7 Key Tips to Using PowerPoint

7 Key Tips to Using PowerPoint

Created: Wednesday, February 22, 2006, posted by at 9:36 am

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Kevin Lerner


Kevin Lerner
Kevin Lerner of the Presentation Team shares some tips that will allow you to use PowerPoint more effectively.

It may be the leading presentation program on the market, but PowerPoint is rarely used to its most complete functionality. Here are seven tips to help make your next PowerPoint experience a bit fulfilling and simpler:

1. Content First…Then Visuals

When starting a new presentation, try not to become distracted by the desire to make it look good. Rather, focus on creating the content first. Use the outline view to get your bullets and main points in place. Also, the auto content wizard in newer versions of PowerPoint is helpful in getting the key messages in place.

2. Use Keyboard Shortcuts and Right Mouse

To improve efficiency and shave hours off your presentation development time, it’s helpful to learn the keyboard shortcuts. Copy=Control+C, Paste=Control+V. A list of these shortcuts can be found in the help menu. Also, the right mouse button will present an array of additional options, depending on where it’s clicked.

3. Make Alternate and Hidden Versions of Slides

Not sure how an effect will look? Want to have some extra detail on a slide that you may or may not use? By making duplicate versions (copy and paste your slides in the slide sorter) you can experiment with alternative versions. Select “hide slide” so it doesn’t show when you’re presenting.

4. Align and Grid Commands Are Your Friends

Graphics that are misaligned can subconsciously send the message of disorganization, and detract from your presentation. By using Guides and Grids (view menu or right-click), you can get your text and graphics perfectly straight.

5. Tame Your Transitions

Just because PowerPoint has some really cool transitions, doesn’t mean they should be used. Too much can detract from your presentation. And most of the time, a simple wipe or dissolve will suffice. Also, it’s good to make the transitions consistent throughout your entire presentation.

6. Save Often, Locally, and With Backups

By saving every 30 minutes and with different versions (draft1.ppt, draft 2.ppt, etc.) you can save yourself headaches when the inevitable computer crash comes. Also, don’t trust the networks. Save your presentation to your local PC and copy it later to the network.

7. Allow Enough Time for Output and Practice

Don·t get caught by the clock! By stopping even 20 minutes before your actual deadline, or showtime, you can significantly enhance your message by taking time to practice and rehearse. Also, consider the time needed to print/copy/email the file.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog post or content are those of the authors or the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.

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