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.
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.
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.
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.
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 😉