Powerpoint presentations, templates, help and advice from site-designs powerpoint

Templates | Animation | Multimedia | Scanning Tips | Presentation Tips | Embedding Flash | Screensavers


Presenting | Creating | Hardware


Some practical tips to help your presentation run more professionally


1. Saving Shows [top]

Save your presentation as a ‘PowerPoint Show’ (.pps) and your presentation will open straight into screenshow mode. When saving a presentation for distribution ensure that ‘SAVE WITH FONTS’ is checked in your ‘SAVE AS’ dialogue box.

Note: PowerPoint97 only includes a screen version of the font - playing back at a different resolution can cause problems. 2000 actually embeds and installs the entire font.

2. Opening Shows [top]

Place a shortcut of your .pps file on the desktop to enable you to open your presentation with one click without searching for the file.


3. Hiding Screens [top]

Once your presentation is open you can hide your first (or any other) screen until you are ready to start by pressing ‘B’’ to blackout the screen or (‘W’ to ‘whiteout’ the screen) then press the ‘B’ or ‘W’ again to reveal the screen when you are ready.


4. Jumping to Screens [top]

In show mode type a number then hit ‘enter’ to go to straight to that screen i.e. ’1’ to go back to the 1st screen. This is particularly useful if you have a large show for multiple speakers - just make a note of the slide number where each one starts - and during rehearsal (or following a cock-up) simply keying it in jumps you straight to the right place. Quick and efficient.
If it's the sort of presentation where jumping around is part of the objective then add hyperlinks as you create, then all you need to do is click on the relevant button or word to go to the desired slide (or indeed another presentation)


5. Improving Text Quality [top]

Use Windows 95 ‘Smooth Font’ feature to improve the appearance of text. To enable: right-click on the desktop, choose ‘PROPERTIES’ click the ‘PLUS’ tab, check ‘SMOOTH EDGES OF SCREEN FONTS’ (this needs the ‘win95grey.exe’ programme if the ‘PLUS!’ tab is not visible - it's free and available from the Microsoft site). Note: Smoothing is disabled if text is animated.
Windows 98/2000 users will find this option under the 'EFFECTS' tab.
Mac Users - font smoothing is supported in ATM4.5 and above.

PowerPointXP users - if you've added any text builds or animations then you'll lose the smoothing on these items (this is a problem with this version of Powerpoint, as with the old version 7 - please mail Microsoft and complain if you think it's as important as we do!). If you know a way around this we'd love to hear your solution


6. Navigating Screens [top]

Use ‘page up’ or ‘page down’ keys to advance or go back a screen or right-click the mouse for on-screen navigation menu.
If you hate the pop up menu and that annoying button that appears in the bottom right hand corner of the screen then go to Tools, Options, View and deselect the two popup options under slide show - this has the added advantage of making the right mouse button act as a 'go back' button


7. Staying in Show Mode [top]

Set to ‘LOOP CONTINUOUSLY UNTIL ‘ESC’’ (under ‘SLIDE SHOW’ ‘SETUP SHOW’) This prevents your presentation dropping out to PowerPoint after the last screen.


8. Preventing Unwanted Intrusion! [top]

Disable screensavers. (click on the desktop, choose ‘PROPERTIES’ click the ‘SCREENSAVER tab choose ‘NONE’) PowerPoint, in theory, disables screensavers, I prefer to not to take a chance!

Laptop users: Disable power saving features - you really don't need the screen blacking out on you and for speed of response it's better if your hard disk hasn't gone into sleep mode

Hide the slide show pen or pointer during a slide show: If you don't need to use a pointer then switching it off makes sense.
Right-click, point to Pointer Options, and then click Hide Now
or Hide Always.
Hide Now turns the pen or pointer off until you move the mouse. Hide Always turns it off for the rest of the slide show.


9. Optimising Screen Quality [top]

Check your colour mode is set to’ High Colour’ (click on the desktop, choose ‘PROPERTIES’ click the ‘SETTINGS’ tab choose 16 BIT or ‘HIGH COLOUR‘. ‘True Colour’ (24 bit) if available may slow your machine for little benefit. Always set your screen resolution to the highest setting that your monitor or projector will accept. (’MONITORS’ in Macintosh control panel)


10. Playing Safe [top]

Always copy presentations stored on floppy disks (or CD ROM) to your hard disk before running them.
Note: CDs may be nice shiny things but they run an awful lot slower than your hard disk and a little bit of dirt on the lens can bring up the dreaded 'blue screen'


11. Saving for other versions [top]

Many organisations are still using older versions of PowerPoint. If you have created your presentation in the Office 97/2000 versions of PowerPoint and you are taking your presentation on diskette or CD ROM save copies in earlier versions i.e. version 4.0 or 7.0. Remember that earlier versions do not support some of the features, particularly animation. You may need to open your presentation in earlier versions to check that it displays the way you expect - this is essential if you need to save back to version 7 (the one that was part of Office 95) because it is a bug ridden monster and can do all sorts of weird and not so wonderful things to logos and graphics....

Often the best option (if it does not require any further editing) is to keep it in the original version and include the PowerPoint player. This is a free application which allows presentations to be viewed and printed only. If you've got a copy of office then you can find it hiding in the 'value pack' stuff (along with quite a few other goodies) or download it from Microsoft.




Some practical tips to help you create your presentation more efficiently

1. Editing [top]

Become accustomed to using the right mouse button when selecting an object. Click + ctrl key Macintosh). Actions applicable to that selection will become available from a drop-down menu at the mouse position saving you time in searching for the appropriate menu as well as trip to the toolbar. Many dialogue boxes can be ‘torn off’ (denoted by a shaded bar at the top) and placed on the screen. You can save time and mouse movement this way when making repetitive edits with the same tool.

2. Selecting Objects [top]

If a page has a large number of objects it can be difficult to select them particularly if some of them overlap. The solution is to use the tab key to cycle through objects on screen (or shift-tab to reverse the order). Even completely obscured objects can be selected using this method. An alternative is to use CUSTOM ANIMATION (in SLIDE SHOW menu) Click the TIMING tab and you will see a list of the objects on your page which can be individually (or with SHIFT) collectively selected. Cancel and return to your edit screen and your objects will have remained selected.

3. Aligning Objects [top]

The most useful PowerPoint tool for arranging objects on a page is ALIGN & DISTRIBUTE under the DRAW menu. This tool enables you to accurately align objects with each other and to distribute objects evenly both vertically & horizontally on a page.

4. Nudging Objects [top]

Using the mouse as an alternative to accurately align objects can be difficult but the keyboard can be used to nudge objects one pixel at a time using the up/down, left/right arrow keys. Check that the SNAP TO GRID option is turned off otherwise the movement increments may be too large. (find it under menu, DRAW SNAP)

5. Professional Diagram Builds [top]

The most effective way to ensure that a build-up sequence stays in alignment from screen to screen is to create the complete i.e. last build of the object then go to slide sorter view, copy the whole page as many times as the number of builds in the sequence then remove the appropriate elements on each page to create the build up sequence. This will ensure that every object remains in exactly the right place and eliminates unsightly shifts when moving between pages.

6. Resizing [top]

To resize an object which is centred exactly where you want it, hold down CONTROL & SHIFT (ALT +SHIFT Macintosh) to maintain proportion then drag a corner resize handle, the object will resize but retain its centre.

7. Using Guidelines [top]

Control + G (APPLE +G Macintosh) will display a vertical & horizontal guideline which can be dragged into position and used as an alignment aid. (pressing control + G again will switch them off) Pressing CONTROL (ALT Macintosh) then dragging a guideline will add multiple guidelines.

8. Resetting [top]

Accidentally resizing a picture or piece of clip art will distort it. Right click on the picture (CONTROL +click Macintosh) and check ‘SHOW PICTURE TOOLBAR’. Click the rightmost icon on the toolbar to restore the image to its correct size. Leaving this option checked means that each time you select a picture the toolbar will appear.

9. Optimising your logo [top]

Consider having you logo turned into a True Type font so that It will always be available for use in Windows application from the font menu, Font logos can be easily resized without distorting and will print cleanly to any printer at any size as well as making 35mm slides. (note: if you distribute a presentation you will need to include the logo font file)

10. Shortcut keystrokes:  

Control + C = copy to Clipboard*.

Control + X = cut

Control + V = paste from Clipboard.

Control + Z = undoes previous action

Control + S = Save (use frequently!)

(* Apple + key Macintosh) [top]

11. Zoom in and out [top]

Assuming you have a scroll-wheel mouse, hold 'ctrl' and roll the wheel to zoom in and out.




Some useful things to know about Monitors, Projectors & Lighting


1. Monitors [top]

A general rule when deciding on monitor size is as follows:

Audience size

Monitor size

Viewing distance



2.1m (7.0ft)



3.0m (9.0ft)



3.5m (12.0ft)

(Optimum viewing distance is usually calculated as 5 x the monitor screen size.)

2. Projectors [top]

The ratio of distance to screen size should be 1.5:1 so for a diagonal screen size of 3m (10ft) the projector will need to be 4.5m (15ft) from the screen this is a useful rule when organising the layout of a room for a presentation. A key factor in determining the seating arrangement in a room is to ensure that all seating is within a 45 degree angle from the centre of the screen.

3. Lighting [top]

Modern LCD projectors are capable of very bright light output however stray ambient lighting or room lighting can severely reduce the brightness of the screen image. Ensure that ambient lighting is prevented from falling onto the screen. Large monitors are less susceptible to ambient lighting.

4. Previewing your presentation [top]

Avoid looking at the screen when presenting. Configure your laptop for simultaneous display on internal LCD and external monitor or projector. This will allow you to use your laptop as your cue monitor.

5. Navigation [top]

Avoid using the laptop’s internal touch pad/trackball when giving a presentation, particularly when presenting to a small audience with the laptop’s screen. A separate mouse will allow you to navigate the presentation without crowding the laptop.

When we run large or particularly important presentations that are not fully scripted we always provide the speakers with a simple one button cue system connected to a cue light next to the PC where an experinced operator is actually responsible for advancing the presentation. This way if the presenter gets 'finger trouble' and double clicks in error or forgets to advance to a logo/holding slide when finishing the operator simply makes it happen smoothly. It also ensures that if there is a crash then the operator can fix it from behind the scenes without having to rummage around on the stage in front of your audience...