PowerPoint Presentation Hacks to Wow Your Colleagues, Friends and Boss  

A PowerPoint presentation, internal or external is normally pretty important. Your often trying to impress your colleagues, a potential client, or maybe your boss. Creating PowerPoint presentations that knock the socks off your audience isn’t easy, it takes practice, dedication and extensive knowledge of the programme.
Luckily you have us here at Skillsology to help with that. We asked our experience IT trainer, Deb, to come up with her top 10 PowerPoint Hacks. The list that follows will not only make your presentations amazing, it’s also going to take you much less time to create them.

1. Use Eyedropper to match colours on your slide


Tired of trying to precisely match the colours of shapes and pictures to other parts of your PowerPoint presentation? Let PowerPoint do the hard work for you with the new eyedropper tool.

• Double-click the shape or object you want to match colours for. If you want to change text colour, highlight the text
• On the Home tab, click any of the colour options, such as Shape Fill in the Shapes group, or Font Colour in the Font group
• Select Eyedropper from the menu

As you move your pointer around, a live preview of the colour will display. Once you have the colour you would like to apply to your shape or font, click your mouse.

• To cancel the Eyedropper press ESC.




2. Use Shortcut Keys to make the presentation screen black and draw attention back to you


When giving a presentation it is important to make sure that the audience’s attention is on you and what you are saying, and that they are not zoning out staring at the screen, or reading the title over and over again. Use this handy little presentation hack and hit ‘Control’ + the ‘B’ key on your keyboard to black out your screen.
Alternatively, if black seems a little harsh, hit ‘Control’ + the ‘W’ key and your audience will be dazzled with a white screen.
Whenever you need to move to the next slide, just hit any key or move the mouse to get your presentation back.


3. Save time and promote consistency by creating a custom template

PowerPoint has a number of ready-made templates you can use, but to really stand out from the crowd, think about creating a custom template that is unique to you. This template can be used over and over again, which promotes consistency and brand.

• Click on the View tab
• Click Slide Master
• Edit the template (add items such as a company logo, background colour, headers and footers etc)
• Click Close Master to apply the template to all slides in the presentation


4. Add some pizzazz to your presentation by inserting online videos


It’s now easier than ever to insert online videos into your presentation. PowerPoint allows you to directly search the web for YouTube videos without having to fire-up an additional internet browser outside of PowerPoint.

• Click on the Insert tab
• In the Media group, click Video
• Click Online Video
• Type your search text and press Enter
• Select a video and click Insert



5. Switch to Presenter Mode and zoom in and out to focus on specific areas


Presenter view is a great way to view your presentation as well as your speaker notes on one computer, while the audience views the notes-free presentation. It’s also a great way of being able to see the next slide whilst presenting. Use the magnifying glass when in Presenter Mode to zoom in and out of specific parts of the presentation.
To turn Presenter View on:

• Click the Slide Show tab
• Click the Use Presenter View button




•To zoom in, use the Magnify tool




6. Make Custom Shapes by Combining Shapes


Sometimes, you want to create a shape that isn’t included in the default shapes in PowerPoint. This can be done by merging shapes together to get a new shape. You can also use Edit Points to change a shape into the shape you want.

• Select the shapes you want to merge by holding down the CTRL key
• From the Drawing Tools ribbon, select the Format tab
• In the Insert Shapes group, select a Merge option from the Merge Shapes menu




7. Reduce the size of your presentation by compressing images


You finally finish the PowerPoint presentation you’ve been working on. It’s compelling, engaging and visually strong but when you click Save you realise it’s also HUGE! Oversized PowerPoint files can be difficult to share and challenging to upload. The performance of your slides can even suffer too. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this:

• Click on any image in the PowerPoint
• Click on the Picture Tools, Format ribbon
• Click Compress Pictures
• Uncheck ‘Apply only to this picture’




8. Save as a .PPS


Sometimes it’s hard to switch to your slideshow and back again without fumbling around and looking a little unprofessional to your audience. An easy way to overcome this is to save your presentation as a .pps file:

• Click the File tab
• Click Save As
• Select PowerPoint Show as the File Type

Now, when you click on the file is will open directly in Slide Show mode.


9. Forget Copy and Paste – Duplicate is King!


Why perform two keystrokes, when you can just perform one! Copying and Pasting text or objects can get a bit tedious, particularly if you are copying a lot of items. An easier way to do this is to duplicate instead. You can even duplicate slides as well as individual objects:

• Click on the object that you want to copy
• Hold down the CTRL key and drag to duplicate, OR
• Press CTRL+D to Duplicate Slides
• Click on the slide or slides
• On the Home ribbon, click the New Slide drop-down
• Click Duplicate Selected Slides


10. Align Objects


You can arrange pictures, text boxes and shapes on your slide by aligning, ordering, grouping and rotating them in various ways. When you move objects in PowerPoint, alignment and spacing guides will appear to help you align them. If you have many objects on the page it might be hard to get them aligned perfectly.

PowerPoint provides several alignment commands that allow you to easily arrange and position objects.
Aligning Two or More Objects:

• Select the objects to align
• On the Drawing Tools ribbon, click the Format tab
• In the Arrange group, click the Align drop-down
• Select one of the six alignment options



By Deborah Ashby – Microsoft Office Specialist and Microsoft Certified Trainer with 21 years supporting Microsoft products. To learn more about Microsoft PowerPoint, take a look at our course.