PowerPoint and Presenting Notes
Info-things on PowerPoint usage including tips, techniques and tutorials.
OK, for all of you (and me too!) PowerPoint users, Prezi is not so easy to understand. That's not because Prezi is a difficult tool to use -- rather that's because we all have been so used to doing tasks in a certain way and expect the same workflows in Prezi, and that does not always happen! Clearly some unlearning is required.
The one task that had me stumped initially was trying to change the font (yes, typeface for the purists) within one of the text placeholders. That's a simple task in PowerPoint -- you can select any text you want, and change the font to anything you want. In fact, you can take a seven character word like "seasons", and have a separate font for each character! OK -- don't do that unless you have a compelling reason to do so -- but looks like that's not doable in Prezi?
So as of now, looks like there's no way to even use a different font for an entire text placeholder. There are three font choices for any text you create:
Figure 1, below shows Prezi's font choices toolbar.
Figure 1: Prezi's font choices
Each of these choices (styles) has a font allotted to itself. And all these three choices are part of a Prezi theme. Now Prezi themes are similar to PowerPoint themes that also have font choices set up. Unlike Prezi, PowerPoint has two font choices within the theme:
- Headings (equivalent to Prezi's Title)
- Body (same as Prezi)
Figure 2, below shows PowerPoint's Font gallery.
Figure 2: PowerPoint's font choices
Now beyond these similarities, there's a difference. While PowerPoint does recommend that you use theme fonts, it does not prevent you from using any other font. That definitely is a plus factor. But Prezi's approach of not allowing a non-theme font assures that your text looks consistent -- and that's a plus too for some folks.
For those of you who are ready to change themes to add another font in your Prezi, this video might help:
This same video can be found with instructions on this page: Changing fonts in Prezi
By default all versions of PowerPoint show you a preview when you add an animation to any slide object. While this is a great option for those who are new to PowerPoint animation, you will certainly not like this automatic preview feature if you are an advanced user. Yes, these previews can be irritating, especially if you add timed animations of longer duration -- maybe a 20 second animation. You will then have to wait until PowerPoint shows you the preview you did not ask for. Make a small change and you get another 20 second preview. If you are creating a slide with ten animations, the wait for each preview to happen can become quite frustrating!!
Fortunately, it is easy to turn off these previews in PowerPoint 2010 and 2013 for Windows. Just access the Animations tab of the Ribbon, and find the Preview button located towards the extreme left, as shown in the Figure below. Click the downward pointing arrow on the bottom half of this button to bring up a small menu. Within this menu, make sure that the AutoPreview option has no checkmark (click once to remove the checkmark).
Now your animations will not preview automatically!
In PowerPoint 2007, there's no equivalent way to turn off these animation previews -- if you discover a way, please share your thoughts by adding a comment to this page.
A reader asked if there were any shortcut keys that could let her go from Normal to Slide Sorter view? The answer is both no and yes -- "no" because there's no real shortcut to do that and "yes" because there is such an easy workaround.
What you need to do is quickly press the Alt+V keyboard shortcut to bring the View tab of the Ribbon in focus -- and then press the D key immediately thereafter. So you would use the Alt+V > D sequence to get to Slide Sorter view.
Fortunately, you can quickly access all PowerPoint views with similar keyboard sequences:
Normal View: Alt+V > N
Slide Sorter View: Alt+V > D
Slide Show View: Alt+V > W (also F5)
Notes Page View: Alt+V > P
Additionally you can use the Alt+V > Z sequence to bring up the Zoom dialog box -- this however will not work in Slide Show view.
Do note that all these keyboard sequences work in Windows versions of PowerPoint.
So why did Microsoft not create proper keyboard shortcuts for these views, and why do they have these sequences instead?
I don't know the answer for the first part of the question, but yes there is an answer for the second part -- these keyboard sequences are essentially for using the menu options in older versions of PowerPoint that had no Ribbon interfaces.
Want more PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts? Want to know about all the missing or undocumented shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?
Get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts e-book now!
All the new Microsoft Office file formats that were introduced with Office 2007 are essentially XML-based. These new formats are distinctive with their X suffixes, so that PPT evolved as PPTX (similarly DOC as DOCX, and XLS as XLSX) -- these new file formats continue being used in all subsequent versions of Office on both Windows and Mac. However, they are all essentially ZIP files. The ZIP file acts as a wrapper that contain plenty of XML files and other media content.
So how far would any WRM (Windows Rights Management) protection help? Won't savvy users be able to unzip those files and get to the content, even without using any WRM credentials? We tested this scenario by adding a ZIP extension to a WRM protected PowerPoint PPTX file, and then tried to unzip the file.
However, the unzipped folder showed up as empty! Follow these steps to see how this process works:
- Make a copy of any WRM Restricted PowerPoint file, and save it to a folder that is easy to locate, such as your Desktop.
- Ensure that your system is set to show file extensions. Now, right-click the PowerPoint file, and choose Rename (or just press F2). Add a ".ZIP" without the quotes right after the name of the file - for example if your original file name was:
It would now be renamed to:
- Windows will warn you that renaming the file extension could render this file unusable -- but since you are just working on a test file for now, go ahead and ignore this error by clicking the Yes button that you can see in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Change the file extension?
- Now that you have changed the PPTX to a ZIP file, go ahead and try to unzip the ZIP. We just right-clicked the ZIP file, and chose the Extract option in the resultant contextual menu.
- Surprise! This brings up a message window that indicates that the compressed (zipped) folder is empty, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: An empty Zip file!
- Even double clicking the ZIP will bring up an error message, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Just a ZIP, no unZIP!
This indicates that your WRM (Windows Rights Management) protected presentation is actually fully protected!
Received a question from an Indezine reader: Can you help me? I have built a target diagram using your tutorial (Thank You for this). However, I now am trying to write text within each of the target rings. Is it possible to shape the text to circular text?
Sure you can! Follow these steps:
- Select the circle for which you want to add circular text. Type some text -- by default the text is inserted right at the middle of the circle as shown in the Figure below.
- With the circle still selected, access the Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon. In the WordArt Styles group, locate the Text Effects button and click it to bring up a drop-down gallery. In this gallery, choose the Transform option, as shown in the Figure below.
This opens a sub-gallery -- within the Follow Path category, choose the top left option, as shown in the Figure above.
- Your text will not be in a circular style just below the top edge of your circle, as shown in the Figure below.
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