Tips and Tricks for PowerPoint 03
If you can't hire us this time out, here are some useful hints.
Updating information to PowerPoint 2007, but these are not yet...
On-Site Checklist
Screen Captures
Creating Self-running Modules
Creating an "Agenda Shell" Show
Creating a Custom PowerPoint Template
Create a Looping PowerPoint Show for
A Trade Booth Display
Creating and Running an “Opening Loop

Why You Need PowerPoint 2007
By Moore Anderson

PowerPoint  2007 is perhaps the first significant upgrade since PowerPoint 03. it has much improved graphics capabilities and options for dealing with images. You can now make text and shapes three dimensional with a variety of materials and lighting. soft edge drop shadows also offer a smooth, professional look. ironically, the design community has almost completely sicarded these graphic looks in favor of a "flatter", more 2D approach. The “fade smoothly” transition is very cool, though you need to check the “use hardware graphics acceleration” checkbox in “Set Up Show” for it and the other new transitions to run smoothly. When you move the file to other machines, the box may “uncheck” itself. Watch out for that! Then the transitions could be jumpy again.


The task pane simplifies your life and is very easy to get used to. You can see the animations as you work on them in your work window instead of the postage stamp size dialog box we’re used to. Animation features added include a lot of zippy presets, path animation and a timeline view. It’s exciting and user friendly. Dig in and play!

 we am also finding the clip art gallery much more useful than in the past as it searches my disk and finds my PhotoDisc pictures and other photo resources on the hard drive.

For someone putting together files for large meetings, the “multiple formats” feature is incredibly useful. Using the Slide Sorter view, we first select all of the frames from the “guest” presentation. Then we copy them into the “main” show file. There is a little clipboard icon associated with the first frame of your imported show that allows you to “retain source formatting” of your imported files. When you select that option, “Voila!” the frames revert to their source style. Putting medical meetings and associations with varied speaker files together is a snap.

Other cool things are in the improved graphics capabilities. WMF files display smoothly with anti-aliasing. (once they're ungrouped)  Pictures can be rotated and flipped. You can import .pdf and .eps files now and they will display; in fact, .pdf files look incredibly good, but that keeps changing as Adobe gets more protective of their format. A word of warning though; some of these new features are not backwardly compatible with older versions. With the 3D type and shapes, for instance, you'll find that when you save backward to 03 version, these effects are saved as uneditable images. They still animate and look the same, but they can't be changed in 03. also, the file size becomes much larger because you've got all these additional pictures.

The Redmond group has my grudging admiration for the many improvements they have brought to the program. It could be the best $100 you ever spent. You don’t need to run this on Windows XP. but most will have it at this point. PowerPoint is part of the Office 07suite (which is somewhat confusing) we really don’t use the rest of office that much (except for Word) and don’t think the changes there are worthwhile enough to justify upgrading the whole Office suite, but PowerPoint 07 has my recommendation for a “must buy”! Return to Top of Page

Screen Captures
By Moore Anderson

It’s often useful to capture a screen online or within a program that you may be working in and bring it into PowerPoint. Screen captures work great for tutorials too. Here’s how:

1.     Bring up the screen you wish to capture and hit the “Print Screen” key (usually upper right row on keyboard) Doing this puts the screen image on your clipboard (a mythical space in your computer’s memory that temporarily stores images and information).

2.     Go to PowerPoint. Then, under “Edit” on the menu bar, select “Paste”. The screen you have captured will appear in the work area. At this point, you can use the tools in your Picture toolbar to crop and edit your captured image.

3.     Saved file size is approximately 100k for a full frame capture at 1024x768 resolution (about 10 images per 1MB file) – not bad! Return to Top of Page


Creating Self-running Modules
By Moore Anderson

 These are segments, usually with music and narration, that are designed to be inserted into a presentation as a “break” from just the speaker talking to slides. They may be used to introduce a product, program, or concept, or to show a company history – your imagination is the only limit. If the sound track is music only, then production is relatively easy. If you need narration linked to specific frames, production is more time consuming and expensive. We like full frame pictures for modules, which provide a break from the normal presentation look. Be sure to check the finished module on the actual computer that will be used to run the show. Clock speeds and memory capacity affect the running time. Remember, sound must go through a larger sound system on final playback.

One type of self-running module is the People or “Candids” Modules: Usually a sequence of  30-50 pictures to a sound track. Be careful not to make the file size so large that it chokes your computer. Use JPEG files for this and keep your total file size to around 10 MB. You run the risk of locking up your computer if you don’t have adequate RAM memory. Sound can run inside the file, or from a CD. From the Slide Sorter View use the “Slide Show” menu  and select “Transitions” to time your sequence. Dividing the number of  slides into the number of seconds in your sound track will give you a general idea of about how much time to give each frame. Example: 3 minute track = 180 seconds. With 30 pictures, that's 6 seconds per frame.You may have to adjust these timings depending on the complexity of your transitions and the speed of your computer. We do not recommend a soundtrack that is tightly cued to specific images. There is inevitably some “slippage” and you should allow for that. It could also be shown with an audio track running "wild" on the house sound system. 

Factoid Modules: This is a series of question and answer frames timed to run automatically (much like are played in theaters these days before the movie starts), which both inform and entertain. Such modules are relatively inexpensive to produce and can create a good “warm up” to the formal presentations.

Inserting Sounds: Music and sound effects; wave, MP3 and .midi files can be inserted in PowerPoint to highlight key points, or just to wake up the audience from the insert menu, “Insert sound from file”. These can be controlled from the “Custom Animation” menu  under the “Slide Show” menu bar. A sound can be set to start playing when the frame advances (preferred) or to be interactively cued by the presenter (not preferred) or to play across a specified number of frames. During presentation playback, you must be hooked into a larger sound system for these to be heard by your audience. When using sound with a self running module, you must adjust the play features under the "custom animation" feature so you can select the number of frames you want your track to play through. Have your sound track start first in your animation list. Return to Top of Page

Creating an "Agenda Shell" Show
by Moore Anderson

A recent analyst meeting for a telecommunications company proved the value of assembling all the speakers’ title frames into show order (from the client’s agenda) for the client review. Creating the “Agenda Shell” gives the producer/art director a chance to show the “flow” of the show, with the speaker title frames, theme graphics and coffee break frames inserted in the proper order- even if you haven’t yet received some presentations from your client. It’s also useful in that it shows any holes left to be filled in or any client information not yet received. We generally combine all of the individual speakers into a single file for each day of meetings, with a theme graphic and title frame between each. This allows a speaker to end (theme graphic), then introduce the next speaker (title frame).
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by Moore Anderson

“Six up” printouts are the handiest for show books for people running the computers and calling the show, but you may want “two ups” for your clients if your frames have a lot of detail. It’s very useful throughout the printout and review process to use the “Number” function which automatically numbers all your slides. Remember to turn it off for the actual show, however. It’s accessed through the “View” menu under “View Header and Footer”. Just check the box and  “apply to all”. It’s usually good to boost the point size of the numbers in the master so that it shows up in your small printouts. (Shift click on the slide icon in the lower left of your screen to get to the Master) These numbered printouts can be very handy during the show if the order is suddenly changed or a speaker skips several. By knowing the number of the frame, you can interactively jump to any frame by typing the number, then pressing “enter” without exiting the show mode. Having a printer on-site is recommended for last minute changes. (Be sure you have the driver program on your computer for that specific printer.) Return to Top of Page

On-Site Checklist  
by Moore Anderson

You’re setting up for the big conference; the projectors are lined up and the image is sharp and bright. The drapes and signage are in place; the sound check for the podium and wireless mics has gone flawlessly. But you’re still nervous. Now, you ask yourself, is there anything else We should think about before the audience arrives? Your final check of the show computers is time well spent – here’s my checklist.

·        Two computers with a switchover box is the typical professional on-site configuration. This redundancy give you an extra insurance against computer glitches (We never have those, of course). Make sure your back-up computer is configured the same way as your main. Ideally, the main and backup should be exactly the same computer make and model. The on-site staging company or hotel AV department usually will help you plug into the projector and provide the switchover box to the projection system.

·        Be sure your show is the current version and is copied on the main and backup computers. We like to burn my final show from a CD-ROM for a fast load-in.  It’s a good idea to have a “fonts” folder on your show CD so that any special fonts are available for installation. Be sure all fonts necessary to your show are installed in the Windows/Fonts directory or the WINNT/fonts directory if you’re running Windows 2000.

·        If you make changes for clients on-site (and who doesn’t), be sure to do them all on the unit you designate as the “main”. Life can get confusing if you don’t.  Remember to copy the new files to your backup unit at the end of the rehearsal period. We’ve used a Zip disk drive, CD-RW drive and LapLink cable/software to transfer files to the backup in the past, but now we set up a local network using a crossover cable and my Ethernet connections. A zip disk and CD-RW has the advantage of storing an additional backup of your final show once all the on-site changes are in.

·        There are a couple of ways to handle advancing the slides. Most production companies use a person behind the screen (Rear Projection) or at the control table (front projection) to actually advance the frames on the speaker’s cue. We use a “cue light” box near the computer which the speaker activates from a controller on the podium - two if using a dual podium setup. (A hard-wired box with an audio and visual cue is strongly recommended. Almost all radio controlled cue boxes are glitchy and erratic.)

·        A second approach is to use a radio controlled unit like the Interlink Electronics RemotePoint RF unit that we sometimes use where the clients feel comfortable with advancing their own slides. This plugs in to your mouse port. It has a good range (rated at 100’, but we’ve tested it up to 350’) You still need someone to “standby” on the computer backstage for emergencies, but this controller has proven fairly reliable. Check or replace batteries before a big show. The backstage operator is limited to keyboard commands only, since the mouse is now the RF controller.

·        The graphics card in your computer should have at least 16 MB of memory to display full color image at 1024x768 resolution at Truecolor 32 or 24 bit color (16 million colors). A 32 MB or 64 MB display card memory is even better.

In the “Display” dialog on the Control Panel under the “Settings” tab, the “Advanced” button/adapter tab will enable you to set the display to 60 cycles per second – this is more in sync with video display rates for projection systems. (The 60hz setting can cause eyestrain and headaches, so we don’t use this setting for my day to day work.)

·        Under the Effects tab of the Display dialog, have “Smooth edges of screen fonts” checked.

·        Under the Settings tab, check the color and configuration of your screen display – currently my clients are running 1024x768, 24 bit or 32 bit color (the maximum color depth).

Here’s how my display dialog looks for running a show:

·        If you are running a laptop, then you don’t need VGA monitors backstage, but you will need to use your Function+f10 key (depends on the computer make) to display both your LCD screen and the projector. REMEMBER, TO PLUG THE LAPTOP IN TO LOCAL POWER!

·        Bring your own surge protector multi-plug. Don’t trust on-site power to be clean. Be sure all power cords are taped down with gaffer tape. Clients have sometimes been known to stumble over things backstage and disconnect the power to the computer.

·        A tensor reading lamp to see your script and printouts backstage. Cued scripts are the ideal, but the reality is that few presenters use scripts these days.

·        Under “Tools/Options” uncheck box for “Show popup menu on right mouse click” and “Show popup menu button”.

·        Under the “Slide Show” menu choose “Set Up Show”. If you are using PowerPoint XP 2002, you should check the “use hardware graphics acceleration box at the bottom. Radio buttons for “Presented by a speaker (full screen)”, Show slides “All” and Advance slides “Using timings, if present” should be checked as shown:

·        Check the show in Slide Sorter view to insure that there are no timed cues in the presentation. Sometimes presenters leave them in while rehearsing their show with the timer. If there are timed cues, go to Transitions menu to delete them. Uncheck the “Automatically after” box.

Fighting Murphy’s Law

We all know that there are a multitude of things that can go wrong in any high-tech situation. However, if you have followed these helpful hints, you will have gone a long way towards avoiding many of them. Stay calm…deep breathing does help…(We’m not kidding.) Have a great show and good luck!

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Creating a Custom PowerPoint Template
By Moore Anderson

Although it may seem daunting to build your own PowerPoint template from scratch, it’s really not that terrible, and the effect on your clients is a high “Wow!” factor. Of course, The Moore Anderson Group can help you with your design or artwork as well as preparing a PowerPoint "prep" template show to your special needs.

Here’s a step-by-step on an “invented” show to demonstrate my approach;

  1. First step is designing the Meeting Theme Graphic. If this is used in signage or print, you will need some variations in resolution and approach – often a one- color version for print and handout items. My demo show title is “The Unfair Advantage” for a line of automotive products, “Big Pipes, Inc.” Because it’s an aggressive, competitive theme, We’ve chosen an auto racing motif as my visual underpinning. In a layered PhotoShop file,  We created the following graphic . These days we work at 1024x768 pixel resolution to maximize display for most laptops. Once we have the theme, we can reuse many of these elements to make the backgrounds.

  1. Next we created the background variations for my PowerPoint file; a text background, a title background and a blank background. I export my images as the JPEG file type.  JPEGs are less of a memory hit than other file formats.

3.      Now we go into PowerPoint and call up a blank presentation. There are two things we need to do before we import our new backgrounds. First, change the Slide Color Scheme. Go to the Format menu and choose the preset that’s closest to what you want and that goes with your theme. Then edit that preset to make it even closer. If you import the background without this step, you’ll often find yourself typing blind with white type on a white background (the real color under your background graphic).

4.      Then choose the “Replace Fonts” command under the Format menu and replace Times with Arial. (PowerPoint XP 2002 defaults to this.)

5.      Now you’re ready to import the backgrounds were created earlier. Shift-click on the “ Normal view” icon on the lower left of your screen. That brings up the master background templates. Now select under the Format menu “Background”. In the dialog box there is a choice called Fill Effects. That will bring up a dialog box; choose the Picture tab at the top. Find your background picture and select it. After clicking the OK button, click Apply at the next dialog box. Since you are in the template master this will affect all your slides.


You may want to add a New Title Master (under the Insert menu) at this point, and import the Title variation of your background.

  1. While I’m in the Slide Master mode, I change the font in the headline to Impact to match the feel of my Theme graphic.
  2. Then I change the bullet color to yellow after selecting the edge of the text block, and using the Format menu/ Bullets and numbering.
  1. Now I insert some helpful text to give the presenters or their associates some helpful hints as they build their show I call it a Sample Show instead of a template so that users won’t go looking for a template, but use this as a basis for their presentation. Template files are more difficult to manage and require too much knowledge on the part of the user. Now the sample show looks like this in the Show Sorter view:

9. Try to use the standard font families that come with Windows and PowerPoint. This solves problems of interchanging files and variation in letter spacing. If special fonts are used (outside the normal PowerPoint set), be sure to copy them to a separate “fonts” folder with your other presentation files, so that as your show moves from computer to computer, they’re available for installation.

We hope this has been helpful as an introduction to creating your own templates and custom shows. As one of my clients once said, “You must have a different version of PowerPoint than I do. My PowerPoint doesn’t look anything like that! Is there a professional version or something?” I smileReturn to Top of Page

Create a Looping PowerPoint Show for
A Trade Booth Display

By  Moore Anderson

  To loop a show for a trade show booth display, the easiest way is to

  1. First use the "Rehearse Timings" function under "Slide Show" on the menu bar. If you don't see this function listed, use the down arrow at the bottom of the list to reveal the other options. The “Rehearse Timings” function allows you to change the frame as you read it (aloud, we recommend). At the end of your presentation hit the stop record control or escape key. You will then get a message dialog box that asks if you want to use these timing when you next play your presentation. Click Yes.
  2. The next step is to go to the Slide Show menu and choose "Set Up Show". In that dialog box you will see the "Loop until escape" option. Check that.
  3. Save your file. Now, when you go into the show mode, your file should loop infinitely and pause according to your rehearsal cues. If you need to change a frame’s timing to longer or shorter, go to the Slide Sorter View and click the frame you wish to change. Then go to Slide Show menu and transitions. In the dialog box you’ll see a field to change the time.

A few other hints:

  • It’s always good to minimize copy. The fewer words the better at a trade show. High impact, eye-catching graphics work the best.

  •   Use large type sizes – viewers will see it from a distance. 48 pts. or bigger is an adequate size. 72 pts. is better.

  •  Pictures are far more effective than words in a trade show environment. Remember, you want to catch attendees’ attention and keep them around while you deliver your message

  • Don’t use sound. It quickly becomes annoying

·        Use interesting transitions between frames. (Slide show view; Select All, then choose Random Transitions)

·        Try not to leave any frame up longer than 10 seconds; 5 seconds preferred

·        End the show by referring the viewer to the person in the booth for more information

·        Have business cards and literature near the display

·        PowerPoint 2002 has interesting animation effects and transitions that can add visual “pizzazz”.

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Creating and Running an “Opening Loop
By Moore Anderson

For a professional touch, it looks good to have an interesting PowerPoint loop at the opening of a meeting or event. A loop is ideal to set the tone for a meeting as your audience walks in and is seated as well as adding excitement and anticipation. A loop can be interesting graphics or “factoids” about your company or organization; even a series of jokes or funny quotes – the possibilities are endless.

Creating Your Loop
To Create a looping file if you have not already done so, first assemble the frames for your loop into a show, then go to the “Slide Show” menu and select “Set Up Show”. From the set up dialog box, select “ Loop continuously until ‘Esc’”, then the OK button.

A looping file must contain timings that advance it automatically. Otherwise your loop will hang up at a graphic or animation that isn’t set to a timed cue. Under the Slide Show menu select “transitions” and add the timings. Usually it is best to be in Slide Sorter View when doing this. Another way is to use the “rehearse timings” feature under the “Slide Show” menu to add your timing cues.

Linking Your Loop to the Main Presentation
PowerPoint does not allow you to combine a timed loop and a straight cued presentation within the same file. The problem is then; how do you attach the loop to the main presentation so you can exit immediately and start your main presentation? Remember, the key to a professional presentation is “Never let the PowerPoint interface show!” The best way we have found is to create an interactive object or “action button” on the first frame of your main presentation file. You can use any single graphic object as an action button for the technique shown here. Here are the steps:

1.      Select an object on the first frame of your main presentation (where you want to be after the loop plays).

2.      Right click on the object and choose “Action Settings” from the popup menu

3. From the Action Settings dialog box, choose “Hyperlink”; then “ to other PowerPoint Presentation”, then the OK button.

4.      Select your loop show and accept, OK, then choose the first frame of the loop presentation and “OK”

5.      Exit Action Settings dialog.

6.      Save Your File!  

7.      To try out your button link go to the “Slide Show” mode. When you are running in this mode, your cursor will change to a pointing hand when you pass it over your interactive object. Clicking on the button area will start your loop. We usually place the button near the bottom of the frame so that my mouse movement isn’t too obvious to the audience. Be sure you do not have the loop presentation open in memory in PowerPoint – only your main presentation should be in memory for this to work. When you want to exit the loop hit the “Esc” key once. This will put you back in your main presentation still in the show mode. Do not hit the escape key twice or you will exit show mode.

This same approach can also be used to link separate presentations in a program of different speakers. This avoids the problem of only having one background in a single presentation file. Although PowerPoint 2002 allows multiple backgrounds, earlier versions do not.

We hope this has been helpful. Much success in your future shows.
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