Shake it up with a yellow background!
Oh hurray! It is finally spring!
Winter is over! Double hurray!
It is time for a change. Time for a shake up...
The arrival of spring means it is time to pay homage to this beautiful season with a free spring PowerPoint background. Filled with sixties-inspired hippy-trip flowers, this just might be the ideal background for:
announcing your spring dance
forecasting second quarter sales
advertising a scintillating seasonal special
giving your audience a break from the corporate blue background...
Yes, this PowerPoint background is yellow and pastel and flowery -- and yellow is not exactly a popular background color for PowerPoint slides.
But yellow can be refreshing. And your audience just might appreciate a wild dash of bright color after a long, cold, grey winter.
Remember, the beauty of a background is that you do not have to use it on every single slide in your presentation -- you can introduce a wildly contrasting PowerPoint background to your break slide or maybe even a transition slide.
Why not use the vernal equinox as an excuse to shake things up visually for your audience?
Labels: PowerPoint Background
Spring Ahead PowerPoint Background
This year, Daylight Saving Time occurs on Sunday, March 11. Make sure you "spring ahead" this weekend by setting your clocks ahead one hour.
If you are using Microsoft Windows and/or Outlook, you might want to visit the Microsoft DST Help and Support Center
to see if you have the latest updates. The updates make sure your computer and calendar programs reflect the new calendar year timing of DST.
(This usually happens automatically, but Congress gave us four extra weeks of DST this year. And Congress didn't tell your computer about it. That's why you might want to check to see if your computer needs the updates.)
Hmmm. So far I wasted about a half hour updating my computer, and will waste another running around changing all the clocks in my homes, cars, and offices. And software companies had to expend time and resources creating, posting, and publicizing the updates. So, I wonder if Daylight Saving Time is really making the nation more productive and energy efficient? ;)
Anyway, download your free Spring Ahead PowerPoint background
Labels: PowerPoint Background
The lady with your PowerPoint 2007 answers...
PowerPoint expert Ellen Finkelstein has written a new book, How to Do Everything with Microsoft® Office PowerPoint® 2007
. The book is for PowerPoint beginners and experts who want to increase their productivity and sharpen their skills.
I chatted briefly with Ms. Finkelstein yesterday. I told her that I may have fallen into "the trough of despair
" with regard to the new PowerPoint 2007 ribbon interface. Ellen offered me some sage advise:
"In all of Office 2007, I think that PowerPoint offers the most value. The new features will help you create better-designed presentations more easily. But the learning curve for the new ribbon interface is considerable. Expect to spend some time figuring out how to complete familiar tasks. Don't do it when you have a deadline to meet! Instead, find some time to devote playing around with the interface and the many new features."
That word "playing
" is key. For most of the month, I have been working
with PowerPoint, creating presentations for clients. And I often found myself muttering dark oaths under my breath when I could not easily locate previously-familiar commands.
Typically, I have a sunny nature. If I approach the new interface with a more play
-ful, getting-to-know-you attitude, I am sure I will swiftly move out of what I call "old cranky pants" territory. Surely, I do not want to be an old fogey who cannot easily adapt to change!
Ellen offered further wisdom:
"PowerPoint 2007 has an interactive guide to help you find familiar 2003 commands in 2007. It takes 7 clicks to get there!
(Click the Help (?) button > Getting Help > Reference: Locations of PowerPoint 2003 commands in PowerPoint 2007 > New locations of familiar commands > Interactive: PowerPoint 2003 to PowerPoint 2007 command reference guide > Start the Guide > Start.)"
"However, this guide has many limitations. I therefore recommend a book with a good index that you keep handy on your desk. You'll refer to it often!"A good book with a good index!
For those of us who are more comfortable thumbing through a handy desk reference with good index than navigating seven clicks to get to a slow-to-load internet presentation, Ellen's new book could just be the ticket.
You can visit Ellen's site
to find out more about her new book, download two free sections, read a "what's new" review of PowerPoint 2007, and much more. It's good stuff!
Labels: PowerPoint Tricks
Who else misses easy PowerPoint guides?
If you are anything like me, you design PowerPoint presentations using guides. Guides help you place items (text, pictures, etc.) on each slide with much greater precision. They also help keep placement consistent from slide to slide within the presentation.
You want to design using guides in PowerPoint 2007? Here is what you have to do:
How to activate guides in PowerPoint 2007
1. Click on the Home Ribbon
2. Click on Arrange
3. Hover over Align
4. Click on Grid Settings
5. Under Guide Settings
click on Display drawing
6. Click OK
. (See graphic).
Because I use Guides regularly when I design, I also selected "Set as Default". That way, I do not have to go through this elaborate exercise every time I want to create a new presentation.Old-timer's rant alert:
Before PowerPoint 2007, this used to be a one-step process (Ctrl+G). And if I forgot about the simple one-step Ctrl+G approach, I could always revert to the PowerPoint 2003 three-step Guide process
of clicking on "View", and select "Grids and Guides..." then check"Display drawing guides onscreen".
Six+ hard-to-find steps to replace one simple one or three. That's not exactly a productivity boost.
Worse, if you want help with finding how to activate PowerPoint guides using the help button, here is a screenshot of what you get:
That's right. Pick from a grand total of 74 frustrating options -- most of which have little to do with activating PowerPoint Guides from within PowerPoint!
I eventually found out how to activate the guides by clicking on the first option titled Interactive: PowerPoint 2003 to PowerPoint 2007 command reference guide. This option assumed that I had previous knowledge of PowerPoint 2003 (I do) and a fast internet connection (I do). So, I got a little bit lucky there.
Still, it took about 20 seconds for a slow-to-load online presentation to come on screen and give me only partial instructions about where to find the command I needed. (I was able to piece together the full instructions myself. I hope sharing more complete instructions at this post can help someone else out!)
If you think upgrading to Office 2007 is going to make you instantly more productive, think again. Back in July 2006, I wrote that I do not mind falling into the "trough of despair" part of the learning curve if I feel confident that my long-term productivity will improve.
I have been working rather steadily with PowerPoint 2007 this week, building online presentations for clients. So far, my annoyances with the ribbon have been minor. I will hang in there -- and soon, I will quit sounding like an old cranky pants that cannot tolerate change!
Labels: PowerPoint Tricks
Shamrock PowerPoint Background
Great Shamrocks and Shillelaghs!
'Tis almost Saint Patrick's Day again.
You know what that means - it is time to start seeing some green
. (For those of us who are staring at mounds of snow outside our windows -- it is about time!)
You can download your new free Shamrock PowerPoint background
here. (OK, technically, it is an abstraction of a four-leafed clover and not a shamrock, but it is all in good fun. Click on the image, then right click to save to your hard drive.)
And did I spell Shillelagh correctly? (According to Merriam-Webster
How to apply a background image in PowerPoint 2007
Click on Design tab
Click Background Styles
Click Format Background
Select Picture or Texture Fill
Click the File button and select an image file from your hard drive
Click either Close to apply to one slide, or Apply to All to Apply to All!
Want more green PowerPoint for St. Pat's? Here is last year's abstractly Celtic template.
Labels: PowerPoint Background, PowerPoint Templates
When is PowerPoint Like a Cow?
Burning a logo on every cow in the herd is branding
Slapping a logo on every slide in a PowerPoint deck is branding, too.
But which brand attributes can you associate with a firm that refuses to let salespeople use creativity and discretion when giving a presentation?
And what do you think about a company that insists that all presentation content must fit within the limiting confines of a corporate PowerPoint template?
Could it be that the company:
- does not trust their salespeople to communicate persuasively or professionally?
- hires obedient followers instead of thoughtful leaders?
- is not be willing to be flexible or adjust communications to client needs?
The case AGAINST the corporate PowerPoint template. Most small businesses cannot afford to model inflexible, non-creative attributes! Rather, small businesses thrive on delivering customized, personalized, thoughtful approaches. That is why tailoring each sales presentation to the specific needs of the prospect is much more important than insisting that salespeople present within a rigid corporate PowerPoint template.
With a customized, tailored presentation, customers realize they are special.
The case FOR the corporate PowerPoint template. Now, many large businesses can effectively use the "jam a logo on every slide" approach to set customer expectations. Sign with a big corporation, and you will be expected to follow their rules, fit into their mode of doing business. And customers of large businesses have come to expect the same robotic, thoughtless customer service post-sale.
With a "logo on every slide" sales presentation, prospects can rightfully expect to be treated like another cow in the company's herd of customers.
Labels: PowerPoint Templates, Presentation