Turn Clip Art Into Custom Icons – PowerPoint Video Tip #1

Here’s a neat trick for turning clip art into your own set of professional-looking custom icons, which I learned from the talented presentation designer Magda Maslowska. Enjoy!

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

Changing PPT Defaults to Not Resize Text

After a workshop at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, I got this email question from one of the workshop attendees:

One of my biggest annoyances with the software is that it automatically resizes text, with the result being inconsistent and distracting font size issues. Do you know of a quick fix for this?

This is a common complaint and the solution is a bit kludgy. But here’s how to change the defaults so text boxes don’t resize and automatically change your font size to fit the text box.

1. First, right click on the text box and select Format Shape in the pop-up menu

2. Click on the “Text Box” tab

3. Click in the Autofit section “Do not Autofit”

donotautofit

Now you’ve changed the defaults on THAT text box. We’re now going to make THAT text box the default text box for this PowerPoint deck, and all future PowerPoint decks.

4. Type a word into that text box.

5. Copy that text box and paste it onto the slide.

6. Now you have two text boxes on the same slide. Delete the original text box leaving only the new text box you just pasted. (you might want to resize the original text box before you paste the second text box)

7. Right click on the text box and select “Set as Default Text Box”

setasdefault

Now, all new slides will be created with your new default text box that doesn’t resize text.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

Copying and Pasting Excel Graphs

When you copy a graph from Excel, don’t just paste it into the slide using Control-V. This will paste it as a graph still linked to the original data. If you change or delete the original data, even accidentally, the graph will also change. And if you email the PowerPoint to someone else you’ll also need to email them the Excel file with the data.

The best way to paste it is as a Windows Enhanced Metafile. This preserves the sharp edges of the image and it looks very professional. To paste, press Control-Alt-V and a window will open. Scroll through to find Windows Enhanced Metafile. This will save it with a border around the graph. I actually don’t like the border and use the cropping tool to remove it, but that’s more a personal taste.

The only problem with Windows Enhanced Metafile is you can’t change the colors of the bars, the text, or anything else. It’s just a picture. 

If you want to be able to manipulate the chart after you paste it, then paste it in a “vector” format (basically means in an editable format). Press Control-V and then select the little drop-down menu that appears in the lower right corner and select “Excel chart (entire workbook)”. In addition to being editable, the image also has no border around it and the background is transparent. Perfect for placing on top of slides with colored backgrounds.

copy-graph

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

Changing Excel Chart Defaults

Here’s a neat trick that will save you time and frustration when creating charts – save your charts as templates and re-use the settings again in the future.

On the left is an example of a chart using Excel’s defaults. But this chart has too many problems: the bars are too far apart, they are all the same color (where do you want me to focus?), the x-axis has an unecessary maximum of 1,200 with frequent division by 200, there’s unnecessary title, legend and vertical lines.

I want to adjust all this, so I manually correct this to the chart on the right. Note the gray bars are intentionally neutral. I will later highlight the important bars by adding color.

defaults1Excel default  defaults2Manually updated 

You could update the chart each time by manually changing the fill color, deleting the extra elements and so on. But in PowerPoint 2007 there’s a better way: save the second chart as a template so you can re-use it again and again. Here’s how.

To save it as a template

  1. Click on the chart you want to save as a template
  2. Go to the Design tab, and click on Save as Template
  3. Make sure the Charts folder is selected, name your chart template and click on Save

To apply that template to a new chart

  1. Select the data and go to the Insert tab
  2. Click on ANY of the chart types and click on All Chart Types at the bottom of the drop-down list
  3. Click on the My Templates folder in the top of the left navigation box
  4. Select the template you want to apply. If you don’t see the chart names, hover over the icons and the names will appear

Now I have a neutral canvas on which to paint my picture. Maybe my message is look at sales in Toronto! I add some color and bold text and my message is clear – and in half the time.

defaults3

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

Create Automatic Slide Titles

So you have to create a slide deck with 20 slides. What a pain it is to create each new slide and manually insert a title in each one!

But there’s a way to automatically create 20 slides in just a few seconds in PowerPoint 2007

  1. Open a new slide and type each slide title as part of a bulleted list. The larger the font size, the larger the title font size will be (it’s okay for the list to be longer than the PowerPoint slide)
  2. Double-check your slide template. Whatever the default is will be applied automatically to each slide title.
  3. Make sure the “Home” tab in the upper left on the Ribbon is active
  4. Click the “Outline” tab of the Slides Pane in the left navigation screen
  5. Using your cursor, highlight all the bullets in Outline view (see image below)
  6. Press Shift + Tab at the same time

Presto! This will automatically generate 20 slides, each with the title inserted.

outlineview

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.