By Ellen Finkelstein
Do you have to fix up slides that other people made a mess of? I do. For some reason, I get a lot of slides on which people ignored the Layout feature of PowerPoint; instead, they inserted text boxes anywhere on the slide—in a different location on each slide! Often, the first thing I do is to check the layout of each slide, change it if necessary, and reset the slide. Why is resetting so valuable? When you make changes on individual slides, PowerPoint remembers them. As a result, even if you change the layout, the changes remain. Often the best way to get such a presentation into shape is to reset the layouts. When you do so, PowerPoint moves the placeholders into the position specified by the slide master. On this slide, the title placeholder was probably in the original location, but the text placeholder that contains the bulleted text was centered. The slide has no alignment, so the eye has to move in a disjointed fashion. Talk about stress on the brain!
by Julius Vandersteen
If you have been working on a slideshow presentation with PowerPoint on a Mac running OS X, you might determine that you need to add some music to the slides. PowerPoint is part of Microsoft’s Office Suite for Mac, which includes applications for word processing and making spreadsheets. You can add music to a PowerPoint slideshow from GarageBand, Apple’s native application for creating songs, or from iTunes, Apple’s native application for ripping CDs, downloading songs from the iTunes Store and playing music. Music can provide atmosphere during your PowerPoint presentation to help increase audience interest while you present information to them.
Step 1 Launch PowerPoint on your Mac and open the slideshow project to which you want to add music.
Step 2 Click the slide in the presentation where you want the music to start playing.
Step 3 Click “Media” under “Insert” on the “Home” tab at the top of the PowerPoint application window.
Step 4Click “Audio From File.” You have the option of clicking a folder on your Mac containing a music file, or clicking “GarageBand” or “iTunes” to select music from one of Mac’s native audio applications.
Step 5Navigate to the music file on your Mac, and then click “Insert.” The icon of a speaker appears on the slide to indicate that it has music.
by Steven J. Bell
At the 2009 Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) conference, two colleagues and I gave a presentation about user experience and how to deliver it in a library setting. We framed the presentation around the experience delivered at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. Instead of just telling the audience what happens there, we obtained a 30-second video shot at the fish market. Those 30 seconds captured the essence of the experience and told the attendees far more about the fish market than we ever could with our words or a single visual image in our slides.
When it comes to helping others learn, there is a simple piece of advice that is often recommended to educators: Show! Don’t tell. While appealing to the visual learning style of an audience is always a good idea, there is a growing expectation for more than just static images. They want video. If you want to deliver more dynamic presentations with more powerful visuals, then consider integrating video into them. It’s up to you to determine how to find the best content and how to smartly integrate it into your presentation. This article will provide tips and techniques for doing both.
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.