How do I do a presentation - I've never done one?
If you have PowerPoint or something similar (I now use Libre Office) it is really quite
easy, especially if you make it graphics rich and avoid the mistake of
having wordy slides you just read out. The presentation is there as eye
candy, the more pictures and diagrams the better. It is not there to provide
a full copy of what you're saying.
A good way is to take an existing presentation you like then
adapt it. Alternatively you can choose from the examples in your
presentations package. Lighter designs are often easier on the eye and
tend to work better with imported pictures.
I used PowerPoint 2003 to create lots of presentations in the
past but all the presentation software seems to take the same sort of
approach. Excuse me if this guide is Powerpoint 2003 biaised.
How do I apply changes to all my slides?
Go to your Slide Master. There are normally different
styles for title slides and the rest.
Normally you will have one master for detail slides (this can
be adapted to suit graphics or text) and another for opening/closing
How do I include a diagram?
PowerPoint is OK at diagrams and has quite a lot of hidden
power in this area.
Start with Autoshapes. You can
also do them in another application and insert them into your
presentation (as an Object or an image - note that diagrams with text
seem to save and display better as pngs than jpgs).
How do I copy a slide?
Insert a Duplicate Slide. Then amend the copy as you
wish. This is the normal way of expanding a presentation.
To copy a slide from another presentation, open both
presentations in Slide Sorter (thumbnail) view. Select (click on) then
Edit, Copy a slide, switch to the target presentation and Edit, Paste.
The slide will acquire the style of the target presentation but may
How do I change the order of slides?
The Slide Sorter (PowerPoint) gives you a thumbnails view
which lets you drag slides around to alter the order.
This is also a good view for duplicating slides.
You can even temporarily hide slides (right click, Hide Slide)
so you can show a shorter version without deleting unused slides.
How do I alter the way the next slide appears?
In PowerPoint you can use various Slide Transitions. Many of
these are really quite irritating! If you want to look very foolish, make a slide
which reveals itself fully only after lots of clicks. Then you'll not know which
click launches the next slide. There really is little worse than saying "oops, I'd
better go back to that last slide." Subtext: "I'm not in control."
How do I do animations?
Right click on a picture, box, block of text or whatever and
choose Custom Animation. This lets you assemble bits of a slide on a
mouse click, after a delay etc.
Do not overuse! Also remember that if the slide only completes
after a few mouse clicks you'll probably only confuse yourself when
using the presentation and forget how many clicks before the next slide
appears. It's better to have all animations happen after a delay, not
on a click.
to apply fancy shading effects?
For a box, right click and choose Format Autoshape. Then
Color, Fill Effects, eg Two colors, From center.
Also try One color, From center. This can make diagrams look
Whichever piece of presentation software you use make sure you
learn how to these types of effects - they are an easy way to make your
presentation more impressive than most.
How to avoid boring the audience?
"Death by PowerPoint" is a phrase commonly used by office
workers. Not everyone can be an electrifying speaker but it really
helps if you:
- Use a nice clean style - lighter ones seem to work better.
- Use plenty of pictures and graphics.
- Don't be too wordy on slides - they are just to prompt you
and engage the audience and there is nothing worse than a speaker reading
out each point on a slide.
- Avoid fancy effects and above all never infuriate and
insult your audience by bringing up bullet points one by one and
reading them out.
- Have far fewer slides than you thought you needed - if you
are enthusiastic about your subject you will almost certainly overrun.
Hide slides surplus to a particular event (in thumbnail view).
- Keep to your allotted time. It helps having a watch
or travel clock visible so you can pace yourself and not have to gabble
- Encourage questions while you go but be firm with people
who just like the sound of their own voices.
How to ensure it will all work on the big day?
Ask whether anyone technical will be there on the day. It's
best to use their equipment because it will be set up to work with
their projector, but make sure they've got the right software loaded,
eg the free PowerPoint Viewer if they don't have the full program. Also
save it as a self running show (eg pps). Just take your presentation
along on a memory pen.
If you have to take your own laptop, schedule some setup time,
have a shortcut to the presentation on your desktop and practice
flipping to multiple screens (might be Function F5) and changing your
screen resolution (via right click on the desktop).
What's this online Powerpoint replacement called Sway?
It sounded rather good when I read about it, so I signed up. Microsoft say "Sway is an app for expressing
your ideas in an entirely new way, across your devices." Full of anticipation I imported a Powerpoint
template I made a while back. Oh dear! It made a right awful mess of it and lost most of the structure. Here
it is, looking good in Libre Office:
And here's the mess that Sway made of it, with elements of the presentation scattered in a long vertical column, with
most of the layout lost:
So I might come back to Sway in a while when they've got it working but currently (Feb 2015) it's only suited to new stuff.
I did like an example Sway presentation called "The Universe (Condensed)". It scrolls sideways. As far as I can see a Sway
presentation is basically a single long web page which scrolls up or across.