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

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!

Amazing PowerPoint presentations

Amazing PowerPoint presentations

PowerPoint is amazing. No really, it is!

PowerPoint is such an amazing tool, and there’s so much it can do – with the added advantage that just about anyone can edit it.

Here’s just a few things we can do for you in PowerPoint:

Interactive slides: Use triggers and hyperlinks to have a navigation-led deck. Ideal for engaging your small audience and letting the meeting control the flow of the story. Great for tablets and laptops.

Explainer videos: People are more likely to buy from you if they’ve seen a video. We can give you your very own dynamic, editable web video. See PPT created videos on Presented’s Vimeo page.

Live presenting: Nothing beats the face to face engagement of presenting live in front of an audience. But is your message being remembered? Are your slides visual enough to support learning or increase engagement? Are your visuals the right ones or are they doing more harm than good? Are you using communication science to improve the way you present your slides?

Data visualisation: we help you to communicate your data in a visually appealing and easy to understand way. Think infographics, dashboards, bespoke charts and diagrams.

Templates: a well-created, user-friendly template will look good, encourage company-wide consistency, and can save you hours every week.

Printed material: if you create your printed material in PowerPoint or Word, everyone can edit it, year after year! Annual reports, quarterly reports, brochures, posters, postcards, flyers: everything can be laid out and printed to a high level from PowerPoint.

Not sure what would be useful or why? Want a demo of any of the above? Call us now and we can chat through.

Amazing PowerPoint!

 

Bespoke PowerPoint Training – from us to you

by Philippa Leguen de Lacroix, Co-Founder

Bespoke PowerPoint training will help you get good at PowerPoint, and fast. Of course, reaching expert level in anything takes time. And it’s hard to find the right training course for your particular needs.

I expect many of you have heard of the 10,000 hour rule. I have probably logged that time in PowerPoint easily. Not all of it was quality practice though (and I don’t want to be guilty of oversimplifying the rule here).

Certainly, I didn’t do a PowerPoint course to reach my now (admittedly self-proclaimed) expert level. Initially, I was entirely self-taught. Back in 1998 I literally spent days doing complex animations (the office was quiet) but for the era they were quite cutting edge. Or at least I thought so! By today’s standards they were terrible, but I enjoyed the creativity.

Bespoke PowerPoint training course

I next spent many years working in desk top publishing departments within investment banks. They provided 24/7 pitchbook service to the bank employees, and I hotdesked, covered shifts that included evening and graveyard, and had bankers breathing down my neck. Everything was deadline driven and had to follow strict house style. They did provide in-house PowerPoint training, but it very specific to the needs of that industry. However, I became fast, efficient, and finessed a very high attention to detail. But I was also over reliant on client templates, built-in macros, and found my creativity somewhat sapped.

When my friend and co-founder Pani Theodorou and I started our presentation design company in 2009, we again acquired knowledge as we went. There were no bespoke PowerPoint training courses available for the level of design and animation that we wanted. We now lead a team who frequently share tips and tricks to help us all get faster, stronger and more creative in using PowerPoint.

Since our work is of such a high standard, in both design and technicality, our clients are often asking us is we deliver training. We do.

bespoke powerpoint course

Bespoke PowerPoint training courses can cut through all the boring standard elements and get straight to what’s useful and relevant. The smaller the number of participants, the better the quality of the course – especially when attendees are roughly grouped by existing knowledge or ability.

Common themes include wanting to make PowerPoint slides look more “designy”, how to prevent people taking the deck off-brand, and how to save time.

Often when I demo the “reset” button, there’s an audible reaction from the room. A template sounds like it’s going to be a boring thing, but when they are set up correctly, using layouts will save stacks of time and energy: allowing you to focus on the message of your slides, rather than pouring hours down the drain perfecting the aesthetic.

Whether you’d like a course for a small team, or a 1 to 1 session just for you (or someone special!), then get in touch and let us know about your learning needs.

Bespoke PowerPoint training courses for your team – please drop us a line, at hello@presented.co.uk

Design ideas to help you avoid bullet lists

Avoid bullet lists: two before and after slides to give you ideas…

We know that PowerPoint gets a bad rap as a design tool – it does have limitations, but only a bad worker blames their tools. In the right hands, PowerPoint is a great tool. So even when you have to keep all of your text, there are still options.

Hopefully these slides will give you some inspiration:

Avoid bullet lists with sample 1

BEFORE:
This “Technology” slide shows a typical bullet list layout.
It’s a default layout that we see everywhere and is far from
interesting to look at. (It’s also challenging to remember
the content, but that’s another story!) Additionally, the title
of this slide also had very little meaning – until we developed it.

slide20

AFTER:
The new heading and visuals help to lift the slide and
ignite more interest. This particular slide is best delivered in
an email format – simply because there’s still too much text
onscreen for effective presentation delivery.
To present onscreen: we’d recommend using light animation
to control the flow of information. Animation can prevent the
audience from feeling overwhelmed or reading ahead and
getting out of sync with the presenter.

slide22

Avoid bullet lists with sample 2

BEFORE:
Another boring looking list with plenty of
text. (We’ve swapped out the content with Lorem Ipsum).

Before avoid bullet points

AFTER:
The addition of the image creates visual interest, and the
icon for “explore” does a good job of leading the eye to the
action points. Yet it’s still text heavy, and the image is purely
decorative. But for situations where you have to keep your
text – it’s simply better. And there’s nothing here that is
complicated or difficult for anyone using PowerPoint
to reproduce.

With PowerPoint it’s usually the lack of ideas that is the negative driving force behind so many slides.

We hope this gives you a couple of pointers. The principals are easy! But then, we would say that…

For more guidance on design tips to avoid bullet points.

For those situations where you have to keep your text – here’s another brilliant solution: Print Notes View to PDF in PowerPoint

Drop us a line if you need any help.