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PowerPoint Unleashed | Tips

It's simple: Too many are putting too much
in all the wrong places. And boring us with
how poorly they present it.

Steve Toms offers tips he shares with students, faculty,
and business clients in his PPT Master Classes.


About transitions and animations 

  1. Start and end with a black screen (use a slow or medium Fade through Black transition).
    Another approach is to use SHIFT + B to darken the screen. Then type SHIFT + B again when
    you're ready to display your first slide. This keeps the audience focused on you.

  2. Transitions: Select Slow to Medium slide transition speeds that include dissolves, fades, box in/out, uncover, strips, and wipes. Avoid blinds, checkerboards, and cuts. They're visually distracting.
    (Wanna keep the audience focused? Use the Strips or Cover Left-Up option to take the audience's
    eyes up to the left corner of the next slide. Your heading or first image should appear at the top left.)

  3. Text/image animations: Build your slides, one point at a time, starting with the heading. Only the text you are discussing is visible to the audience. (Click here to learn how to modify bullet lists so only one point at a time is displayed and highlighted.)

Tips to keep your audience focused

  • If you don't first read what's on the slide,
    the audience doesn't know whether to look
    at the slide or at you. So it simply tunes out.
    "Show it; say it; change it (means following
    the text with examples, display images, etc.)

  • When you no longer want the audience looking
    at the screen, fade to black screen, or use
    SHIFT + B darken the screen.

  • Audiences bore easily. Change something
    every 30 seconds (your point, an image,
    the tone of your voice, a purposeful movement
    or action such as asking a questions
    or making a demonstration)

  • Use the full screen. A PowerPoint slide is 960 pixels wide) x 720 pixels high (at 72 dots per inch). Google and Yahoo Internet image search engines provide file size. Click here for more on how to find and handle images in PowerPoint.

  • Point the audience in the right direction. If you are not animating/highlighting a specific set of data, text, or image area on your slide, use the mouse cursor or a laser pointer to keep your audience focused (To enlarge the size of your mouse cursor arrow in Windows XP, open your Control Panel. Click the mouse icon, then Pointers).

  • Few presenters know to keep the summary slide on the screen during the Q&A session as a constant reminder of the major points, benefits, or recommendations. Master Class graduates know to reverse the order of points on the summary slide, so the final point is the most important (opposite of the agenda slide). Effective presenters never end a presentation without reviewing the summary.

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Before you get over-eager and start animating everything, keep in mind:

  • Each animation should be purposeful.
    It tells your audience what to look at. Pointless spins or spirals
    cause your audience to think more about what the animation
    means rather than concentrating on the point you're attempting
    to make.

  • Sequential animations are consistent.
    Use the same animation effect or screen transition among series 
    of related bullet points, graphic elements, or slides. That means
    using the same Entrance/Exits techniques, connectors, and
    frame or text colors.

Most-asked Master Class questions:

  • How do I make one bullet point fade out while the next one is fading in?
    Make sure the 2  sequences are in order in the Custom Animation window (new point
    with the green star on top of the red star exiting point). Highlight the red star exit sequence
    > Timing > "With Previous" (and "0" Delay). Both animate at the same time if set at the same speed.

  • How can I modify several sequences at the same time?
    Highlight all sequence boxes that should contain the same effect and timing (hold down the Control key as you click each box; you'll see 1 pull down arrow; all Effect and Timing changes will affect all highlighted sequences).

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  • What if my sequences don't play in the proper order?
    Use the Re-Order arrows at the bottom of the Custom Animation Window to make sure each sequence is in the proper order.

  • How can I make a sound or music file play continuously over several slides? 
    Click the sound icon (blue speaker): Open Custom Animation > Add Effect  > Sound Actions > Play. Click the sequence box pull down menu > Effect Options. From Play Sound > click the "After" box and input the number of slides over which you want the sound to play.

  • Where should the sound file icon appear on the screen?
    PPT places the icon in the center of your slide. If you plan to click it to start the sound,  reduce the size of the icon and move it to the lower left corner of the screen. If it plays in a timed sequence with other animations, move it just off the screen at the lower left so it won't appear. You can also hide the icon: Click the icon, then click the right mouse key, Edit Sound Object option, and check the Hide sound icon check box.

  • How can I use graphics or images to play sound files?
    Click/highlight an image. Right click your mouse button: Action Settings > Play sound > then click the sound file from the pull down window. (Note the 2 tabs at the top: you can have the sound play when you click the image, when the cursor moves over it—or both.) Can't hear the sound? Make sure the sound file is in the same subdirectory as the PPT file.

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  • When changing text color in a series of bullet points, what causes the second color to appear unfocused?
    Try turning off the font shadow effect: highlight the text box, then Format > Font > uncheck Shadow box. Version 2007 does not always display text color changes that same as 2003.

  • How do I remove animations? 
    Click on the animation sequence box in the Custom Animation window,
    then the pull down menu > Remove.

  • How can I avoid a color change of the final point in a bullet text box? 
    Click the text box and open the Custom Animation window, Add Effect > Entrance animation, then select a second color in the Effect Options "After animation" window. 

    You'll notice a gray sequence box with 2 down arrows appears just below. Click the gray bar: the text box expands to show you each point. All are animated the same, so simply click on the final text
    point, then Effect Options, and change the "After animation" window to Don't Dim.

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  • How do you animate complex charts? 
    It's called "chunking." Click here to learn more. 

    Take the time to internalize how audiences take in, process, and comprehend complex data at the above link. PowerPoint's Chart feature may make it easy to create a bar, pie, or line charts, but that doesn't mean they're easy to read.

    And it's not difficult to create eye-catching charts using PowerPoint's drawing features.

  • How long is too long for automatic timings (Delays)? 
    It's natural to have the first animation (headline or graphic image) appear automatically after .5-1.0 second. That way, all you do is read the text headline or caption on an image. Longer Delays and clicks can be used if you have an introductory comment or question. 

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Navigating between versions
(where to click)

Always preview your finished PPT presentations
in both versions of PowerPoint, as some animations
appear differently (such as highlighting text in different
colors in the EFFECTs animation window).

It's also wise to save your presentation file in both
formats:  *.ppt (2003) and *.pptx (2007).

Effect in 2003  >

in  2007 >  MENU   v-Pull down menu    > Click this feature

Grid lines

HOME/DRAWING  v-Arrange  v-Align  >Grid Settings

Line spacing (text)

HOME/PARAGRAPH  v- Line spacing Icon > Line Spacing Options/Spacing

Custom Animation

Animation (top menu option) > Custom animations icon

Animate movie/video

Highlight movie image, then click mouse right button > Format > Arrange

Crop tool

Highlight image. Format (top menu option) > Size/Crop icon

Group images

Highlight images Format (top menu option) > Group icon

Borders and Fill effect

HOME  v-Drawing/Select border or fill enhancements

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Copyright 2011 | Steve Toms
All materials posted on the webpage are for educational purposes
and for the expressed use of those enrolled in this class