Do you need to create 2 versions of a presentation? Read on…

We all know that 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 look better when they are nicely designed. But even if you create a beautiful, light and visual set of slides – you’re then 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 they do attend, but still 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 a bit more text here just to avoid confusion, or there to make another point, or 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”).

The 2 version solution isn’t great

So the 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 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 not-so big reveal: The solution = create one version!

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 image below).

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:

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 – but you could always send the PPT as well as the PDF. If you’re sure they will look at both…!)

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

Zoom in PowerPoint

There is more than one way to zoom in PowerPoint presentations. There are ways to highlight individual objects, summarise your slides onto one or create a canvas with different areas to navigate.

Basic zooming

The basic 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 I used the Morph transition (available in PowerPoint for Office 365, PowerPoint 2016 and PowerPoint Online) 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 features

PowerPoint has added some new zoom features, you could give these a go to add some interest to your presentation.

Try this! Open any PowerPoint presentation and go to Insert > Zoom > Summary Zoom, select all the slides and click Insert. You will see that 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, keeping any animations. To show selected slides only, choose Slide Zoom. To show a single section only, choose Section Zoom. Here’s a video showing this feature in action:

Really sophisticated zoom in PowerPoint

We often get asked if we “do Prezi”. We can, but we don’t. We prefer to use PowerPoint to the highest level to replicate the animation that appeals to Prezi users. And with PowerPoint getting constant updates its features really are going from strength to strength.

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

This type of animation is great for meetings without an established agenda so you can click where the audience’s interests take you. 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

What is digital signage? The broadest definition is digital signage consists of any size screen displaying any type of content for any reason. More specifically then, those screens that you have noticed popping up everywhere – at bus stops, on the Underground, in restaurants, offices and shopping centres – these are all examples of digital signage which is being 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 becoming increasingly popular because it engages its audience more than traditional static signage which can only display one message at a time. It can contain an ever-changing mix of visually striking images and videos and has the capacity to be updated or refreshed in order to keep the content current and relevant – a good example of this being live weather or flight information. What is being displayed can change as often as the content creator would like.

Digitial signage flight map

London to Budapest flight map

The market is growing rapidly as it is now 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. But, museums, stadiums, hotels, restaurants, schools, colleges, universities, local councils, hospitals, GP surgeries and corporate buildings are using digital signage too for staff communications and information for guests or visitors. Third generation digital signage is interactive digital signage – which allows end users to interact with digital content 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… here’s the big reveal… drum roll please… using 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-In “Data 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 and 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, such as: 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 possible to create more visual and hence more memorable presentations by stripping out the unnecessary. 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 add more slides with smaller chunks of information on them – this will make the presentation easier to follow and digest. 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. That 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

Visual learning and recall

If you find you are making bulleted lists you might consider pulling out each bullet onto its own slide, each with a supporting image or graphic. Why? It’s been shown that people have 6x better recall when both verbal and visual channels are used together AND 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 ensures that your message is kept 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 how it is going to be delivered. 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.

When and how to use animation in PowerPoint

Animation in PowerPoint

The old adage ‘less is more’ could definitely be applied to the use of PowerPoint animation. Using a lot of different animations can distract from your overall message and make your presentation looks amateurish and messy. Used well, and this can mean adding some complex animations (and triggers, more on those later), it can draw attention to your key points, look really nifty and leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Before you begin

Before you start adding animations it is best to make sure the content of your presentation is finalised. Once animation is added it becomes harder to make changes. A useful tip is to add text directly to shapes where possible instead of adding textboxes on top of shapes – this makes animation easier as you are working with shapes and not groups.

With your content in place you should start by opening the Animation Pane. You will find this in the Animations tab. Within this pane you will see all of your animations in the order they will play.

If you are adding a lot of animations to a slide, go the Selection Pane (on the Home tab, go to the far right and click on the Select dropdown menu, click on Selection Pane) and rename the objects you are going to animate (these names will then also appear on the shapes in the Animation Pane) – this will make it easier to animate in sequence and a lot easier for anyone else who works on the presentation later to see what’s going on behind the scenes.

Which animations look good?

As a rule, we tend to stick to simpler, cleaner PowerPoint animation 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.

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 want the flow of animation to match the flow of what you are saying.

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 easily 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.

Triggers

The clue is in the name! A trigger makes something 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:

Using 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

The key here is not to use animation if it is going to distract from your message. Avoid using animation for presentations used in webinars – because the slides and visuals are streamed to all members at once including members whose internet connections may not be fast or stable meaning the animations lag or do not play at all.