is for you.Colors and EffectsAll of the color and effect options available for text are also available for Autoshapes.Additionally, you have the quick style options you set up in your slide master. For more infosee the Text and Slide Master sections that appeared earlier in this training companion.I also like to add transparency to autoshapes so they are semi-transparent. Do this by selectingthe object > Fill Color > More Fill Colors > there’s a slider for transparency at the bottom.Positioning TricksThe following tricks work with any selectable object on the slide (text, autoshapes, images, and anycombination of them) I just chose to talk about these options here.GroupingWhen working with a large number of objects,or elements that you want to move together asone, use grouping. Select all of the objects youwish to group and press Ctrl +g. You can alsogroup objects using menu options under theArrange button, or by right-clicking on one of the objects you have selected. To ungroup agroup of objects so you can work with them again individually, press Ctrl + Shift + g, or selectungroup from the same menus.Tip! Instead of using Ctrl + c and Ctrl + v to copy and paste, do it in one command with Ctrl + d toduplicate.AlignAlign works in two ways, dependent on whether you have a single object selected or multipleobjects. If a single object is selected, it will be aligned relative to the slide. So clicking Align >Center would align it with the center of the slide.
  • Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints: Tips & Tricks 7When multiple objects are selected the alignment works relative to all of the selected objects. Sowith three staggered blocks selected, as in the image below, I can choose to align vertically orhorizontally. Creating strong alignments in your slides will make them look polished and well-designed.DistributeThe Arrange > Distribute options only work when 3 or more objects are selected. Using thefixed end points of the object farthest to the left and object farthest to the right it adjusts themiddle objects so they are evenly spaced. This can be done both horizontally and vertically asshown below.RotateYou can use the Arrange > Rotate options to rotate anobject by 90 degree increments and flip it horizontally orvertically. By using the green handle that appears whenyou select an object you can rotate it arbitrarily to anyangle you choose. If you right-click on the object and selectFormat Shape > under the Size menu you can enter aspecific number of degrees by which to rotate the object.Tip! The Format Painter ( ) works with text, but it also works with autoshapes and images.
  • Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints: Tips & Tricks 8PicturesJust like with autoshapes, all of the outline and effects options available for text are alsoavailable for pictures. See the text section for a brief overview of the options.Tip! If you have a folder open with all of your images you can just drag and drop them from Windowsinto your PowerPoint slide.Simple EditingPowerPoint has some simple editing tools that I often use: resize, crop, and recolor. If you wantto do anything more complex than that I suggest using the Gimp or another image editingsoftware application. I like recolor because the options are based on the theme color you set inyour slide master, so you can quickly and easily create watermark images for your slides.Crop to ShapeThis is an awesome trick! It lets you crop an image to any autoshape(except freeform). See the examples at right, where an image was croppedusing the heart and explosion autoshapes. You can use this in combinationwith other effects like outlines or shadows or recoloring.Reset PictureThis option on the Picture Tools > Format ribbon willremove all formatting you have applied to the selectedimage. If you apply several different effects and decide you don’t like theoutcome, you can click this button to start over. This will not removecropping (unless it was crop to shape) and it will not undo resizing.There’s a hidden option “Reset Picture & Size” that will undo bothcropping and resizing to restore the image to how it appeared when youfirst inserted it in the slide.Picture LayoutsThis tool works in the same way as SmartArt. Selectseveral images and then choose Picture Layout from the Picture Tools >Format ribbon. There are several options to pick from and most includetextboxes. It provides an easy way to make complex layouts. The availablecolors and styles for the layouts are determined by the slide master.
  • Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints: Tips & Tricks 9AnimationsAnimations get a bad reputation because we’ve all seen them used poorly, especially the oneslike “checkerboard” that have been in PowerPoint since I started using it in 1997. If you limityourself to a few animations and use them wisely they can greatly enhance your message. Ienjoy working with animations because I see it as making a movie to tell a story. There’sdefinitely a learning curve for designing complex animation sequences because there is so muchflexibility in how you do it. It would be impossible to cover all of the options here, so I’ll try tohighlight the most important ones. The best way to learn is to play around with it when youhave some time.Four animation typesEntranceEntrance effects control when/how an object first appears on the slide. The object isinvisible on the slide until the entrance effect occurs. You can occasionally use anexciting entrance, but I usually stick with the following: Appear, Fade, Float In, andWipe. Some effects have Effect Options that let you further customize the direction of the effect,for example, with Float In you can choose either Float Up or Float Down.EmphasisEmphasis effects do nothing to change when an object appears, they simple changesome feature of the object. Most of the options relate to color, but you can alsogrow/shrink objects, wiggle, and spin. I rarely use these effects on their own;typically I include them in parallel with other effects as part of a sequence.ExitExit effects are the opposite of entrance effects. Once the Exit effect plays the object willno longer be visible on the slide. I use the same list of effects for exits: Appear, Fade,Float In, and Wipe.Motion PathMotion Paths are the most exciting animation option in my opinion. There areseveral pre-defined paths: line, arc, curve, shapes, loops, or custom paths. Similarto the freeform autoshape tool, the custom path lets you create any shape youwant. There are some advanced editing options with the custom path that can give you expertcontrol by editing individual points in the path.
  • Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints: Tips & Tricks 10CombinationsNow that you know about each individual type of animation, I hope you can see that the realpower in animation is combining the different effects in sequence or in parallel to tell a story. Asingle object can have any number of animations applied to it. Just remember to select “AddAnimation” or you’ll be changing the current effect.Animation PaneIf you’re serious about animations, then the AnimationPane should become your best friend. It shows the currentorder the animations will play in, and lets you reorderthem by clicking and dragging. For each animation you canchange whether it starts on mouse click, with the previousanimation, or after the previous animation. You can also setthe duration of the animation (how long it lasts from startto finish) and the delay (how long it waits to actually start).Look at the slides from this class for examples, and try ityourself for the best understanding.Tip! You can resize and undock the Animation Pane. Making itlarger can help with long or complex animations.Selection PaneThe one thing you can’t do from the Animation Pane isrename the objects you’re animating; luckily you can dothat with the Selection Pane. Find it with the Arrange options:TransitionsTransitions are animations that occur when you move between slides.Again, I would use these sparingly. The Transition ribbon also has theoption to automatically advance a slide after a specified number ofseconds. This is useful in creating animations that span multiple slides, orcreating a slide deck that doesn’t need a presenter (like the slides that run before Staff Meeting).The Push transition can create the illusion of a camera panning over a larger space. See the RealWorld Examples in the class directory for a demo. Remember that the transition you select willwork as the entrance effect for that slide.
  • Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints: Tips & Tricks 11Action ButtonsAction buttons provide a level of interactivity for the audience. These work best forpresentations that will be viewed by someone on their own computer (like a self-study youwould work through in your office). Action buttons can also be used by presenters for bettercontrol over their presentation, one classic example is the use of hyperlinks in slides to launch aweb browser to a specified page.To add an action, first select the object then go to the Insert ribbon and selectAction. This only works on single objects, not a group. Most people know theycan make text into a hyperlink, but you can also link from images orautoshapes. A dialog box will open with options for the type of action you can add.NavigationUse the navigation options to move to the previous, next, first, last, or any specific slide in thepresentation. Using these buttons you could create a branchingpresentation where the viewer could take one path to its end and thenreturn to the beginning to pick a new path.Play SoundSounds can play automatically or on-click of an object. You can also make them part of ananimation sequence.Open File / ProgramThis is basically creating a hyperlink or shortcut to the specified file/program. So you can click abutton to open a PDF or anything else you want.OLEs and MacrosYou have to insert the OLE object or macro first before you can create an action involving it.This is beyond the scope of the class, but I wanted to mention it so you know it’s an option.Animation TriggersAnimations can be triggered by clicking a specific object.On the Animationsribbon, set up the animation you want and with the animation object selected clickTrigger > then from the list select the object you want to click to start the animation.In theAnimation Pane, anything listed above the Trigger acts normally,but everything below it waits for the trigger before it plays.
  • Make Visually Stunning PowerPoints: Tips & Tricks 12Additional ResourcesRemember to look through the other materials found in this folder: the PowerPoint from theclass, the demo, and the real world examples.Slide Design TheorySlide:ology by Nancy Duarte – Amazon linkDuarte Design’s Five Rules for Presentations – YouTube link (5 min)Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds – Amazon linkGarr Reynolds @Google – YouTube link(1 hr presentation summarizes Presentation Zen)External ExamplesTed Talks – http://www.ted.com (Most presenters have excellent visual aids.)Hans Rosling – Ted link (A favorite of mine; shows dense stats in an exciting way)My bookmarks - http://delicious.com/tmjbeary (updated with lots of design tips)Find free imagesOpen ClipArt – Public domain images, can download in any size.Flickr (Creative Commons) – Huge variety of photos, some better than others.Stock.xchng – Requires free registration, but professional quality images are worth it.