Most of us use the basic functionality of programs in the Microsoft Office Suite, such as Microsoft PowerPoint. We experiment with what we find and probably don’t touch ‘the manual’. This is normal, given that such software is designed to be intuitive. However, Microsoft Office is full of clever functions that you may not just happen upon.
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We could give you the standard advice of ‘less is more’, which is still true, but here are some useful tips on the functionality of Microsoft PowerPoint you may not know.
Going to print it? Wait!
Default PowerPoint slides are a different dimension to standard paper sizes. If you’re intending to print your presentation, or if you are using PowerPoint purely for the purposes of printing, format the page first.
Set your presentation to A4 dimensions before creating your presentation to avoid issues when you come to print it.
To do this, select the Design tab of the toolbar. Select the ‘Slide Size’ dropdown on the right hand-side and then click ‘Custom Slide Size’. The first dropdown menu in the box that pops up will say Widescreen to begin with, click the drop down and select the paper size you’ll be printing on.
Use PowerPoint’s ‘Slide Master’ to make global changes
You’ve decided to change the design of your slides late in the presentation creation process. But that doesn’t mean you now need to adjust it all manually. You can save significant amounts of time by making template changes that roll out across the presentation.
Whilst you can do this at the beginning, the middle or the end, we strongly recommend starting with it.
To do make global changes to formatting, you need to use the ‘Slide Master’ function.
- Select ‘View‘ then ‘Slide Master’.
- Make the text, colour, and alignment changes you wish to roll out across the presentation.
- Reapply the slide layouts to slides that may have been tweaked manually.
If you want to use a predefined theme, select that first by clicking ‘Themes’ on the ‘Slide Master’ tab. Then proceed with selecting colours, fonts, effects and background styles.
Video in PowerPoint is easy
First thing’s first, video is undeniably a great way to bring life to your presentation. But some steer away from incorporating video in their presentations, for fear of getting it wrong.
How you embed video varies very slightly depending on the version of PowerPoint you are using. If you want to embed a video that can play without an internet connection, have your file ready and follow these steps:
- Click on the slide you want, then go to ‘Menu’ then ‘Insert’.
- In the top right corner, click ‘File’ then ‘Video’ then ‘Movie’.
- Find the video you want to add and click ‘Insert’.
- Alter the settings in the ‘Video Format’ toolbarto ensure it will play how you intend. For example, select “Play Full Screen” or “Start Automatically” to trigger your video when you reach that slide.
Always preview your presentation to check your video plays the way you want it to.
If you want to embed a video that will stream from the internet, YouTube is the only video streaming website supported by PowerPoint, and unfortunately it doesn’t work on Mac versions.
First, you need the ‘Embed link’, to find this visit the YouTube page of the video. Click the share button and select the ‘Embed’ option which will provide you with the embed link to copy – it must start with “<iframe width”. Then take the following steps:
- Find the slide you want to add a video to.
- Click on the Insert tab and, on the right-hand side, will be a ‘Video’ dropdown with an ‘Online Video’ option.
- Click Paste embed code here and paste the Embed code. If using PowerPoint 2010, click ‘Insert Video From Website’.
- Select the video and click ‘Playback’.
- Click the ’Start’ menu to select how the video will play. This is important, as your video won’t work unless you choose one of these options.
Again, preview your video to check it works and remember, you must be online when you hit ‘Play’ for your video to run.
You can even have a video background
You may have put images into the background of your slides, but did you know you can put video there too. With the right video choice, it can bring a new dimension to your presentation.
It’s simple to do as well. Find your video file and drag and drop it onto the slide and resize it to cover the entire slide.
If your chosen video won’t last the length of time that the slide will be presented for, you can loop it. To loop your video within PowerPoint:
- Click the video to access the ‘Video Tools’ menu, then click the ‘Playback’ tab.
- Check ‘Loop Until Stopped’.
Office 365’s PowerPoint Zoom feature is a godsend
If you’re a Microsoft Office 365 user, and we’d hope you are, you can use PowerPoint’s useful Zoom feature. This encompasses three functions.
- Slide Zoom
- Section Zoom
- Summary Zoom
Slide Zoom allows you to make jumps between important slides without the need to scroll through to find it. For example, if early on in a lengthy presentation you need to jump from slide 6 to slide 43, you can program this jump in with Zoom. After jumping to slide 43, then carry on with the rest of the presentation at slide 7.
Section Zoom is like Slide Zoom except it enables you to jump from one section to another, instead of a single slide.
Summary Zoom automatically creates a ‘table of contents’ style summary slide which is directly linked to the pages. This means when pages and sections are rearranged, you can easily replace the summary – where previously you may have had to spend time updating it. This slide can then be placed anywhere within the presentation.