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Before your material leaves your company it should undergo proofreading. This ensures a clear message and leaving the best impression to the reader. We tried to collect ten PowerPoint errors occurring often and useful to check for. Those checks are also done by SlideProof, the PowerPoint Add-in to make proofreading easier. We hope it finally helps you creating better presentations:

Consistent bullet punctuation

All bullet items should have the same punctuation. This might also include no punctuation at all – But it should be consistent over all items of a bullet list. So if one has a period, the others should have one, too. We recommend using punctuation when your items are complete sentences.

Example of an inconsistent punctuation of bullet items

Punctuation spacing

Unfortunately wrong spacing around punctuation marks are not identified by PowerPoint’s spell check. This includes most punctuation marks like period, comma, exclamation and question mark. There should always be a space behind but no before. Often these are easy to spot by eye except when font size gets smaller.

Example of a wrong space before comma

Consistent hyphenation

All words that are separated by a hyphen should be separated consistently. An evergreen is definitely long-term vs. long term. Especially when working in a team, chances are high people will separate words differently.

Example of inconsistent hyphenated words.

Missing bracket

Brackets only come in pairs. When there is an opening parenthesis, there also should be a closing one. Except for smileys. The same goes for quotation marks which also always appear in pairs. A proofreader has to find single brackets.

Example of a paragraph missing the closing bracket.

Wrong footnotes

A footnote consists of the footnote at the bottom of a slide and the reference in the text. The reference in text is often just a superscripted number. This leaves room for many possible errors: Missing footnotes, un-referenced footnotes, gaps in numbering or numbering not starting with one.

Example of a missing footnote that is used in text.

Overlapping text

Obviously overlapping text is never wanted. A classic example is a forgotten sticker or post-it which is often used by third-party reviewers over existing text.

Example of two overlapping texts

Accidently moved placeholder

A title, body and any other placeholder can easily be moved which often happens accidentally. Finding such errors is tedious work as one has to quickly go through the slides of a presentation and search for jumping placeholders during transitions.

Example of a accidentally moved title placeholder

Accidently moved shapes

Certain shapes like stickers or trackers are no placeholder but appear at the same position on several slides. Sometimes such a shape gets accidentally moved without notice. These are hard-to-spot errors as they only noticeable during the transition from one slide to another.

Example of an on-page tracker slightly misaligned to the one on other slides.

Slightly misaligned shapes

When arranging shapes on a slide, one of them can easily get out of line. PowerPoint’s alignment tools are not always perfect and spotting such an error requires much trained eyes.

Example of three shapes where one is slightly misaligned.

Font formats

If you worked in a team and copied from different sources, chances are high the presentation has different fonts for the same elements. In the end, all titles, body and placeholders should have the same font name and size. This also helps reducing the number of used fonts and sizes.

Example of two font sizes used in a single line of text.

Font line spacing

What is true for font formats goes also for font line spacing. Using consistent Line Spacing greatly supports readability and visual clarity. This one is often hard to spot but easy to find by software.

Inconsistent line spacings used in a single paragraph of text.

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Many heavily used Excel features do not have shortcut keys assigned. But with KeyRocket you can assign your own shortcuts in Excel. In this text I show you how to set up a shortcut. This works for all Office products.

There are two ways to create a shortcut in Excel: Either while working via the shortcut notification or from within the shortcut browser.

On demand, while you work

When you use a function in Excel several times with the mouse, a missed shortcut notification pops up on the screen. If the feature has no shortcut assigned yet, the notification should show the ribbon access key combination and a shortcut field below to assign your own shortcut keys. The shortcut field already contains a suggestion. By pressing save you can assign the feature to the suggested shortcut. You can also override the suggestion by clicking inside the field and pressing the desired keys:

Excel with a custom shortcut notification

From within the shortcut browser

Just open the KeyRocket shortcut browser by pressing Win+Shift+K. Set the currently shown application to Excel (1.). Search for the feature in the search bar (2.). Press the small wrench icon to assign a custom shortcut (3.):
KeyRocket shortcut browser

Then a shortcut field appears where you can enter the desired keys (4.). Finish by pressing Enter key:

Shortcut field in shortcut browser

And finally there it is: You now have assigned your own shortcut to a function in Excel:

The shortcut field in shortcut browser

Reference

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Checking very large presentations for inconsistencies using SlideProof can become quite time consuming:

ProgressBar


To improve waiting for the whole check when only a single slide is of interest, SlideProof now allows to check only selected slides. This might be useful when a presentation was already checked before and a slide got only minor changes. Also there’s the new shortcut Shift+F11 to do complementary to F11 which checks the whole presentation:

CheckOnlySelectedSlides


Note that when checking only the selected slide, certain errors spanning several slides might not be detected!

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Alignment of shapes on slide

SlideProof comes with the handy rule “Alignment of Shapes on Slide” that tries to find shapes that are not properly aligned or slightly misaligned. As this contains a little bit of black magic we were asked to expose the parameters so that you as a user can adjust it. Finally we thought it would again be better to hide the complexity behind a sensitivity slider. Low sensitivity means less errors are found whereas high sensitivity means many errors. Unfortunately a high sensitivity comes with more false-positives hits.

Adjusting sensitivity

The sensitivity slider can be accessed in SlideProof’s settings and looks like this:

SensitivitySlider

What it actually does

It actually adjusts two internal parameters: The maximum allowed distance for shapes being regarded as “should be aligned”:

SensitivityMargins

The second parameter is a little bit more complicated: The maximum number of errors that can appear on a slide. When there are many shapes on a slide, chances are less they are supposed to be properly aligned. Or: You can’t align the chaos.

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Never miss or forget a footnote again!

Why using footnotes?

They add information and give credibility to the presented facts. Footnotes are never alone, for a great footnote you need two parts:

  • Footnote: the actual text, usually in the footer of the page .
  • Reference: the small number that indicates which portion of the text is explained in detail

What can go wrong goes wrong?

We automatically checked a large pool of real-world presentations from top-notch consultancy firms and guess what: inconsistent footnotes are everywhere. And that’s hardly surprising, given the method of choice: manually checking footnotes in a tiny font at 2am in the morning!

Nobody is immune to these errors

  • Unnecessary footnotes: after duplicating an entire slide, editing the text but not the footnotes
  • Duplicate references: when pasting text that included references
  • Wrong sequence of footnotes: after removing a footnote that’s not needed anymore

So what’s the solution?

You have guessed it: SlideProof’ got your back. SlideProof comes with an excellent footnote detection. SlideProof ensures that the footnotes are consistent on each slide. Here is an example:

MissingFootnoteDemo

 

 

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Today we decided to move to Office 365 from previously using Google Apps (Mail, Calendar, Docs) & Microsoft Office Desktop & Box.net for storage. The impetus to make the move came from this great article: From Google Apps to Office 365: Why my company ditched Google. For us it boils down to:

  • We are passionate Microsoft users and developers since forever
  • B2B image: Going with “Microsoft Exchange / Office 365″ just sounds more corporate and serious than free “Google Apps” where you and your data “are the product” and pay with advertising
  • History & Cost: But we started using Google Apps when Gmail was miles ahead of outlook.com and the entire apps suite was free for up to 50 users
  • Both systems will have flaws
  • Ecosystem: Our clients all use the Microsoft applications, chances are they will keep using Microsoft even when using Cloud Apps
  • Drive & Docs:
    • the attribution of files to accounts + permissions drove us crazy (now using box.net + Google Docs for real-time collaboration)
    • We depend on Microsoft Office and Googles integration of Microsoft Documents into Drive /

The rough plan we made is:

  • Sign up Office 365
  • Test Word & Excel for Google Docs like real time collaboration
  • Make 365 Play with our IOS / Android phones
  • Migrate
  • Email
  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Google Drive
  • Box.net (Files)

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In PowerPoint, some people are using spaces to increase the distance between a bullet point and its text. That’s perfectly fine as long as things don’t get copied together. Then there’s a very high chance you will end up with some bullet points with and some without:

Example

Finding this inconsistency on long presentations can be tedious work. This is where SlideProof comes into play. By checking your presentation for errors, inconsistent number of spaces between bullets and text can be easily spotted. By default, fixing would choose the number of spaces that appear most often (in the screenshot example that 0 spaces).

If you want, you can also choose the number of spaces manually by expanding the warning and clicking “Take this” on a different number of spaces.

Example2

TRY SLIDEPROOF NOW

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Summary

How does it happen?
  • Accidently select a shape and later touch the cursor key
  • Accidently drag them with the mouse or – more probably – by swiping over the touchpad
  • When using copy and paste a lot (during collaboration)
Why is it bad?
  • Distracts audience
  • Undermines credibility (attention to detail)
What’s the solution?
  • Manual: Reset layout via Ribbon Menu (Home > Reset Layout)
  • Manual: Move shapes back in place via mouse/cursor
  • Automatic: SlideProof

Detail Description

When creating presentations in PowerPoint it’s quite common to accidently move a placeholder like a title or content without noticing. This might easily happen, for example, when a shape is selected and one accidently touches the cursor keys or by dragging them while brushing over the touchpad & mouse. When working in a team the chances are even higher that somebody breaks the deck’s layout this way.

In the past the only way to recognize the error is by manually reviewing the presentation over and over again. For example by printing it in order to flip from one slide to another and spot the transitions where the shape jumps in position ever so slightly. The catch, even if one does not find it the moved placeholders, chances are high the audience will recognize them later.

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But let’s assume the best case and the moved shape was spotted beforehand – How can it be fixed? Either execute the “Reset Layout” command in the Home Ribbon Menu or move it manually. Both manual methods are cumbersome and have to be repeated for every slide that contains moved placeholders.

With SlideProof one click is enough to check the entire presentation for this type error of moved placeholders. With just another click the placeholders are moved back into position and the audience will focus on what’s most important: Your content, not the form.

Get SlideProof now to fix accidently moved placeholders and many other inconsistencies in your PowerPoint Presentations.

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It took some time until we implemented assignment of Custom Shortcuts from within the KeyRocket Shortcut Browser. The feature is now available in our frontier version and will be released for all users in about one week.

1. Open the Shortcut Browser by pressing Win+Shift+K
2. Search for the action you want to assign
3. Press the wrench to assign a shortcut
4. Press the shortcut and finish with Enter
5. Here you go: Your custom shortcut

AssignCustomShortcut