Get the most out of PowerPoint
Like any piece of computer software, Microsoft’s PowerPoint takes time to get used to. Over three decades of updates it has become filled with many hidden and helpful functions that aren’t obvious at first glance. We’ll help you get the most out of PowerPoint.
Up against a tight deadline? If that’s the case, you might have wondered…
How can I get the most out of PowerPoint in the shortest time possible?
We know how. There are several things that you can immediately do with PowerPoint to help you get the best out of the programme, while also increasing your productivity. These tips aren’t hacks or industry secrets. No, these are helpful functions and abilities that PowerPoint possesses, waiting for you to take advantage of them. However, first of all…
We always advise that you update to the latest version of the software; that which is included with Office 365.
The basic framework and user interface of PowerPoint really hasn’t changed all that much in a long time. However, the latest version offers some new features that will help speed things along and enable you to build a more professional-looking presentation. These include:
This allows you to completely smash the linear and expected flow of a presentation. With it you can literally ‘zoom’ to a different section of the presentation immediately. This means that, should a member of your audience ask a question about something you intend to cover later, you can move forward without having to show all the slides in between.
Zoom is great for those of us who are interested in creating an interactive presentation; one that can be used flexibly, changing to the needs of, and questions asked by, your audience. The feature will help you and your presentation to appear more dynamic and flexible – something sure to impress.
Essentially Morph is an animation tool that allows objects to transition between slides, morphing their shape. Objects will appear to grow, shrink, and move while your slide changes, resulting in an impressive transition. We’ve seen this used to great effect, and it’s one we like to employ here at Future Present.
Often audiences don’t realise that they’ve just seen a slide transition, and instead believe it to be a very cleverly constructed animation. Morph is definitely one for those of us looking to create a truly unique slideshow.
In the toolbar, ‘Tell me what you want to do’ allows you to start typing a question and PowerPoint 2016 will automatically make suggestions to help. Want to add animation but not sure where to find those commands? Start typing ‘I want to add animation…’ and PowerPoint will open the right menu for you.
Tell Me isn’t something that will impress your audience, but it will help you to work faster. More often than not, the people we speak to have a good sense of what it is they would like to achieve in PowerPoint, but have no idea where to find all the sub-menus and drop-downs. This feature fixes that.
If you are part of a team all working on the same presentation, you can now edit and make changes together, just like an online Google document. Comments can be left by other users, changes made, and ideas shared. As we all work to an increasing degree online, sharing and collaborating, this feature makes total sense and helps secure PowerPoint as a modern, interactive work tool.
Even if you have no team to work with, you’ll still be able to share your deck faster and access it remotely.
This is a very handy new feature, especially for those people who don’t have any design ideas. By uploading an image, The PowerPoint Designer will suggest colours that compliment, allowing you build a consistent-looking theme around it. We’ve mentioned consistency in a previous blog post, and for a very important reason.
Sloppy, inconsistent design will ruin even the best of presentations, so the Designer feature will help to speed up those time-consuming design choices.
You’re probably used to having to leave PowerPoint and visit your web browser to research definitions and check facts. Thanks to this new feature all you have to is right click on the word and tap Smart Lookup. A pane will then open displaying info from the likes of Wikipedia.
Fact-checking is important, especially when presenting research and data with ‘don’t doubt me’ confidence. However, the feature is also very handy for checking spelling and grammar.
This feature improves upon PowerPoint’s ‘3D’ text capabilities, taking the next step to fully rendered, moving objects. You can create or download 3D assets into your presentation and have them move around. This is another new feature which, like Morph and Zoom, can be used to blow your audiences’ notions of what a PowerPoint presentation should be out of the water.
Use sparingly though – nobody wants to see Godzilla stomping over last month’s sales figures for the whole of the slideshow.
PowerPoint 2016 allows you to look back to see what changes have been made to your presentation, and even restore earlier versions via OneDrive. Click File, then History, to see what you’ve been up to.
All of these new features will help you to create a presentation that stands out and impresses your audience, and the new features are accessible just by ensuring you have the latest version of PowerPoint. But there’s more…
Tips and tricks for saving time
Being able to create a presentation quickly is a great way to boost your overall effectiveness. A mastery of PowerPoint will lend a huge degree of confidence to your presentation style as you’ll no longer fear those dreaded technical errors.
Over the years the Future Present team have identified a few shortcuts that have helped to speed things up:
If you need another slide that is similar to the one you’ve just created, select it in the left column and tap CTRL+D. This also works for individual objects in slides.
If you need to animate lots of objects in the same way, apply the animation to one object then select it. Go to the Animations tab, then Advanced Animation group, and click Animation Painter. This lets you select all the objects to which you want to apply that same animation.
Find and replace text
You might use the feature in Word to edit documents, but you can also use it in PowerPoint. If names, figures, and data have changed, you can quickly find them all and replace with updated entries. You can also use this feature to find and remove any accidental double spaces in your text body. Simply search for (tap two empty spaces) and replace with (one empty space). Works a treat.
Consistency is key, so if your slides feature lots of images, charts, and text, you’ll want to ensure they are all aligned correctly. Smart guides appear as lines, allowing you to line everything up neatly. In the View tab click Show, and in Guide Settings check ‘Display smart guides when shapes are aligned.’
Those few tips and features will definitely help you on the way to getting a firm grasp on PowerPoint.
If you need even more assistance to elevate your presentation to the next level, get in touch with us today.