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How to Make Call to Action Buttons Using PowerPoint

The Call to Action (CTA) button is a crucial element to your website. More clicks mean more conversions, so you want to make sure that it can easily catch the attention of whoever’s viewing your website.

Like the call-to-action in an actual presentation, the CTA button at the end of your deck appeals your audience to take action, preferably to invest in your company.

This isn’t a new idea to most businesses, which is why people have developed a skepticism towards such things that directly advertise your brand. Also considering that most people only spend 10 to 20 seconds browsing a web page, you really need Call to Action buttons that pop.

Thankfully, they aren’t too hard to make. You don’t need to be an expert graphic designer. All you need is Microsoft PowerPoint. In the past, we’ve discussed how you can use PowerPoint as a photo editor. Following the same principles, we can also use the presentation software to bring more conversions to your website.

Follow these steps to make your own Call to Action buttons:

1.) On a blank slide, draw any shape using the Shape Tool. Most use rectangle CTA buttons, but you can choose anything that suits your web design well.

2.) On top of the shape, type in the text you want by adding a TextBox. Change the font type to what you already have on your web page.

3.) Change the color of the text and the shape to your liking.

4.) You can also choose to add an outline color. Right click on the shape and a mini toolbox will appear. Choose powerpoint tutorial call to action button 01 and you’ll find different ways to edit the outline color of your Call to Action button.

5.) Another thing you can do is add a 3D effect. Select the shape and go to the Format tab. Choose Shape Effects and choose Bevel. If you want to add more dimension to your CTA button, you can add a few other Shape Effects. For this tutorial, I made use of Bevel, Shadow, and Reflection.

powerpoint tutorial call to action button 03

This is what I came up with:

call to action button tutorial

To save your work, just hold down the Shift Key, select both the shape and text box, then Group the two elements together. After that, click right on the CTA button and choose Save As Picture.

There you have it! Make Call to Action buttons in five easy steps. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the Shape Tool to come up with more interesting designs.

 

Reference

How Long Do Users Stay on Web Pages?Nielsen Norman Group. Accessed August 14, 2014.

 

Featured Image: Sarah Reid via Flickr

PowerPoint Tutorial: Adding Music to Your Slides

Here’s another PowerPoint tutorial to help enhance your slides. We often emphasize the important role of visuals in PowerPoint design. It’s true that adding interesting images and illustrations can help your PowerPoint slides stand out from the typical bullet-ridden slides. But we should also take note of what music and audio can do for your presentation deck, especially if you’re planning to share it online.

Follow this quick PowerPoint tutorial to add music and bring life to your slides:

Step One: Insert Audio

Click on the Insert tab, look for the Media group and choose Audio. From here, you can choose what type of audio you can insert. You can choose to add audio from your computer, from the Clip Art gallery, or record your own. In this PowerPoint tutorial, we’ll focus on music files you’ve already downloaded to your computer.

Once you’ve clicked the Audio icon, choose the Audio from File option. You can then locate the folder where your music file is saved on your computer.

powerpoint tutorial audio

The compatible file formats for PowerPoint are the following:

  • MP3 Audio file (.mp3)
  • Windows Audio file (.wav)
  • Windows Media Audio file (.wma)

Step Two: Preview Music File

Once you’ve selected the music file you want to use, a sound icon that looks like this will appear on your selected slide:

powerpoint tutorial audio icon

Select it and a small box will appear where you can press Play. Use this step to check if your music file is working how you’d like it.

Step Three: Assign Playback Options

PowerPoint allows you to choose several playback options for the music file. Select the sound icon and go to Audio Tools. From there, you can choose any of the following playback options:

  • Choose Automatically if you want your music file to start playing as soon as you reach the slide where it’s placed
  • Choose On Click if you’d rather start the audio by yourself
  • Choose Play Across Slides if you want your music file to keep playing throughout the presentation
  • Choose Loop Until Stopped if you want your music file to play continuously until you move on to another slide

Optional Step: Hide the Sound Icon

If you’re planning to share your presentation deck online, you can also choose to hide the sound icon. After you’ve set your music to playback automatically, select the sound icon again. Go back to Audio Tools and tick the Hide During Show check box grouped under Audio Options.

Conclusion

This PowerPoint tutorial allows you to explore a way to add a new dimension to your presentation deck.

At the same time, choose audio that will help enhance your pitch, rather than detract audiences from your pitch.

Like images, this sensory tool is there to aid your key points. Don’t let it distract people from what you’re trying to say. Taking your PowerPoint slides to the next level doesn’t have to be complicated.

 

Featured Image: kev-shine via Flickr

Presentation Storyboarding: How to Create Solid Content

Walt Dinsey-inspiration for presentation storyboarding
Walt Disney refers to storyboards during a meeting. (Image from Keys to the Kingdom)

As we mentioned previously, the secret to great content is storytelling. Once you’ve identified the story behind your core message, you can move on to the next step: Presentation Storyboarding.

We’re taking a cue from one of the greatest storytellers in history. In his own article on storyboarding, presentation expert Garr Reynolds cites Walt Disney as someone who perfected the art of storyboarding to create and pitch some of our most beloved stories.

The quirky and funny adventures of Mickey Mouse all started as pieces of paper with rough drawings posted on a wall.

In filmmaking, storyboards are an essential step before movies go into production. Similarly, you can’t begin to build your presentation deck or practice your delivery if you haven’t properly organized your ideas into a comprehensive and structured narrative.

Through storyboards, you can easily visualize your presentation and draft how you want your PowerPoint slides to look. It also allows you to see your presentation as a whole, allowing you to see unnecessary details you can trim out.

Before you begin your presentation storyboard, you need to have a basic idea of where you want your presentation to go. The very first step is to create a working outline and try to identify your main points. Once you have it, you can begin with the storyboarding process.

Here’s the rest of what you need to know about presentation storyboarding:

1. Bring out your post-its

You don’t need fancy tools to create a presentation storyboard. All you need is a pen and a few sheets of paper. The idea is to draft each of your points into a piece of paper and tape them to a wall. In technical terms, each piece of paper is called a panel. If you remember your presentation design lessons, it’s important to limit yourself to one concept per slide.

While you don’t have to stick your storyboard on a wall, we still suggest you do it. It’s a great way to see how your presentation is progressing. And if you’re not happy with something, you can easily move some parts around. You’ll save a lot of time if you use post-its.

2. Don’t hold back

Create as much storyboard panels as you think you need. In this initial stage, you can easily cut out the things you’re not happy with. If you’re collaborating with someone else, presentation storyboarding is also a great way to help you work out each other’s ideas.

3. Keep your core message in mind

While you shouldn’t stop your ideas from flowing freely at this point, it’s also important to keep in mind the core message that you want to share. This is why creating an outline before you start storyboarding. It’s a guide to help you maintain focus on the story your presentation is trying to tell.

The important thing to remember during the presentation storyboarding process is to keep an open mind. Let your creativity flow naturally. Let your collaborates comment on your ideas, and bounce off from theirs. It’s all about swimming through different concepts to find the ones that tell your core message best.

If you need more information about creating custom storyboards for your big presentation, we’ll be happy to help. Contact us for a consultation and we can make solid content for your presentations.

 

Featured Image: Death to the Stock Photo 

Illustrate Your Ideas with PowerPoint SmartArt

We’ve long made a case for why you should use illustrations and graphics in your PowerPoint designs. They’re the best way to help your audience understand and retain complicated concepts. To drive home the point, today we’re showing you an easy way to do it using PowerPoint SmartArt graphics.

Getting Started

PowerPoint SmartArt doesn’t make things complicated for you. You can easily translate data and information into eye-catching visuals in a few steps. Start by heading to the Insert tab and click on SmartArt. This will lead you to a dialogue box where you have plenty of options for layouts.

Choosing a PowerPoint SmartArt layout

PowerPoint SmartArt graphics are categorized into eight types, each serving a different purpose:

powerpoint smartart layouts list

1. List: If you’re presenting information that is non-sequential, choose any layout from this category.

powerpoint smartart layouts process

2. Process: Layouts from this category will help you illustrate a process or timeline by showing individual steps.

powerpoint smartart layouts cycle

3. Cycle: Present a process that is cyclical or continuous with this layout type.

powerpoint smartart layouts relationship

4. Relationship: Show how different concepts are connected using this type of layout.

powerpoint smartart layouts hierarchy

5. Hierarchy: Layouts under this type can help you create an organizational chart or a decision tree.

powerpoint smartart layouts pyramid

6. Pyramid: A pyramid layout is the best way to present concepts or information that proportionally related.

powerpoint smartart layouts matrix

7. Matrix: A matrix layout helps you illustrate how different parts relate to a main idea.

powerpoint smartart layouts picture

8. Picture: Layouts under this type allow you to add pictures that will help emphasize your key points.

Keep in mind: Organize the information or data you have before creating a SmartArt graphic. Try to map out your ideas if you can. Putting them on paper will help you figure out what type of layout is best for your content.

Adding text to your SmartArt graphics

After you’ve chosen the best SmartArt layout for your message, you can begin to plot some text into your illustration. Add and edit text using the Text Pane, which appears on the left side of your chosen layout.

As you can see, you won’t have enough room to explain things in long paragraphs so stick to your key points.

Get creative with color choices

It’s not not enough to plot your data into a SmartArt graphic. The best illustrations are enhanced by colors that were wisely chosen.

Click on the Design tab under SmartArt tools and click the Change Colors option. You can choose from the different presets, some of which are automatically matched to your template’s color scheme. If you’re using a Picture type layout, you have the option to Recolor Pictures in Smart Art Graphic.

powerpoint smartart change color

Conclusion

PowerPoint SmartArt is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. It’s all a matter of plotting information and customizing your illustrations in a way that suits the rest of your PowerPoint design.

What you really need to master is creativity. If you integrate this tutorial with the others we’ve written in the past, it won’t take long for you to become a PowerPoint expert.

 

Featured Image: Ian#7 via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

PowerPoint Tutorial: Adding YouTube Videos to Slides

YouTube is the biggest site for video sharing today. With 60 hours of video uploaded to the website every minute, it’s definitely the best resource for interesting, informative, and entertaining videos that you can add to your presentation deck.

We’ve already discussed how you can add videos to your slides in a previous PowerPoint tutorial, but you might have noticed that YouTube was largely absent from our explanation. That’s because YouTube files come in the FLV format, which isn’t directly supported by PowerPoint.

It’ll take a few extra steps, but don’t fear. As luck would have it, we’ve got you covered with this PowerPoint tutorial on how to add YouTube videos to your slides.

Step 1: Add the Developer tab

powerpoint tutorial - developer tab

The Developer tab is an advanced function that allows you to embed codes and add-ins to your PowerPoint presentation. It isn’t normally enabled though, so you’ll have to add it to your Ribbon.

Click on the File tab and choose Options. When the dialogue box appears, go to Customize Ribbon and tick the box beside Developer that’s under this list:

powerpoint tutorial - customize ribbon

Step 2: Enable Shockwave Flash Object

powerpoint tutorial - more controls

In the Developer Tab, choose More Controls and add Shockwave Flash Object from the list in the dialogue box that appears. It’s a bit long, but since the list is alphabetical you can just press “S”.

Step 3: Designate area for embedding

Treat your video as any object on your deck. Just click and drag on any area of your slide to designate where you want your YouTube video to be. You’re free to adjust the video’s size to how big or small you want it to be.

Step 4: Prepare YouTube link

Go to the YouTube video you’d like to add and copy its URL.

Here’s the URL of a video from our YouTube channelhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k55pPUSSbdA

Paste your URL to Notepad and edit it as follows:

  • Delete the “watch?” part 
  • Replace “=” with “/”

So, if we were going to use the video from the SlideGenius channel, the URL end up looking like this: http://www.youtube.com/v/k55pPUSSbdA

  • You can also add “&autoplay=1” of the edited URL if you want the video to play as soon as you come to the slide.

Step 5: Paste YouTube link to PowerPoint

Go back to PowerPoint and right click on the box you created earlier. Select Properties. This will prompt a new window. Choose Movie and simply paste the edited URL into the field.

Conclusion

There you have it! Now’s the perfect time to go to YouTube and browse for some great content. Bookmark your favorites so you can come back to them once it’s time to prepare for your next presentation.

Hopefully, this PowerPoint tutorial will inspire you to take on innovative ways to present your ideas.

 

Featured Image: Rego Korosi via Flickr

PowerPoint Design Tips: Spreading Your Ideas through SlideShare

SlideShare is a great platform for sharing knowledge and information. Upload your PowerPoint presentations to the website and you’re sure to reach a broader audience.

Since it was created in 2007, SlideShare has been boasting 50 million visitors and 3 billion views a month. That much traffic offers plenty of opportunity for your message to spread. But of course, as with most things on the Internet, you can’t expect your presentation to go viral that easily.

SlideShare requires a different technique for PowerPoint design. Without a speaker to explain the details on the slides, presentations have to speak for themselves. Take note of these PowerPoint design tips to help you maximize the famous presentation platform.

Use the right amount of text

Too much text is usually frowned upon in PowerPoint presentation design. Most of the time, presenters opt for adding short phrases to their slides. But with SlideShare presentations, having the right amount of text is crucial. There’s no other way to get your point across.

But don’t flood your slides with a barrage of information, either. Make sure your PowerPoint design has captivating and concise copy. It can’t be too short. It just needs to be long enough to convey the message you’re trying to get across.

Discuss one concept at a time

A great way to condense the text and information in your SlideShare presentations is by discussing only one concept at a time. This also helps prevent any information overload from overwhelming the audience.

Your content has to flow in an organic way. Structure your presentation in such a way that you can discuss one point in one slide, before moving on to the next one in a new slide.

Visuals are crucial

Visuals are probably more crucial for SlideShare than it is in real-life-presentations. When you’re in front of an audience, you’re able to command attention with enthusiasm and dynamic body language. If you’re a particularly skilled public speaker, you might be able to get away without using a PowerPoint presentation at all.

But for SlideShare, a visual PowerPoint design is extremely important. Command the attention of SlideShare users through your use of images, colors, and interesting fonts.

Upload PowerPoint as PDF

SlideShare allows you to upload your PowerPoint presentation in several different formats. But the best file format is PDF. This makes it more compatible across different programs. It’s also a smaller file size than a PowerPoint, which makes it easier to transfer to other devices

It gives your presentation the most polished, high-quality look. Your PowerPoint design will maintain its crisp images and unique fonts.

Check out our SlideShare account for more tips and inspiration on PowerPoint design. You can also get great ideas by browsing through the featured SlideShares.

 

Reference

15 Mind-Blowing Stats About SlideShare.” CMO by Adobe. Accessed July 14, 2014.

Comments: A PowerPoint Tool for Collaborations

In this PowerPoint tutorial, we’re exploring a PowerPoint tool that allows you to add comments to slides. This is different from your own slides’ notes section, which are your comments on your presentations. However, if you want others to put their comments on your deck, make use of this feature.

This is useful if you’re collaborating with several people in preparing for a presentation. Available for PowerPoint 2010 onwards, with the Comments PowerPoint tool, you can annotate slides in a few simple steps:

Step 1

Start by clicking the Review tab. Choose the New Comment icon, which is grouped under Comments.

Comment PowerPoint Tool Step 1: Select NEW COMMENT

Doing so will prompt this box to appear:

Yellow pop-up box where you can type text

Step 2

Type down your comments. When you’re done, just click anywhere on the slide to collapse the yellow comment box.

Step 3 

Place your annotation anywhere on the slide by dragging this icon to your desired location:

comment tutorial 07

comment tutorial 06

You can create as many comments as you’d like. Review all your comments or make changes to any of them with these icons:

Edit Comment, Delete, Previous, Next

You can hide all your notes by clicking the Show Markup icon (which is automatically highlighted when you begin adding comments). You can click it to make all your annotations appear again.

There you have it! The Comments function is simple. It’s a helpful PowerPoint tool to have in your arsenal. You can now easily pass pointers and notes with your team, making collaborations efficient and hassle-free.

An Overview of the Different Types of PowerPoint Charts

Many presenters are often guilty of what young people nowadays call “TMI,” or Too Much Information. They tend to include too many details in their presentations, making the slides look cluttered and incomprehensible. Fortunately, there are several ways to present your data in a more organized manner. You can use images or other visual aids such as charts.

Below are the different types of PowerPoint charts that you can use along with some tips on how to maximize them for your presentations:

Pie Charts

These charts are commonly used to show percentages. For better visual impact, limit the pie slices to 3-5. Limiting the number of slices can keep the pie from looking really messy when you need to show a lot of different data points. Instead of showing every little detail, you can turn your pie chart into something like this:

powerpoint charts

Apart from making it larger than the others, contrast the most significant slice with the use of color.

Vertical Bar Charts

Vertical bar charts are useful for showing changes in quantity over periods of time. Limiting the bars to around 4-8 can make your vertical bar chart easy on the eyes. Vertical bar charts show how variables are affected as each of them rises or falls.

bar-chart

Horizontal Bar Charts

This type of chart is used for comparing quantities. One example is when you compare sales figures of your products on a given period. Horizontal bar charts can be used in the same manner as  vertical bar charts, although it uses the y-axis for labeling. It is usually preferred when the labels (the names of the cities, in the example below) are too long for the x-axis.

bar chart

 

Line Charts

Line charts are great for displaying trends. For example, you can use this to show how your company’s sales have gone up each year. You may also use an upward arrow to emphasize the positive trend.

3202553051_1196f2d84e_z

Most people would rather use tables instead of charts. After all, it’s easy to prepare them when all you need is a side by side assessment of numerical data. Tables, however, do not have the same visual impact as charts. You can even make your chart 3-D to increase its appeal. Regardless of how you present your data, though, make sure that they are accurate and relevant to your presentation.

 

Featured Image: by Chris Potter via flickr.com

Applying the Assertion-Evidence Framework to Presentation Design

It’s a bit of a mouthful. It also sounds like a complex scientific theory. But the Assertion-Evidence Framework isn’t as complicated as it sounds. You actually use it a lot when communicating in the workplace. It’s also an effective way to gauge if your PowerPoint presentation design is conveying the key messages you want your audience to receive.

What is the Assertion-Evidence Framework?

You might not realize it, but you use the assertion-evidence framework in plenty of everyday situations.

For example, you’re in a meeting and you say something like, “the marketing campaign we launched for the new product is effective.” You make an assertion. When you follow that with, “the proof are in these documents that detail our positive ROI” – you are backing up your statement with evidence.

Simply put, you’re using the assertion-evidence framework every time you make a statement supplemented by words or statements like “because”, “it can be proven by”, and “the reason is”.

How does the framework apply to PowerPoint presentation design?

This is how the assertion-evidence framework should guide your PowerPoint presentation design:

Effective presentation design moves the audience into action. This action is a result of a series of small decisions they make throughout your presentation. These small decisions are made from assertions throughout your speech, which you should visualize in your PowerPoint slides. And as we’ve learned, all assertions in the assertion-evidence framework must be back up by data.

Consider this PowerPoint slide from our portfolio:

The assertion-evidence framework as applied in a PowerPoint slide by SlideGenius

Assertion: “NextImage Direct is Everywhere You Are”
Evidence: A map of the U.S. with pins in every state

Like in this sample slide, assertions are usually made in the title of the slide. Evidence is laid out in the body through data, illustrations, or diagrams. While this is a rule you can bend, keep in mind to keep one assertion per slide. This way, all evidence in the slide answers to only one statement. It will also limit the amount of text, making room for visuals.

Another thing to remember is that all assertions you make should be stated in clear sentences. Ask yourself if the assertion makes sense by itself. This will allow you to trim unnecessary data from your evidence, including only what answers your assertions.

 

Featured Image: Paul Hudson via Flickr

Enhance Your PowerPoint Presentation Design with Video Clips

We’ve discussed playing your slides on loop, but here’s another PowerPoint tutorial for you. Did you know that you can easily embed videos to your slide deck? Consider adding a short clip to your slides.

It’s an effective way to engage your audience, especially if you’re working with a younger crowd. Although the majority of the population leaning towards visual learning would be engaged enough with images, videos make your slides even more visual, adding another dimension to the usual presentation design.

Compared to an image – like a picture or a diagram – a video clip is a culmination of sensory engagement on a slide. As long as your video of choice is relevant to your pitch, then it may definitely help leverage your points.

Here’s a quick rundown of how you can add motion to your deck, and what you need to take note of as you embed this media file on your slides:

Consider video formats

There are several video formats, and it’s important you consider which one can work best for your PowerPoint presentation design. Some formats allow for larger, higher quality videos. Other formats compress videos into a smaller size. A smaller file size means that they’re easier to share.

These are the video file formats that PowerPoint supports:

  • Windows Media Video File (.wmv)
  • Windows Media File (.asf)
  • Audio Video Interleave (.avi)
  • Movie File (.mpg)
  • MP4 Video File (.mp4, .m4v, .mov)
  • Adobe Flash Media (.swf)

You can read more about the specifics of each of these file types here. Knowing what clip type would work best on the slide will save you the trouble of clips that can’t be embedded, or worse, won’t load once you start your slide show.

How to add videos to your slides

The newer versions of Microsoft PowerPoint (2010 onwards) allow you to add videos in just a few steps. In this tutorial, we’ll be using PowerPoint 2010.

You have two options.

Option 1: You can go to the Insert tab and choose the Video icon in the Media group.

embedding video ppt 02

Option 2: From the Placeholder in your slide, click on the Video icon that says ‘Insert Media Clip‘.

embedding video ppt 01

 

Both options will prompt a dialogue box allowing you to choose video files from your computer.

You can add videos you’ve made yourself, or clips you’ve downloaded online. If there are videos from YouTube or other video streaming sites that you’d like to use, you can download them using free tools available online like ClipConverter and KeepVid. A quick Google search will help you find one that works best for you.

Conclusion

Videos can definitely add a unique life to your slide. While images may engage the viewers’ gaze, the unique function of a multimedia slide can help pique their interests further.

Try out this new feature of PowerPoint to gain positive attraction. If you’re unsure of how to incorporate videos into an appropriately interesting deck, set up a consultation with a presentation guru today! All it takes is 15 minutes.

 

Reference

Gordon, Whitson. “What’s the Difference Between All These Video Formats, and Which One Should I Use?Lifehacker. Accessed June 19, 2014.

 

Featured Image: Daniel STL via flickr.com