Five More Useful Ideas for Microsoft PowerPoint

Following on from our recent PowerPoint Top Tips, we’ve added these five simple ideas, to help make the most of your use of Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.

1.  Display Information Clearly

Think about the effect of the design of your slide. You may choose one of the existing design themes that come with PowerPoint, or create one of your own. It is best to keep the word “simple” in mind when designing a theme for your presentation. Choose a couple of colours that are pleasing to the eye and carry that colour scheme throughout the presentation.

If you are using text on the slide, make sure it is easy to read. Incorporate lots of contrast between the slide colour and the font colour and avoid overly fancy fonts.

2.  Learn PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts

Simple shortcut keys (like pressing F5 to start the slide show) can prove to be real time-savers. What is also nice is that many of the shortcuts are used for every program (for example – Ctrl + C for copy and Ctrl + V for paste). Once you get used to this method, there is no going back.

3.  A Picture Really Can Be Worth Those Thousand Words

Let’s face it. Text is boring. We all know it, yet we all use it on the slides. So, help yourself along to keep the attention of the audience by using a picture now and then to get your point across. But, go the extra mile and make it the best picture you can. Crop out unnecessary items (ceilings, background people) and perhaps add one of the many special effects to the photo to really bring your point home. You don’t need to be an expert on photo manipulation. The photo tools in PowerPoint itself are really easy to use — and effective too.

4.  Use Animations to Your Advantage

If you are going to use bullet points, then don’t give away all your information at once. The audience will be reading your slide, instead of listening to you.

Set animations on the bullet points so that they show up when you click the mouse. The audience then cannot get ahead. And while you are at it, learn how to dim the text of the bullet point you have just finished with. This places the new focus on the current point.

5.  Always Have a Plan B (and Even a Plan C)

Today, with so much information being able to be kept online in addition to your own personal computer, most of us are taking advantage by uploading our presentations to an online storage facility. This way we are always ready if our laptop has an unfortunate accident on the way to the presentation.

What if there might not be internet access where you will be presenting? It’s not very helpful to have your backup copy up in the “cloud” and inaccessible. Make sure to always have backups in various formats – send by email, burn to DVD or use a USB flash drive to carry a copy of your presentation with you.