PowerPoint Notes

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

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Friday, December 15, 2017
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:30 AM IST

You all know that you can easily change the font for any selected text in PowerPoint, by choosing any installed font on your system. But did you know that you can use fonts that don’t exist on your system!

This is either a trick or a bug and is similar to the analogy of a glass, half full. Some would complain about the glass being half-empty while others would be satisfied with the glass being half-full! In other words, this is a two-edged sword.

I heard about this trick from Steve Rindsberg, who credits it to a post on Microsoft Answers. John Wilson and the original poster answered the question, and Steve further refined and added some details.

So is this a trick or a bug for you? Let’s find out right away:

  1. Select some text. Either select some text or select the entire text container (text box, placeholder, or shape).
  2. Now go to the Home tab, locate the Font group and click in the Font dropdown list, as shown in Figure 1, below.
  3. An Existing Font
    Figure 1: An Existing Font
  4. Now start typing any font name you want. Essentially, as you type a name, the closest installed font name shows up. But we have no intention of choosing an installed font. So we typed in JHA Bodoni Ritalic, as shown in Figure 2, below. Press the Enter key on your keyboard to set this font for your selected text.
  5. An Exotic Font
    Figure 2: An Exotic Font
  6. Is There a Font Called JHA Bodoni Ritalic?

    Yes indeed! Since we had to use a font that was not installed on our system, we decided to find out the most expensive font available. Would you believe that JHA Bodoni Ritalic costs $5000! Thankfully, you don’t need to get this font to follow this tutorial.

  7. You may get a warning message (see Figure 3) that says, “If you continue, “JHA Bodoni Ritalic” will be saved as the current font. This font isn’t available on the device you are currently using, so another font may be used for display, for print, or both. Do you want to continue?” Click Yes to continue.
  8. Another Font Will Be Used
    Figure 3: Another Font Will Be Used
  9. Thus you end up using a font that’s not even installed on your system.

Now if you remember, we called this technique a two-edged sword. So what are the pros and the cons?

Steve Rindsberg adds, “I suppose it’s a feature of sorts. If you know that a client has a font named JHA Bodoni Ritalic on their system, you can make them happy. Of course, since you don’t have the font, you’ve no idea what it’s going to look like. And if you mistype the name? Ooopsie. And that’s where the real bug bites. Once you’ve formatted text in one of these imaginary fonts, if you try to use the Font Replace dialog box, PowerPoint decides that it’s a double-byte font, and then, of course, you cannot replace it with a single-byte font! Of course, you can replace with another double-byte font. And only a real one. This time, imaginary ones won’t do.”

Now to end on a happy note, if your high net worth client has a license for JHA Bodoni Ritalic or a similarly expensive font, then at least you can use that font even if you don’t have it installed. Make sure you have another copy of the presentation with an installed font, so that even with your client happy, you can still go back and make edits to the slides. And try and use a font that looks similar to your non-existent, non-installed font!

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:30 AM IST

This has been a frustrating issue for many PowerPoint users, and also users of other Office programs. You type some text that is sentence case, but the results are all capital case! Yes, you can use the Change Case option, but why should you have to do so for each slide?

One reason why you may get all capital letters is that you may be using a font that has no lowercase. Some fonts such as Castellar, Copperplate, and Engravers MT don’t have lowercase letters at all. And these fonts are installed by some versions of Microsoft products such as Office.

But let us assume that you are not using any such font. Then why do you get all uppercase? The answer is not too obvious, and to understand why this happens, you must know that there are two ways to add capitalized text in Microsoft Office programs:

1. Real UPPERCASE: Add Formatting After You Type, or as You Type

  1. You can press the Shift key, or press the CAPS Lock key, and type some text that is naturally UPPERCASE, as in capitalized. Alternatively, select any text and use the Change Case | UPPERCASE option, as shown in Figure 1, below–and you will end up with the same results.
  2. Change Case in PowerPoint
    Figure 1: Change Case in PowerPoint

2. All Caps: Add Formatting Before You Type

  1. The second, sneaky way is to format a text placeholder so that any case you type ends up to show only UPPERCASE characters! To make this happen, you select an entire text placeholder in PowerPoint’s Slide Master view. Then you will access the Home tab of the Ribbon, and click the dialog launcher in the Font group, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2, below.
  2. Click the Dialog Launcher
    Figure 2: Click the Dialog Launcher
  3. This will bring up the Font dialog box you can see in Figure 3, below. You then choose the All Caps option, shown highlighted in red.
  4. Select All Caps
    Figure 3: Select All Caps
  5. Now press the OK button.
  6. This is the technique used by some built-in PowerPoint themes such Circuit, Integra and Main Event to force-capitalize any text you type.
  7. Related Content: Which Themes are Installed in Office Versions?

Are you stuck with many slides that use All Caps formatting? Do you want to make them behave like normal text at one go? Take a look at some amazing VBA code from PowerPoint MVP Steve Rindsberg, in our PowerPoint VBA: Change UPPERCASE To Normal Case feature.

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Friday, November 24, 2017
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:30 AM IST

Being a PowerPoint designer and presentation attendee at the same time can be a difficult task, especially when you come across so many bad slides, and you know that these slides could have been so much better! But this approach of looking at someone else’s slides with the eye of a designer is an evolving process. Why? Because what is acceptable today may not work tomorrow. Also, many “rights” end up creating one big “wrong,” as you can see in the slide below!

Makeover 01 - Many Rights Makes a Wrong
Figure 1: Many rights make a wrong

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Monday, September 18, 2017
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:30 AM IST

Did you know that PowerPoint 2003 and previous versions provided an option to create pattern fills for shapes that had transparency? For example, you could end up with horizontal lines that were 50% transparent, 20% transparent, or transparent with any percentage value.

Look at Figure 1, below and you can clearly see what I am trying to explain. This slide has a fairly multi-colored background. Now notice the rectangle placed over this background. This one has a Pattern fill, which is 50% transparent. See how this transparency plays with the different background colors.

Transparent Pattern Fills in PowerPoint 01
Figure 1: Transparent Pattern fill in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows

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Monday, August 28, 2017
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 13:11 PM IST

A friend reached out to me a while ago and said “I have a 500-slide presentation, and have been asked to save each slide as a single-slide presentation. Do I really have to do this task, one slide at a time? Do tell me that there is a better answer.”

Luckily for her, there indeed is a better answer! Follow these steps using either PowerPoint 2013 or PowerPoint 2010. Some versions of PowerPoint 2016 do not provide these options, but do try and see if it works for you!

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Sunday, July 30, 2017
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 16:30 PM IST

Did you select some text in the Notes Pane of PowerPoint, and change the font? Or perhaps the font size? Or you added a bulleted list? The problem is that nothing except the bulleted list shows up! All you see is plain text, as you can see in Figure 1, below. Why? Is it not possible to see formatting in the Notes Pane? The solution is easy, but not obvious.

Missing Text Formatting
Figure 1: Missing Text Formatting

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Monday, July 24, 2017
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:30 AM IST

Microsoft Office is updated in so many ways. Depending on how soon you want to see these updates, you can receive only thoroughly tested features, or you can play with new ones. If you prefer the latter, then you may be wowed by the new update that shows up as part of their Office Insider Fast program. PowerPoint and many other Office programs can now insert and manipulate 3D models.

Imagine inserting a 3D model on your slide–almost as if you were inserting a picture or a media clip!

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:45 AM IST

This story began with a message from my mother, who never uses PowerPoint. She innocently sent me a link to a video clip, which she thought would be something I would love. And she was right. What she probably did not know is that I wanted to recreate the animation shown in this video clip using PowerPoint.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:30 AM IST

This question about the smallest font size for PowerPoint slides or slides in any program was originally sent to me as an answer request on Quora. I expand my answer below.

Most PowerPoint designers love to have white space on their slides, but there will always be demands from clients to include more and more content. Now, this is not a great idea because slides need to be aesthetic and focused–and adding so much more textual or any other content negates the very idea of well-designed slides. Adding extra content is, therefore, a compromise that you should avoid.

In the real world, there will be many reasons to cram this content, and the immediate result is that designers have to use a font size that’s smaller than what they started with. But really speaking, what is the smallest font size that you can use?

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Thursday, July 6, 2017
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:30 AM IST

3D for PowerPoint Over The Years

For the last 20 years, users have waited for 3D in PowerPoint. There were umpteen add-ins (small programs that plug into PowerPoint, much like Photoshop and WordPress plug-ins) that added 3D models, 3D backgrounds, and even 3D text in PowerPoint. They met the same fate–discontinued by their vendors! And that’s sad because some of them were really awesome and ahead of their time.

Finally, 3D in PowerPoint

And now Microsoft has announced that there will finally be real 3D in PowerPoint. How is that different than the other add-ins? And does this mean that you can really do 3D modeling in PowerPoint? Here are the answers to those questions:

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