How to reduce PowerPoint file size

Introducing the Zip trick to reduce PowerPoint file sizes

PowerPoint files can be huge, and this can be a problem – for example if you are hoping to email the file some servers have size limits for attachments. There is a simple trick (thanks to Echo Swinford for the knowledge) using Zip to investigate what might be causing the problem. Let’s look at the process:

1. First, make a copy of the file

In File Explorer, select the PPT and Control-C, Control-V in the same folder.

2. Right-click on the copy and select Rename 

3. Add the extenstion “.zip” to the very end of the file name

Make sure to put the .zip after the existing file extension (.pptx) – do not replace it. The file now becomes a zipped folder. It’should read “filename.pptx.zip”

A zipped PowerPoint presentation in a folder

A zipped PowerPoint presentation

4. Now Unzip the folder to access the contents

5. Click the folder “ppt” > “media”

In the media folder you will see a list of all the image files in your presentation – jpegs, gifs, MP4s etc. Sort by Size or Compressed size, so you can see the largest easily.

Images in the Zip folder

Images in the Zip folder

6. Change view to large icons, or double click on the images, to identify them

Once you’ve identified which images are pushing up the MB count, go into your original presentation and reduce the file size for each image in PowerPoint. Select the image and in the Picture Format tab click on Compress Pictures.

Compress Picture dialog box

Options for image compression

Choose “Apply only to this picture” to keep a better control of image quality throughout. Of course you can choose to compress all the pictures but sometimes the PowerPoint compression tool can give a low quality result.

You can also delete the cropped areas of the pictures. The tool here gives a guide on recommended resolutions – we go for 150 ppi if a small file size is crucial.

Obviously you can also use PhotoShop to really keep control on image quality and size.

7. Resave your presentation and check the reduced file size

Spot the difference.

Zip to reduce file size

Hey presto my file is no longer massive

So that’s how you use Zip to reduce the file size in PowerPoint!

Now you can delete the Zip folder and you’re done!

For more advice on how to reduce file size in PowerPoint, there are plenty of How To videos on YouTube, like this one.

How to set up the Quick Access Toolbar

Get faster: set up the Quick Access Toolbar

One of the bugbears as a PowerPoint user is having to click between tabs to access the commands that you use frequently – it can slow the process of creating your slides. One way to speed things up is to set up the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). The QAT is a customizable toolbar to which you can add your most frequently-used commands so that they are permanently displayed.

Useful commands to add

Here at Presented we all have our own preferences for which commands we like easy access to, but there are some which we have all added, such as some alignment tools, arrange (e.g. Bring to Front), undo and redo, and the various copy and paste options. Here are a few examples from the Presented team:

qat

How to customise your QAT

Go to the ribbon and click the relevant tab (or group) to display the command that you want. Right-click the command, and then select Add to Quick Access Toolbar from the shortcut menu. You aren’t restricted to commands that are on the ribbon either, to add commands that aren’t on the ribbon, click the Customize the Quick Access Toolbar dropdown, and go to More Commands. In the Choose commands from: dropdown, select Commands Not in the Ribbon. Find the command in the list, and then click Add >>, when you Ok this dialog box it will be added to the QAT. You can equally remove a command from the QAT by right clicking on the command button and selecting Remove from Quick Access Toolbar from the shortcut menu.

A handy add-in!

On a side note, there are many add-ins available for PowerPoint, and one we use here at Presented is i-Slide. There is a free version available here: https://en.islide.cc/pricing. Once installed you will have an i-Slide tab, where you will find lots of useful tools all in one place.

Reordering commands on the Quick Access Toolbar

You might want to group similar commands together on the toolbar (e.g. all alignment tools). To do this, right-click the QAT, then select Customize the Quick Access Toolbar from the dropdown menu. Find the command you want to move and click on it, then use the Move Up or Move Down arrows to get it where you want it.

How to move the QAT

The QAT can either be displayed in the upper left corner (on the title bar) or below the ribbon. If you want to move it click on Customize Quick Access Toolbar (on the far right of the QAT). From the dropdown select Show Below the Ribbon or Show Above the Ribbon.

Another way to customize the QAT

You can also add, remove, and change the order of the commands on your QAT by using the Options command. First, click on the File tab and under Help, select Options. If you then click Quick Access Toolbar you can make the changes you want.

How to reset the Quick Access Toolbar to the default settings

If you get in a pickle and would like to reset the QAT to the default settings, right-click on it and Customize the Quick Access Toolbar from the dropdown. This opens the Customize the Quick Access Toolbar window, click on Reset Defaults, and then select Reset only Quick Access Toolbar.

Three things the Quick Access Toolbar cannot do

Annoyingly you cannot make the buttons in the QAT any larger and they are quite small. The only way to do this is to lower your screen resolution, and that’s not ideal. Another niggle is that the QAT can only run on one line so you may not be able to add everything you want to it. Also, you can only add actual commands to the QAT so other formatting options, such as indenting and line spacing (which show on the ribbon), cannot be added.

Good luck!

Embedding Microsoft Forms in PowerPoint

Using Microsoft Forms in PowerPoint is an excellent way to boost engagement of an online presentation. Generally this is for presentations which are shared, and read by individuals. There are of course other ways to use polls with 3rd party apps in live events. Anyone viewing a copy of the presentation can fill the form/answer the quiz questions and submit it to the presenter without having to exit PowerPoint.

Forms are a simple way to share a survey, opinion poll and other information by embedding the Microsoft Forms within a PowerPoint document. Share the presentation, and collect user responses. The results will automatically be collated for you online in forms.office.com.

Microsoft Forms in PowerPoint

How to insert Microsoft Forms PowerPoint

The Microsoft Forms PowerPoint add-in allows presenters to easily insert a quiz (or a form) into a PowerPoint deck. To access Forms, go to the Insert tab and click the Forms icon in PowerPoint ribbon. Any current forms or quizzes will appear in the task pane, or you can select + New Form or + New Quiz.

You can use the form to test audience understanding of your content, or gather data about your audience. Use it as a learning tool to check if certain aspects of your presentation need improving ? Or, of course, it can simply be a bit of fun.

Form features

There are 4 types of basic question available to use in a form:

  • multiple choice – it will give you some suggestions or you can add your own options, allowing for more than one to be selected if this this appropriate
  • rating, which can be stars or numbers
  • date (maybe you would like to track if the feedback improves over time)
  • text – either long or short

You also have the option to add ranking with up/down arrows or Likert charts and there is an option to upload files. You can make answers “required” and shuffle them if you think users will always opt for the first option.

There are some in-built design features, they are quite basic, but you can also use your own background colour or upload an image if you wish.

Quiz features

Quiz fields are the same as those for forms, the only real difference is how they display on the screen.

Capture and analyse data

As users submit their responses to forms and quizzes, these come through to the website where you can log in to view them (forms.office.com). There are various things you can do with the responses. For quizzes you can then score them and share the results with the participants. Or for forms maybe you would like to open the responses in Excel to save for your records, or for extra analysis.

The Microsoft Forms PowerPoint add-in makes the whole process easy. Give it a try!

The pros and cons when you outsource presentation design

Outsourcing is commonplace in business. It makes sense to contract out functions to third parties when you do not have the internal resource available. Companies outsource all sorts of functions from marketing to sales, customer service and HR.  Taking the outsource of presentation design as an example, we’re going to look at some pros and cons.

So, let’s get into it. Why should you outsource presentation design?

  • Outsourcing PowerPoint design gives you access to skills and expertise that you do not have in-house
  • You don’t have to employ a dedicated presentation designer, which saves you money on benefits, training, recruitment time etc
  • Your presentations should be a much higher quality once they are professionally designed, which makes you look good
  • It’s easy to budget for some external design help
  • Outsourcing presentation design will free up your team to work on what they are good at
  • You’ll gain competitive advantage when your presentations are more impressive visually than those of your rivals

Of course, handing over control of a business function to someone else, brings risks of its own:

  • The presentation design may not meet your expectations (less talented freelancer perhaps?)
  • The work may miss your deadline, depending on the workload at the design agency
  • You may experience communication problems which can cause delays
  • There is a risk of confidentiality breach (of course this risk can be easily mitigated with an NDA)
  • Outsourcing design can be costly if you don’t shop around

Taking all of this into account, if your external presentations could do with a design refresh and if you have the budget available it is definitely worthwhile looking into outsourcing your presentation design.

And do we need to say we’re the best presentation design agency to outsource to? We don’t need to. But we just did.

How to share presentations online (or host on a website)

You can share interactive, animated and fully functional presentations online!

This avoids the problems of sending presentations via email: such as high resolution images and videos, making the file size quickly mount up. And fixes the issue with fonts not embedding (which you can’t do on a Mac, but you can do on a PC providing it’s the right font type!). Sharing a presentation online also solves the problem of which PowerPoint version viewers have installed… and of course the potential issues of viewing on a Mac vs PC.

Here’s how to share your presentation online:

1) Simply convert PowerPoint to HTML5 to share your presentation online

We’ve used software from iSpring Solutions. They offer a free trial so you can give it a go, or we can convert for you.

Take a look at the HTML5 examples we have created below:

Access Sport sample
Video overlay sample

2) Once converted, just upload the files to your own website

Whilst you may need to ask your web dev team to do this, it’s simply uploading files. No coding, and is easy to do yourself with an FTP uploader.

Once uploaded, you can send a link to your presentation that can be opened in any web browser. Safe in the knowledge that fonts, animations and visuals will show up as expected with quick load times. Naturally – test the results before sharing 🙂

The conversion software at iSpring handles most animation effects. There are a few it doesn’t (yet) convert. The most significant lack is the Morph transition. This isn’t a deal breaker of course, there are traditional animation methods that can replace the morph effect. (Ahhh, what we used in the good ol’ days!)
Full list of PPT animations that are converted into HTML5.

And that’s it.

Get the software, convert, upload. Sounds good? Need our help? Get in touch with the team to discuss your needs further.

How to look good in a virtual presentation

Tips on how to look good in a virtual meeting

How to look good in virtual presenations from Presented.

1. DECLUTTER DON’T LET YOUR BACKGROUND BE DISTRACTING

You might think you’re adding interest and quirkiness, but having a messy background is distracting. The most distracting are items with text – your viewers will be reading those. Sure, you might want to show off your bookshelf, but if those spines are readable, well, just know some audience members will indeed be reading instead of listening to you. So if your meeting is an important one – declutter your background. Pick up stray items, plan what’s visible.

You can often change the angle of your screen to find a better view without rearranging furniture, so try different angles. A friend had her drying laundry out one time – we agreed the best place for that was behind her chair. Blocked from view, but her clothes were still drying!

 

2. CAMERA TEST YOUR ANGLES RAISE YOUR CAMERA TO YOUR EYE LEVEL

You don’t want to be looking down your nose in a virtual prseentation, i.e. at people. Neither do you want them to be looking up your nostrils!

Likewise if the camera is too high it may mean your eyebrows are constantly raised… surprise isn’t always the right look to have on your face 🙂

A great tip is to set up a dummy meeting and record it. Position your camera in various places and heights and when you play back the recording you can objectively see what works best for you.

 

3. DROP THE MIC

You don’t just need to look good, you need to sound good in a virtual presentation. Using in-built microphones generally gives you below par voice quality. If presenting is an important part of your job then invest in a mic so that you sound beautiful! Vocal clarity and power will help you to convince and connect with your audience. There are many brands out there – and many recommendations for different price points.

 

4. LIGHT UP!

Whilst natural light is often going to give the best results, we can’t always control where windows, power sources, desks and other obstacles might be. So for good lighting, use a lamp at 45 degrees. Again, record your set up and see what works best for you. And what works at different times of day. A lot of pros use a halo light. Avoid “arty” lighting where half of your face is in shadow. It might look “cool”, but you shouldn’t be going for that look. You should be connecting with your audience and showing you are open, honest, transparent (not literally transparent we hasten to add). Shadows look arty, but don’t display openness in a virtual set up.

 

5. KEEP EXPERIMENTING – GET IT CHECKED

Ask a friend or colleague. You can’t always be objective about your own appearence. If you have recordings get some votes on what works. And keep working on improving this. Once you have your set up sorted – it’s going to boost your confidence knowing that you look good.

And it might help you to look at your own camera feed less when in that virtual presentation. We all have a glance to check we look good right?

 

6. NOW YOU LOOK GOOD, MAKE SURE YOUR SLIDES DO TOO…

You didn’t think we wouldn’t mention that your slides need to look good in a virtual presentation too right?
Don’t waste hours of your time sorting and formatting your slides – outsource that stress and time drain to the professionals. We’ll help you to look good.