Notes View in PowerPoint can help you reduce text and benefit your audience…

Notes View in PowerPoint is often ignored

Everyone knows PowerPoint slides should be “more visual and less text heavy”. It’s better for the audience, better for your speech delivery, and better for engagement levels. Plus you get cool points when slides are nicely designed.

But even if you create a beautiful, light and visual set of slides – you’re often faced with the challenge that half your audience won’t be at the meeting and want to be sent a copy of your presentation. Or perhaps a handful simply aren’t visual learners.

Of course even those who do attend often request a copy to review or circulate afterwards. You know this from the start. And so you “have to” add more text here and there to explain your stuff. And perhaps another word there just to avoid confusion, or here to make another point, and for the sake of clarity, then maybe you make one more point. Just to be safe. And unsurprisingly, you’re left with a presentation that is frankly a disaster to present. It’s simply become a document instead (or a “slideument”).

You might know of course, that you can put script in the Notes View area, but even if you do this – they are unformatted and look naff. And surely the Notes View is just for the presenter, right? Well. Read on…

The 2 version solution is not the answer:

So a widely suggested solution is to create 2, yes two, versions of your presentation. One beautiful visual thing for presenting, and one less charming but very informative text version for printing or email distribution. But you will possibly be doubling your work load and making last minute edits twice: most likely the night before. That might be manageable (yet annoying), but all too often colleagues will also make edits or give feedback… and the number of versions around can get confusing and overwhelming. And when you reuse these presentations in the future – that’s where you really start to edit in double, or quadruple…

Why do we care if text heavy slides are so bad?

It really is important that you don’t present these text heavy slides. The more text the audience is reading – the less they are able to listen to what you’re saying. Your slides are jammed, look a bit naff – so are not a great way to represent your company. For everyone, reading is like listening to a voice inside your head reading out-loud. Out-loud inside your head that is, don’t worry: they can’t hear you. (It’s the talking to yourself you need to worry about). So when listening to themselves read, your audience will struggle to listen to you, the presenter. This shouldn’t be a newsflash – but millions of presentations created every day ignore this.

The solution: use Notes Area (formatted) to avoid 2 versions!

Right, so just use one version. Use a beautiful light visual deck that will reflect your value. However, also use the Notes Area in PowerPoint to add the extra detail. Wait though, there’s more: You can style the content within Notes View so that it looks professional and complements your slide design. This is not the same as just viewing the Notes Pane beneath the slide (see images below).

Notes View in PowerPoint

Notes View in PowerPoint (don’t print this as is)

Visual slide with Notes Pane in use, shown in Normal View. These would be the slides you present.

Take a look around PowerPoint – there is a Notes Master as well as a Notes View: use both of these to create pages that will work well by sending via email as a PDF.

Choose to print the Notes Pages within your Print Options. You’ll see something like this:

Printing Notes View in PowerPoint to PDF

Printing Notes View in PowerPoint to PDF – this preview is what you can then send to your audience afterwards.

Slide within Notes View – formatted, designed, extra detail added. Select “Print Notes Pages” and print to PDF in the Print Options.

…and send that PDF to those who weren’t at the meeting. One version is the best solution. Plus, this enhanced one version contains your script (i.e. the image on the left, which you can see when you present using “Presenter View”).

With your script there you don’t need to worry about having a mind blank mid-way through. And colleagues or teams could present these scripted versions too and help the whole company to stay on message…

(The minor downside of a PDF is that you’ll lose any cool animation – still, you could email over the PPT as well as the PDF. If you’re sure they will look at both…!)

If you think this Notes View in PowerPoint solution will help you or your teams, please get in touch.
We can help get you started. Good luck out there!

How to use the Zoom tool in PowerPoint

The Zoom tool in PowerPoint is great. With the Zoom you can highlight individual objects, summarise your slides onto one or create a canvas with different areas to navigate.

Simple PowerPoint Zoom Animations

A simple way to zoom in on specific objects is to apply the “Grow/Shrink” emphasis animation. Select your object, go to the Animations tab and select Grow/Shrink from the Emphasis options. Go to Slide Show mode and you will see your object will now ‘grow’. In the Animation Pane you can edit the percentage size and timings to match your zooming needs.

In the example below we combined this with the Morph transition to create the illusion of a moving magnifying glass:

If you would like more information on how this was done, please do get in touch.

PowerPoint Zoom Tool

Aside from simple zoom animations, PowerPoint also features a Zoom tool. These can add some interest and engagement to your presentation.

Try this! Open any PowerPoint presentation and go to Insert > Zoom > Summary Zoom, select all the slides and click Insert. This pulls all slides into one “summary slide” at the start of the deck and creates a separate section for each slide. Now play the presentation in Slide Show mode and click through. Each slide zooms in and out in sequence, retaining any animations.

To show selected slides only, choose Slide Zoom (instead of Summary Zoom). To show a single section only, choose Section Zoom. Here’s a video showing this feature in action:

Advanced Zoom in PowerPoint

We often get asked if we “do Prezi”. The answer is that we prefer to use PowerPoint to the highest level to replicate the animation that appeals to Prezi users. We also feel that PowerPoint is more compatible, is constantly updating its features and is therefore a better option.

Our designer Ana threw this slide together to show off the Zoom navigation feature. Below is a video of our founder Philippa talking through the animation. PowerPoint’s big canvas zoom feature:

This type of animation is perfect for meetings without an established agenda so you can click where the audience’s interests take you. This is really effective when presenting to smaller audiences. The “big canvas” feel of zooming around one page can also help with communicating ideas that break down into lots of smaller parts: whilst still retaining the feel of the whole concept.

We love what PowerPoint can do, and we’d love to help you present better. Contact us so we can help you with your next presentation.

Digital signage and PowerPoint

Can you use PowerPoint for digital signage?

Yes. Yes you can use PowerPoint for digital signage. Digital signage is broad. It consists of any size screen displaying any type of content for any reason. More specifically, those screens you notice popping up everywhere – at bus stops, on the Underground, in restaurants, offices and shopping centres. These are all digital signage utilised to share information with you, entertain you or (of course) sell things to you.

Digital signage for a lobby

Welcome to our office

Digital signage is increasingly popular because it engages audiences

Digital engagement is far more than traditional static signage which can only display one message at a time. A digital screen can contain an ever-changing mix of visually striking images and videos. All easily updated or refreshed in order to keep the content current and relevant. A good example of this being live weather or flight information. Think RSS feed. Content can change as often as the content creator would like. Even “live” updates with PowerPoint as the source for the signage are possible with the right add-ins. 

Digitial signage flight map

London to Budapest flight map

The market is growing rapidly as it is widely used by many industries. Perhaps the most effective and creative users tend to be retailers who use it in their shop window displays or to promote special offers. Also museums, stadiums, hotels, restaurants, schools, colleges, universities, local councils, hospitals, GP surgeries and corporate buildings are using digital signage for staff communications as well as for guests or visitors. Third generation digital signage is interactive digital signage – which allows end users to interact via touchscreens, body sensors or QR codes on smartphones and tablets.

Digital signage burger order

New burger order page

So, you’ve decided you want to create some signage of your own but don’t know where to start? A quick and easy way to create digital signage is obviously to use PowerPoint! You can do this on your own PC or, even better, let the Presented team create an amazing presentation for you.

We link up with our friends at Presentation Point for their amazing Add-Ins Data Point and i-Point, which can link to any RSS feed, database, excel file – for live updates to your digital screens, all from PowerPoint.

For more information on how we can help you create impactful signage in PowerPoint please contact the Presented team.

Visual learning in PowerPoint presentations

Should you consider visual learning when putting your presentations together? We think so.

Most businesses stick to established conventions, when creating PowerPoint presentations. Things like: bulleted lists, headers on every slide, lots and lots of words, strict reliance on house style, a template and the company logo on every slide. Whilst house style is important to strengthen brand identity it is still possible to create more visual and hence more memorable presentations.

Here are some steps to consider:

  • Remove all slide clutter (e.g. objects, logos, text) which does not contribute to your message.
  • Focus on what is essential on each slide and if necessary split content over more slides.
  • Slide count does not change the length of your talk so don’t be afraid to add slides.

The cardinal rule of presentation design

Stick to one distinct idea on any one slide. If you feel compelled to put more than one idea on a slide, don’t. Instead, to reiterate an important concept, split up your ideas onto more slides containing smaller, simpler chunks of information. This way your presentation will be easier to remember. Starting at the beginning, for example, on an introductory slide, simplify the message by focusing on the title without lots of other detail:

Badly designed PowerPoint coverr  Visual learning presentation cover

Whilst it’s nice to have the location and date: aren’t the audience already there, in the room, at the right time?
The presenter name is nice to keep if you are unknown to some of course.

Visual learning and recall

If you are making bulleted lists you should consider putting each bullet on its own slide. Each with a supporting image or graphic. People have 6x better recall when both verbal and visual channels are used together. Plus, spatial contiguity proves that learning improves when words are placed near relevant pictures. In other words, using images or graphics to support your text prompts learning.

What visuals should you use?

Do not ever use ClipArt, ever. It is as simple as that. It is outdated and obtrusive. Besides, with so many better alternatives available there is (really) no need for it. You could use a high-quality image to support your message and bring a real sense of meaning to a slide. There are many free (or reasonably priced) image databases online, such as Death to the Stock Photo, Freepik and Pixabay. With so many images available you should easily be able to find a creative one which fits with your message:

Badly designed dog slide  Well designed dog slide

If you wish to highlight numbers, as well as using charts and graphs you can also use typography as a visual aid. (Word to the wise, as with ClipArt, do not ever use WordArt.) If you really want your text to stand out, use a good font and make your text LARGE and legible – give it some POW to make it memorable. Another benefit of using large text is that it keeps your message short. It’s best not to use large text throughout a whole presentation, as this isn’t overly engaging for the audience, although it is still clean and simple way to present your information.

Does your presentation tell a story?

Then make it more visual with slide transitions and animations. People naturally look at things that move – so highlight your key messages with simple animations and triggers.

Obviously, how you visualize your presentation will depend on the delivery method. If you are presenting in front of a live audience you don’t need much text, so your slides will be a visual reinforcement to your verbal content. Your online or printed deck might need more text, or even extra slides to fill in the detail for your audience.

The human brain is at its most effective when it processes information simultaneously through both verbal and visual learning so for a truly memorable presentation use diagrams, photos, flow charts, illustrations – any kind of image that will support your slide’s message while you speak.

PowerPoint Animation tips

Animation in PowerPoint

Our first PowerPoint animation tip is to remember the adage ‘less is more’. Using too much animation can distract from your overall message and make your presentation looks amateurish. However, when animation is used well, it can focus attention to key points, engage audiences, look slick and leave a lasting impression.

Before you begin

Before you start adding animations make sure the content is final. No further edits or changes – or you’ll be creating even more work for yourself if you have to alter animations. A useful tip for basic animation is to add text directly inside shapes instead of putting textboxes on top of shapes. We see this rookie mistake often. This makes animation a lot easier as you are working with single shapes and not groups.

Spend time getting familiar with the Animation Pane. Within this pane are all your animations in the order they will play. Green for entrance, yellow for an emphasis effect and red for exits. Animation occurs in one of 3 time states: on a click, after previous, or with previous. Plus there are options to delay the start time. It’s logical, but perhaps overwhelming at first glance.

If you are dealing with complex animation, we recommend renaming objects using the Selection Pane (on the Home tab, on the far right, click on the Select dropdown menu, and choose Selection Pane).  Renaming objects makes it easier to animate a complicated sequence and also makes it a lot easier for anyone else who works on the presentation later to see what’s going on behind the scenes. (The same names also appear on the shapes in the Animation Pane).

Which animations look good?

As a rule, we stick to simpler, cleaner PowerPoint animations such as Fade, Fly In/Out, Wipe In/Out and Appear/Disappear. We also try to avoid having to click through the animations by setting them to appear either With Previous or After Previous. Unless we need to avoid and control cognitive overload.

Remember: people watch what moves. They notice what is different. Make sure what you are saying matches watch you are showing with an animation. You need the flow of animation to be synchronised with the flow of your words.

Always animate text sentences on clicks: this helps to prevent the audience from reading ahead and getting out of sync with the presenter. It’s a simple thing, but it’s incredibly important.

Applying multiple animations to one object

Instead of using the animations ribbon to apply animations in the Animations tab, make a habit of using the Add Animation button instead – otherwise any animation you have previously applied to an object will be overwritten.

Animation Painter

To copy animations from one object to another, use the Animation Painter in the Animations tab. This works in the same was as the Format Painter and will bring over all of the animation effects and timings. New animations appear at the bottom on the pane, so move them to their correct place in the sequence as necessary.

Triggers (advanced PowerPoint animation tips)

The clue is in the name! A trigger makes something else happen. For example, if you want additional text to be hidden on your slide until you click an object – you can create a trigger to do this. Some examples of how triggers can be used can be seen in this short video:

Use transitions to animate

Transitions can create the illusion of animations. The Push transition (set to come in from the right) can create the effect of a timeline, as shown in this video.

In the right hands the Morph transition can mimic sophisticated animations, you can see this in action here.

When not to use PowerPoint animation

Don’t use animation if it is going to distract from your message. This is important! Also avoid using too much animation for presentations used in webinars. Because the streaming capabilities of all users are not the same. Poor internet connections may cause animations lag or mean they do not play at all.

To see how animation can increase interactivity:

Take a look at our video on vimeo: Presented’s Interactive PowerPoint Examples

How to set up slide masters

slide masters

Setting up slide masters is good for you! If you are learning about PowerPoint slide masters for the first time, a master acts as a style sheet for setting common or uniform elements. You might wonder how a slide master is different to a slide layout? Put simply, slide layouts are different style variants of a slide master.

Why set up slide masters in PowerPoint?

Setting up template masters correctly will make creating house style presentations much simpler. You’ll get consistent looking slides, your formatting speed will increase, you’ll save time for other (more) important work. If you’ve ever wasted time trying to get slides to look more like each other, e.g. when pasting slides from other decks, then it helps to understand masters.

Also: the “Reset” button is an awesome tool. When your slides are correctly supported by slide master and layouts, you’ll be able to reformat at entire slide with just one click. It’s our best friend.

How to set up a Slide Master:

To access Slide Masters, go to the View tab and click Slide Master. The top master is the grand master, you need to scroll to the top of the list of layouts on the left to get to it.

Do as much style setting as you can on the top master as this will feed through to all other layouts automatically.

What do you set up on the “top” master?

What are the most common elements you use on a slide? Use these to format your top master.

Use your company house style to create bullet styles, assign fonts, colours and layout of footers.  Change the theme, background, or colour scheme.

Click Format Background at the bottom of the Background Styles list to open the Format pane. Choose from background options, such as advanced fill settings, artistic effects, and colour and image settings.

To change the default fonts in your presentation: go to the Variants group on the Design tab in Slide Master. Set Heading and Body fonts. This applies to all layouts.

To edit placeholders in the grand master slide, click Master Layout. To show or hide the title, text, date, slide numbers, or footer placeholders on the slide master, select or clear the check boxes to show or hide the placeholders.

Some more tips

  • Do not to delete footer, page number and date from the top master – but do format them and switch them off in other layouts if they aren’t needed.
  • Avoid using subheading styles within main bullet hierarchy:  additional text boxes on layouts is preferable.
  • Use the “Hide Background graphics” option in the ribbon to turn off the graphics from the top master in a layout.
  • Use a fixed text box for any permanent footer (e.g Private & Confidential), but use the footer placeholder for editable text (e.g. Presentation Title).
  • You can either delete or leave in any layouts you think you won’t need – at a later date they might come in handy.

Mastering slide masters is easy when you know how!