Category Archives: PowerPoint

PowerPoint – Making a Mask

Creating a mask effect in PowerPoint is easy, once you’ve located the Shape Combine command. You can add this command to the Ribbon or the Quick Access Toolbar.

Below, you see it being added to my toolbar.Adding the Shape Combine Command to the Toolbar

Adding the Shape Combine Command to the Toolbar, alternately look for the Combine Shapes command as more options are available.The command will not be active until there are two shapes selected. Below, I’ve created a blue rectangle and a red oval. The oval shape will be cut out from the rectangle.Blue rectangle with red oval positioned for the cut out.

Blue rectangle with red oval positioned for the cut out.You may prefer to add the Combine Shapes command instead. More options are available as you can see below.

Select the shapes you wish to combine.
Both shapes are selected, so the Combine Shapes button is active

The result of the Shape Combine command, a rectangle with an oval “hole: in the center.The result of the Combine Shapes Command

The result of the Combine Shapes CommandOnce the mask is created, you can dress it up. Below, I’ve changed the fill to an image of a leafy forest floor.The forest floor has a hole in it.

The forest floor has a hole in it.Now I can layer whatever image I wish (in this case a frog) under the mask. You can animate the layer underneath the mask. Can you image a wheel of creatures rotating into the viewpoint in the center of the mask? That would be great for a talk about ecology!

Can you spot the frog?
Can you spot the frog?

 

PowerPoint: Like toppings on pizza

You may never have looked at Outline View in PowerPoint. But, if you have presentation that has text you should check it out. Working in Outline View is not only the fastest way to build the  outline, it creates a more robust and easily edited presentation as well.

By default, when you add text in Outline view, the text is placed in a text placeholder. Placeholder text is easier to edit than text in text boxes.

Here is a little experiment you can do.

Start by adding some text in Outline view. The default Layout “Title and Content” is used.

Examing the text in Outline View
Looking at a slide in Outline View. The text appears in both the Outline View and the slide.

 

Here is what the slide looks like in Slides View, again the text is the same in the  Slides View panel and in the slide itself.

The Slides View panel
The Slides View panel

Now try changing the layout to one without a content placeholder. The text remains in Outline View and on  the placeholder in the slide.  Then, move the text placeholder around and resize it.

Now, change the layout back to “Title and Content” and you’ll find the placeholder snaps back to its original position and size. If you tried recolouring the text, press the Reset button (just underneath the Layout button) and it too will revert to the default appearance set by the placeholder.

Now, compare this with the behaviour of text in text boxes.

This text is in a text box. Note that it does not appear in Outline view.
This text is in a text box. Note that it does not appear in Outline view.

This text is not connected with the placeholder on the slide. It is “floating” on top of the slide “like toppings on a pizza”  in the poetic words of one of my former coworkers.

This lack of connection can make it harder to manage in the long run.

Text box text in slide with placeholders.
Text box text in slide with placeholders.

Note what happens when I change the layout to  “Title and Content“. The text box is actually floating underneath the placeholder.  What a pain for editing! Resetting the slide has no impact on text in text boxes. Also, you’ll notice that the text is not visible in Outline View, so none of those tools are available for editing either.

Does that mean that I never use text boxes?

Of course not, I use text boxes when I want to create text that will remain independent of the general formatting rules for the presentation. But since consistency in formatting is a sign of a professional presentation, I use text boxes sparingly.

PowerPoint: Make it Fit

I’ve mentioned it before, but PowerPoint can be a handy graphic editing tool. Especially when you want to combine pictures and text. The question is;  how do you get perfectly sized pictures every time?

Most people don’t play with the Page Setup options other than to swap their slides between a 4:3/16:9 ratio. However you can input your own custom dimensions.

Navigate to the Page Setup Dialog box
Make your own Custom Sized PowerPoint Templates

Go to the Design ribbon and open the Page Setup dialog box. The last choice in the Slides sized for drop down is Custom. Once this is selected you can input your own dimensions (within limits). To create the Twitter header photo template, I researched the dimensions of a Twitter header photo (500px by 1500px). Then I used this website to convert the pixel measurement to centimeters. The website also converts to inches, if that is your preferred measurement.

Now I can easily size my photos for Twitter! (Or Facebook, or Pinterest etc.)

 

Social Media tips – free photo resources

  • Library and Archives Canada –Image Search
  • New York Public Library  – Search Page
  • The Rijkmuseum in Amerstdam has digitized its collection. All of its works are free to use. Its’ policy “If you use our images for publication, then we request that you acknowledge the source (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam). We would also like to receive a copy of the publication for our library.”
  • Try the Creative Commons search tool.
  • This post from Hootsuite offers a list of 20 different Free Stock Photo websites. The one I like the best is Pexels, which is where I found this posts’ featured image.
  • University of Alberta Peel Image search.

PowerPoint: Save a Slide as a JPG

Do you like those inspiring combinations of words and pictures you see on many social media sites?

Photo courtesy of National Archives of Canada. Children Reading Art books 1931-1959. Superimposed quote "There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love oa books is hte best of all. - Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis"
Photo courtesy of National Archives of Canada. Children Reading Art books 1931-1959. Quote courtesy of ebookfriendly.com

You can use PowerPoint to combine pictures and words and then use the Save As command. Select the JPG type.  Perfect for  uploading to your social media feeds. Here’s a  link to the PowerPoint template  sized for Twitter pictures I used to create the above  sized for Twitter pictures I used to create the picture above. You are welcome to download and use it.

Also, here’s a link to the image search page at the Library and Archives Canada.  And for my fellow book nerds – quotes about reading.