PowerPoint Notes

Info-things on PowerPoint usage including tips, techniques and tutorials.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:24 AM IST

Here’s a question I was recently asked.

I created a training PowerPoint presentation that has links to other PowerPoint presentation. But when I am finished the other linked PowerPoints, they are still open. Is there a way to have them close when you link back to the original one?

The answer is quite simple, but not very obvious. Here are some guidelines that will help:

  • You need not link back from the linked presentation — to the original one. In fact, make sure you do not do so!
  • Now you only have a one-way link from the original, source presentation to the destination presentation.
  • Click the link from the original, source presentation to the destination presentation.
  • Play the destination presentation. When you are done, simply press the Esc key on your keyboard to close the destination presentation.
  • Once the destination presentation is closed, you will be landed right back to your original, source presentation. In fact, you will get back to the same slide from where you linked!

Do explore some of our linking tutorials:

Linking Between Slides in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows | Linking to Another Presentation in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows | Linking to Web Pages in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

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Saturday, July 5, 2014
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 3:30 AM IST

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?

OK, at least it appears that it is not possible to add a non-Theme font in Prezi. If you have found a workaround, please do add a comment on this post.

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:

  1. Title
  2. Subtitle
  3. Body

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:

  1. Headings (equivalent to Prezi’s Title)
  2. 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

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Monday, October 1, 2012
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 5:55 AM IST

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.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 5:32 AM IST

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!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 3:45 AM IST

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:

  1. Make a copy of any WRM Restricted PowerPoint file, and save it to a folder that is easy to locate, such as your Desktop.
  2. 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:

    Restricted PowerPoint.PPTX

    It would now be renamed to:

    Restricted PowerPoint.ZIP

  3. 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?

  4. 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.
  5. 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!

  6. 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!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 5:50 AM IST

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

  3. 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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Sunday, December 5, 2010
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 8:16 AM IST

If you get a Data Assistant warning when you run PowerPoint 2007, here’s what may be actually happening.

Data Assistant was something Microsoft provided for PowerPoint 2003 users so that they could insert and manage graphical data objects such as Visio drawings, and Excel charts and named ranges into PowerPoint presentations. They stopped providing the Data Assistant, and I’m guessing this has not been updated for PowerPoint 2007 — you’ll need to disable it.

In PowerPoint 2007, choose Office Button | PowerPoint Options, to bring up a dialog box of the same name. Click the Add-ins tab in the list on the left, and you’ll find the Manage Add-ins dropdown box right at the bottom. Select both Add-ins and COM Add-ins, and disable any entries that look like Data Assistant.

You can also remove Data Assistant altogether from your computer:

  1. Click the Start button in Windows, choose Control Panel, and then select the Add or Remove Programs option.
  2. In the list of currently installed programs, click Microsoft Data Assistant 1.0, and then click Remove.
  3. Follow the instructions to remove Microsoft Data Assistant 1.0 altogether.

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Monday, November 29, 2010
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:19 AM IST

I’ll tell you an easy way to get frustrated, and an easier way to overcome it!

Get hold of a PowerPoint slides that has many animated slide objects that overlay each other. Now select the object stacked right at the bottom of the other objects. Does this have to be so difficult?

To select objects that are not too easy to access, you should use the Select Multiple Objects tool (if you use PowerPoint 2007, this does not apply to you). If you haven’t heard of this animal, I won’t blame you because it’s not visible by default. First you need to customize your Drawing toolbar to see this option:

  1. If the Drawing toolbar is not visible, choose View | Toolbars | Drawing.
  2. Then choose View | Toolbars | Customize. This will summon the Customize dialog box that you can see in Figure 1.

    Customize Toolbars in PowerPoint (01)
    Figure 1: Customize

  3. Now select the Drawing category in the left pane, and the Select Multiple Objects option in the right pane. Drag this option to the Drawing toolbar, as shown in Figure 2.

    Customize Toolbars in PowerPoint (02)
    Figure 2: Drag the icon to the toolbar

  4. Click Close to exit the Customize dialog box.
  5. Now when you have too many objects on a slide, just click the Select Multiple Objects option, and you’ll see the dialog box that you can see in Figure 3.

    Customize Toolbars in PowerPoint (03)
    Figure 3: Select Multiple Objects

  6. You can now select one or more objects on the slide — and you can also select any object on the slide!

Note: PowerPoint MVP Shyam Pillai creates the Shape Console add-in that adds a miniature floating window inside PowerPoint — this displays the current selected shape on the slide. Shape Console is a free download.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:42 AM IST

I received this question a while ago from someone using PowerPoint 2003:

I inserted a sound from the Clip Art task pane onto the slide and the sound icon shows up but it won’t play the sound when I am on that slide while playing the whole presentation. Please help!

OK — the answer for this question works not only for PowerPoint 2003 but also for most other versions:

  1. Right click the inserted sound, and choose Custom Animation from the resultant menu. This will bring up the Custom Animation task pane.
  2. With the sound clip still selected, click the Add Effect | Object Actions | Play — this will add a play animation for the selected sound clip within the Custom Animation task pane — select the animation within the task pane.
  3. Now change the Start event to After Previous.
  4. Save your presentation.

Now your sound will play automatically when you get to that particular slide within your presentation!

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Friday, October 1, 2010
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 8:32 AM IST

I recently tweeted about my new article that showed how you can import an outline you create in TextEdit on Mac OS X straight into PowerPoint to create your slides quickly and easily — soon I received a tweet response from Joel Heffner who could not make this happen. To cut a long story short, we found that this happened because PowerPoint cannot work with outlines that are encoded as Unicode (UTF-16).

What you need to do is choose TextEdit | Preferences — and then select the Open and Save tab shown in Figure 1, shown below.

.
Figure 1: TextEdit Preferences

Make sure you choose Unicode (UTF-8) or Western (Mac OS Roman) — and then create your outline using this link: Creating PowerPoint Outlines in TextEdit — Mac. Other encoding options may also work — but Unicode (UTF-16) does not!

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