Powerful PowerPoint Presentations Made Easy

Run, don’t walk to your computer to blast your boring PowerPoint presentations out of the way. If you are bored by the same old designs, imagine how your audience feels. Today’s professionals see lots of presentations and it’s not hard to spot a Microsoft template, if you know what I mean.

Animate it. Bring your charts to life by animating them. To animate an existing chart, select it and choose Slide Show, then Custom Animation. On the Chart Effects tab, choose the kind of animation you want from the drop-down list on the left.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures are a great way to convey your message. You can use a picture as a backdrop to your slide – all you have to do is reverse the color of the text. Or you can improve on the technique by creating a photo vignette with the PowerPoint AutoShape tool. From the Drawing toolbar (usually found at the bottom of the screen), add an AutoShape object to your slide. Select the object, then choose Fill Effects from the Drawing toolbar. Click on the Picture tab and add the desired photo from those stored on your computer or a CD.

Jazz up those tables! Tables are a common occurrence in PowerPoint presentations, but they don’t need to be ho-hum. There are lots of things you can do to spice them up - use borders and fills to create clever effects within tables, for example. Select one or more cells and right-click the mouse, then choose Borders and Fill. From this little-known dialog box you can color cells, change border thickness and line style, and even turn off the borders completely. Tip: If you turn off the border around certain cells, you can make text appear to float outside a table. Or use the "diagonal" border element to divide a cell in half.

KISS. Remember “Keep It Simple Silly?” With PowerPoint and its endless number of gizmos, it’s easy to go overboard. Use these tools sparingly yet powerfully. If you develop your own design, apply the same color scheme to your whole presentation, choose Format, then Apply Design Template. Marble, for instance, works well for conservative presentations. Also keep in mind how you use slide transitions; choose Dissolve over flashier effects. Remember, it’s a PowerPoint presentation, not a three-ring circus!

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