5 Tips for Better PowerPoint Presentations

Taking care with layout, images and text will greatly improve your PowerPoint presentation.


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There are two ways to create a great PowerPoint presentation — the smart way and the long way. Using the tools in PowerPoint in an ordered and planned way can save you time when creating your presentations.

We'll show you a structured workflow for PowerPoint 2007 that will ensure you get your presentation complete and looking professional in the shortest possible amount of time.

» Step 1: Prepare your Slide Master and Layouts

You can save a lot of time in PowerPoint by making use of the Slide Master. The Slide Master controls the formatting for all the slides in the presentation and it includes layouts that you can format ahead of time too.

To begin a presentation in PowerPoint, select a Design theme from the Design tab > Themes Collection. Choose View > Slide Master and here you can make changes to the slide master, which is the topmost item in the list on the left. Changes that you make to the slide master will ripple through to the layouts below.

Each layout can be customized as well. To remove a layout you won't use, right click it and press Delete. This removes the layout for this presentation only.

You can also format layouts by choosing fonts, font colors and sizes, and colors for elements on the slides. Once you're done, click Close Master View.

Making changes to fonts, font faces, colors, and other slide objects to the Slide Master will save you having to apply formatting to individual slides later on. It also helps ensure that your presentation has a cohesive look.

» Step 2: Prepare Your Text

Often it's easier to separate the development of your slide content from the formatting of the presentation. To do this, create your content in Microsoft Word using its Outline View. In Word 2007 choose the View tab > Outline and type the slide text.

First-level headings become slide titles and second-level headings become the bullet points. If you want multiple items under each bullet point then use third-level headings. When you're done, save your Word document and close it.

In PowerPoint import the outline into your presentation by clicking the Home tab and click the down pointing arrow to the bottom left of the New Slide button. Click Slides from Outline and navigate to and open the Word file containing the outline.

The outline will be converted automatically into slides and the text will be formatted to match the design you've created. You can, of course, add other slides and edit the text as required.

» Step 3: Add Images and Objects

Once you have settled on your text, add images and other content to your slides. To add an image, click the Insert tab and click Picture to add one from disk or ClipArt to add an image from your clipart collection.

When you add the image to a slide you can format it by choosing Format > Picture Styles and then choose from one of the displayed styles. Hold your mouse pointer over each option to see what it looks like before selecting it.

You can also add charts using a new feature in PowerPoint 2007 that lets you create Excel charts in PowerPoint slides — choose Insert > Chart to access this feature. Other objects that you can add include on your slides include media clips such as audio and video clips that play when a slide appears.

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Tags: video, Microsoft, media, PowerPoint

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