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Voices from the Community is a new series of blog posts culling popular topics of interest from the TechSoup Community Forums and other online community channels.
If you want to be a superhero presenter, you've got to have some super powers... well, super PowerPoint powers, that is. Luckily, the TechSoup community is full of suggestions for how to power-point up your presentation with some time-saving PowerPoint tips.
TechSoup editor, Becky Wiegand likes the easy 1-click step of converting those boring bullets into a nice graphic using the SmartArt graphics converter. According to user tal202, those "b" and "w" shortcut keys to display a black or white screen sure beat covering the screen with a book! And for getting rid of that pesky pointer in a slide show, user Jason Samuels advises: right click >> pointer options >> arrow options >> hidden.
Getting images to look just right is often a time-consuming challenge. You can always use an outside photo editor, but for quick n' easy editing, user Richard Bakos suggests using the built-in Windows picture manager and lock to a format size so you will fill your slide. The latest version of Office 2010, includes enhanced photo editing features as well. Forum host Dave Welp has had good success with a handy image re-sizer to create a new file to a specified dimension and file size from your photo image. Dave cautions to be careful of your presentation file size as sometimes PowerPoint keeps the full image size if you resize within the program.
For a way to adjust the size of an image but keep the proportions, forum host Yann Toledano has the answer. Simply select the image by clicking on it with your mouse, hold down the Shift key, and while holding down the key drag the edges of the image in the direction you want to increase or decrease the size of the image. Should you want to get really crafty with your slides, you can follow these directions for creating an automatic display.
Don't have PowerPoint or looking for an alternative? User altaspca like the look and effects of the free tool, Prezi, whereas user tech*vista_tim springs for iSpring. Google's presentation tool (Google Docs Presentation) doesn't offer much in the way of sophistication, but user spikeGIS finds it to be a super-easy web-based option.
When it comes to the presentation itself, "keep it simple," says forum host Sasha Daucus. "Don't let the cart lead the horse." The PowerPoint should be an aid to your presentation, so don't get caught up in trying to put too much information in it. Visuals are key, Yann agrees. Yann also suggests doing a run-through of your presentation beforehand to help you edit slides as needed and find ways to keep your audience engaged. After all, you wouldn't want them to experience Life After Death by PowerPoint, warns Dave. You can check out our two-part article series How to Design a Bad Presentation and How to Deliver a Bad Presentation for general tips on what not to do.
Got a PowerPoint tip of your own to add? Let us know about it in the forum discussion.
You can also check out PowerPoint, which is available to eligible nonprofits and public libraries through TechSoup's software donation program. In addition, you can read more favorite tips and tricks for Microsoft Office in these earlier posts: