Spice Up Your PowerPoint Presentations

Today is Thursday, so this post is on communication skills.

Last week, I received an e mail from the folks at ITPubInfo.com.  It had some interesting advice on how to spice up your PowerPoint slides.  As presentations skills are a key element of career and life success, and PowerPoint is one of the most used presentation tools, I am passing their suggestions along here.


We all know images get attention — precisely what we’re after when we’re making a presentation in PowerPoint. But getting the right look for our slides can be tough. Read on for a quick trick that can save you tons of preparation time, and keep your audience riveted. Then scroll down for more tips on graphics resolution and image resizing.

If you’d like to insert several images into a presentation, you can insert them and create the necessary slides all in one dialog box. To do so:

  1. Select Insert | Picture | New Photo Album to display the Photo Album dialog box.
  2. In the Insert Picture From section, click the File/Disk button to open the Insert New Pictures dialog box.
  3. Navigate to the location of your pictures, highlight the pictures you wish to insert, and then click Insert to return to the Photo Album dialog box.
  4. Choose the desired layout using the Picture Layout dropdown list and click Create.

How to get graphics resolutions right … the first time

If you’re creating graphics or taking digital photos for use in presentations, you’ll want to decide the appropriate size, or resolution, of the graphic before you get started. The size (in pixels) should be based on the desktop resolution of the computer you’ll use to display your presentation.  Here are some guidelines based on a desktop resolution of 1024 x 768:

  • Full Screen Clip Art – 1024 x 768  960 x 720
  • Quarter Screen Clip Art – 256 x 192 240 x 180
  • Half Screen Horizontal – 1024 x 384 960 x 360
  • Half Screen Vertical – 512 x 768 480 x 720.

Quick tip for resizing images in a snap

If you’re using Windows XP, you can download and install the Microsoft PowerToy, Image Resizer, and use it to resize graphics for use in PowerPoint. Locate the install at www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx and install it.  Then:

  1. Browse to your image by selecting Start | Programs | Accessories | Windows Explorer, and then navigating to the location of your images.
  2. Right-click on the image you wish to resize and choose Resize Pictures.
  3. In the resulting Resize Pictures dialog box, select the option button for one of the default sizes in the Select A Size section, or click the Advanced button, choose the Custom option button, and enter the desired pixel sizes in the text boxes.
  4. Click OK. A copy of the image is created in the same location, but as the new size and with “(WinCE)” added to the name (e.g., 2004.07.18u (WinCE).jpg).

The folks at ITPubInfo publish a newsletter called Inside Microsoft PowerPoint.  You can subscribe by going to their website www.ITPubInfo.com.  If you make a lot of presentations, a subscription might be a great investment. 

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: www.SuccessCommonSense.com for common sense advice on becoming the career and life success you are meant to be and to get a copy of my new ebook Star Power: Common Sense Ideas for Career and Life Success.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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