“Dialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms” – Alfred Hitchcock
Let’s face it. The world has become obsessed with PowerPoint presentations. In fact, the world has become obsessed with all kinds of visuals; gone are the days of just speaking. People want to see pictures and bullet points, but even more, they want to see videos and animations.
Luckily, developing a fancy PowerPoint presentation isn’t as complicated or time-consuming as it first appears, especially when you learn some of the keyboard shortcuts that will smarten up your project in a limited amount of time. From simple tasks to complex elements, we’ve gathered five vital tricks you should be using in PowerPoint:
1. Automate your slide show
Once you have put together the slides you want, you can set the entire presentation to play automatically. Go into the Slide Show tab on the Ribbon toolbar and click Set Up Slide Show. Set your options to Browsed at a kiosk (full screen) and Using timings. Then set your Transitions to whatever duration you want for each slide. In this way, your show will play automatically, so that you can focus on your part. To get out of the looping presentation at any time, just hit Esc.
2. Play background music
PowerPoint makes it hard to figure out how to get music to play across the entire show. In the 2010 version, you need to click on Insert on the Ribbon toolbar, then select Audio, and choose the music track you want to include. Then select the link for the music track on the slide, and click on Audio Tools, Playback. Choose Play across slide in the Start options and you should be good to go.
3. Use or create a great theme
For the really original, you can set up your own theme that will guide the viewers’ eye to where you want them to be focusing. For the rest of us, PowerPoint comes with numerous ready-to-go themes to choose from. Just click on the Design tab in the Ribbon and then browse through the themes you can choose from.
4. Surprise hiding an image
Reveal a great picture right in the moment when the public is about to yawn could be a good trick to make them more passionate about your presentation. To accomplish this you should add the picture to a slide and insert a shape through Insert, Shape. Choose the shape, draw it and right click on it to select Edit Text. Type there the message you want to show instead of the picture. Now for the picture you should go though Animations, Add Animation. Pick an Entrance animation (if the Animation Pane is not visible, click on Animation Pane on the Ribbon toolbar). Then, right-click the entry in the Animation Pane and choose Timing. Click the Triggers button, click to select Start Effect on click of:, and set the option in the drop-down menu to the name of the shape that you created. Click OK.
5. Avoid overusing flourishes
Animations and slide transition effects can spice up a presentation, but it’s important not to overdo it. Really, your content should be interesting enough to keep an audience’s attention, so you shouldn’t have to rely on funky effects. However, a consistent or fun effect to emphasize key points can add a lot to the overall show.