"I do not think it makes sense to refer to PowerPoint as a method. Instead... PowerPoint is a medium that can be used effectively — that is, with effective design methods — or ineffectively, that is with ineffective design methods"
Here we introduce you to the basic technical know-how you will need to create an effective presentation. This compliments our presentations pages which give you a lot of information about what makes a good presentation, from it structure and design to its delivery.
The document above covers all the techniques given here, but if you prefer an online guide, or just want to check how to do something then these step-by-step sections will give you all the basic skills you need to create an effective academic presentation. If you want more advanced skills, we suggest you use the Office 365 Training Centre link above.
If you choose and stick to a colour scheme, it forces you to use a limited palette for your presentation and creates a cohesive look even if you change other elements.
It will not look like very much has happened. However, when you next come to choose a colour for an element within your presentation, you will see that the colour palette will have changed.
Choosing a default font will keep a consistency throughout your presentation whilst allowing you to have a slightly more interesting look than the standard Calibri.
All the fonts in this list are suitable for the main text in your presentation (they are not too fancy and hard to read). You can also Custom Fonts... from the bottom of the list and select a different font if you wish.
Backgrounds should be plain colours, slight textures or slight gradients. Do not choose anything too busy as it will interfere with the clarity of your slide content. If you choose a plain colour, it should be pale or dark, nothing in between. For many presentations it is perfectly acceptable to keep the background white.
The Format Background pane will appear on the right of the screen.
Choose two similar colours so that text will be equally readable in all areas of the slide.
Often, a tutor will require you to display your module number and student number on every slide (some prefer it only on the title slide so do check). You can add it to every slide easily in the footer.
This allows you to type in the Footer box.
If you want to put this information more prominently on your title slide, you may wish to check the Don’t show on title slide option so that it is not repeated.
Some settings, for example the position of the footer, the colour of the default text need to be changed for all slides. That is where the Slide Master is used.
This shows the layout masters for each of the available slide layouts.
This is very important if you want to affect ALL slides.
You should never need to use more than second level text (and even this only rarely).
If you want to move your footer to the left or right of the slide, you should do this here on the Slide Master so that you don’t have to keep doing it on each new slide.
You should be returned to your original slide with the text colour/sizes/fonts showing the changes made in the Slide Master.
How the initial placeholders for text and graphics are arranged on your slides is determined by your slide layout. Many students only used the default layouts of "Title slide" and "Title and Content" shown here:
There are several others that you may find useful as starting points for your slides. For example, working with the Title Only layout is a great way to make you really think about what makes the best evidence for the main body of your slide rather than just using another list of bullet points.
The New Slide button has two parts. If you click on the top part, you will get the default slide layout of Title and Content. To choose a different layout:
The new slide will be created using your chosen layout. This will also be the default slide layout the next time you click on the top part of the New Slide button.
The layout will be changed for the current slide. This will be the default slide layout the next time you click on the top part of the New Slide button.
Unlike MS Word, all text in PowerPoint is held in text boxes. This gives you complete flexibility over where you position the text and much more. Most slide layouts include existing text boxes, you can also create your own anywhere on a slide.
Text boxes that are part of a slide layout are called placeholders - they usually say something like "Click to add title/text".
Text boxes can be inserted from the Insert ribbon, or from the Drawing palette on the Home ribbon:
Although the text box position and size is decided by the template and slide layout you are using, you are completely free to change this on individual slides.
The four-headed arrow will indicate you are moving the box.
The two-headed arrow will indicate you are reshaping the box.
Moving the box
Reshaping the box
The circular rotate handle should be visible at the top of the box.
That brings up the options opposite.
The flashing cursor will disappear from inside the box.
Whole text box selected. All text will be changed.
Specific text selected. Only selected text will be changed.
Please note these instructions do not take into account licensing restrictions – you only use images that you have the legal right to use. See our page on How to get Images and Photos legally for help with this.
You have three main ways to insert images into PowerPoint:
This will open a standard file navigation dialog box.
Your image will be inserted in the centre of the slide.
This opens up a dialog box containing a Bing Image Search box.
Your results will be returned.
Your image will be placed in the middle of your slide.
Larger images (at least 1000 pixels in the first value) should be big enough to fill whole slides, other images should be at least 600 pixels in one dimension or they will be too small to use as anything other than icons).
Do not drag on the handles – this will reshape/resize the image rather than move it.
A two headed arrow will indicate you are resizing rather than moving.
Avoid the middle handles on each edge as dragging on these will distort the image leading to an unprofessional look.
There are several preset image effects that can enhance the look of your images.
Some picture styles
One way to make your slides more visual is to turn basic lists into SmartArt graphics. These are a group of preset diagrams that come with PowerPoint. You just need to fill in the text. Even a simple list looks more appealing as a SmartArt graphic - but their real strength comes in showing how information connects - relationships, processes, heirarchies etc.
Note that the icon for this is also available in the centre of a new Title and Content slide when you create it.
They are categorised to help you (down the left), and you can always change it later.
If this box does not appear, you can bring it up by clicking the symbol at the edge of the graphic.
The SmartArt graphic has its own tools – with its own Design and Format ribbons.
Once you have your own text in the graphic, you can still switch the layout and see how it looks in different styles.
With images added they could look like:
It is not recommended that you use the 3D styles as these can be more difficult to read.
PowerPoint’s drawing tools can be used to create your own diagrams and infographics. The drawing tools can all be accessed via the Drawing section of the Home ribbon. You can also find them using the Shapes button on the Insert ribbon.
There are many more available than can initially be seen – use the More button () to see the rest.
Do not try to drag the shape from the ribbon to your slide. Just select, then move.
Note: if you hold the Shift key as you drag it will constrain to a regular shape (e.g. circle/square rather than oval/rectangle). If you hold the Ctrl key down it will draw from the centre out. You can do both too.
Note that you can also fill with pictures, gradients or textures using the same option.
Pictures can be from file, searched for online or from the clip board (something you have copied).
This includes colour, weight and dash style. Lines (rather than shapes) can also have arrow heads of various styles and sizes.