5 ways to SAVE TIME in PowerPoint

Save time in PowerPoint by learning from the experts: the team here at Presented are quick and fast at formatting. Years of working as presentation specialists mean that we have gained quite a few tips and tricks.

These 5 working methods to save time in PowerPoint are essential tips that we couldn’t live without…

 

  1. Using the Reset button

It’s surprising how few people know about this button. So long as a slide is correctly using layouts and placeholders, then resetting a slide is the best way to get a consistent looking professional deck fast.

Give it a click and see if anything happens to your slide. If you are using a company template then content should move and automatically format to the house style.

Even if the only layout you use is “Title Only”, then Reset gets all your titles across all slides in the same place and same style every time.

 

  1. Using layouts and templates correctly

The above tip won’t be much use if you aren’t actually using a template. And if you aren’t: why not? Even for custom use decks we’ll set up a few layouts in the masters to help us format the rest of the deck as quickly as possible.

Using a template is also vital for design amends. For example, if you have 60 slides and your boss wants the title style to be larger and bold now? Well you can make that change in the master and it’ll just take one edit, rather than 60 (one for each slide).

Actually applying layouts to your slides will also make your deck look how it’s supposed to look. And it takes you no time at all. Changing from 1 column to 2 column? There might be a layout for that. MUCH faster than fiddling on the slide and finding that it’s not quite the same as the previous slide…

 

  1. Quick access tool bar

There are a lot of buttons on the ribbon. We get it. But Microsoft have buried the ones we want to be handy so they are in sub menus (e.g. Arrange > Align > Right Align). So it takes multiple clicks to access these tools. But we can reduce that to one click by adding  buttons to the top of the window so that they are easily accessible.

Either right click the top of the screen and select ‘Quick access tool bar’ to select the buttons you want to add. Or, go to the button itself and right click it to ‘Add to Quick Access Toolbar’. Either way, this is an essential hack for the team here at Presented.

 

  1. Format painter

To copy the format from one object to another, simply select the original object and press Alt + F to activate the Format Painter. (Or click the Format Painter button on the ribbon – it’s below the Home tab).

You can also right click any shape that you’ve styled correctly, and choose “Set as default shape”, so that all future shapes follow that same style. The same is true for a text box and a line.

 

  1. F4

F4 is a great key for reducing mouse movement and clicks, and for saving time in PowerPoint.

Whatever formatted you just did: pressing F4 will repeat it. Have a go. It can really save so much time!

 

We hope these tricks help you to save time in PowerPoint! If you have any other great PowerPoint hacks why not tweet us @presenteduk

How to Create Screensavers in PowerPoint

How to Create Screensavers in PowerPoint

Using PowerPoint to create screensavers is such a great idea! Screensavers created in PowerPoint mean that the file is going to be editable by anyone in your team. So you can easily keep staff up-to-date with the latest data or targets or fun stuff that you want to share around the company.

create-screensavers-in-powerpoint

So how do you create a screensaver in PowerPoint? Here are 2 options:

The Simple PowerPoint to Screensaver Method:

This works well with static slides. Simply save your whole presentation as a series of jpegs (PPT will do the whole deck for you when you Save As… and choose jpeg). All your images will go into one new folder automatically created by PowerPoint.

Then go to your Screensaver Options on your desktop, choose the “Gallery” / “Slideshow” option. Navigate to the new folder with your jpegs and you’re done! (You can also set the timing for changing each image).

The Advanced PowerPoint to Screensaver Method:

For movie style animations, you’ll just need a conversion software to assist the process. We’ve used iSpringPro with InstantStorm, but pptfaq lists a few others you could try.

Simply put, we make the PPT into a Flash file, then the Flash file into an SCR. This works perfectly and keeps all your PowerPoint animation effects. The software is simple to use and you can play around with the export settings to get the best result.

Step 1. Use the iSpring converter plugin: to export the presentation as SWF flash file.

Step 2. We then used InstantStorm http://instantstorm.com, and imported the SWF file, then published as an SCR. (InstantStorm is a Freeware Flash screensaver creator!)

Step 3. The SCR file can be browsed for when applying a new screensaver.

Good luck! We hope this helps you!
If you need our assistance to help you convert your PowerPoint into a screensaver like the one below: just ask!

Data Visualisation Tips for PowerPoint charts and diagrams

Dealing with complex data in PowerPoint and presenting it in a way that is easy to understand is a challenge that we face every day here at Presented. Get your data visualisation right (or indeed your data visualization if you are an American).

Read a few of our tips to help you with data visualisation in PowerPoint.

1.    Know your message:

Before you even start thinking about how to visualise your data, you need to know what story you want to tell with the data. What do you want your audience to take away after seeing your chart?

For example: If you’re showing the annual revenue for your company for the past ten years, there could be a number of stories you are trying to tell. Your story could be that annual revenue is growing year on year, or it could be that despite annual revenue growing year on year, the % growth each year is actually decreasing.

2.    Use message headings instead of titles:

We often see charts with titles such as:

“Annual overhead costs 2010 – 2015” or “Price variation of Edam in European cities”.

These titles tell the audience next to nothing about your story. Instead of titles, choose to use descriptive headings instead. A heading should grab your audience’s attention and immediately explain your story. If you want the audience to understand and remember your message, then don’t hide it in a topic title, spell out the message for them. “Overhead costs have halved in 2015” or “London pays more than every other European city for Edam” are message headings that tell the audience exactly what they need to know, without even looking at the data.

Titles Message headings
Annual overhead costs 2010 – 2015 Overhead costs have halved in 2015
Price variation of Edam in European cities London pays more than every other European city for Edam

 

3.    Select the right chart or visual for the data:

There are pie charts, bar charts, scatter diagrams, line graphs and probably hundreds of other methods for data visualisation. How do you know which one to choose? This is where The Graphic Continuum comes in handy. This poster (widely available on the internet) breaks down which graphs, charts or visuals are the best to choose depending on what type of data visualistaiton you need. Whether your data tracks changes over time, compares categories or shows how a variable is broken down into its constituent parts, The Graphic Continuum will show you which method will display your data the most clearly. Although it doesn’t provide an exhaustive list, there are plenty of options there to get your imagination flowing!

Data visualisation - the graphic continuum

4.    Select the right data for your message:

Don’t just use the charts and data that are ready made, drill down and make sure your data is working to show the story you want. Keep on track and don’t show irrelevant data – even if it’s pretty or interesting, stick to the message you want your data visualisation to make.

e.g. Imagine you have data for your company’s annual revenue for the last five years, but the story you want to tell is that the % growth in annual revenue is decreasing each year. There is no need to show your audience the annual revenue data – simply do the calculations and show the audience the data for % growth instead.

5.    Choose your scale:

Even if the data doesn’t change, the scale that you choose for your charts can have a surprisingly big impact on the message. There are few hard and fast rules when choosing a scale for your charts, but it is important to be aware of scale and perhaps try out a few different options. The question you should ask yourself is whether this scale shows an honest representation of your data.

One rule to definitely heed is how the scale of a column chart that starts at zero can affect your data visualistaion. We subconsciously calculate the area of the chart based on a zero start value – but if the scale doesn’t start at zero then the data might be automatically misrepresented. You can make your data highlight big differences with a higher start value. Or small differences with a zero start. Be both careful and wise with this!

6.    Simplify!

If you can simplify or remove bits of the data without detracting from the integrity of your message, then do it!
Ask yourself:

  • Will including certain data add anything to help your audience understand?
  • Does it provide useful context?
  • Do I need to keep it to offer a level of detail necessary to convince the sceptics in my audience that my conclusion is accurate and reliable?

If the answer to these questions is no, then delete it! The simpler the data is to understand, the easier your audience will find it to follow what you’re saying.

7.    Use colour sparingly and purposefully:

Colour can be brilliant at providing focus and reducing confusion, but too much colour can have the opposite effect and will confuse unnecessarily. Any more than around 6 colours is too many. Remember, if you are presenting information live, you can add animation to colour sections of a graph. That way you can explain the overall data first and then use colour to highlight the key area that you want your audience to focus on.

8.    De-clutter the Chart Junk:

Check out Edward Tufte for all things to do with data visualisation. Edward Tufte coined the phrase chartjunk. He knows his onions.

What do you want your audience to focus on? Whilst axes, legends and gridlines are no doubt useful, they should not be the focal point of your data. Use colours like light grey for gridlines and axes so that they do not draw attention away from the important data. A good rule of thumb for any data labels is the closer you can have them to the data the better. Why put the legend all the way to the side of a pie chart when you could label each segment directly? The closer you have labels to the data the easier it is for people to see which label relates to which segment.

Likewise, you often won’t need both numbers on the axes and on top of your chart series. Consider losing such elements of “chart junk” to keep your data visualisation working well for you.

 

We hope these data visualisation tips will help you!

How best to use tablets or iPads for presentations

Sometimes you can’t (or don’t want to) carry your laptop around with you. Although it’s not particularly easy to create presentations using your tablet, using them to present your deck is simple! With a few tips, you can ditch your laptop and focus on using tablet presentations instead.

Tablet presentations

Our preferred software for tablet presentations is Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad and PowerPoint for Android apps: these allow pretty much the same playback capabilities of the full computer version of the software, including most animations and interactivity (currently the “hover over” animation isn’t supported). Plus, most people are already familiar with PowerPoint.

So, simply create your presentation in your usual way, specifying the right dimension to fit your tablet screen. Then to get the best out of your tablet’s touch-screen capabilities, try to use interactivity (hyperlinks) to create a great user/audience experience. Once done, upload to your tablet and start sharing your presentation with ease.

Tips for tablet presentations:

1. Disable notifications: you don’t want that confidential or personal email to pop up halfway through your pitch!

2. Beam your presentation wirelessly to a big display or projector using Apple’s AirPlay technology.

3. Learn a few gesture controls to get the most out of PowerPoint for iPad. For example, in full-screen slideshow view can use a closed pinch gesture to return to the editing view.

4. PowerPoint for iPad enables you to edit any .pptx files. If your file is an older format (.ppt), you have the option to convert it to a .pptx file.

Don’t forget, whilst your tablet is a great tool for delivering presentations, it won’t guarantee a good presentation. The most important factor is the presentation itself, and ensuring that you get your messages across. So…

…make this year YOUR year!

Let us help you with more than just your tablet presentations.
Our main focus is communication. Tons of research exists on how people best take information in, and we use those insights to help you get your message across. A good presentation will help you to achieve your goals.

So if you’ve only touched the surface of what we can do for you, talk to us to find out how we can help you with so much more!

Understanding presentation design, messaging and delivery (Brain Rule #12)

The final blog from our 12 brain rules series. We’ve taken each brain rule and applied it to presentation design, messaging and delivery. Admittedly, a couple we had to “bend” a little to apply to presentations, but we believe that’s called “creativity”.

Rule #12: We are powerful and natural explorers.

Our brains are constantly on the look out for understanding. They like learning new things, they like following stories, they are curious and they are always up to something… Hey, our brains seem to be like puppies! But let me not digress (no matter how much I want to) about baby canines…

John Medina, however, does point out how baby humans are the: “model of how we learn — not by passive reaction to the environment but by active testing through observation, hypothesis, experiment, and conclusion. Babies methodically do experiments on objects, for example, to see what they will do.

Our brains react in a similar way to each and every speech or presentation that we attend. We turn up hoping that this will be good! That we’ll learn something, that it will be useful to us. That it will make us think, perhaps challenge us. Because we are ‘powerful and natural explorers’. Sadly most presentations then turn to the “passive reaction” he mentions because no planning has gone into presentation design, messaging, and delivery.

Interestingly, it’s often in our “downtime” that we have the best ideas and thoughts: left to it’s own devices, the brain will often make connections and have ideas that are good! Brain Rules illustrates this with a story from google:

Google takes to heart the power of exploration. For 20 percent of their time, employees may go where their mind asks them to go. The proof is in the bottom line: fully 50 percent of new products, including Gmail and Google News, came from “20 percent time.”

Now, although we don’t perhaps need to give an audience down time as such. Pausing and allowing time for reflection are crucial techniques to let brains digest, whirr and purr. They’ll understand and remember more from a presentation if it’s well paced. Talk fast, but add well timed pauses to allow brains time to explore possibilities.

presentation design and messaging

Understanding presentation design, messaging and delivery

So when an audience sits down ready to listen to your presentation, they are full of curiosity and ready to explore: the start is important.

Brains want to quickly understand the purpose of any talk. It’s important to state your key message simply and clearly, and within the first 2 minutes, so that:

  • Your audience immediately knows this will be relevant to them. Believing in the relevance of a talk makes people pay more attention.

 

  • Getting to the point fast frames your slide content with the right context. This increases the understanding of the subsequent information that you present. The audience are simply on the same page.

 

  • If you are confident that your audience gets the gist, then you are actually free to delve deeper into your content if you need to. Presenter and audience can naturally explore!

 

Perhaps just don’t talk about puppies too much. (Or do. I’d listen!)