Microsoft PowerPoint has been around for quite some time, and while it might seem like an old-school computer program, it’s actually widely used by many companies. Many marketing and sales departments and managers use PowerPoint to create weekly reports, show sales data, explain a company’s organization, explain new processes and much more.
As you might have noticed, there are good PowerPoint presentations and there are some that are, well, not so good. They’re filled with text and just plain boring. They may be so poorly designed that you can’t read the text clearly. Let’s end bad PowerPoint presentations for good. Read on to learn some useful skills so you can turn your next presentation from drab to fab.
Get rid of (most of) the text.
You’ve likely seen a presentation that looks like essays. The presenters are trying to fit five paragraphs or 10 bullets on one slide. This looks clunky. Not only that but many presenters simply read off the slide. This is a bad habit that’s also very annoying. Your audience members know how to read, so why do you have to do it for them? Keep your slide text short and sweet. Limit yourself to one bullet/sentence/ the main point per slide.
Customize your template.
Don’t settle for a stock template. If you choose one of the slide themes, you can customize it to make it uniquely yours. This is particularly useful if you make a lot of presentations. You can add your company name, logo and maybe even a slogan. To do this, open the Design tab. You'll find a selection of Themes to choose from and several variants from which you can choose to change the color options.
Use proper alignment.
If you have multiple images along with text on one slide, you’ll want to place them in neatly. If you just place them haphazardly in the slide, you’re going to end up with a jumbled mess. This could frustrate your audience. If you try to manually align them, however, it’ll take forever to get everything straightened up. That’s where the built-in alignment feature comes in handy. To align your images, click one of them, hold down Shift and click the others. In the top toolbar, look for the Align button. Click it and select which alignment you want.
Zoom in and out.
If there’s a portion of a slide that you want to focus on, use the presenter tools to zoom in. While in Presenter View, look for the magnifying glass icon at the bottom. Click it, point to where you want to zoom in, and then click again. When you’re done and want to return to normal view, click the magnifying glass icon again.
Hyperlinks to web pages can really spice up a presentation. You can add a hyperlink by doing the following. First, select the object where you want to add the hyperlink. Press Ctrl + K and input the address link. Click OK and you’re done.
Add a soundtrack.
Once you’ve got all your visual elements in place, you may be thinking in terms of sound. Background noise can add some ambiance to a presentation. To add sound, click the Insert tab and select Audio. Click Audio Online and look for the audio file you want to add. You’ll want the audio to play in the background, so select that option.
Go to black.
Remember that you are the one doing the presentation. The focus should be on you, not your PowerPoint. If you want your audience to pay attention to you, you’ll have to temporarily shut off the presentation. To do that, simply press B. This will make the presentation go black. When you’re ready to resume, just press B again.
Make images more exciting.
In PowerPoint 2013 and beyond, you have the ability to add some oomph to otherwise bland photos. All you have to do is select the photo, right click it and select Format Picture. You’ll see all the formatting options on the right side. You can add borders, shadows, reflections and even 3-D effects. Play around with the various options and you could end up with a truly unique photo that’s much more interesting than the original.
Make custom images.
Can’t find the shape you’re looking for? Create your own! You don’t need to be a creative genius to do this. PowerPoint allows you to combine multiple shapes, so you can create something unique and truly your own. To get started, go to the Insert tab and insert the shapes you want to combine. Once you have them all on the slide, hold down Ctrl while clicking the shapes. Click the Merge Shapes button, which can be found under the Format tab. Click combine and voila!
Change the transition duration.
If you like to let the slides transition by themselves, you can adjust the time on them so you’re not sitting idly and waiting for the next slide or hurriedly trying to get through each slide before the next one pops up. You can do this by clicking the Transition tab and a box will pop up on the right side. You’ll be able to change the time based on how long you want each slide to stay on the screen.
PowerPoint has a lot of functionality that you might not even be aware of, but many of the elements are quite easy to master. By using the tips above to create a pizzazz to your next presentation – and make it more exciting – you can become an expert in no time.