Now that you know the basics of using PowerPoint and making presentations, how can we leverage the advanced features of PowerPoint to make our presentations better? There are a variety of tips and tricks that we’ll share to give that presentation a little extra kick.
To make layouts more precise, you can use the arrow keys to move objects after selecting them by clicking on their border. This may seem agonizingly slow, but is actually very useful because it allows for precision movement, whereas the mouse tends to be too inexact for good layout. Remember that in order to move text items, you need to click on the border rather than inside the box, or else you’ll end up editing the text rather than moving the text item.
You might be familiar with using the Slide Master to increase the size of text or make other minor changes. Masters can be used to make sweeping changes to entire presentations very quickly. You access the masters by going to the View tab > Slide Master.
Since changes to the master affect changes throughout the presentation, you can take advantage of this to quickly animate many slides, even in a long presentation. In the Slide Master, for example, you can add Animation (from the Animation tab) to a bulleted list in the Slide Master to make bullets in every bulleted list fly in. Flying bullets is the most common example of this kind of change, but if you want to make all images fade in, for example, then you can do so from the Slide Master.
Adding Some Branding
The masters also allow you to add branding or your own unique mark to your slides, notes, and/or handouts. The predefined header and footer sections, of course, allow you to enter text that appears at the top or bottom of your slides, but you can go beyond that if you want, adding images like a logo or even a full header or footer image. Again, since changes in the master affect every slide of the type you’re editing, what could take a long time if you had to edit individual slides can take less than a minute.
Good slide transitions add professionalism to a presentation and make the time between slides feel more smooth. From the Transitions tab you can apply a transition to the currently selected slide or to all the slides in the presentation. For consistency a best practice is to use only one transition for your slide show. This is made simple by selecting Apply to all slides from the Transition tab.
PowerPoint’s ability to incorporate Charts allows you to quickly and easily present data in a simple manner. Select the Insert tab, select Chart insert a basic column chart, it also opens a datasheet that is easily manipulated. If you close the datasheet by accident, you can view it again by going to Design > Edit Data. Clicking away from the chart itself takes you back to editing the presentation: to return to editing the chart, simply double-click on the chart.
The Chart menu (visible when editing the chart) has two important functions, Chart Type and Chart Options, which give you access to the options you may be familiar with from Microsoft Excel.
PowerPoint Best Practice
Remember the 6 x 6 rule. Use no more than 6 words per slide. Use no more than 6 bullet points per slide.