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Adobe Programs for Enhancing Presentation Designs

As we all know, PowerPoint presentations are highly useful for sharing information. We use it to educate, train, motivate, or even to sell. Not all pitch deck presentations are created equal, though. To be effective, your slide decks should be well organized and carry strong visuals. And when it comes to creating visual elements, practically no other tools are as powerful as the Adobe programs.

Below are some of the Adobe applications that can enhance your next presentation design:

Adobe Photoshop

Microsoft PowerPoint is considered the industry standard for presentation tools. Adobe Photoshop, on the other hand, continues to set the bar for image editing. When you combine the features of these programs, you have a great chance of creating an effective presentation.

Custom backgrounds are among the great things that presenters can create with Photoshop. While you can always use PowerPoint’s preloaded templates, your presentation will only end up looking bland and generic. A Photoshop-created background, on the other hand, will allow your presentation to stand out and look professional.

To create your own background, simply choose an image that you want to use. Open it in Photoshop and edit it accordingly. After saving your personalized background image, insert it into the PPT by right-clicking on the slide and then selecting “Format Background.”  One reminder, though. Make sure that the image you use is appropriate to the theme of your presentation design. Otherwise, it will distract your audience.

Adobe Illustrator

Illustrator can produce just about any type of images, making it perfect for web graphics, marketing collateral, and, of course, PowerPoint presentations. A vector-based tool, Illustrator is quite different from Photoshop (which is raster-based). This means it works using lines and curves unlike Photoshop, which does its job on a pixel level.

Using vectors created in Illustrator has some advantages over Photoshop-edited images. For one, vector objects are scalable. You can change their size without worrying about quality loss.

When you create an image in Illustrator, make sure to save it for PowerPoint. To do this, click File and then select “Save For Microsoft Office.” Choose a location for the file, then enter a filename before clicking Save. This command allows you create a PNG file that can be used not only in PPT but also in other Microsoft Office applications.

If you need to customize the PNG settings to improve resolution, transparency, or background color, you can just choose Export instead of the Save for Microsoft option.

Saving Files

Graphics imported into PowerPoint usually fall into two main categories: The Bitmap or Paint-Type and the Object-Oriented or Draw-Type.

It’s recommended that you choose widely used Bitmap types such as .JPG, .BMP, or .TIF files. Unusual files like QuickTime compressed, PICT, and EPS don’t often translate very well. So when you save or export images, determine the file type carefully to ensure a great looking final image.

 

References

Akhter, Aquil. “60 Beautiful Logo Design Tutorials And Resources.Smashing Magazine. April 30, 2009. Accessed April 28, 2014.
Bear, Jacci Howard. “What Is the EPS File Format?About.com. Accessed April 28, 2014.

The Art of Graphs and Charts

When presenting information in a meeting, a picture does paint a thousand words. You can talk about numbers and percentages until you are blue in the face yet not everyone will get what you’re saying. It’s as if you were speaking an alien language. However, once you start putting up a chart or graph, suddenly all your ramblings make sense. It’s like manna from heaven.

Apart from letting your audience understand what you’re trying to communicate, graphs can make it easier for you to explain what you have to say. Keep in mind, though, that you are only as good as your tools. So here are some ways you can use graph and charts effectively:

Choose the right type of graph/chart to use

First off, you have to understand that there are different types of graphs and charts. You can use any of them according to the information that you are presenting. The circle graph (or pie chart), for one, is commonly used to divide data into separate sections.

The bar graph (or bar chart), on the other hand, displays either horizontal or vertical rectangular bars that have lengths corresponding to the values they represent. Another type is the area or line chart, which shows a number of data points interconnected by a line.

Different chart types are suited for different purposes. Line charts, for example, are great for plotting relationships while pie charts are the best types for communicating proportion.  Selecting the right graph can make a difference in getting your message across.

Mind the design details

After selecting the right type of graph, think about the design and how it can enhance your presentation. Every design detail must support your points and not detract from the information. Your chart should be focused on the data with your axes being labeled properly. Keep in mind that your goal is to have your audience pick up the data you are trying to share with as little effort as possible.

graphs and charts

 

Be creative

You are free to modify your graph or chart any way you want, as long as it won’t look messy, distracting, and incoherent. If you don’t feel like using labels, why not use custom icons instead? Another interesting way of creating charts is by using a photo of real objects in place of illustrated ones. For instance, imagine using the picture of an actual pie for your pie chart.

If you are a little conservative about the design, there are still some ways to make your graphs stand out. For example, you may think about using different textures in place of solid colors. Wood, for example, would look great for bar graphs. You can also make your chart look three-dimensional by giving it some depth.

For maximum impact, create your graphs using high-end design software such as Adobe Illustrator. Apart from making your presentation look great and comprehensible, it also offers flexibility and excellent usability. With Illustrator, you can create that 3D effect and manipulate the chart pieces with ease.

 

References

4 Rules for Boosting Your Creativity.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 12, 2013. Accessed April 21, 2014.
Graphs and Charts.” Skills You Need. Accessed April 21, 2014.

You Might Be Guilty of These Presentation Mistakes

Sitting through a bad presentation is as exciting as watching a documentary about sloths moving in slow motion.

So unless your intention is to put your audience to sleep, you may want to check if you are guilty of these presentation mistakes:

Lack of Preparation

There’s more to committing this mistake than making you look like a bumbling professor. When your audience notices that you are ill-prepared, it’s likely that they will put your credibility into question. This is important as people are keen on listening to what a speaker has to say if they know he is credible.

Besides, you owe it to your audience to research your topic and organize your materials. It’s the professional thing to do since they took the time to listen to you. Whether it will take five minutes or five hours, communication trainer Bill Rosenthal suggests that you prepare for your presentation thoroughly. Being prepared will help not only in holding your audience’s attention but also in answering questions that may come after.

Uninteresting Slides

There are a number of ways for presentation slides to fail in engaging audience attention. The most common ones are the use of boring visuals and too much text. Visuals can help enhance your presentation so make the most of them. Just make sure that they support your points.

Use images that look eye-catching but not too off-putting that they detract from your message. If you need to use tables or graphs, simplify them by including only the essential elements. Problems also arise when the slides are too wordy. This usually happens when the speaker crams all his points into the slide deck so he won’t forget anything.

You may want to remember that your slides are not your cue cards or teleprompter. Try to keep everything simple. Don’t fill up your slides with too much information, most of which are probably in your handouts anyway. Take some time to look at your slides and determine the unimportant details to remove.

Failure to Connect with the Audience

Strictly sticking to your talking points is a sure way to bore your audience to death. To get your message across, you should know how to connect with them and break the ice. This means you need to be a bit spontaneous. Liven up your presentation by sprinkling it with short anecdotes, pop culture references, or funny quotes.

Try to limit your use of humor, though. What you consider funny may be viewed as offensive by another person. To get an idea on what will work on your audience, consider their age, gender, professional background and other relevant details. Know the ranks or positions of the people who are going to attend. You should also be aware of any cultural expectations or religious conventions that apply to your audience.

In short, plan your presentation from your audience’s perspective. Often, the best way to excel in something is not to remember what to do, but to be aware of what not to do. So let these three mistakes serve as a reminder whenever you are putting together a presentation.

 

References

100 Pop-Culture Things That Make You a Millennial.Vulture. September 24, 2013. Accessed April 21, 2014.
Rosenthal, Bill. “The Only Way To Prepare To Give A Presentation.Forbes. June 19, 2013. Accessed April 21, 2014.
Presentation Tips: 5 Easy Ways to Establish Your Credibility.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed April 21, 2014.