PowerPoint Notes

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

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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

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

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
pause
Goto Start

:1
CLS
ECHO.
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

:2
CLS
ECHO.
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

:3
CLS
ECHO.
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

: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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Thursday, October 23, 2008
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:24 AM IST

A friend sent me this question: I want to make one slide .PPS file. On click, or on pressing any key the .PPS file should exit or close. Can this be done?

Yes, it can — it’s easier to do this on click rather than by pressing any key. Follow these steps:

  1. With your one slide presentation ready, open it in PowerPoint.
  2. PowerPoint 2007 users can then select the rectangle shape from the Home tab | Drawing | Shapes gallery. Users of earlier versions will find the rectangle shape option in the Drawing toolbar located below the PowerPoint interface.
  3. Draw a rectangle that covers the entire slide. You’ll have to drag the corners of the rectangle to resize.
  4. With the rectangle selected, PowerPoint 2007 users can choose the Insert tab | Links | Action to bring up the Action Settings dialog box that you see in Figure 1. Users of earlier PowerPoint versions can access the same dialog box by right-clicking the rectangle, and choosing Action Settings from the resultant menu.

    Action Settings in PowerPoint
    Figure 1: Action Settings

  5. Click the Hyperlink to radio button, and from the text dropdown box, choose the End Show option (see Figure 1 above) . Click OK to exit the dialog box.
  6. PowerPoint 2007 users can now select the rectangle, so that the Drawing Tools Format tab is visible in the Ribbon — activate this tab, and then select the Shape Fill option to reveal a flyout menu. Choose the More Fill Colors option to bring up the Colors dialog box — change the Transparency to 99%, and click OK. With the rectangle still selected, choose the Drawing Tools Format tab | Shape Styles | Shape Outline | No Outline option.

    Users of previous PowerPoint versions can double click the rectangle to summon the Format AutoShape dialog box. In this multi-tabbed dialog box, select the Colors and Lines tab, then under the Color dropdown list, drag the Transparency slider to 99%. In the Line Color dropdown list, choose the No Line option. Click OK to get back to the slide.

  7. Now when you play this presentation, just click anywhere to end the show!

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Friday, February 8, 2008
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:10 AM IST

Question: The problem I am having is that the Arial font size that I save as 32 for visibility, changes to 24 the next time I pull the presentation up. I have looked at the save options and nothing has helped. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: This might help:

  1. Choose Tools | AutoCorrect Options — this brings up the AutoCorrect dialog box that you can see in Figure 1. Select the AutoFormat As You Type tab.

    AutoCorrect in PowerPoint

    Figure 1: Tweak AutoCorrect options

  2. Uncheck these options:

    – AutoFit title text to placeholder

    – AutoFit body text to placeholder

    – Automatic layout for inserted objects

  3. Click OK.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 8:59 AM IST

This quick tutorial was provided with George McCaskill of Visual Exemplars, a UK based company that creates Perspector, a 3D add-in for PowerPoint.

  1. Starting with a normal slide with around three bullet points:
    • one
    • two
    • three
  2. On the Perspector panel, select “Convert PowerPoint bullet list to a 3D list”. Choose the “Simple Flow Across” image to end up with what you can see in Figure 1.


    Figure 1: A Perspector 3D list.

  3. Now do some simple Perspector editing like adjusting the angle of the flow in 3D, change font size and color (select all first), and save the Perspector image. As a final flourish, add a PowerPoint 2007 image reflection to the saved Perspector image (see Figure 2).


    Figure 2: A Perspector list with PowerPoint 2007 effects.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 8:57 AM IST

This article is not about creating your own macros or scripts to automate PowerPoint. However, if you just want to run any macros or scripts that a friend shares, or you just got it from a book or newsgroup, then you are on the right page.

Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Make sure you have a script ready — you can download some scripts here.
  2. Open an existing presentation, or create a new one in PowerPoint. Then press Alt+F11 to access the Microsoft Visual Basic interface that you can see in Figure 1.


    Figure 1: The Visual Basic interface

  3. Choose Insert | Module, as shown in Figure 2.


    Figure 2: Insert a module

  4. This opens a new module window on the right side of the interface. Copy your VBA code source, and paste it here (see Figure 3).


    Figure 3: The pasted script

  5. Now you need to run this script as a macro from within PowerPoint. To do that, first exit the Visual Basic interface by choosing File | Close and Return to PowerPoint.
  6. Now the steps you take differ depending upon which version of PowerPoint you are using.

    PowerPoint 2007 users will need to enable the Developer tab on the Ribbon if it is not already visible. To do that, choose Office Button | PowerPoint Options, and select the Popular tab on the left. Then check the option that says Show Developer tab in the Ribbon.

    PowerPoint 2010 users can find instructions to enable the Developer tab of the Ribbon within our Enable The Developer Tab in the Ribbon – PowerPoint 2010 tutorial.

    Once you have enabled the Developer tab of the Ribbon, access this tab and click the Macro button to bring up the Macro dialog box that you can see in Figure 4. All scripts within the active presenttion will be displayed here. Select the script you want to run, and click the Run button.


    Figure 4: The Macro dialog box

    Versions before PowerPoint 2007: Choose Tools | Macros | Macro to bring up the same dialog box that you saw in Figure 4. Then select the script you want to run, and click the Run button.

Remember, some scripts may do nothing at all unless you have something selected on the slide before you run them!

Tip from Steve Rindsberg: You can store many, many macros/scripts/routines in a single PowerPoint file and as long as you have it open along with any other files, you can access the macros as described.

See Also: Create an Add-in with toolbars that run macros (PPT FAQ by Steve Rindsberg)

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 2:39 AM IST

Sometimes, it can be frustrating trying to do the simple things in PowerPoint such as duplicating an object right above the original. PowerPoint insists on placing the duplicated (or copy/pasted) object at an offset and there’s no way to fine tune that setting. Maybe there’s a registry tweak or something that I’m not aware of?

So why would anyone want to place a duplicated object right above the original? There are many scenarios that require such a placement:

  • You want to animate one object after the the other.
  • You want to rotate objects.
  • You want to make some changes to the duplicated object and then do a trigger animation.
  • You might want to do something else!

Meanwhile, here are some ideas and observations on how you can work around this limitation:

  • If you copy and paste a slide object on the same slide, it is placed at an offset. Sometimes, you can press the up arrow key twice, and then press the left arrow key twice to place the copied/duplicated object right above the slide, but even that does not work all the time. That setting only works if the Snap to Grid option is turned on.
  • If you copy a slide object (anything on a slide) and paste it on another empty slide, it is placed in the exact location as the original.
  • If some part of the original slide object exceeds the area off the edge of the slide, then the duplicated/pasted object will be pasted within the slide area as far as possible. Of course that only works if the object is not larger than the slide area.
  • The quickest way to place a duplicated object right above its original is to use a third-party add-in called Toolbox from Shyam Pillai. This includes a menu option called Toolbox | Shapes | Clone Shape(s).
  • Another way you can place pasted/duplicated objects right on top of the original is to use the Align tools. This works best if you have several duplicated objects. Select them all, and choose Align | Align Left, and Align | Align Top.

If you have found new ways to work around these issues, do add your comments to this post.

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