Many PowerPoint presentations are structured into chapters to make it easier to follow. The SlideProof Agenda is great at creating and updating such a table of content.

One request that we got from consultants was to show the title of the current section on the slide.

You can now achieve that with a Customer Placeholder and using the Agenda fields like <N> <TEXT> to show the title of the current section. Read more about Creating Custom Placeholders.






Nobody wants their slide presentation to be the kind that makes people doze off during meetings. In order to effectively convey the information you want to present, planning and preparation are key. The more time you spend preparing your slides and the manner in which you present the content of the slides, the more engaged your audience will be during your presentation.

There are several important factors to keep in mind during your slide preparation. When these methods are utilized, it’s possible to produce an artful presentation that will capture the eyes and ears of everyone in the room. The more you incorporate these key ideas into your Keynote creation, the more practiced you will eventually become in the art of creative presentation.

1. Connect with the Audience

There’s more going on during a Keynote presentation than just you reviewing information on a slide. There is an audience who needs to be interested in the images and words in front of them, as well as in what they’re hearing. To generate interest, enthusiasm is needed on your end as well. Make your passion known to those watching.

This can be accomplished by working on some general public speaking skills. And have no fear — this isn’t something you have to figure out on your own. There are many companies and websites out there that will help you with public speaking presentation and PowerPoint.

Ask Yourself: What do they need to know?

The content of your slides and verbal presentation should only include what matters to the audience in the room. Focusing on what is important to you and your audience can help with your own personal enthusiasm and their interest level. In order to maintain their interest, make sure you’re addressing their needs.

This may involve reading the audience. Be sure to focus on their response to what you’re saying and what’s on the slides. Paying attention to their response helps ensure maximum understanding between you and your audience.

Build Rapport

Building a rapport with the audience involves small gestures such as smiling and making frequent eye contact with the people in the room around you. Doing this will better help the audience connect with you and what you’re saying. Feeling a connection with the people watching may help you feel less nervous as well.

Since eye contact is important, do not dim the lights to the point where it is difficult to see the faces of the people in the room. You need to be seen just as much as the slides do.

Another great way to build rapport with the room is by asking questions. Posing a question to your audience can spark their curiosity and engagement. Don’t be afraid to ask frequent questions. Give time for your audience to ponder over the question, then reveal the answer on the next slide

2. Prepare and Plan Your Story

Narratives help people understand data. This means that an effective presentation should involve stories, either multiple to flesh out a point or one over-arching story that runs from beginning to end. They also help with building connections between your audience and the content of your presentation. People much prefer to listen to a story than to facts rattling off.

Story preparation involves choosing what information is necessary for the narrative. Cramming too much information into your slides can overwhelm or confuse your audience, ruining your connection with them during your public speaking presentation. If you’re worried about rambling or losing focus, consider using a source for public speaking presentation training.

Body Language Matters

A big part of storytelling and public speaking is body language. Excessive swaying or side-to-side movement can distract from your message and also is a sign of nervousness. Frequent hand gesturing can help, as well as walking around naturally, but it’s also important to not let this get too distracting either. It’s best to keep your movements minimal with occasional hand gestures.

Avoid Reading and Repetition

The point of a public speaking presentation with Keynote is not to read the information to the audience. Even if you’re relaying a story, you need to tell the story, not simply read it off a slide. Reading the words off a slide is a form of repetition because the audience could always just read it for  themselves.

Other types of repetition to avoid are repeating the same words and phrases over and over again on your slides, as well as repeating bits of information. The more times you repeat something, the less interesting it becomes for your audience

3. Spend Time on Design

The way your Keynote slides look is just as important as how you personally look and sound. There are many ways to tackle your design and template. First, there are companies that can help you as a Keynote presentation designer, providing templates and ideas. Even if you’re working with a basic template available on Keynote, it’s important to customize each slide in order for your story to run smoothly, your information to be conveyed clearly, and visuals to appeal to the audience.

There are several customizing options available on Keynote to utilize to your advantage.

Include Objects and Shapes

Be sure to include objects beyond text boxes on the majority of your slides, including charts, pictures, and shapes. After designing a slide filled with multiple objects, check to see if everything on the slide is aligned evenly on the page. An even and aligned look will appear much more professional than images arranged helter skelter on a slide.

Keynote offers many options when it comes to including shapes and 3D charts, which allow you to create flow charts, diagrams, and other useful objects. There is also an option to use the “Shape” option to crop existing photos into shapes by clicking “Media > Photo” to drag a picture into a certain shape. Images of web pages can even be embedded into a slide directly, allowing you to avoid clicking an external link. After all this is added to the slide, Keynote also offers a feature to make the text match the colors of an image. All of this can help make a creative presentation.

Include Multimedia

Text, bullet points, images and flow charts are fine, but multimedia is what really spices up a Keynote. This can involve linking to external video and audio, but there is also an option to embed media into the presentation slides, allowing for a much smoother visual. Clicking to a new slide and showing a quick YouTube clip can help engage the audience.

Speaking of multimedia and the extra features offered by technology, Keynote also has an option that allows you to control your presentation from your iPhone. This little detail can help add to your presentation’s innovative look.

Avoid Clutter

There are many options of what to include in a slide: music, YouTube videos, a homepage, a chart, text box, and timeline, just to name a few. With all of this at our fingertips, let’s keep in mind: excessive objects on a page will create a cluttered look that will distract the audience and take away from the information you are trying to communicate or the story you are trying to tell.

Make your presentation interesting to look at, but do so with simplicity in mind. Too many images might have the same affect of excessively swaying from side to side.

In the consulting world it’s quite common to be forced to re-create a chart from the visual. Meaning you have a scan, pdf or photo of the chart, but no access to the data behind it.

In order to include it into your client presentation you need to re-create the data.

In the below video we are revealing the fast and most efficient technique for doing so.

  1. Save the picture
  2. Go to
  3. Run the Automatic and Manual mode
  4. Download data as csv


This error with a disappearing context menu was driving us crazy. Whenever we tried to open a menu in the ribbon, it would close as soon as we opened it.

Luckily we found the culprit in the form of the Dropbox “Badge” add-in. Simple rightclick your dropbox icon and chose “Settings” then under “General” under “Dropbox Badge” select “Show never”.

Afterwards our context menus in the ribbon were back to normal!

The situation is familiar to many consultants. The master templates have been setup up properly, but the footer elements are formatted wrong when inserting from one presentation to another.

Recently we’ve gotten a sample from one of our management consulting customers from the UK.

  • First I checked the faulty behavior: Pasting (Default: use destination formation) put the date footer in on top of the page (0,0) with a wrong font size (13). But for some reason the page number was not affected.
  • Next I checked the Slide Master View, whether a new Layout was created, but the Layout “Title Only” already existed.
  • Next I tried to Insert > Header Footer > Apply to all, but that had no effect on the formatting.
  • Reseting the slide after inserting had the desired effect. Maybe reseting the original slide before copy and paste would help. Unfortunately not.
  • Also taking the Date Footer off and putting it back on on the orginial slide had no effect.
  • Then I checked the shape names from the selection pane but no indication.
  • We realized that the source layout included on additional element (footer). but removing it didn’t help.

First breakthrough: We got it to work without reset by removing and re-adding all footer elements from source and target.

Removing the footer in the target layout no made the page number act weird instead of the footer.

The placeholder from the slide master are linked to the ones on the slide.I check by fill coloring the one on the slide master and the fill appeared on the layout as well. Both for target and source …


What finally did the trick is to remove the Footer element from the source master and layout. Then remove and re-add the date and page number elements on the layout from both the source and the target.

  1. In the source presentation in Master View
    1. Go to “Slide Master” and delete the “presentation title” footer element
    2. Go to each layout:
      1. Delete the footer Elements (Date, presentation title and slide number)
      2. Click “Slide Master” > Master Layout > and tick “Footers”
    3. In the target presentation ( the blank.pptx) in Master View
      1. Go to each layout:
        1. Delete the footer Elements (Date, presentation title and slide number)
        2. Click “Slide Master” > Master Layout > and tick “Footers”



Every year we publish the Top 5 productivity secrets for PowerPoint based on our work with management consultants and the Big 4. Here are our 5 favorites for 2015:

Secret 1:
Use Ctrl in combination with the mouse


2015-10-28 17_11_36-5 PowerPoint Producticty Secrets for Big 4 Consultants.pptx - PowerPoint

Secret 2:
Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar entries:2015-10-28 17_12_48-5 PowerPoint Producticty Secrets for Big 4 Consultants.pptx - PowerPoint

  • can always be clicked, no matter which Ribbon menu is selected
  • can be triggered by keyboard shortcut: ALT+1, ALT+2 etc.

Add the most needed PowerPoint functions:

  1. Right click any button
  2. Click “Add to Quick Access Toolbar”2015-10-28 17_12_58-5 PowerPoint Producticty Secrets for Big 4 Consultants.pptx - PowerPoint





Secret 3:
Align to the slide

To quickly align a shape to the slide:

  1. Select the item
  2. Click “Align Center” (or any other)
2015-10-28 17_15_53-5 PowerPoint Producticty Secrets for Big 4 Consultants.pptx - PowerPoint

If only one shape or group is selected, the alignment buttons will move the shape relative to the slide (instead of relative to the other objects).

This is especially useful to center content on the slide.

Secret 4:
Reset Layout to restore formatting

Remember the pain when somebody changed the title font color or removed the subtitle Placeholder? Next time:

  1. Click “Reset”
2015-10-28 17_16_03-5 PowerPoint Producticty Secrets for Big 4 Consultants.pptx - PowerPoint

Resetting restores the formatting of your Placeholders to match the definition in the master.

Secret 5:
Use groups to fill the workspace

Grouping shapes is great for moving and scaling them together.

To make your slides look really nice:

  1. “Group” all elements per column
  2. Move the left- and right-most to the workspace border
  3. Select all groups
  4. Click “Distribute Horizontally”
2015-10-28 17_16_07-5 PowerPoint Producticty Secrets for Big 4 Consultants.pptx - PowerPoint

SlideProof comes with a built-in slide library containing over 100 highly re-usable and exclusive slides and shapes to be instantly used in PowerPoint. The library is split into the categories boxes, flows, charts, tables, flags, maps and icons. The content fits tax, audit and advisory very well, especially management- and strategy-consulting.


SlideProof Library SlidesSlideProof_Library_Shapes


Just download and install Download SlideProof to start using the slides in your presentations.

At the time of writting, following are the files and registry keys that get written during the installation and usage of SlideProof.


Files that are written during the per-machine installation:

Files that are written during the per-user installation:

Registrykeys that are written during the per-machine installation:

Registrykeys that are written during the per-user installation:

Directories and files that are created when using SlideProof and that are not uninstalled:

Registry key that gets written when using SlideProof:

When using SlideProof, templates are placed here:

Alternatively, templates may be placed at a directory read from registry:

Custom Colors
The process of adding Custom Colors to your PowerPoint Masters unfortunately is not as simple as clicking a button and selecting a color. It includes many steps and requires some techniques you might not be familiar with. Therefore, we’ll give you a detailed step-by-step guide of how to achieve this only using the standard Windows tools.

Preparation – File extensions must be visible

If you open Windows Explorer and navigate to a folder containing a Presentation, the file name must end on .pptx (or .potx for a Template). By default, Windows hides file extension from the user, only denoting the file type PowerPoint Presentation in the column Item type. To unhide file extensions, follow these steps:

  • Click start (or press the Windows-Key) and enter “Control Panel” to open Windows Control Panel
  • If the control panel items are grouped by category names, open the category Appearance and Personalization, if they are displayed as a plain list, just continue.
  • Select Folder Options
  • In the tab View, section Advanced settings, make sure the option Hide extensions for known file types is unchecked
  • Click OK

Step 1 – Create a backup of your Presentation or Template

Before you start, create a copy of your Presentation or Template to have a backup, in case something goes wrong.

Step 2 – Uncompress the Presentation or Template file

  • Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder containing the presentation or template file in concern
  • Rename the file extensions from .pptx or .potx file to .zip, and click Yes in the confirmation pop-up.
    Example: If your file is called Company_Master.potx, rename it to
  • Right click the file and select Extract all…
  • In the following dialog, the suggested folder name can be used as is. Confirm extraction by clicking Extract
  • Now a folder has opened containing several subfolders with names like _rels, docProps and ppt.
  • Navigate to folder ppt and its subfolder theme
  • Now for each file called theme?.xml (e.g. theme1.xml, theme2.xml etc.) in turn repeat Step 3 and Step 4

Step 3 – Add or find the custom color list in the Theme file

  • Right click the theme?.xml file and click Open with… and choose Notepad
  • In Notepad, make sure that in the Format menu the option Word Wrap is checked. It makes editing the file much easier.
  • If the presentation already contains any custom colors, select Edit / Find… from the menu bar, enter the following search term and click Find next
  • If you found the so called tag </a:custClrLst>, proceed to Step 4, if not, continue to create it
  • Use Edit / Find… to find this tag
  • Exactly before the opening bracket of <a:extLst>, copy/paste this text:
  • It should look like this now

Step 4 – Adding the colors

For each color you want to add, repeat the following steps. Note that colors definitions must be provided in the hexadecimal form, e.g. 7835A0.

  • Copy/paste the following text exactly before the opening bracket of </a:custClrLst>
    <a:custClr name="Custom Color ?">
        <a:srgbClr val="000000" />
  • Replace the text Custom Color ? with a name for the color that continues the indexing from the previous colors, i.e. Custom Color 1, Custom Color 2, Custom Color 3 etc.
    Note: The sequence should start from 1 and be consecutive
  • Replace the text 000000 with the hexadecimal color code, e.g. FF0000 for Red

After adding the last color, the result should look like this:

    <a:custClr name="Custom Color 1">
        <a:srgbClr val="FF0000" />
    <a:custClr name="Custom Color 2">
        <a:srgbClr val="00FF00" />

Select File / Save from the menu and close Notepad

Step 5 – Re-compressing the Presentation or Template

  • Switch back to Windows Explorer and navigate back up to the folder that contained the subfolders _rels, docProps and ppt
  • Press Ctrl+A to select all files and folders
  • Right-click the selection and in Send To select Compressed (zipped) folder
  • Finally rename the resulting ???.zip file back to the original Presentation or Template file name ending on .pptx or .potx and move it back to the original folder

When you open this Presentation or Template in PowerPoint now and use the PowerPoint color picker to assign a color to some text or shape fill, you will find your added colors in the section Custom Colors.