How to master using slide masters

slide masters

Slide masters are good for you! For those of you who are learning about PowerPoint slide masters for the first time, a master acts as a style sheet for setting common or uniform elements on all slides in a presentation. 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 use slide masters?

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 one slide looking more like another, for example when pasting in slides from other decks – then it will really help to understand masters.

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 to 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 (choose the bullet hierarchy), 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 and choose from background options, such as advanced fill settings, artistic effects, and colour and image settings.

To change all of the fonts in your presentation at once go to the top of the Slide Master pane, click the slide master. In the Background group on the Slide Master tab, click and select a font from the list.

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!

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

Which PowerPoint font should you use?

screen displaying various fonts

There are thousands of weird and wonderful fonts available, but when answering the question of which PowerPoint font should you use for your presentation it is vital that you take into consideration where it will be viewed. For example, if your audience is in-house only and all of your team/company have your house style fonts installed on their machines then there isn’t a problem with using them (just so long as everyone has them installed that is…). However, if your house style fonts are non-standard PowerPoint fonts and the presentation is going to be viewed externally or on any machine which does not have the font installed – that’s where you could have a nasty problem.

Why is this a problem?

If your chosen PowerPoint font is non-standard and the computer used to view the presentation doesn’t have this font installed, PowerPoint will automatically substitute in a standard font (e.g. Calibri) instead. This can make the presentation look very different (for example, text may wrap in odd places or fall off the slide altogether) and no one wants that.

What’s the solution?

Happily, you don’t need to be a font geek to fix this, there are a few simple ways to stop it from happening!

  • You could only use the PowerPoint on machines that have the correct font installed. But, this may not be possible if you are sending the presentation out to clients or if it is being used at a conference or other meeting where it will be loaded onto a non-company machine which does not have your font installed.
  • There is the option to embed a non-standard font into the PowerPoint itself. This option is limited though because it this only works for .TTF* fonts (not .OTF* fonts) and it doesn’t work at all when presentations are viewed on a Mac.
  • If you are 100% sure that your presentation is finalised you can save it as a PDF before distribution. But, again, there is a downside to this. Although fonts are embedded automatically in PDFs, suddenly your presentation will be a lot harder to edit and any nifty animations you have added will be lost.
  • You could replace the font with images of the text. Yes, this will look the same, but again you have now made your presentation a lot harder to edit in the future.
  • The most effective solution is to replace the font with a standard (safe) PowerPoint font (e.g. Arial, Century Gothic, Calibri) instead. You can choose the font which is the closest match in terms of your house style font for a similar look and feel. The downside to this is if your house style font is particularly quirky you may not be able to find a suitable equivalent. In this case you can refer to the above options.

What is a standard PowerPoint font?

We have already mentioned Arial, Century Gothic and Calibri – there are more to choose from. Other fonts that are safe to use cross-platform are Times New Roman, Times, Verdana, Courier and Courier New – to name just a few. You can find more listed here: http://presentit.blogspot.co.uk/2009/06/fonts.html.  Something else you should bear in mind is that the safe fonts list also depends on which version of Windows is being used – make sure your font is safe in all versions if your presentation is going to be widely distributed.

*What are .TTF and .OTF fonts?

TrueType Fonts (.TTF) came first and were designed to work with on both PCs and Macs. OpenType Fonts (.OTF) were developed later to work in Adobe and Microsoft packages. The main difference between .OTF and .TTF is in the advanced typesetting features which .OTF offers. There are some extra frills such as ligatures and ‘alternate characters’ (also known as glyphs) available, that give designers more options to work with.

Further information

There are a number of webpages that will talk you through all of this in more detail:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/826832/how-to-embed-fonts-in-powerpoint

http://www.differencebetween.net/technology/difference-between-ttf-and-otf/

https://thepresentationdesigner.co.uk/5-classic-presentation-fonts/

With font selection it is better to go with a safe option.

Face-saving PPT keyboard shortcuts (when you’re presenting)

Keyboard graphic with PPT keyboard shortcuts text

PPT keyboard shortcuts

PPT keyboard shortcuts come in handy: It’s the kind of scenario people have bad dreams about… you are halfway through your presentation and the mouse stops working leaving you stranded on one slide. So, you start to panic, everyone’s waiting and you want to keep their attention… Luckily for you, there are some PPT keyboard shortcuts in PowerPoint Slide Show mode which you can use to keep things moving seamlessly.

1.
Go!
To kick things off, you may need to access Slide Show mode – clicking F5 (or Fn F5 on some keyboards) will start the Slide Show from slide 1.

2.
Next!
There are a few ways to move on to the next slide, you can press Enter, the n key (for next), the down arrow or the spacebar – and the presentation will move to the next slide.

3.
Take me there
. If you want to navigate to a particular slide in the deck and you know the slide number, type the number and press return to take you directly to that slide.

4.
Where was I?
If you want to go to a particular slide but don’t know the slide number, clicking Ctrl-S within a Slide Show will bring up a list of slides in the presentation. You can then use the down arrow on the keyboard to get to your desired slide, simply press return when it is highlighted in the list and you’ll be taken straight there.

5.
Give me a sec. Now you have things moving again, you may want to pause the presentation briefly to give you time to wax lyrical. So that your audience is listening to you and isn’t distracted by what’s on screen, you can temporarily blank out your slide. Simply type ‘b’. This will black out the screen until you press another key. Similarly, ‘w’ will make the screen go white.

6.
You’re just showing off now.
You want to draw the audience’s attention to something specific on your slide but, as we know, your mouse has abandoned you. Try Ctrl-P – this will turn your cursor into a pen on the screen. You can then use your finger on the mouse pad to move the pen to where you want it on the screen, and then if you click and hold on the mouse pad you can draw on the slide with your finger. To get out of pen mode, Ctrl-P again and you can carry on through your presentation.

Don’t have nightmares, you don’t need a mouse when you have the nous.

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!