Inserting Screenshots in PowerPoint 2010

February 12th, 2013 by bluewave

Here’s a quick and easy way to insert screenshots 
onto your PowerPoint 2010 slide:

On the Insert tab, select Screenshot. The Available Windows panel opens, showing thumbnails of all the application windows currently open on your desktop. Select one of the thumbnails to insert a screenshot on the slide.

Large screenshots automatically scale to fit within the slide boundaries, a huge improvement over the past when you might have had to press Print Screen (or Alt+Print Screen) to copy a screenshot, paste it on the slide, then zoom out so that you could crop and rescale it to fit.

You can also insert just a portion of a screenshot. On the Insert tab, select Screenshot then click on Screen Clipping. Drag the mouse over the area you want to insert. When you release the mouse, the clipping is placed on the slide.

One caveat: Screen Clipping will display a combined, flat image of all application windows that are currently open, which means individual applications can’t be selected for clipping. If the app window you want isn’t completely visible, you may need to close some of the other applications first and try Screen Clipping again.

These techniques also work with Microsoft Word 2010.


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Version Control

August 24th, 2012 by bluewave

Version control may not sound like a big problem, but here’s a typical scenario that can drive budgets up quickly.

- The client sends the designers a file.
- The design team assumes they have the final file and no one is still working on slides.
- Unbeknownst to the designers, the client has one or more people still working on the content.
- At some point, the client sends the designers a new file with a comment something like, “Here’s the latest file. We’ve made a few updates and added and deleted a few slides.”

If the client has spelled out IN DETAIL where EVERY change has been made, it’s better, but that’s usually never the case.

So, here’s the reality of what’s ahead.

- The designers have a file that is finished, or nearly finished, and let’s say there are 35 slides in the file they’ve been working on.
- The new deck from the client contains 42 slides, but some have been deleted and others have been added.
- Now the files don’t match and it becomes difficult to discuss using slide numbers, because they are not reliable, due to the change of slides (adds/deletes).
- The next big issue is finding  e v e r y  change that was made.
- Slide-by-slide comparisons are not enough because the client may have made changes that are not obvious –  serial commas, abbreviations, capitalization, or punctuation.
- Often designers share the load of work by splitting the file into parts – one working on photos, another on graphics, etc.
- Depending on the situation, the team may need to stop all work, put the file back together, print each slide from both decks and compare slide-by-slide and sometimes one character at a time.

This is an extreme example, but it happens and it’s very expensive to have multiple people stop all work and delve into solving this problem, that is easily avoided. How?

- Printing the file, marking up each slide with notes and faxing the file to the designers is the best.
- Using text box notes in bright colors everywhere a change needs to be made is the next most effective.
- Discussing each slide on the phone live is the least effective, but better than having version issues.

The preferred way to handle this is to have the client stop all work until the designers have finished the first draft, then the client can make revisions in the same file, then send it back to the designers.

Another good control is to have only one person on the client side managing the project. Too many people keep the design team guessing about what’s needed. And, another good thing is to ask the design team, what works best for them, as it can vary widely, depending on the deadline.

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Saving and using templates in PowerPoint 2010

June 8th, 2012 by bluewave

If you’ve created a PowerPoint 2010 template, make sure it’s saved correctly
so that you can access the template without accidentally overwriting or altering it.

Here’s how:

  • Open the template (the .potx file) in PowerPoint 2010.
  • Click File and then click Save As.
  • In Save as type, select PowerPoint Template (*.potx) if it is not already selected.
  • Click Save to install the .potx file in the Templates folder—Microsoft’s default
    location for storing templates.

In most cases, the .potx file automatically saves in the correct location, the Templates folder. If it appears to be saving elsewhere, such as in a local folder on your desktop, then you will need to manually navigate to the Templates folder before you save the .potx file.

The specific address of Microsoft’s Template folder may vary depending on your operating system or, for example, if you’ve set up multiple user accounts. But try this address: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates.

To start a new file based on the template you’ve just saved:

  • Click File and then click New.
  • Select My Templates to view the installed templates.
  • Select your template from the list and click OK. The new presentation opens
    as a .pptx file and the template is left unchanged.

If your template does not appear in the list, then it has not been saved correctly in the Templates folder. If this happens, you may need to do some sleuthing to find out where Microsoft’s Templates folder is located on your computer’s hard drive. Then follow the above steps to resave the .potx file.


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The Top 7 Ways to Save Money on Your Project

February 23rd, 2012 by bluewave

1. Follow a standard subject line protocol in all emails involving the project.

Project number and client name – description
EXAMPLE: 12-0000 Big Hot Co. – Event keynote sample slides

2. Use a consistent name for the project. Too many times, clients have varying nicknames or acronyms for projects and we can’t tell if it’s a new or different project or the same one we’ve been working on.

3. Have ONLY ONE contact for each project. As soon as there are more people involved, the confusion starts because we often get different directions from different people and we have to stop to clarify who to listen to.

 4. DO NOT work on the file after it’s in our hands. This creates massive version control issues and often means we have to halt all work and compare the two (or more) files side-by-side, word-by-word, letter-by-letter, which is expensive.

 5. Be extremely clear with direction. Provide explicit examples, instead of just “make this more interesting” or “use something exciting.” General direction is not helpful when we have to guess.

EXAMPLE: “Please try using a photo of an intricate bridge under construction”
or “I’d like to see two examples of people talking on the phone, looking excited.”

6. Keep conference calls to a minimum. Long emails are OK. Often clients want to discuss high level aspects of the project, which is good, but long and detailed emails are often just as effective and far more cost effective. We will always call for more clarification if needed.

7. Always check “reply to all” when responding to our emails.

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PowerPoint 2010: Positives and Negatives

November 4th, 2011 by bluewave

When Microsoft introduced PowerPoint 2007, we found a whole new look and feel.  The new menu bar was virtually unrecognizable. Though not as drastic a change from 2007, PowerPoint 2010 nevertheless has a new look. That combined with added functionality delivers both positive and negative results.

The positives:

  • PowerPoint files created in PowerPoint 2010 may easily be opened in 2007. Microsoft has a compatibility pack that allows you to open, edit and save PowerPoint 2010 in versions of PowerPoint earlier than 2007.
  • An enhanced ribbon toolbar gives you the ability to create custom tabs on your ribbon. Name the tab, add frequently used actions and it will become part of your PowerPoint interface.
  • You can now convert your PowerPoint presentation to video.
  • Many new and exciting transitions between slides are available, similar to transition effects in Apple Keynote.
  • You may now organize your presentations into sections (previously available only in Microsoft Word). The Sections button is located on the Ribbon toolbar.
  • You may now embed videos, including web videos if you have internet access, thus eliminating constant need for zipped files and instruction as to video placement.
  • PowerPoint 2010 now includes built-in video editing features. You can trim videos, and add various effects similar to those available for shapes and images. In addition to .wmv videos, PowerPoint 2010 supports QuickTime videos in .mov and .mp4 formats and flash videos (.swf files) if you have QuickTime and Adobe Flash players installed on your computer.
  • New in PowerPoint version 2010 are sound editing tools that allow you to trim the start and end position and add fade in and fade out to any sound.
  • With PowerPoint 2010, you can apply different artistic effects to your pictures to make them look more like a sketch, drawing, or painting so that they blend well with the theme of your presentation. Some of the new effects include Pencil Sketch, Line Drawing, Chalk Sketch, Watercolor Sponge, Glass, Cement, Plastic Wrap, Glow Edges, Photocopy, and Paint Strokes, as well as increased control of duotones and other effects.
  • The new co-authoring function allows users to simultaneously edit the same presentation from different locations or computers.
  • Microsoft has added many new Smart Art options giving you access to frequently used visual elements.
  • PowerPoint 2010 contains new security features. “Mark as Final” prevents further changes to the presentation. You may assign permissions that prevent other users from copying, printing, or editing the presentation by selecting the access level specific to their requirements.

As with any transition in Microsoft product versions there are compatibility issues between 2003, 2007 and 2010.  Perhaps even more problems are inherent in the newest version, issues that are virtually undetectable.

The negatives:

  • Since PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 both use the .pptx extension, it is virtually impossible to tell which of the two versions the presentation was created in. Microsoft has not incorporated the ability to find the application version anywhere in the program.
  • That being said, PowerPoint 2007 interprets transitions, animations and other 2010 specific actions and applies what it considers the closest match. Since it is impossible to tell which version of PowerPoint the presentation has been created in, the original creator’s effects may be lost.
  • A video embedded in PPT 2010 will show up as a stationary image rather than a video when the file is opened in PPT 2007, similar to the effect when one views a presentation from a Mac with a .mov file. If you have the native file in the folder (.wmv), the video will play but effects applied in PowerPoint 2010 (such as crop, 3-D effects, layer shapes, or duotones) though visible when the slide first appears will revert to the original format of the video.
  • PowerPoint 2010 does not support the 64-bit versions of QuickTime and Flash which are available on Windows 7. If using Windows 7 in conjunction with PowerPoint 2010, be sure to install 32 bit versions of the programs.
  • If you add effects to sound in PPT 2010, such as rim or fade, the sound won’t play AT ALL in any other PPT versions. No message, no warning — just no sound. Adding effects negates everything about the sound file.
  • If the presentation’s creator is using a downloaded trial version of PowerPoint 2010, many of the functions disappear when saved. This is especially true of any media used in the presentation. When another presenter using the full version of PowerPoint 2010 opens the presentation, any embedded media will become an image only and will not play.
  • In Office PowerPoint 2007, new security features had been introduced to help ensure that a presentation was safely managed after it left the user’s hands. In PowerPoint 2010, security features still exist and include added encryption. These enhanced security features can make it virtually impossible for another user to edit the presentation in all versions of PPT. Security features are important for obvious reasons, but can vastly interfere with the ability to revise when necessary.
  • As with 2007 the ribbon bar may take some getting used to. Though similar to that in 2007, functions have been juggled about, creating a slight learning curve.

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Using the Selection Pane

August 15th, 2011 by bluewave

The Selection and Visibility Pane is an extremely useful feature in PowerPoint 2007/2010. So useful, in fact, that you may wonder how you ever worked without it.

The Selection Pane keeps track of everything on the slide in a task pane on the right side of the desktop.

View the Selection Pane: On the Home Tab, choose Select > Selection Pane. You’ll see a list of everything on the slide: text, titles, objects, images, slide numbers, placeholders, etc. Any slide components that are grouped together on the slide show up as a group in the Selection Pane.

Easily select slide components: The Selection Pane lists all items on the slide by their stacking order. If a slide has many overlapping objects, it can be very tricky to select them. With the Selection Pane, simply click on an item in the list to select it on the slide. To select more than one item in the Selection Pane, hold the Control key down while you click on them.

Re-order slide components: The Re-order arrows in the Selection Pane move slide objects up and down in the stacking order. This may not be a particularly fast method if you have a lot of content on the slide (unfortunately, you cannot simply click and drag an item to a new location). However, you can select multiple items and re-order them at the same time.

Rename items in the Selection Pane: Double click on an item in the Selection pane and type a new name. Grouped items can also be renamed. In general, you probaby won’t need to bother renaming slide objects. But giving them unique names can be helpful when you’re creating custom animations. Instead of trying to differentiate between (for example) Picture 1, Picture 2 and Picture 3 in the Custom Animation task pane, give those pictures unique names in the Selection Pane. The new names will show up in the Custom Animation task pane, making it easier to keep track of your animations.

Turn visibility on or off: Click on the tiny eye icon next to an item in the Selection Pane to toggle visibility settings. Clicking the eye “off” makes the item invisible on the slide. The item still exists—it just can’t be seen, selected on the slide, printed or animated. Turning visibility temporarily off on selected slide objects also helps when you are developing complex animations and don’t want to sit through every animation just to view the one you are testing.

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High-quality prints from slides

December 29th, 2010 by bluewave

We are occasionally asked to turn presentation graphics into printed posters, white papers, newsletters, and so on. If you think you’ll need high-quality print output from slides, it’s best to let us know in advance. Here’s why:

Presentation graphics do not need to have anywhere near the same resolution as high-end print graphics—they only need to match the resolution of the display device (monitors, laptops, video projectors). Display device resolutions are measured in pixels per inch (ppi). How an image looks on screen is determined by the display device resolution—the number of pixels it can display in a given area.

For an image to fill the entire slide, the size of the image in pixels should be at least equal to the display device resolution. For example, if display device resolution is 1024×768 (a common setting for monitors, laptops and video projectors), then full-frame slide graphics should be 1024 pixels wide by 768 pixels high. In practice, Bluewave generally creates presentation graphics at somewhat higher resolutions that this—densely detailed images may project better if they’re created at slightly higher pixel dimensions (1280×960 ppi, for example) and then scaled down slightly to fit the slide frame. A bit of experimenting will determine the best resolution.

However, super high resolution images (way higher than needed by the display device) won’t look any better when projected. And the file size can be huge, resulting in slow-to-load images and sputtering slide shows. The key is to produce presentation graphics at just the right resolution—not too high, not too low—that project beautifully and run flawlessly.

High-quality print graphics are usually created at 300 dots per inch (dpi)—the industry standard and a far higher resolution than needed for presentation graphics. Dpi refers to the density of ink dots printed on paper—not the same animal as ppi, although the two are somewhat similar and often confused.

Slide graphics will look just fine printed on most desktop printers. But for high-end printing, lower resolution graphics that look great on the screen will likely appear fuzzy or jagged when printed because there is not enough pixel information in the image.

Unfortunately, simply adding more pixels to lower resolution graphics via a photo-editing program doesn’t do much; the image won’t look more refined or detailed and in fact may look worse in some circumstances. And it certainly won’t result in high-end prints. Basically, the graphic needs to be recreated from scratch, at a higher resolution. Obviously, this takes time and can seriously bloat the budget.

Thus, if you anticipate needing high-quality prints of any slide graphics, let us know ahead of time. We’ll create specific graphics at 300 dpi for printing and save lower resolution images for placing on slides.

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Flash — a quick look at the pros and cons

August 18th, 2010 by bluewave

Flash is a great multimedia tool. Here are some of the advantages:

  • Fairly easy to create
  • Files are small
  • Great for the Web
  • Can be used in PowerPoint (walk-in, intro, breaks, closing)
  • Can be used on a laptop (as a product demo, ROI calculator, a full presentation, to name a few)
  • Far cheaper than video
  • More powerful, natural animation than presentation software can provide

A few disadvantages:

  • Not easily revised, unlike PowerPoint
  • Flash .exe files can’t be easily emailed. All firewalls strip .exe file from the email since they’re one of the top ways to spread viruses.
  • Heavily photographic pieces can be problematic
  • Can’t be created by a non-pro
  • Much longer timeline due to multiple steps – script, theme, photos, music, voice over, storyboard, first draft, approvals, final drafts and revisions
  • Can be expensive

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Flash — what we need to know to get started

August 18th, 2010 by bluewave

Before starting any Flash project, here are some of the questions we’ll ask:

  • What will it be used for? Web, event, trade show, kiosk, flat panel display?
  • Display dimensions: What are the pixel dimensions of the display device (1366 x 768, 1024 x 768, 852 x 480, 600 x 800, and so on). Ideally, the Flash piece should match the display device aspect ratio so that the display area is completely filled with no gaps or black areas on the top, bottom and sides. Determining the best pixel dimensions can be a fairly complicated issue. To be very clear, discuss with your event vendor or project designer.
  • Web broadcast: What size/pixel dimensions? Smaller is faster and bigger is more legible, so it’s a trade-off.
  • Inserted in PowerPoint or Keynote: What size/pixel dimensions? Does the Flash piece needs to display full screen? If so, what is the presentation aspect ratio, widescreen (16:9) or standard (4:3)? File size will be a consideration. If it does not needs to display full screen, we still need to pin down the size.
  • What is the first deliverable due date?
  • What is the final due date?
  • What date does the speaker go on stage?
  • Can you provide a style guide, color palette, high res logo?
  • Any special graphics for the project?
  • Anything else we need to know?
  • What is the contact info for everyone involved?
  • How soon can we start?

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Selling with a hands-on ROI demo

August 16th, 2010 by bluewave

Bluewave is all about visual storytelling. We design professional presentation media that help our clients deliver clear, compelling and visually impactful communications for corporate events, keynote executive speeches, product launches, sales meetings and road shows.

These are often big-stakes situations, where high pressure, precision and state-of-the-art multimedia predominate. But sometimes the most effective selling tool is the simplest. Here’s an example:

One of our clients was marketing a new type of mobile card-swipe terminals to the fast food industry. We helped the sales team design a high-level sales presentation to help convince a somewhat skeptical executive—the CFO of a nationwide pizza chain—of the benefits of the client’s card-swipe device.

We had been working for several months developing an Flash-based interactive ROI calculator with the primary goal of creating a passive lead generation tool on the web. The sales team asked us to incorporate the ROI tool into their presentation, specifically tailored for the pizza chain.

What actually won the day? After the show, the CFO was allowed to play with the ROI calculator that we embedded in the last slide of the presentation.

He was infinitely familiar with the analytics and began entering the numbers and graphing different scenarios on the presentation laptop. The meeting had been scheduled for 30 minutes, but quickly ran far over as a cluster of executives focused around the laptop, totally engaged in evaluating the different scenarios. By a remarkable coincidence, the scenarios all reinforced our client’s product, demonstrating how their mobile device could increase pizza sales under certain market conditions.

A deal was made quickly, but not just because anyone was sold on the product. Rather, the client was persuasively (and happily) allowed to “buy” into the solution. And he was helped along by an effective selling tool—the very visual ROI calculator.

Sometimes you just need to get in and see for yourself.

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