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You can quickly become a PowerPoint pro by taking advantage of the advanced features that are hidden in plain sight. These tools are provided for you to spend as little time on building the presentation as possible. For instance, rather than wasting time manually positioning the elements of a slide, you can simply right-click the slide and select from a selection of regularly used Layout options. If none of these options offer the layout you need, simply select the Blank option to add and arrange your elements as required.
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Chart Styling Options
Charts, tables and other elements can all be styled to sit perfectly within your presentation thanks to the PowerPoint Design tab, where you can restyle page elements in a matter of seconds. Access the All Themes drop down to select a new theme or simply hover the mouse pointer over a single option to get a quick preview of how the change might appear. You can use this instantaneous to provide a polished look without spending a long time adjusting fonts and colors.
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Look Professional with Correct Grammar and Spelling
For a professional PowerPoint slideshow, you should be looking to cover all bases. What could be more professional than making sure you have used the correct spellings, grammar and terminology throughout your presentation?
Simply tapping the F7 key opens the spelling and grammar tool. You can use this to make any changes that you feel are necessary based on the suggestions highlighted in the dictionary tool.
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Improving PowerPoint Presentation Performance
PowerPoint performance issues may occur when presentations are played back on unsuitable or below-spec equipment. This is usually because PowerPoint is trying to play the slideshow based on the incorrect screen resolution.
One fast (and very professional-looking) way to resolving this is to select the Slide Show tab and alter the resolution for the presentation. This might prove handy if you are running the slideshow on an older laptop, for instance. The lower the resolution you select, the better the performance of your presentation.
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Change the Default Save Format
Despite being in use since Office 2007, the PPTX format for PowerPoint presentations hasn’t fully caught on in large organizations. As a result, you may find that colleagues and clients are still using the old PPT format. This might be because they are using older versions of Microsoft PowerPoint or they prefer open source alternatives.
Either way, PowerPoint 2007 and later will save and open files in both PPTX and PPT formats, so it makes sense to be as flexible as possible for the audience of your presentation. Setting PowerPoint 2007 and later to use the PPT format by default is a good option, and this can be achieved via File > Options > Save.
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Editing Charts in PowerPoint
Inserting charts in a PowerPoint slideshow can prove very tricky to get right, although it really should not as all of the tools that you need to streamline the process are present in the software. For instance, once you have inserted your chart you can easily alter the data by selecting any of the columns, bars or pie segments. This will open Excel where the table data can be edited quickly, with any changes made immediately updating the chart.
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Create Professional Looking Charts in PowerPoint
By right-clicking a chart, you will find the 3-D Rotation option, which can be used to give an extremely polished finish to your chart data. If you are hoping to be seen as a PowerPoint expert or just want to provide a polished and professional looking finish to your chart, switching from the standard 2-D charts to a rotated option is a great idea. Along with various presets, you can also manually state the rotation angles.
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The Importance of Timing
The best PowerPoint presentations are those that run without any mistakes by the speaker. You might wonder how this is done, but a quick trip to the Slide Show tab will reveal the answer: the Rehearse Timings button.
All you need to do with this is run through your presentation, speaking aloud and clicking your mouse when the slide needs to be changed. Using this approach, you can deliver a polished and confident speech, as well as apply the settings to cause PowerPoint to switch to the next slide automatically.
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Setting Up Your Slideshow
Prior to displaying the slideshow, you might wish to configure some options. This depends on the type of presentation that you intend to use as well as the device on which it is being viewed. Using the Slide Show > Set Up Slide Show option you can loop the slideshow, specify mouse-controlled “laser" highlighter options and specify how many slides should be displayed.
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The Ultimate PowerPoint Pro Tool - Live Webcasting!
Finally, do not overlook that fact that you can broadcast your slideshow across the web, thanks to the free PowerPoint Broadcast Service, which is available to anyone with a Windows Live ID. Your viewers receive an email message with a link to your presentation, which they can simply click on to view the slideshow being broadcast from your computer.
- Screenshots provided by author.