Category Archives: PowerPoint

PowerPoint: Show Your Progress With Slide Master

Insert Slide MasterHave you ever wondered how long a presentation will take? Have you ever wondered what the progress is of the presentation? Well I have! Too many presentations last forever almost putting you to sleep if you don’t start using Whats App between slides. Why not show your audience the progress of your presentation? In this post I will show you a tip how to implement a kind of progress so your audience knows where you are during your presentation. Simply divide it into sections using the various titles slides. A big advantage will be that you have the structure you are looking for while setting up the presentation.

A blank canvas
TitleSlide_ISo we start of with a blank canvas and move on from there. Start PowerPoint and choose blank presentation. Now on the Home tab in the Slides group have a look at the layout menu. It will show you the default setting for this presentation. This is where we are going to make the changes. We would like to have three Layouts we can choose from. Because we haven’t made any changes yet there is only one set of layout available. Click on the image to enlarge…

The progress bar idea
For this presentation I will use three images to show the progress of my presentation. I will put the images at the bottom of my slides. The idea is that the presentation will be divided into three sections. So when I am presenting and talking about the first section it will show an active first image with the second and third images being a kind of grayed out. So let’s start looking for some appropriate images. I think the images below will serve the right purpose!


Change the master slide layout
While I am at it I would like to structure my way of setting up this presentation. So I decide to create three types of Master slides which I can use while creating my presentation. The first section will be about “Medical IT”. The second section will be about “Insights” and the final section will be about “Analysis”. Change the work environment by setting it to “Slide Master” setting. Easiest way I have been using many years is by clicking the “Normal” view button in the status bar. If you click this button while holding the Shift button it will bring you straight into the Slide Master view.


Add the second section by adding a New Slide Master
Because we would like to add three sections I decided to add a new Slide Master. So in Slide Master view click the button on the ribbon that states “Insert Slide Master”. You will get a new Slide master underneath the existing one. While you are at it add a third Slide Master. So in total you will have three Master Slides available.

Adding images to the various Slide Masters
Click on the first Master slide of your collection. Add the images to your slide here. Remember we want to show progress. To create the illusion of progress I grayed out the second and the third images. Add the images also to the second and third master slides you have created. Don’t forget to grey out the appropriate images in the appropriate sections. The image below shows the images I have placed on the second section. This means that I have grayed out the first and third image in this section.


Even more structure
I you take a peek in “Normal View” from time to time you will see that PowerPoint has chosen some default names for you slide layouts. Let’s make this more structured and fitted to our needs. Right click every single Master slide we have created (three in our case). From the appearing menu choose “Rename Master”.



As you might have seen I have chosen the “Medical IT”, “Insights” and “Analysis” titles for my master slides. So change them accordingly to your preference and have a look in the slide layout menu in “Normal View”.


Divide the presentation into sections
We now have three kinds of layout to choose from. But if you look closely you will see that you have a lot of slides to choose from. How many of those types of layout do your really use during the presentation? Exactly my point! Why not remove those we will not use? Again it is into the slide master view. Right click the layout slides you don’t like or you will not be likely to use. From the menu choose “Delete Layout”. You will get a lot cleaner overview of slides you will want to use when creating your presentation. My favorite layout? Blank! Have a look at the image and ask yourself…. how many times did I use this slide layout in my last presentations?


Create sections in the Slide Sorter
Final step is to create specific section names for each slide master and you are good to go. I like to do this in the Slide Sorter view (status bar second icon), but you can also do this in Normal View. Right click in front of the slide where you want the next section to start and click “Add Section”. Rename your section to in this case the same name as the slide masters and you will have one perfect setup for your presentation!


Now show the progress
TitleSlide_XIWith that all taken care of it’s up to you to show the progress of your presentation. Add slides as needed and choose the correct layout slide. Adding slides to the first section? Choose the first layout from the layout menu. Adding slide to the second section of your presentation? Add slides from the second layout from the menu. When you are presenting the audience can actually see which section is being covered by the active images on the bottom of your presentation. If you have reached the third section of your presentation your audience will know that you are in the final stages of your presentation. The only thing they will post in Whats App now is that the presentation is in it final stage!





Office: Remove Background From Picture

Remove_BGThe Office suite has many possibilities to refine your documents. Sometimes you want to add that nice looking picture but it needs a little tweaking. If you have the experience and the tools you can use Photoshop to edit your pictures. If you do not have Photoshop or the knowledge to work with Photoshop you can use the build in functionality of Microsoft Office. In this blog post I will show you how to remove the background of images so you can use them in your Office documents.

Insert Picture
For the first example I am going to insert a picture in a blank PowerPoint slide. Remember this can also be done in  Word and Excel. We start with a simple picture. A crack in a wall where we want to remove the background from.


When the picture is inserted you will see an additional tab appear in your ribbon. This format tab is just the one we need for our task. With the picture in place we click on the contextual format tab. There you click the Remove Background button. This will present you with another contextual tab as shown below


Overview of actions
At this point something interesting will happen. You picture becomes a ‘negative’. A purple color with some handles to play around with. The magic happens on the left on the slides sorter where you can see a preview of your outcome. So while moving the handles in your picture your preview will be updated constantly.


Easy background removal
I know what you are thinking… This one is easy! It is.. so let’s try a more difficult picture. So new picture same task. This time I will insert a traffic light where I want to remove the background.


Same technique same handling
We want to get rid of the blue sky and that pole thing on the bottom right. So take the same steps. Activate the contextual tab and move the handles so it fits your needs. Keep your eye on the preview on the left.


Now for a difficult one
Remember it takes a little patience to get the result you might be looking for. The key tip here is Zoom in, Zoom in and Zoom in. The next picture is one of my favorite pictures just because of its simplicity.


Now remove that background
In this picture we need to completely remove a building from the background. That’s a whole different ballgame. Let’s see what we can accomplish. First we activate the Remove Background contextual tab. Now we are of to the tuning part. Remember Zoom is the keyword here.


Starting point
When the remove background tab is activated PowerPoint will propose a first step. Not bad but it shows a couple of twitches that need some additional tuning. Everything that is ‘negative’ will be removed from the picture. In this case the ‘ONE WAY’ signs have some tweaking that needs to be done. To solve that the first steps I take is to set the ‘square’ a little bigger by moving the top handles up a bit and the bottom handles down a bit.

Remove_BG_VIIIRemoving ‘the rest’ – tuning
The first steps I took was zooming in on my picture. You can do this simply by using the zoom + sign on the lower right of your PowerPoint screen. Now I need to get rid of the purple strip on the white outlining of the ONE WAY sign. I click the button ‘Mark areas to keep’. This will change you mouse to a ‘pen’. With this pen you can draw over the area to keep. So in this case I want to keep the white outline of the sign.


Select just a little more…
To make sure PowerPoint gets what I want I select just a little more white border than needed. Now PowerPoint will understand that this is part of the outline. In your picture you will see the purple area disappear from the outline just as you wanted. But what if I want to remove areas instead of keeping them? Well in that case choose the button ‘Mark areas to remove’. Instead of a + sign in your line you will see a – sign in your selection line. That way if you have a very complicated picture you can always detect what areas you have selected to keep and which areas should be removed.


Cropping the final part
I usually set the selection handles to a wide range. The final step is to ‘crop’ all the areas I don’t need in my picture.

Sure it takes a little effort to get the result you are looking for. But remember easy pictures show instant result. More complex pictures take more tweaking. I think the provided default functionality offers a lot of possibilities without having to dive into Photoshop to get the same result. If you have simple pictures and need to keep going I would say give it a try!

Nifty SmartArt Trick In Microsoft Office

SmartArtIconWhen SmartArt was introduced in Office 2007 everyone could make their documents just look a little more ‘designed’. Wow with just a little more clicks we had this diagram looking great with no hassle at all. But did you know that you can do more with that smart art option? How about creating a collage picture from some of your photo’s with a few simple clicks. Let me show you what I mean. For this example I used PowerPoint but anyone using Microsoft Office knows that you can do this in Word and Excel as well. So pick an application and see if you can follow my steps here.

Insert Pictures
The first step I take is insert some pictures I’d like to use for my SmartArt. In this case I’ve chosen some pictures I took when visiting the Yankee Stadium in New York. I selected 5 pictures and clicked ok. The slide looks something like this:


As you can see all pictures are still selected and they should remain that way. So don’t click anywhere yet because we are not done yet.

Back to the Ribbon
With all pictures still selected you should see a contextual tab appear in your ribbon. In the contextual ribbon tab click on the Picture Layout button as shown below.

Smart_Art_VWow this is cool! Pick the picture layout you like best. For this example i chose the first one. This will create the following SmartArt.

SmartArt_IYes, this looks great! But…. it says “Text” right there in my picture and i don’t want that. Well the trick here is to open the text pane from the SmartArt and click the space bar once. This will create a space in the text box and will remove the word “text” in the central picture. Do this for all text boxes!

Some more design…..
Now add some more design to the SmartArt by clicking the design tab in the ribbon and picking the one you like best. Shown below

Smart_Art_VIIOther Layouts
When you have picked a layout and like to see the other possibilities just click the ribbon again and change the layout in the SmartArt section. It will show you the possible SmartArt that can be used. Not every SmartArt is applicable but the ones that do will show you a nice preview.

Examples: let me show three layouts I chose while working with the same pictures




Wow how cool are those? Better yet, if you would like to save this SmartArt as a picture just right-click the smartart and choose ‘Save As Picture’. You now have 5 pictures melted into 1 without distorting the original files. Yes non designers, we can be designers too!

Smart_Art_VIIIHappy SmartArt(ing) 🙂


PowerPoint: About Pictures And A 1000 Words

roseA picture is worth a thousand words.
So when using PowerPoint you should stick to fewer words and find that picture that says it all right? In PowerPoint it is possible to combine the picture and a word together. Wow that would mean that I would tell 2000 words with just one picture 🙂 Let’s see the possibilities PowerPoint has to offer using pictures, text and these two combined. Don’t worry you don’t have to be a designer (I’m not). This blog post will show you some simple techniques making your presentation looking stunning with just some simple adjustments. The picture on the left is a simple shape from PowerPoint filled with a picture of a flower I took with my camera.

Picture in the background of my text
All to often I see people copying and pasting images and text like their lives depend on it. It is possible to combine the two options in a very easy way. Example. We want the words Happy Holidays combined with a picture from the winter season. If possible add some extra effect and we should be fine. Here are the steps one could do. Remember I know there’s Photoshop and other applications out there that can do this more sophisticated. The goal however is to use just that what we have on hand and in this case it is PowerPoint.

  • Add a new empty slide to your presentation
  • Add the text Happy Holidays to the slide with the text box. Your slide should look something like this:


  •  The next step is to add a picture to the text. To do so click on the text border. You should see 8 points around the text. If you see those you know that the text box is selected. Next click on the contextual tab in the ribbon (Drawing Tools). Do not be fooled to choose text fill but instead choose shape fill as shown below


  • Choose shape fill and from the menu choose Picture… Pick a location where your pictures reside and choose the appropriate picture. Click insert. For this example I chose a winter season picture


  • Now with the picture in place let’s adjust the font style. For this picture I set the font color to white. To do so click the text border once more making sure it is selected. Now click on the contextual tab and this time choose text fill to change the color of the text as shown below


  • Now for the next trick what i did was I copied the complete text box. This will give you a duplicate of the first text box. From the second text box remove the shapefill. You take the same steps you take when adding a shape fill but now choose ‘no shape fill’. This will leave you with the white text. Change the text to an appropriate color you like. The next step is to move the second text box ‘over’ the first text box. You can either do that by using the mouse or the keyboard Ctrl + arrow key up.

movetextThis will leave you with something like this:

textfill_IISo there you have it, text and picture combined!
Now the challenge… can you reproduce the same examples as show below?

First one: A Star is born…


Second one: Do you like a nice sunset?


Office Remote – Presenting using your Windows Phone!

OffRemote_III I do a lot of presenting and it is always a challenge to pick the right tools for the job. A lot depends on the environment settings in which you have to do your show. Will i be able to walk around just a little, is presenterview easy to use at the moment, can i use the mouse for clicking to the next slide etc. Since a couple of weeks i’ve added Office Remote to my toolbox when presenting. So what is it and how can it add value to your presentation?Office Remote is an add in for PowerPoint. When installed it will add an additional tab to your ribbon called Office Remote.
Download Office remote here:
You need a windows 8 phone device, office 2013 (i tried office 2010 and that also worked… ssst don’t tell anyone) and the desktop addin!
The next step you have to do is download the App from the windows store. Just type office remote in your search box on your phone.
Install the App and you are good to go. Now for some additional steps:
  • Your phone must be set to bluetooth enabled. Your tablet or pc must also be set to bluetooth enabled. In your PC settings (tablet settings) let devices sync via bluetooth (pair). The name of the connecting pc will be stored in your phoneapp;
  • Ok, devices are in sync, it is time to use the office remote during the presentation;
  • Start PowerPoint and click on the Office Remote tab, click on the Office remote button;
  • Make sure you start the app on your phone. Goes without saying that bluetooth should be enabled…
  • Now when you start your presentation you will see the filename appear on your windows phone. Select the file and just by clicking on your phone you will advance to the next slide. But what really makes it interesting is the fact that it shows the notes from the notes pane directly on your phone. Your story is right there in the palm of your hands 🙂 Who needs presenterview now…
OffRemote_I OffRemote_II OffRemote_IV

What are you waiting for, give it a try…

Take a look at the video by clicking the link below and your on your way:

Office Remote

Happy Presenting 🙂

Custom slideshows in PowerPoint

Custom Show

When a company asks you to create a presentation for two different timed sessions you create two powerpoint presentations right? Wrong… when you have different timeslots for presentations but the content is the same you can use the custom slideshow option in PowerPoint.

Two for One
I find myself often presenting for one hour or an hour and a half. But in some cases i can use the same presentation with other sessions which lasts even longer. So how do you go about that without creating a presentation for every possible timeslot?

Migrating to Microsoft Office 2010
Currently a lot of companies are still migrating to Office 2010. Some of them want just a quick tour of the possibilities of 2010 and others want a deep dive in what’s new in every single application. I decided to create one presentation which covers the full story. So i talk about the birth of the ribbon, show the newly added functionality per application such as Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word. Now when a company just wants a brief introduction of Office 2010 i do a quick analysis of what that company thinks is important to their employees. I create a custom slide show in which i have added the slides that fit the audience best and use that for that specific presentation. Does the company want the full content then i choose the complete presentation.

Show me how it is done
Ok for this example i will use an exsisting presentation. It’s about SharePoint 2010 and for example purposes i will only add some slides to the custom show. You will get the idea.

1. Open your presentation
2. In the ribbon, in the Start Slide Show Group, click the Custom Slide Show button
3. Click the Custom shows… option. You know another dialog will pop up right? How can you tell?
4. In the next dialog click the New button
5. a new dialog will pop up. In the Slide show name textbox enter your description for you presentation. In this example i named it Short_Version
6. Now in the left listbox click the slide you want to add to the custom show by clicking the Add button in the center of the dialog. Repeat this for all the slides you need for the short presentation. When done click OK
7. You now have a dialog which shows you custom show title. Click on the show button to see if it fits your needs.
8. Click close when done
9. Now when presenting choose the appropriate custom show or choose the complete presentation whatever fits best.

Pretty neat right? Make one supersized presentation and depending on the clients needs pick the slides you need and save them in a custom show. I know what you are thinking… You can hide the slides you don’t need right? That would be an option to choose but in the end you would have to modify it again for your next session right? For this scenario the custom show would be the way to go!

And make sure your audience stays awake 🙂


PowerPoint: Let’s Make A Test

Office templates
Every office application comes packed with lots of templates. If you open up Word, Excel or PowerPoint you can choose from a great variety of templates. While working with Office so many years i have to admit i did not use the templates very often. Most of the time they just don’t fit the requirements i am seeking for. But from time to time there are some templates that make life much easier and can actually add some value to what you are trying to accomplish. Let me explain.

Creating the Quiz
Just a few days ago i wanted to challenge my son to earn some money to spend on his upcoming vacation. I did not just wanted to give him the money but rather test his knowledge of the place his was about to visit (New York). So i was thinking about some sort of quiz. Now how to go about this great idea? I opened up my laptop and stared at my office icons. Ok which app is going to help me out on this one i was thinking. Both my kids love PowerPoint so i gave it a shot. Started up PowerPoint clicked “New”. Now for a change i clicked “Sample Templates” and guess what? Straight away my eye fell on this icon smiling at me called “Quiz”. Could this be something i was looking for…

Fill in the blanks
So there it was, a powerpoint template ready to go. Now let’s see what i have to do here… If you actually take the time to read the second slide it will explain exactly what you will have to do. So i did and tried it out. Let me show you:

So in fact the only thing you have to do is to choose a type of question and fill in the blanks right? Let’s try one slide and see how this works out:

On the Home tab i clicked “New Slide” and was presented with all these predefined slides to choose from. I chose the first one “Simple Question & Answer”. This gave me the following slide:

Ok i have to click the “Click to add question” textbox and write my question there. So far so good i understand that. For the answer i have to click the “Click to add answer” textbox to write the answer. I get that also. Wow that’s simple and yet effective. So i wrote down a question and an answer like this:

and went ahead to view the slideshow. What you actually see is the question on the screen but the answer doesn’t show until you click the keyboard or mousebutton. This triggered my curiosity and i wanted to see the animation pane. What?? Nothing to see there! You know what do not question everything and just enjoy the fact that someone took te time to figure this out. So i did and went ahead to explore all the other possible question slides. Here are the options to choose from:

  • Simple Question and answer
    You add a question and an answer in this slide and you are good to go
  • Detailed Question and Answer
    You can add some additional info to the answer you provide
  • True or False Question (answer: true)
    Choose this question for a True or False question where the answer is True
  • True or False Question (answer: false)
    Choose this question for a True or False question where the answer is False
  • Multiple Choice
    This is an interesting question. You can supply multiple answers to the question where only one answer is the correct one. You start by adding the correct answer in option A. After that you rearrange the textbox with the correct answer with an incorrect answer. For example ‘switch’ the textbox from answer A with the textbox from answer D. Just drag and align the texboxes and you are done.
  • Item Match Up
    This is also a interesting one. In this slide you can add items to the left and place items to the right. As long as the items match (you will be guided by the slide template) you are good to go. This slide might take some getting use to because of its sequential behaviour. So if the person who is taking the quiz has the first one wrong all the other options are designated in advance so you can’t manipulate the anymore. So the challenge should be to tackle the first one correctly and then move on to the next one. Explain that the test taker should first read properly and then match the item.

Having Fun
After an hour or so i was mixing and matching several question for my quiz. This is fun i thought and my daughter agreed. She likes PowerPoint very much and decided to create her own quiz for her mother about gardening. We had a lot of fun taking the quiz and my son earned some money the hard way (instead of just getting it). He had fun learning about NY and I hope this will contribute to his general knowledge about places around the world 😉

What else can I use this for?
After playing the quiz i could not stop thinking about this template. There has to be some other use for this template as well. Here are some thoughts on how you can use this template besides just the general fun quiz:

  • Teachers
    You can use this template to make preparation test for the individual students who are afraid of taking real test
  • Test takers
    Prepare yourself for that certification coming up by creating your own test. You will be amazed what difficult questions you will make for yourself
  • Presenters
    After your presentation you can create a five question quiz to hand out a small prize (commercialized version of course maybe account managers)
  • Students
    For finalizing your presentation for school assignments – test your fellow students

For now happy Quizzing 🙂

PowerPoint Presentation What Would You Do?

Alternative Ways of Doing Things
I’ve seen a lot of PowerPoint presentations. I like attending them for their content but also to see what the presenter created to backup his story during the presentation. What strikes me most is that so many people use akward techniques during their presentations. In this post i will try to explain what i mean and  how i think you can do this otherwise. As always the technique i present is not the technique but just an alternative way of accomplishing the same.

So read on, try if you recognize the issues stated and let me know how you would act or what your technique is.

1. Starting your presentation clean
When i create a PowerPoint presentation i test it to the limits. When i’m done i save the presentation as a .pps (2003 and earlier) or .ppsx (2007 and later). I place a shortcut on my desktop and make sure my desktop isn’t cluttered with icons that might distract my audience. To often i see presentations started right from the slide sorter where the presenter is making some last adjustments. We can see how many slides are awaiting us and that might just tick us of.

Continue reading

Get Organized: Use Sections In Your PowerPoint Presentation!

The preparation

Tell me, how many times have you seen one of these? If you use PowerPoint on a regular basis you might see them all the time. In fact you might be looking at your own presentations and think what’s wrong with that? Nothing at all, but how easy is it to search for those slides which represent a specific portion of that presentation? Exactly that’s where the use of sections in PowerPoint come in handy. Click on the image to enlarge (big picture!)

In this blogpost i will show you how easy it is to use sections in your PowerPoint presentations. This does not only makes it easy for you to work with several portions of your presentation, it is also perfect for collaboration and printing.
Warning: once you have used this you might not want to go back to your old way of prepping but that’s exactly what i’m hoping for 🙂
So open up a PowerPoint presentation and follow the steps in this post.
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Selection pane in PowerPoint

Naming Objects
It’s good practice for a developer to ‘name’ all your objects. When creating a PowerPoint presentation I make no exception. Every object I use in my presentation gets named. Why would you want to do that one might ask. Well when developing a complex presentation with a lot of objects in one slide stacked on top of each other it’s very hard to select the object you might want to edit. Using the selection pane makes this an easy task.

The selection pane in PowerPoint
When I first met the selection pane in PowerPoint I couldn’t help thinking that it looked a lot like something a had seen before in Photoshop. What is the ‘eye’ for? Could it be that you can temporarily hide objects? Yes it is. Well that makes life easy.  Could it also be possible to name your objects so you can select a certain object by clicking on its name? Yes this is also possible… Wow that can save me hours of clicking the wrong object before I actually select the one I need.

Show me…
Ok let’s start a simple slide in powerpoint. I’ve added three objects on this slide. It looks something like this:





Now we will go to the selection pane. By default you don’t see this selectionpane so you have to activate it. Go to the [Home] tab in the ribbon. All the way at the right side of the ribbon you’ll see the [group] – [editing]. Click on the arrow to see the various options and choose select. In the dropdown choice choose the option [Selection Pane].







If done correctly you’ll see the selection pane appear on the right side of your screen. For this example it means that you will see three objects in the selection pane. Depending on what you have chosen the objects will get deafult names with a numbering. Now we are going to adjust this. Click on one of the objects in the slide (leave the selection pane open). When clicked the object in the selectionpane will get selected. Now either click once in the selected object in the selectionpane and rename the object to something more explanatory then TextBox3. I renamed it to txtAboutMe. Change the other objects as well. It should look something like this





As you can see the objects have much more explaning names then before they were renamed. The advantages of naming your objects will reflect also if you choose to add an animation to your presentation. When selected your renamed object will also show up as the renamed object in your animation pane.
Selection Pane 2




No more chaos
When creating more complex presentations you’ll find this technique very useful. No more chaos in finding out which object to select before finally selecting the right one. Try to make a habit out of naming objects and once you do you won’t go back believe me 😉