PowerPoint Notes

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

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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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Wednesday, August 25, 2010
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:46 AM IST

Typically you can start your slide numbering with any number — so yes, your first slide can be numbered fourth. But what if you want the opposite — maybe you want your fourth slide to be numbered first! This question was asked on Microsoft Answers, and Chirag Dalal of OfficeOne had an awesome answer, excerpted here with his permission:

  1. Place your actual first 3 slides at the end of the presentation and start your presentation from your 4th slide. PowerPoint would number your slides from 1 and that would be the correct number for your 4th slide.
  2. Remove the slide numbers from the last 3 slides (which are your actual first 3 slides).
  3. Create a Custom Show so that your last 3 slides are placed as the first 3 slides in the Custom Show and the remaining slides follow those 3 slides. To create a Custom Show, use the Slide Show | Custom Shows menu item (or the Slide Show tab of the Ribbon | Custom Shows).
  4. Next, tell PowerPoint to display the Custom Show when you start the slide show. To do this, choose Slide Show | Set Up Show menu item (or the Slide Show tab of the Ribbon | Set Up Slide Show). Select your Custom Show in the Show Slides section, and click OK.

Now when you start the slide show, PowerPoint will show your actual first 3 slides without slide numbers and slide 1 from your actual slide 4 onwards.

Thanks Chirag!

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Friday, January 15, 2010
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:25 AM IST

Here’s a question that I was asked recently:

Geetesh, I hope it is OK if I ask you a question about PowerPoint. You seem like the expert that can help me. I have a Mac with PowerPoint 2004 installed on it. My daughter created a PowerPoint at school on a 2007 version and can’t make it work on our 2004. Should we buy the new 2008 version of Microsoft Office for the Mac. If we do, is that compatible with the the 2007 version. I want her to be able to take her work from school and be able to work on it at home. What do you think? Thanks for your time.

I am guessing your daughter created a PowerPoint presentation in the new PPTX file format that is native to both PowerPoint 2007 for Windows and PowerPoint 2008 for the Mac. So, yes upgrading to PowerPoint 2008 on the Mac will allow you to open and save PPTX files that will let your daughter take her work from school to home, and back.

Alternatively, you can get the free Open XML File Format Converter for Mac that will let you open and save these PPTX files from within your existing PowerPoint 2004. This is a great solution if you just need to view the PPTX files in PowerPoint 2004. On the other hand if she needs to work on those files at home, and move them often between home and school, then I suggest you upgrade to PowerPoint 2008. Since she is a student, you can get the three-license version of the Microsoft Office 2008 Home & Student version for around $100.

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Monday, November 30, 2009
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:15 AM IST

If you have multiple versions of PowerPoint installed, you might find that when you double-click on a PPT or PPTX file, it opens in a version of PowerPoint that’s different from the one you want it to open!

Now you can reinstall all your versions of PowerPoint (and Microsoft Office) again in the sequence you want — and that might take a few hours, or you might do a few registry tweaks — and that’s not for the faint of heart, or even if you are scared of the registry!

So it was a great thing that one of our readers decided to share this DOS batch file with us that makes the whole process painless. Having said that, do this at your own risk — and if you are comfortable!

Damian McDonald is the founder of Visual Newmedia which has over 15 years’ experience in developing communication solutions for a number of leading global brands.

Here is the code you need to paste in your batch file — just replace this line:

set PathStart=C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOFFICE

to reflect the name of the partition where your copy of Microsoft Office is installed — for example, if you installed to the D drive, the above line would change to:

set PathStart=D:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOFFICE

OK — here is the batch file:

REM **********************************************

REM Version 1.1 Date: 29/11/09
REM By Damian McDonald
REM www.visualpresenter.com.au
REM Registers the required Version of PowerPoint if it exists.

set PathStart=C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOFFICE
set PathEnd=powerpnt.exe
set DirNum=11
set Version=2003
@echo Off

ECHO. Select the Version of PowerPoint to register.
ECHO 1. PowerPoint2003
ECHO 2. PowerPoint2007
ECHO 3. PowerPoint2010

set choice=
set /p choice=Enter your selection or Q to Quit.
if not ‘%choice%’==” set choice=%choice:~0,1%
if ‘%choice%’==’1’ goto 1
if ‘%choice%’==’2’ goto 2
if ‘%choice%’==’3’ goto 3
if ‘%choice%’==’q’ goto end
ECHO “%choice%” is not valid please try again
Goto Start

set DirNum=11
set Version=2003
IF NOT EXIST “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” ECHO PowerPoint %Version% does not appear to be loaded.
IF NOT EXIST “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” pause
IF EXIST “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” ECHO Registering PowerPoint %Version%.
IF EXIST “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” /regserver
Goto End

set DirNum=12
set Version=2007
IF NOT EXIST “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” ECHO PowerPoint %Version% does not appear to be loaded.
IF NOT EXIST “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” pause
IF EXIST “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” ECHO Registering PowerPoint %Version%.
IF EXIST “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” /regserver
Goto End

set DirNum=14
set Version=2010
IF NOT EXIST “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” ECHO PowerPoint %Version% does not appear to be loaded.
IF NOT EXIST “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” pause
IF EXIST “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” ECHO Registering PowerPoint %Version%.
IF EXIST “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” “%PathStart%%DirNum%%PathEnd%” /regserver
Goto End

@echo on

REM **********************************************

Thanks Damian!

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Friday, November 27, 2009
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 2:30 AM IST

This questions has been asked often, and with PowerPoint 2010 coming up, it’s been asked more frequently. The question is about having multiple versions of PowerPoint installed on the same machine, and if that can cause any problems?

The answer is that generally you should see no problems as long as you follow some guidelines:

  1. If you want to install an older version of PowerPoint, and you have newer versions installed — then you first need to uninstall the newer versions first. Always reboot after each install or uninstall.

    Make sure you have the install media for all your PowerPoint (and Microsoft Office) versions — and the serial numbers too!

  2. Now install the oldest version you want — for example, the oldest to newest sequence would be:

    PowerPoint 97
    PowerPoint 2000
    PowerPoint 2002 (XP)
    PowerPoint 2003
    PowerPoint 2007
    PowerPoint 2010

    After installing each version, reboot your system and install all available updates and service packs before proceeding to install the next successive version. Yes, you need to reboot after installing updates and service packs too!

    And if your version of PowerPoint needs online activation (as all versions after PowerPoint 2002 do), then activate before installing the successive version.

By default, the newest versions will take over the associations for the PowerPoint file format but if you need to open a particular file in an older version, you can always use the File | Open options in that version to open that file.

Also, on one of my Windows Vista machines I have no problem having PowerPoint 2003 and PowerPoint 2007 open at the same time — don’t know if this works everywhere though — do try how it works for you!

See Also: Microsoft Support – Information about using 2007 Office suites and programs on a computer that is running another version of Office

There’s also a very interesting discussion on this subject on Indezine’s LinkedIn group.

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Friday, June 19, 2009
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 11:19 AM IST

I got this question from someone who works in a institution that has students with disabilities: How can I set up PowerPoints so that when the mouse is held down, the slides do not trip through whole presentation. I work with students with disabilities who sometimes find this difficult.

The answer is to change the mode in which PowerPoint plays the presentation. You can access the settings to make these changes through the Set Up Slide Show dialog box, accessed differently depending upon the version of PowerPoint you use:

  • PowerPoint 2007 and later users can select the Slide Show tab of the Ribbon, and click the Set Up Slide Show button.
  • PowerPoint 2003 and previous versions’ users can choose the Slide Show | Set Up Show option.

Either way, you end up bringing up the Set Up Show dialog box that you can see in Figure 1, below.

Set Up Show
Figure 1: Set Up Show

At the top right of this dialog, you’ll need to select the Browsed by an individual (window) option — and you can also decide whether you want the Show scrollbar option checked. Click OK when done, and save your presentation.

Here are some thoughts, caveats, and observations to be aware of:

  1. Choosing this option means you don’t get to play your PowerPoints in absolute full screen show mode — there will be a title bar visible.
  2. You can still use the keyboard to navigate to the next and previous slides. In fact, all keyboard commands will work.
  3. The settings to enable this play mode, as explained above work only with the active presentation, and is saved within the presentation. You’ll have to enable these settings for each presentation you want to not advance with mouse-clicks.

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