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Monday, May 30, 2016
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:15 AM IST

Creating timeline slides can be so much fun, not just because your options are so many—but also since each timeline is completely different from another. We have been looking at the collections of major slide vendors, and are picking timeline templates from their collections that number several hundred slides! Choosing just seven slides from such a large repertoire is not easy because so much thought and visual talent has been used to create the available options.

Our fourth timeline slide is from SlideModel, a slide vendor based out of Uruguay. My contact was Germán Viera.

This timeline is different than the usual single-line timeline. Yet, it uses less slide real estate optimally with a from-the-top look at a maze-style line. SlideModel calls this a Horizon Perspective Timeline.

Horizon Perspective Timeline

You can use any number of time values although it would be difficult to use more than ten time values with captions. Steps/stops are provided using two variants; you can use a colored map pin, or a numbered, colored map pin.

Horizon Perspective Timeline

You can also use multiple slides with one step/stop per slide. Some sample slides that illustrate this effect are included.

Template Link | Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (16:9) Only

If you have found a timeline template that’s different than others, do let us know by adding a comment. Also, if you are a vendor who wants their templates to be featured as part of this series, do get in touch with us via our feedback form.

See More Timelines that are Different: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:15 AM IST

We have already explored two timelines that are different than the typical straight-line timelines you usually encounter in PowerPoint slides. And while straight timelines are great, and must be used if you have ten or more time values, there are opportunities when you can benefit from a differently styled timeline.

Our third, different timeline is from PoweredTemplate, a slide vendor based out of London, UK. My contact was Joanna Miller.

Look at this timeline template carefully. PoweredTemplate calls this a Timeline Concept.

Timeline Concept PoweredTemplate

You can use up to six time values. The slide you see above uses a year for each time value, but you could use any other value you want. Notice that the timeline has been represented by bars that seem stacked up a wall, or rather two walls to create a 3D illusion. This allows you to add two text descriptions for each time value.

Timeline Concept PoweredTemplate

The actual deck you download has many more timeline variations included. There are 8 slides using both light and dark background variations.

Template Link | Aspect Ratio: Standard (4:3) Only

If you have found a timeline template that’s different than others, do let us know by adding a comment. Also, if you are a vendor who wants their templates to be featured as part of this series, do get in touch with us via our feedback form.

See More Timelines that are Different: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07

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Friday, May 20, 2016
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:15 AM IST

A while ago, Microsoft discontinued their hugely popular Clip Art collection that allowed you to search and insert visual content right from within PowerPoint without having to pay anything extra. Even better, most of the time you never had to worry about licensing since Microsoft made those available to you as part of an option within their own program.

And now Microsoft has have teamed up with Pickit, a Swedish resource of pictures.

Pickit

Don’t expect to choose the Pictures or the Online Pictures option from the Insert tab of the Ribbon, and then find an option to search and insert pictures from Pickit. The process works a little differently. Tom Kuhlmann of Articulate has a detailed post. Additionally, Articulate also posted a video to easily explain the process:

And the folks from Pickit have created a small video that explains how you can use their add-in inside PowerPoint.

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Monday, May 9, 2016
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:15 AM IST

Timelines are graphics that show a sequential happening of events—these events may be in the past, the present, or the future. Typical timeline graphics emulate a ruler-style measurement bar with text captions. The problem with these timelines is that they all look the same! If you have seen one, you have seen them all.

We already looked at a timeline slide that looked a little unconventional in the first post in this series. And now we will explore another timeline slide, from another vendor. This one is not only different in concept and appearance than the first sample we saw—but it is also different than the hundreds of other timeline slides you may have encountered.

Our second timeline sample is from My Product Roadmap, a UK-based design agency. My contact was Jon Heathcote.

Explore this particular slide template for a timeline. My Product Roadmap calls this a Ten Step Timeline.

Timeline My Product Roadmap Milestone Timeline

Each of the ten steps is identified as a milestone, and a grayed out version that shows just one step active is also part of the template, as shown in the figure below.

Timeline My Product Roadmap Milestone Timeline

I suggest you use all the grayed out milestones in your slide, and then animate-in the colored milestones one after the other to use this template with even more impact.

Template Link | Aspect Ratio: Standard (4:3) Only

If you have found a timeline template that’s different than others, do let us know by adding a comment. Also, if you are a vendor who wants their templates to be featured as part of this series, do get in touch with us via our feedback form.

See More Timelines that are Different: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07

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Friday, May 6, 2016
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:15 AM IST

PowerPoint makes it easy to create info diagrams, and the SmartArt feature is awesome. Yet, there are times when PowerPoint’s offerings need to be supplemented by third-party content. Timelines are a great example, and this is the first in a series that will explore timeline slides.

While you can quickly create a timeline in PowerPoint using available shapes, it’s always more interesting if your timelines look different. Why? That’s because if you want your content to stand out in a crowd, it must be different. Audiences get bored of slides that look the same, and some people in the audience may even be unconsciously not receptive to the straight-line timeline that most PowerPoint users create!

We explored the collections of all slide template vendors, and found 7 timeline graphics that win brownie points for being different. Our first, different timeline comes from SlideTeam, among the largest resources of PowerPoint slide content, with offices in the United States and India. My contact was Akash Bathla

Look at this particular slide template for a timeline. SlideTeam calls it a GPS Road Map : )

Timeline SlideTeam GPS Road Map

Although you could ideally use it as a GPS Road Map, there’s nothing preventing you from using this template in any slide scenario that calls for a simple, 6 step timeline. You can also use it for timelines that require 4 or 5 steps by deleting extra timeline stops.

You will notice that each timeline stop is a map pin, and these pins are all native PowerPoint objects that can be customized as required. The template you download from SlideTeam has specific instructions for such customizations, as shown in the figure below.

Customization instructions for Timeline SlideTeam GPS Road Map

While the slides you download are not animated, each map pin/timeline stop is an individual object, as are all the text boxes. You can, therefore, animate these in sequence as required. Also, all objects on the slide can be recolored, and instructions to do so are included as part of the template slides.

Template Link | Aspect Ratio: Standard (4:3) Only

If you have found a timeline template that’s different than others, do let us know by adding a comment. Also, if you are a vendor who wants their templates to be featured as part of this series, do get in touch with us via our feedback form.

See More Timelines that are Different: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07

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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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