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Pigment of the Imagination: How to Choose PowerPoint Color Schemes

A color scheme makes a huge difference in your PowerPoint design. You might not give it much thought, but colors evoke psychological responses in your audience, that may either make or break your presentation. Using the appropriate combinations can win people over and visually engage them.

But with such a wide selection to choose from, how can you know which colors work together?

A little research and experimentation can help you choose the perfect PowerPoint color schemes. Here’s a little nudge in the right direction:

You can find inspiration everywhere

Inspiration for color combinations can be found anywhere. Because color is so integral to our everyday lives, you’re bound to come across something that will work out for you.

Observe the colors on your favorite website.

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Copy the colors that decorate your favorite outfit.

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Image: ModCloth

What colors are on the cover of the book you’re currently reading?

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Image: Goodreads

The best way to go about it is to consider the subject and core message of your presentation, and then find something related to what you want to say. If you’re not one for spontaneity when it comes to your deck, going with your company colors is a safe way of using color combinations on your deck will remind the audience of your brand.

Resources and tools

There’s also a rich trove of resources online that you can tap into for some professional, matching schemes. You can visit sites such as COLOURlovers to find the latest trends in colors, palettes, and patterns. Below are some of their expertly arranged palettes for your use:

Color palettes from COLOURlovers

Another option is ColorSchemer.com. The website has an extensive ‘scheme gallery’ composed of color combos created by the website’s community through its free software.

Palettes from ColorSchemers

Inspiration comes in everywhere, but remember that having a tried and tested color scheme to apply on your deck can ease some of the trouble for you.

Other things to keep in mind

Once you’ve made the initial color choices, there are still other factors to keep in mind.

It’s important that your presentation is legible, so the colors you choose for font and background should contrast. Similarly, make sure that the pictures you use do not clash with the color scheme you’ve chosen.

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Image: designsojourn.com

You may also have to cut a few of the colors from your final palette. It’s best to use a few different colors in your PowerPoint presentation in order to avoid overwhelming your audience. You don’t have to limit yourself to only two colors, but don’t go with 10!

If you don’t have time to pore over a deck right before an important presentation, you can always ask the help of professional PowerPoint designers to whip up an amazingly color-coordinated deck just for you.

 

Featured Image: Carmelo Speltino via flickr

How to Find Pictures for PowerPoint Presentations in the Vast Expanse of the Internet

As the age old adage goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

We previously tackled the importance of reducing text in your PowerPoint slides. Your presentation needs to be visually engaging. A block of text that simply mimics your speech is an easy way to lose your audience. Instead, stimulate their brain’s ability to easily pick up visual cues by using carefully selected pictures.

The best image to use is the one that summarizes what you’d normally try to say in five bullet points.

The Internet is a great resource to find pictures for PowerPoint presentations, but practice caution.

Not everything that comes up in your Google image search is advisable to use. You might be in danger of infringing copyrighted materials without even knowing it!

So, how do you find perfectly legal pictures for PowerPoint presentations, then? Where should you go without having to worry about possible complications?

Sites to Get Your Pictures From

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1) Royalty Free Images

In exchange for a one-time fee, you can continuously use a copyrighted picture according to agreed upon terms without having to pay license fees in the future. A royalty-free license is common in stock photography.

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2) Creative Commons-licensed content

You can use a photo with a creative commons (CC) license for free under specific conditions. There are different types of CC licenses, but the most important thing you’ll need to remember is Attribution. You’ll have to give credit to whoever owns the picture you decide to use.

Mona_Lisa,_by_Leonardo_da_Vinci,_from_C2RMF_retouched crop

3) Images in the public domain

An image in the public domain doesn’t hold any license, so it’s free to use. Works are considered to be part of the public domain if it meets the following:

      • the copyright has expired, or the work was never granted a valid copyright in the first place
      • the creator has relegated the work to the public domain
      • when they’re ineligible for copyright based on this criteria.

How do you find pictures like these? 

If you’d like pictures for PowerPoint presentations that are appropriate to use, don’t look for them using Google or Bing.

A huge selection of CC-licensed content can be found on Flickr. The search tool can be a little tricky, though, so you can use sites that find CC content like CC Search and Wikimedia Commons. Another option is to visit photo-hosting site 500px, which gathers all CC-licensed pictures in one place.

While there are no specialized searches to find photos in the public domain, Wikimedia Commons labels each picture with its license information. Public domain photos are tagged with this symbol:

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If, however, you’re willing to splurge a few couple of bucks, you can get royalty free images from websites like Getty ImagesiStock, and Shutterstock. While you might have to stretch your budget, the photos you get from these sites usually look more professional and polished.

 

References

Vision.” Brain Rules. Accessed June 12, 2014.
What Is in the Public Domain, Always, besides Ideas?PublicSherpa. Accessed June 12, 2014.

 

Featured Image by HikingArtist from Wikimedia.org 

On the Go: The Best Android Office Apps for Your PowerPoint Needs

In a previous post, we featured five great presentation apps to help you prepare slides right on your iPad. This time, we’ll

This time, we’ll run down the best Office apps for your Android devices. Aside from helping you create and edit PowerPoint presentations, you can also use these Office apps to access Word, Excel, and PDF files. After you finish your slides, you can review your speech and source materials on the go.

Microsoft Office Mobile

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The Microsoft Office Mobile app for Android allows you to access, edit, and create new PowerPoint, Word, and Excel files just like you would on your PC. Because it’s from Microsoft itself, this is our top choice for opening any MS files you have.

You might think that scaling down your PowerPoint slides to a mobile screen will mess up its layout, but Office Mobile keeps formatting intact. If you want an experience that mirrors what you’ve been used to on the PC, this app is your sure bet.

You can download the Microsoft Office Mobile for free but requires an Office 365 subscription for the full experience.

Quickoffice

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Developed by Google, Quickoffice is an option for those looking to functionally use an office app without having to pay for premiums or add-ons. You can create and edit all of the same file types just as you would in the Office Mobile, plus view PDF files.

Best of all, Quickoffice syncs right to your Google account. This removes the hassle of uploading your files through several steps by letting you easily share your PowerPoint files through your Google Account, or attach them to emails.

Kingsoft Office

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Creating and editing presentations on Kingsoft Office is a breeze. It allows you almost the same functionalities you would have on the PC.

This free office app also makes sharing your slide a whole lot easier. The Shareplay function allows you to share your PowerPoint presentation to others’ Android devices, as long as they’re logged in on the same local area network.

Polaris Office

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Polaris Office automatically saves the files you access from your cloud to your device, so you can continue working even without an Internet connection.

Similarly, if you’re editing a PowerPoint presentation—or any other files—on the go, the changes you make are automatically saved. It also will give your different editing choices for your presentations, plus the ability to add notes and time your slideshow.

Polaris Office is free, and the premium add-ons aren’t necessary for a basic, functional experience. Some of the latest Android versions also come free with Polaris, so you won’t need to download it into your mobile device anymore.

Use any one of these apps for a more mobile PowerPoint presentation experience. Bring your slides with you wherever you go, and don’t be caught unprepared.

Handy Dandy: PowerPoint, Keynote and Other Great Presentation Apps for the iPad

Sometimes, you’re going to have to prep for presentations without much notice. You might even have to do it while you’re on the go. When that happens, don’t panic. Don’t they always say that there’s an app for every problem?

In this case, there are plenty.

You can design great presentations as long as you have your iPad on hand. Here’s a quick rundown of some presentation apps available on iOS.

PowerPoint

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Let’s start with the classic: PowerPoint for iPad. This app is part of the recently released Office suite for the iPad. It’s the perfect choice for users who are used to running PowerPoint in the desktop, and would like to have the same experience in their choice of presentation apps. It has all the features you’ve grown accustomed to in a streamlined interface.

You can get it for free at the App Store, although you’ll have to subscribe to Office 365 to experience it in full. You can get Office 365 at different prices. It’ll be a good investment if you prefer using the MS Office programs.

CloudOn

cloudon app

If you’d rather skip on the Office 365 subscription, CloudOn is a great alternative.

Technically, it’s more than just a presentation app. It allows you to access MS Office files saved on your Dropbox or Google Drive. You can also create new PowerPoint, Word, or Excel files.

When making your slides, you’ll be taken to an interface that looks and works exactly like the desktop version of the classic PowerPoint 2010.

You can get CloudOn for free, although some features are only available as in-app purchases.

Keynote

keynote app

If you’re the proud owner of several Apple devices, Keynote is still your best bet. It allows you to sync your presentations through iCloud, meaning you can edit what you started on your Mac. Plus, it’s easy to use. Keynote takes full advantage of the swipe-and-slide technology that makes the iPad super convenient.

Keynote costs $9.99, but you can get it for free on any brand new iOS7 device.

Prezi

prezi app

Prezi is unlike most presentation apps. It offers a little more room for creativity. You can choose from 15 templates that are different from the usual slide title + bullet points layout. You can also use photos from your Camera Roll or take new pictures while you work.

Best of all, Prezi is free at the App Store.

Haiku Deck

haikudeck app

Similar to Prezi, Haiku Deck is another app that allows for plenty of creativity. It holds a huge collection of stock images and backgrounds that you can easily access through a search function.

Bonus: For the presentation itself, you can use your iPhone as a remote control or a mini teleprompter.

Haiku Deck is free, and you can buy extra photos in the App Store.

Get Creative and Customize Your Own PowerPoint Templates

Tired of the using the same default PowerPoint templates for all of your presentations? You can use the Slide Master function to create your own PowerPoint templates. With these easy steps, you’ll be able to customize the different features of your presentation. Set unique designs for your background, font, layout, and color scheme according to how you see it in your head.

What is the slide master?

Before you start your own PowerPoint templates, you need to familiarize yourself with PowerPoint’s slide master function.

You can call the slide master the leader of all your slides. Any changes you create in its format will be applied to every slide in your presentation. If you change the title font from Calibiri to Cambria, the title font for the rest of your slides will change as well.

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To enter Slide Master view, click on “View” and then choose “Slide Master” among the different Presentation Views.

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Get creative and start customizing your own PowerPoint Templates

Once in the Slide Master view, you can begin to customize your PowerPoint template through options located in the ribbon.

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You can choose from the different color palettes under “Color” or you can create your own by choosing “Create New Theme Colors”. Whatever palette you decide to go with will dictate your choices of colors for the background. Don’t worry, you can still choose to customize your background by clicking “Format Background” for more options.

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If you’d like to change your current layout, you can choose to add placeholders. The placeholder is designed to hold specific types of content such as texts, pictures, and tables. Choose any of the slides under the slide master. From there, click “Insert Placeholder” and select from the options in the drop down box.

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There you have it!

When you’re happy with you’re your design, exit from the Slide Master view. Save your creation by clicking the “File” tab and choosing “Save As.” Give your unique PowerPoint template an equally unique file name then save it as a “PowerPoint Template”.

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Keep tinkering with the PowerPoint Slide Master option and you’ll never have to settle with the same default templates again. Once you get the hang of using the slide master, your customized PowerPoint templates might just give you the edge you need for your next presentation.

PowerPoint Animations: Adding Life to Your Slides

Children aren’t the only ones who have short attention spans. Many adults do, too, although this is due to a number of factors – a busy schedule, issues at work, etc. So if you’re presenting a PowerPoint to your team or potential business partners, you need to step up your game. One way to do this is by adding animation to your slides.

PowerPoint animations are very useful for creating a more interesting presentation. It can keep your audience engaged as you deliver each of your points. If children with short attention span are easily entertained by animated cartoons, I’m quite positive that their adult counterparts will find PowerPoint animations enjoyable as well.

If you’re ready to get started, here’s how you can take advantage of PowerPoint’s animation feature:

1. Use the available animations

The Add Animation gallery provides you with simple animations you can apply to the elements on your slide. Just click any of the items you want to animate, click on the Animation tab, and then click Add Animation. Below the wide range of basic animations that control the way the items move on your slides.

powerpoint animation

You can use these basic animations to make your items enter, exit, appear, and disappear on the slides.

2. Set the triggers

Triggers allow you to link the animation to a different action. You can do this by creating bookmarks in the presentation, which then prompt an animation to start. Alternatively, you can set an action to start upon clicking your mouse. To set a trigger for an animation, click an item and then click Trigger, which you can find in the Advanced Animation group under the Animations tab.

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3. Automate sequences with Animation Painter

Before, with the older versions of Microsoft PowerPoint, you will have to spend hours just to get the animation working perfectly. But now, you can easily automate your animation sequences with the help of the Animation Painter.

powerpoint animation

With the Animation Painter, simply click the element with the animation you like to copy and drag the pointer over the item on the slide to apply the animation settings. PowerPoint will take care of the rest.

4. Measure Entry and Exit Using Timeline

You can find the timeline at the bottom of the Animation Pane. This helps you gauge the entry and exit of the items on the slide. You can also use it to determine whether you want to adjust the time or order of events.

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Each animation also displays the span of time through the time segment at the right of every animation entry. You may tweak the animations so that the action occurs at the exact time that you prefer. Just scroll along the timeline by clicking the small arrows at either end. You may also click the Seconds control if you want to Zoom In or Zoom Out and adjust the increments of time.

5. View Everything on the Animation Pane

As you work on the animation, you can see all the information and tools you use on the Animation Pane. To display the Animation Pane, click the Animation tab and select Animation Pane right in the Advanced Animation group. This feature lets you preview the animation, reorder animations, and see where they fall on the timeline.

The important thing about using animations in your slides is to keep everything simple. PowerPoint offers a lot of features for animating any item on your slide but misusing them can confuse your audience, not to mention make your presentations look amateurish.

About SlideGenius

SlideGenius.com is your business PPT guru. Based in San Diego, California, SlideGenius has helped more than 500 international clients enhance their presentations, including those of J.P. Morgan, Harley-Davidson, Pfizer, Verizon, and Reebok. Call us at 1.858.217.5144 and let SlideGenius help you with your presentation today!

Turning PowerPoint Slides Into Videos

With the advent of YouTube, Vimeo, and other online video sharing platforms, creating marketing videos has never been more beneficial for businesses. The Social Times’ Megan O’Neill provides a few benefits marketing videos can have on your campaign. Not only does it let you get to know your company better, it also provides small companies with the opportunity to receive greater exposure.

Unfortunately, a number of business owners feel that video creation is too costly or time-consuming. What they don’t realize is that creating marketing videos doesn’t need to take so much of their time or budget. All they have to do is make a PowerPoint presentation and turn it into a video. If you want to take advantage of this opportunity, here are the things that you need to do:

Preparing the presentations

Naturally, you have to create the presentation first. Don’t forget to record and add narration. You may also want to time your PowerPoint slides for a smooth transition (At this point, you should turn the mouse into a laser pointer). After that, save your presentation by doing the following:

  • Click the File menu and select Save & Send.
  • Click the option Create a video under Save & Send.

Creating the video

Have the quality and size options displayed by clicking Computer & HD Displays, which is under the Create a Video. Then, do any of the following:

  • To create a very high-quality video with a large file size, click the option Computer & HD Displays.
  • To create a medium quality video with moderate file size, click the option Internet & DVD.
  • To create a low-quality video with very small file size, click the option Portable Devices.

To find out which one matches your needs, consider testing each of these options.

Setting the timings and narrations

If you didn’t record and time a voice narration as well as the laser pointer movements, click the option Don’t Use Recorded Timings and Narration.

(Reminder: The default time for each slide is 5 seconds). You may change that by clicking either the up or down arrow in the “Seconds to spend on each slide” indicator.

If you have recorded and timed narration and the pointer movements, then click Use Recorded Timings and Narrations. Next, click Create Video.

Saving the video

Once you’ve gone through all the steps, the final part of creating your marketing video is to save it.

Enter a file name for your video in the File name box after browsing for the folder that will contain the file. Click Save. The default file type is Windows Media Video (.wmv). If you want to convert the video file to another format such as .avi or .mov, you may use a third-party program.

These are all the steps on how you turn your PowerPoint presentation into a video. Pretty simple, isn’t it?  Take advantage of this opportunity and start making your brand felt across YouTube or anywhere else on the Internet.

 

References

O’Neill, Megan. “5 Benefits of Video Marketing [Infographic].” SocialTimes. Accessed May 26, 2014.

Adding PowerPoint Table to Your Slide

In our previous posts, we have tackled the subject of adding texts to an image. A table is simply another type of image in which you can add text. One significant difference is that a table is designed to arrange data into boxes or cells. As you may already know, a table has vertical arrangements (columns) and horizontal arrangements (rows).

The columns usually indicate categories while the rows are often meant to specify records. In PowerPoint, tables are effective tools for presenting data. They allow you to show so much information in a limited space. If you need to add a table on one of your slides, you may do any of the following:

Insert Table

Select Insert in the main menu. Under this, the Tables option will appear. A small window will appear beside the option once you select it.

Next, drag the mouse to select the number of columns and rows your PowerPoint table needs. Shortly after this, your table will appear on the slide.

 

powerpoint table powerpoint table

Another option is to click the option Insert Table at the bottom of the small window right after clicking the Tables group. A dialog box will appear wherein you’ll enter the number of columns and rows in the spaces provided. table 3

Draw Table

If you need to add a more complicated type of table you may select the option Draw Table in the Tables group. Using a set of drawing tools, you can create tables that aren’t just intersecting rows and columns. What you can create is a rather complex collection of cells that extend beyond one row or column. Probably something like this:

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To start, click the Tables Group and select Draw Table from the menu. The cursor will then change to a pencil icon. Drag the mouse on the slide to create a rectangle frame.

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Releasing the mouse button will reveal a single cell table.

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In the Design tab of the Table Tools, click the button Draw Table. The cursors will change back into a little pencil. It’s now time to create the cells. You will have to drag the pencil across the table to create lines. To split the table into two rows, for example, point the pencil near the left edge of the table. Click and then drag a line towards the right edge. Release the mouse button.

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The Takeaway

Depending on your purpose, you may continue splitting the table into smaller cells. For each split, point the pencil at one edge and then click and drag to the other.

If you make mistakes, simply click the Eraser button (you can’t miss it as it looks like an eraser) in the Design tab and click on the line segment you want to erase. If you want to add life to your table, you may change the color or structure of your table using the options in the Design tab.