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FREE 2015 Animated Holiday Card (PowerPoint)

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2015 at 11:12 pm
Holiday 2015 - Tree

2015 Animated Holiday Card created in PowerPoint

In addition to this year’s 2015 Animated Holiday Card (which, by the way has only been released in video form previously) I am re-releasing several of my past cards for you to customize and use for personal and business use. All you’ll need is PowerPoint (2010 or newer) to make the edits

This is my gift to you. You can download all of my cards. Just click here.

Happy Holidays!

Sandy

P.S. Here’s what my 2015 card looks like in video format.

 

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Create an Editable, Stylized Line Chart in PowerPoint

In Uncategorized on November 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a stylized line chart like the one below for your presentations. Better yet, you’ll learn how to create an editable version of this chart in PowerPoint, making it easy for you to make data changes in the future.

Line Chart

This tutorial features PowerPoint 2013 (running Windows 8 on a Mac).

Step 1: Insert a line chart.
In the Ribbon at the top of the screen, go to  Insert > Illustrations > Chart

Insert Chart

Insert Chart

In the Insert Chart dialog box, choose Line > Line with Markers

Step 1: Insert a Line Chart

Step 1: Insert a Line Chart

Step 2: Create Smooth Line
Once the line chart is inserted, double click on one of the lines to reveal the Format Data Series Task Pane at the right of your slide.

Select Data Series (on Chart)

Click on the Fill & Line icon to open the Series Options dialog in the Task Pane. At the bottom of this dialog box, check the Smoothed Line option

Check the Smoothed Line option

Check the Smoothed Line option

Step 3: Format Markers
Near the top of the Format Data Series Task Pane, click on the Marker icon > Marker Options to open all Marker editing options.

Choose Marker

Choose Marker

Under the Marker Option header, choose Built-in, then select the circle as the Type. Type in 13 for the Size.

Marker Options

Marker Options

Under the Fill header, choose Solid fill. For the color, choose the same color as your background. If you have a complex background, you may want to choose No fill.

Choose a White Fill

Choose a White Fill

Under the Border header, choose Solid line. For the color, choose the same color as your line. Make the width of your circle the same width as the line in your graph. In this case, the line width should be 2.25.

Choose Border Color and Width

Choose Border Color and Width

Step 4: Repeat Steps 1 – 3 for all the lines in your graph

Coming Soon!
Save this chart as a template.

 

Microsoft Offers Webinar on Inserting Videos into PowerPoint

In Uncategorized on August 29, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Learn how to capture your audience’s attention by inserting videos into your PowerPoint!

PowerPoint Design Trend – Hand Made Fonts

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Graphic designers are using hand made fonts in their print and multi-media materials. This is a trend that I’ve started to use in slide design.

What I like about it
There is something about a hand made font that makes a presentation come alive. I don’t know if it’s the freshness that helps us forget about stale corporate fonts that we’re required to use in most of our presentations or if it’s what I can only describe as the “motion” that these fonts bring to a slide. It’s an organic sort of motion verses traditional PowerPoint animation.

Hand Made Fonts 1

Why they could spell disaster

  • They might not be readable. Some of the funkier fonts are difficult to decipher — just like some people’s handwriting.
  • Your corporate template requires the use of approved fonts.
  • Not all fonts are embeddable in PowerPoint. So, if you plan on sharing your presentation with someone else — on another computer — your hand made font may not travel with your presentation. And lord knows what it will default to when someone else opens it. To learn all you can about using fonts in PowerPoint, read this book, Building PowerPoint Templates. It’s written by the experts in PowerPoint template design, Julie Terberg and Echo Swinford.

    Hand Made Fonts 2

Takeaway
Use them if you can. Make sure the text is readable against your slide background. Know what you company’s rules are for using fonts in presentations and make sure your font is sharable with other.

PowerPoint Design Trend – Supertext

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2014 at 9:27 am

You’ll find supertext, as I call it, making the rounds in television commercials. Similarly,  I’m finding — and using it — in PowerPoint design.

Designing supertext into your slide mix can result in mastery or mayhem - depending on how you use it.

Designing supertext into your slide mix can result in mastery or mayhem – depending on how you use it.

Why I like it

A slide using supertext is a great tool for leveraging the “single concept per slide” guideline. As a part of a mix of well designed slides, a simple text statement can go along way in supporting a presenter’s more detailed, verbal description of a concept.

 

Why it could be disastrous

PowerPoint users who cannot grasp the “less is more” concept, or who are unable to write succinct thoughts without bullet points will struggle to make this work. Also, I can see slide after slide of supertext becoming as boring, tiring and irritating as PowerPoint’s notorious bulleted slides.

 

Take away

Use it. Judiciously.

 

 

 

Tutorial: Using Ink Tools to create an animated sketch in PowerPoint

In Tutorial, Uncategorized on September 5, 2013 at 10:17 pm

As promised, here is a tutorial to create an animated sketch in PowerPoint. Follow these steps using PowerPoint 2013 on your Surface Pro (I have not tested this on other Windows 8 touch devices).

Step 1: Start with a blank slide.

Step 1: Start with a blank slide.

Step Two: Find the Rectangle Drawing Tool in the Drawing Group under the Home Tab or in the Illustrations Group under the Insert Tab.

Step 2: Find the Rectangle Drawing Tool in the Drawing Group under the Home Tab or in the Illustrations Group under the Insert Tab.

Step 3: Cover the entire slide area with the Rectangle.

Step 3: Cover the entire slide area with the Rectangle.

Step 4: Holding the Shift Key,  Select the Rectangle, then Select the Oval so both Shapes on the slide on selected.

Step 4: Holding the Shift Key, Select the Rectangle, then Select the Oval so both Shapes on the slide on selected.

Step 5: Find the Oval Merge Shapes Tools in the Insert Shapes Group under the Drawing Tools Tab.

Step 5: Find the Oval Merge Shapes Tools in the Insert Shapes Group under the Drawing Tools Tab.

Step 6: You will be left with a hole in the Rectangle.

Step 6: You will be left with a hole in the Rectangle.

Step 7: Using the stylus on a Surface Pro running PowerPoint 2013, touch the slide area to expose the Ink Tools Tab in the Ribbon. Choose desired pen color and thickness (we’ve used black at 1 pt). Draw a circle just outside the “hole” area. We’ve also included some extra lines for motion.

Step 7: Using the stylus on a Surface Pro running PowerPoint 2013, touch the slide area to expose the Ink Tools Tab in the Ribbon. Choose desired pen color and thickness (we’ve used black at 1 pt). Draw a circle just outside the “hole” area. We’ve also included some extra lines for motion.

Step 8: Go to Insert > Online Pictures, then type World Map in the Search blank.

Step 8: Go to Insert > Online Pictures, then type World Map in the Search blank.

Step 9: Browse to a flat world map that looks something like this, select it, then click Insert. Resize and place the map to cover the globe. It won’t all fit, but that’s OK at this point

Step 9: Browse to a flat world map that looks something like this, select it, then click Insert. Resize and place the map to cover the globe. It won’t all fit, but that’s OK at this point

Step 10: Using the stylus on a Surface Pro running PowerPoint 2013, touch the slide area to expose the Ink Tools Tab in the Ribbon. Choose desired pen color and thickness (we’ve used black at 1 pt). Outline (trace over) the world map. Don’t worry about it being exact. When done tracing, Group all of your continents (if they’re not already a single group)

Step 10: Using the stylus on a Surface Pro running PowerPoint 2013, touch the slide area to expose the Ink Tools Tab in the Ribbon. Choose desired pen color and thickness (we’ve used black at 1 pt). Outline (trace over) the world map. Don’t worry about it being exact. When done tracing, Group all of your continents (if they’re not already a single group)

Step 11

Step 12: Send the Group to Back

Step 12: Send the Group to Back

Step 13: Go to the Animation Tab > Add Animation > Motion Path > Custom Path. Draw the Custom Path so that the group of maps moves to the left far enough to show all five maps in the group.

Step 13: Go to the Animation Tab > Add Animation > Motion Path > Custom Path. Draw the Custom Path so that the group of maps moves to the left far enough to show all five maps in the group.

Step 14: Select each of the sketch element in the circle you drew in Step __. Go to the Animation Tab > Add Animation > Emphasis > Teeter. Adjust the Duration and Delay for each sketched element to they are not all moving at the same speed/time. Set the Repeat to End of Slide.

Step 14: Select each of the sketch element in the circle you drew in Step __. Go to the Animation Tab > Add Animation > Emphasis > Teeter.

Adjust the Duration and Delay for each sketched element to they are not all moving at the same speed/time. Set the Repeat to End of Slide.

14.1 Adjust the Duration and Delay for each sketched element to they are not all moving at the same speed/time. Set the Repeat to End of Slide.

14.2: Your Animation Pane might look something like this.

14.2: Your Animation Pane might look something like this.

Step 15: Start with a blank slide. Change the Blue Rectangle to White without a Border. Check out your animated, sketch globe in Slide Show view.

Step 15: Start with a blank slide. Change the Blue Rectangle to White without a Border. Check out your animated, sketch globe in Slide Show view.

Download presentation here: http://wp.me/p1kyln-5W

Create Handsketched Illustrations in PowerPoint using the Ink Tool

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2013 at 10:12 am

Check out this fun animated sketch I created using PowerPoint 2013. I used the Ink Tools featured on my Surface Pro.  It’s a great way to incorporate design trends into your PowerPoint presentations.

Click on the link below to view in PowerPoint.

Click on the link below to view in PowerPoint.

Globe Sketch 2 < Here is the PowerPoint file. Here is the link to the tutorial:

Part 3: Create and animate objects on a slide — Patriotic Theme — Text

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2013 at 7:56 pm

This step-by-step series of tutorials will show you how to animate shapes and text to create a customizable patriotic slide with background music. This third tutorial focuses on drawing and animating the Text shown below.

Patriotic Theme Slide - Complete

Patriotic Theme Slide – Complete

Create text
Learn how to animate the Text in the above slide — but with a twist. This tutorial will show you how to create Text using the PowerPoint Fragment Shapes feature and how to animate each letter with the Expand Entrance Effect

  1. On the Insert tab, click Text Box, and then place your cursor on the slide and click to draw the text box on the slide.

    Create text

    Create text

  2. Type the desired text (we’ve used Arial Black)

    Type the Words - Veterans Day

    Type the Words – Veterans Day

  3. On the Insert tab, insert a Rectangle Shape to cover the length and height of the text (shown in red – note that the color doesn’t matter at this point) > Send Rectangle Shape to Back (Right click on rectangle > Send to Back > Send to Back

    Send to Back

    Send to Back

  4. Select the Rectangle Shape then with Shift Key held down, select the Text Box

    Select Text Box

    Select Text Box

  5. Go to Drawing Tools > Format > Insert Shapes  Group > Merge Shapes ? > Fragment

    Use Fragment Tool

    Use Fragment Tool

  6. Delete the areas of the letters that need to be removed  (for example, the middles of the D, A, and R and the area of the shape surrounding the text. Leave the the remaining text.

    Delete Artifacts

    Delete Artifacts

  7. Change the Shape Fill and Shape Outline colors as Desired

    Change Fill and Outline

    Change Fill and Outline

  8. Adjust letter spacing as desired (we’ve tightened it up so each letter touches the next)

    Tighten Text

    Tighten Text

  9. Group all of the letters in “VETERANS DAY.” Select each letter while holding down the Shift Key. Then go to the Drawing Tools Tab > Format > Group ? > Group.
    Select Text

    Select Text

    Group Text

    Group Text

  10. Resize Grouped Shapes as needed
  11. Ungroup

To animate Text, follow these steps:

  1. Holding the shift key, select each text shape (important, select each shape in the order of which you wish to animate – we’re starting with the “V” and ending with the “Y”.

    Hold Shift Key to Select Text

    Hold Shift Key to Select Text

  2. Go to the Animation Tab > Advance Animation Group > Add Animation > More Entrance Animations > Under Subtle, pick Expand

    Apply Expand Entrance Animation

    Apply Expand Entrance Animation

  3. Show the Animation Pane by going to the Animation Tab > Advanced Animation Group > Animation Pane

    Animation Pane

    Animation Pane

  4. In the Animation Pane, with the animations effects still selected, go to Animation Tab > Timing  group> Start (More Arrow) > With Previous
    Text Animation Results

    Text Animation Results

    Start: With Previous
    Set the Delay: Start each letter in 2 second increment (.20, .40, etc.)
    Set the Duration: .50

After creating and animating the Red Bars, White Stars and Text, your Animation Pane should look like the graphic below:

Steps so far

Steps so far

*REMINDER: We have labeled each object on the slide by identifying it in the Selection Pane (Home >  Editing group > Select > Selection Pane)

This tutorial is part of a 5 part series. To learn other drawing and animation techniques to create a slide like this, click any of the following links:

Draw and Animate the red bars

Draw and Animate the red stars

Create and Animate custom text (with Fragment Shapes Tool)

Draw and Animate the shooting stars

Insert Audio (music)

 

Download the PowerPoint file from here

My First Business Trip with the Microsoft Surface Pro.

In Uncategorized on February 21, 2013 at 5:12 pm

I took a rather daring approach to business travel this past week. I hit the road with a my week-old Microsoft Surface Pro tablet and the newest release of Microsoft Office (2013). I travelled to Microsoft for a series of meetings at the annual Global MVP Summit— and was scheduled to present at one of those meetings. Truth be said, I wasn’t too nervous about putting my trust in these new products. I figured if anything failed during my meetings, I’d either get a good amount of sympathy or great help for correcting a problem.

This is what I learned.

Is it really off?
I thought the button at the top right of the tablet would turn my device on and off. Unfortunately for me, this button only puts my tablet in sleep mode. And since dead batteries never happen at a good time, my advice to others is to always use the Shut Down charm (“charm” a new Microsoft term for the icons found in the Start menu) you’ll find in Settings in the Start Menu. I know I’m not the only user this has happened to and I won’t be the last.

Where’s my stylus?
I love the functionality and flexibility that the stylus brings to the Surface Pro (I find myself comfortably switching back and forth between the stylus, the keyboard or touch, depending on my need at the time), but the magnet that “holds” it in place on the side of the tablet is useless. I know that at some point I will end up losing my stylus (I was convinced at the airport that I had lost it at security, only to find it at the bottom of my bag as I has done numerous time throughout this trip). I plan to purchase more styluses (styli?) to have as back up. Oh — and since the stylus and the power cord share the same port, there is no place to store my stylus when the tablet is charging.

OneNote with InkTools is awesome.
I’m not a OneNote user, but I happened upon it while exploring my Surface Pro. InkTools, combined with the stylus, makes note-taking a breeze. Additionally, the ability to record or film a meeting, instantly adds support for my notes. I would add, however, that it’s only discoverable in PowerPoint if you happen to click on a slide with your stylus.

Also, I just spent a ton of money on a Livescribe pen for recording audio during meetings. I don’t need it anymore with OneNote on the Surface Pro. Additionally, I can stop feeling like I’m being sneaky whenever I’m recording. The tablet recorder is much more overt.

PowerPoint with InkTools is awesome.
I love the way the stylus works with InkTools/Pens in PowerPoint — it offers new options for creating custom graphics within the program vs, creating graphics with a 3rd party tool like Adobe Illustrator. Pens have been around for at least one version of PowerPoint, but touch makes the feature much more practical.

Where’s my data?
I transferred a presentation developed in PowerPoint 2010 to my Surface Pro via Dropbox. After opening it in PowerPoint 2013, I found that most of my embedded data was missing from the presentation. Bad news: I had to re-embed all my data. Good news: I had the right people in the room to report a bug in PowerPoint.*

Presenting with the Surface
Once I got used to the different ways to interact with PowerPoint on the Surface Pro, presenting was as easy. I had no problems projecting from my Surface Pro with the VGA adapter (available for purchase at an extra cost). I was even able to lend my adapter to another Pro presenter. The only bother was that I forgot to turn off Outlook, so I kept getting interrupted with email reminders.

Where’s my charger?
Here we have the same problem as we do with keeping the stylus attached. The new, funky connector looks cool but the magnet is weak. It very easily disconnects from the port.

Overall, I’d say the trip was a success. I was able to keep up with email, write my blog and most importantly, prepare for and deliver my PowerPoint presentation with relative ease. I should add than I’m also an iPad owner and I would have never attempted this feat with the iPad (as a presentation consultant and designer, I often create presentations for my clients to use on the iPad). Let me just say that, by comparison there is — well, there is no comparison. While the iPad brings plenty cool factor with it, the Surface Pro, which is actually quite unattractive, is a real business tool that can be used successfully at — or away from the office.

*update: the bug wasn’t actually a data loss. It occurred when I captioned the embedded objects in PowerPoint. For some reason, PowerPoint 2013 fails to recognize certain embedded files when captioned using with its own OLE Change File option. We’re still evaluating the issue.

Why not to use the Internet when gathering images for your PowerPoint presentations

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Creating Powerful PowerPoint Graphics Using PowerPoint Drawing Tools

I’ve been working exclusively in the business of creating PowerPoint presentations for others since 2001. Over the course of the past 12 years I’ve learned that PowerPoint users get their graphics from several sources that have their pros and cons.
One of those sources is the Internet. So, why should we eliminate Internet images as a source of graphics for our PowerPoint presentations? Read on.
______________________________

Oh my! I’ll bet every single client that I’ve worked with over the past 12 years has lifted at least one image from the Internet for use in their presentations. Admittedly, I did quite a bit of that in my early days as a PowerPoint presentation designer, not understanding the limitations and potential consequences of using this “free” resource.

Usage Rights
Many of the images that we find online have been purchased by others for use in their marketing materials. That means, when you copy their image, you are breaking usage right laws because you have not paid for the right to use that image in your – or your clients’ – materials. Doing so at the very least, violates basic ethics codes, and at those most, it could get you into a ton of legal hurt.

Quality
If you don’t understand how image sizing works in PowerPoint, the image that you lift from the Internet may be too small – it’s not scalable. That means when you enlarge it to meet your needs on a slide, the images will become very pixilated and appear blurry.

Surprises
My business colleagues have heard me tell this story more than once, but if usage rights and lack of image quality don’t hold you back from lifting images from the Internet, perhaps the fear of potential surprises may.

As often happens, a client provided me with several slides with content that needed to be cleaned up. One slide featured several logos to help her demonstrate that each of the companies represented carried a certain brand “feel.” One of those logos was the Land O’ Lakes logo – you know, the one with the American Indian woman sitting on her knees holding a box of butter in outstretched arms. As is habit for me, I viewed each slide in Slide Show View (View > Slide Show) to catch any animation that the client included in the slides. I found that our Land O’ Lakes logo was in animated gif format. To my surprise, someone had used Photoshop to edit the logo, copied a section of the woman’s knees and placed them “behind” the box of butter. The would-be prankster then animated the front of the box to flip up, revealing what appeared to be the woman’s breasts. Look at the logo here Land O’ Lakes logo and use your imagination to envision the result. I hate to think what would have happened if this client had not sent the slides to me first for cleanup.

So what’s the option to lifting slides from the Internet? Well, you could purchase images from a stock photo source like iStockphoto or Bigstockphoto to ensure that you’ve paid for the correct usage. Even then, these photos might not be perfect and you’ll find the need for photo editing – and that brings up a whole new can of worms — like expensive photo editing software and skill (or lack thereof).

On the other hand, you could simply use PowerPoint’s built in drawing tools. It is my promise that, over the course of the next numerous blog entries, I will help you to learn how to leverage these tools to design amazing high-quality graphics that are free, editable and scalable.

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