Eric Baker

Hints & tips

v7.2  06 February 2015  © Eric Baker

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 slides.

Powerpoint master style

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 need adjusting.

Projector (Wikimedia)

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.

Powerpoint thumbnail view

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."

Hide slide

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.

Powerpoint fillsHow 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 very professional.

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:

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.
Powerpoint show

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).
Powerpoint animations

Bored - Wikimedia

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:
Powerpoint 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:
Powerpoint in Sway

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.

Sway logo