Misc Tips 2
I CAN'T EDIT POINTS!
If you tried our recent tip that explained how to edit AutoShapes, you may have found that you couldn't use Edit Points to change some shapes, even though you followed our instructions to the letter. We'll explain why in just a bit, but first, here's a summary of the tip, in case you missed it:
PowerPoint won't let you use Edit Points to alter AutoShapes, but you can convert an AutoShape into editable PowerPoint objects this way:
* Select the AutoShape
* Copy it using Ctrl+C or Copy on the Edit menu
* Choose Paste Special from the Edit menu and pick Enhanced Metafile to paste the AutoShape back into PowerPoint
This converts the AutoShape into a normal PowerPoint object that you can edit with PowerPoint's graphic editing tools. Except that sometimes you can't use Edit Points after giving an AutoShape this treatment.
Why? Because Edit Points only works with one object at a time, but some AutoShapes are composed of multiple objects. When you convert them to normal PowerPoint objects as described, they turn into multiple grouped objects, and there's the clue you were looking for.
If Edit Points is dimmed (unavailable) when you select one of your converted AutoShapes, try ungrouping it. Click the Draw button at the lower left of your screen, then click Ungroup on the pop-up menu. You can then pick any of the individual objects that make up the shape and Edit Points to your heart's content.
The only hitch is that PowerPoint won't allow you to Edit Points when a rectangle or ellipse is selected.
EMAIL LINKS IN YOUR POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS
Nowadays it seems like everything you see -- web sites, email, Word documents -- has an email link you can click to send comments directly to the person who created the document. Wouldn't it be nice if you could do that in your PowerPoint presentations too?
Well what's stopping you?
You probably already know that you can add hyperlinks to just about anything on a slide in PowerPoint:
* Select the object you want to turn into a hyperlink
* Right-click the object and choose Action Settings from the pop-up menu
* In the Action Settings dialog box that appears, click Hyperlink to: and pick the type of hyperlink you want from the drop-down list box
Now here's where the email fun starts. Choose URL from the drop-down list box and you'll see the Hyperlink To URL dialog box. Type your email address into the text box using this format:
Substitute your real email address for
When someone views your presentation in Slide Show mode and clicks on this email hyperlink, PowerPoint automatically starts their email program and fills in your address for them. All they have to do is type in their message and click the Send button.
PERSONALIZE YOUR PRESENTATIONS
Do you ever find yourself giving the same presentation over and over again? It's nothing to be ashamed of; why waste time reinventing the same wheel time after time? Besides, recycling's all the rage these days.
Still, wouldn't it be nice if you could personalize your presentation a bit for each different audience? It's really not that difficult.
Suppose your presentation starts out with a title slide that says "Welcome Amalgamated, Inc." and some bullet slides that are titled things like "Our relationship with Amalgamated, Inc." and "How can we serve Amalgamated, Inc. better?". In fact, you've personalized every slide in the show with Amalgamated's name. The presentation went over so well with the president of Amalgamated that you'd like to use it again in your pitch to Megabux, Ltd. tomorrow, but you don't have time to change all hundred of your slides from Amalgamated to Megabux.
No problem! Here's what you need to do:
* Open your presentation in PowerPoint
* Choose Replace from the Edit menu (or press Ctrl+H) to open the Replace dialog box
* In the Find what: text box, type "Amalgamated, Inc." (without the quotation marks)
* In the Replace with: text box, type "Megabux, Ltd." (again, leave out the quotes)
* Click Replace All. PowerPoint replaces "Amalgamated, Inc." with "Megabux, Ltd." throughout your presentation
* Check each slide in the presentation to make sure that PowerPoint hasn't missed any replacements. The Replace feature won't change text that's part of a chart, graphic or other inserted object. You'll have to fix those yourself.
* Finally, save your newly personalized presentation under a new name by picking Save As from the File menu.
PREVENT FONT SUBSTITUTIONS WHEN OTHER PEOPLE VIEW YOUR PRESENTATIONS
If you plan to give other people your PowerPoint presentations to view or just need to show your presentation on a different computer, there's a potential "GOTCHA" to be on guard against: font substitution.
You've combed carefully through your whole collection of fonts looking for the one that best expresses your message, but can you be sure that your presentation will look as magnificent on somebody else's computer as it does on yours? No, you can't.
When they play your presentation, PowerPoint asks Windows for the font you've chosen. If it's not available, Windows picks the closest font it can find. Sometimes the result is adequate, sometimes it's not even close. And as if that weren't bad enough, when the character widths don't match those of your font, all the text you so carefully positioned can go askew.
The simplest way to prevent this from happening to your presentations is to stick with the basic fonts that are automatically installed on all Windows computers: Arial, TImes New Roman, Courier New and a few assorted others. That doesn't give you much variety to choose from, so it's not much of a solution.
The good news is that PowerPoint can "embed" the fonts you chose in your PPT files. When someone opens your presentation on another machine where the embedded font isn't already installed, PowerPoint installs it automatically for them.
* To embed fonts in a PowerPoint file, start by choosing Save As from the File menu, as you'd normally do when saving a PowerPoint file.
* Click the Tools button in the upper right corner of the Save As dialog box
* Click Embed TrueType Fonts
* Continue saving your file as you normally would
Note: You may see a warning from PowerPoint when you embed fonts. This can happen for either of two reasons:
* You can only embed TrueType fonts. If you're using some other kind of font, you can use Format, Replace Fonts to substitute a TrueType font before saving.
* Not all TrueType fonts are embeddable. If a font hasn't been made embeddable by its manufacturer, PowerPoint can't embed it, so it warns you.
IT WON'T IMPORT!
PowerPoint can import a huge variety of file types when you choose Insert, point to Picture, then click From File, but once in a while you might find that it can't insert certain types of files. PowerPoint relies on a variety of graphics "filters" to import pictures. If the filter it needs to import your picture isn't installed, you won't be able to include the picture in your presentations.
Depending on how your copy of PowerPoint was first installed, you may need to re-run setup to install additional graphics or presentation translation filters, but before you do that, there are a couple of other things you can try:
* Use Clip Gallery to import the picture, then bring the picture into PowerPoint from Clip Gallery. Clip Gallery sometimes does a better job of importing pictures than PowerPoint itself. Choose Insert on the menu bar, point to Picture, then click Clip Art on the pop-up menu. When Clip Gallery appears, click Import Clips, select the picture file you're trying to import, then click Import. If Clip Gallery reports no errors, you should be able to insert the newly added clip into your presentation just as you would any other piece of clip art.
* Use a different program. If PowerPoint can't open your picture, try Word, PhotoEdit or any graphics programs you have installed on your computer. If you can open the file in any program, you can usually select the picture, then copy and paste it into PowerPoint. Alternatively, choose File from the menu and then click Save As. When the Save As dialog box appears, check to see if there's a drop-down list box named Files of Type or something similar. If so, see what types are available. You may be able to save the file in a format that PowerPoint can insert directly. If you plan to use the picture again in other presentations, this would be the best option. That way you'll have the picture in a format that PowerPoint finds digestible, ready to be inserted (via Insert, Picture, From File) whenever you need it.
PowerPoint (in fact all the Office 2000 programs) has a new version of our old friend, the Windows clipboard, the place where text and graphics go when you copy them (with Edit, Copy or Ctrl+C) and where they come back from when you paste (Edit, Paste or Ctrl+V).
As you know, the Windows clipboard can hold only one item at a time. If you select and copy some text, then select and copy a graphic, the graphic replaces the text on the clipboard and you can no longer paste the text you first put there.
The new Office 2000 clipboard's a very different animal, though. To see what we mean:
* Use Clip Gallery to insert several pieces of clip art
* For each clip you insert, select it, then press Ctrl+C or choose Edit from the menu bar then click Copy. When you do this the second time, the Office Clipboard toolbar appears and you'll see that it contains two icons, one for each picture you've copied. The more pictures (or text or just about anything else) you copy, the more icons you'll see on the toolbar, up to its limit of 12 items.
* Now click any of the icons to paste back into PowerPoint (or switch to a different Office 2000 application and paste the contents of the Office clipboard there.
No, We're-o not.
PowerPoint now supports the Euro symbol. If you're in a Euro kind of mood, try this:
* Type some text into a placeholder or a text box. Where you want to insert a Euro symbol, hold down the Alt key and type 0128 on the numeric keypad
* Format the text in a font that includes the Euro symbol. The Euro symbol is included in Arial, Courier New, Tahoma and Times New Roman, among others. You may want to try these to start with, especially if you're not familiar with the Euro symbol, then try out some of your other fonts to see if they include Euro symbols as well.
If Alt+0128 doesn't produce a Euro symbol when using these fonts, you may need to install additional software on your system. For links to this software and lots more Euro information, see:
POWERPOINT'S ACTING UP -- Missing Features or Features That Don't Work
If you run into a problem with one or more of PowerPoint's features not working correctly or not working at all, it's good to know that PowerPoint (and in fact all of Office 2000) comes with powerful fix-it medicine pre-installed and ready to use.
Choose Detect and Repair on the Help menu, then click Start. This starts up a thorough test and repair program that checks for and fixes missing or outdated files and incorrect registry settings.
If Detect and Repair doesn't correct the problem, you might need to reinstall Office. Don't worry, this isn't as drastic as it sounds.
* Quit any running programs
* Click Start, point to Settings, then click Control Panel. In the Control Panel window, double-click Add/Remove Programs.
* In the Add/Remove Programs dialog box, click the Install/Uninstall tab, click Microsoft Office 2000 in the list of installed programs, then click Add/Remove. This starts the Office 2000 setup program.
* On the startup screen of the setup program, click Repair Office and follow the setup program's instructions from there.
You can also use the setup program to add features to Office that may not have been originally installed with it, or to remove features you have no need for. Follow the same steps as above, but click Add or Remove Features instead of Repair Office. Locate the feature you want to add or remove and:
* To add a feature, click the icon next to it and choose Run from My Computer or Run from CD. If you choose CD, you'll have to have your Office 2000 CDs handy to use this feature.
* To make the feature available on PowerPoint's menus without actually installing it on your hard drive, choose Installed on First Use. When you choose this feature in PowerPoint, the setup program will start, ask you for one of your Office CDs and install the feature at that time. This is handy for features you think you might use in the future but don't currently need.
* To remove a feature that's already installed, choose Not Available.
GET RID OF THOSE PESKY MACRO VIRUS WARNINGS
Sometimes it seems that any feature that brings added security also makes life a little more difficult for us honest software users. Macro virus protection is an example of this.
Virus protection is unquestionably a good thing, but when you turn it on in PowerPoint, you'll see a warning message every time you open a PowerPoint file that contains macros. You'll also find that certain action settings trigger macro virus warnings, even though there are no macros in your PowerPoint file. For example, if you insert a hyperlink that runs a program, PowerPoint may bring up a warning message.
That can be a very, very good thing if you're playing a presentation from somebody you don't know and trust, but it's not very professional-looking when it pops up in the middle of one of your own presentations. If you run into this problem, check your Security settings. Click Tools, point to Macro, then click Security on the pop-up menu. As long as you're only running your own presentations, it should be perfectly safe to set PowerPoint's Security Level to Low. Don't forget to change it back to Medium or High when you're done.
THINK "OUTSIDE THE BOX" FOR BETTER ANIMATIONS
Sometimes PowerPoint's built-in animation settings don't do everything you'd like them to. For example, it's fairly simple to create a slide that "builds" a piece at a time, but what if you want to start with the full slide, then remove it piece by piece?
* Create the complete slide as you want it to appear to begin with
* Choose Insert from the menu bar, then click Duplicate Slide. PowerPoint inserts a copy of the current slide then switches to it.
* Select and delete any objects or text you want to have disappear in the second stage of your "build" sequence.
* Now keep inserting duplicate slides and removing more items until you're left with only the items you want to appear in the final slide in your sequence.
* Finally, set your slide transitions the way you'd like them and view your new animation sequence in Slide Show view.
POWERPOINT -- and everything else! -- SPEEDUP TIP
When you installed Office, you may have gotten a few extra little bits and pieces you didn't expect. Office normally installs a little program called Microsoft Office FindFast Indexer. This little guy loads when you start Windows and hangs around in the background waiting for a time when you don't appear to be doing much, then it wakes up and starts to index everything on your hard drive so that file searches in PowerPoint's file open dialog will be faster.
As you might guess, that can take quite a while. And as may not be so obvious, FindFast might just decide to kick up its heels at times when you'd really rather it didn't. If you've ever noticed that your PC's hard drive seems unusually busy and that the PC's responding very slowly, chances are that our buddy FindFast is busily cataloging your hard drive and slowing your work down in the process.
Time for a reality check: how often do you USE file searches from PowerPoint's file open dialog? Most of us don't even know the feature's there, much less make regular use of it, so why not turn it off so it doesn't intrude at inconvenient times?. It's simple to do:
* Right-click the Windows task bar in an area that's unoccupied by any icons or minimized programs. Choose Properties from the pop-up menu.
* Click the Start Menu Programs tab in the Taskbar Properties dialog box.
* Click Advanced (not that there's anything advanced about what comes next)
* Next, you'll see an Explorer window with the Start Folder and Programs folders visible in the left pane.
* Click the plus (+) sign next to Programs.
* When the Programs folder opens, locate the StartUp folder and click it. The contents of the StartUp folder will appear in the right pane of the Explorer window.
* Locate the icon for Microsoft Office FindFast Indexer and drag it out of the StartUp folder to your desktop or to some other folder for safekeeping. That way you can always drag it back into the StartUp folder if you change your mind later.
* Restart Windows to make this change take effect.
Have you ever fought with the problem of centering text atop a shape and keeping it that way? You draw the shape, then draw a text box and carefully line it up and format it. Next thing you know, you've moved the shape or the text accidentally or you need to change the text and everything's all off center or out of whack.
Been there? Done that?
If so, you're working FAR too hard. There's a much simpler way to do this:
* Draw a new shape or select the shape you'd like your text to appear inside.
* Start typing.
That's it. PowerPoint automatically centers the text on the shape as you type it. Of course, if you type a LOT of text, it'll run over the edges of the shape, but don't worry about that. Finish typing, then press the
You're no doubt familiar with the wealth of AutoShapes -- instant building blocks for your custom-made drawings -- that PowerPoint offers.
But did you know that there's a wealth of searchable clip art directly available from the AutoShapes pop-up menu? Let's have a closer look:
* Click AutoShapes at the bottom of your screen, then choose More AutoShapes from the pop-up menu.
* In the resulting "mini-Clip Gallery" window, you can click the category of clip art you're looking for and browse the available selections. When you find a clip you like, click it then choose Insert Clip (the top icon on the pop-up menu) to insert it into your PowerPoint presentation. The other pop-up menu selections allow you to preview a larger version of the clip, add the clip to other categories so you can keep the clip art arranged in a way that makes sense to you, or search for other clips with similar keywords or concepts.
* Click the Change to Full Window button (or press Ctrl+Shift+>) to get access to more options like keyword searches for clip art, importing other graphics files into PowerPoint's clip art collection and so on.
SETTING DEFAULT TEXT FORMATTING
Have you noticed this: no matter what text formatting your PowerPoint template calls for, PowerPoint seems to apply completely different default formatting to new text boxes you add to your presentations? And you have to reformat each and every text box you add? That USED to annoy us no end, until we learned this simple trick for setting PowerPoint's text defaults the way WE wanted them:
* Make sure that there's NO text or other object selected
* From the Format menu, choose Font and select the attributes you'd like in the Font dialog box. If the text formatting toolbar is visible, you can use that instead if you prefer.
* If you like, you can also change the default text alignment; choose Alignment from the Format menu
* Now add a new text box using the Text Box button or by choosing Text Box from the Insert menu. Your new text will automatically take on the formatting you specified in the previous steps.
* Any time you want to change the default text formatting again, simply make sure that nothing is selected, then use PowerPoint's text formatting tools to set the defaults however you like them.
Note that these text defaults are stored with your presentations, not in PowerPoint itself. That means two things:
* Each presentation can have its own set of text defaults
* You'll have to set the text defaults you want for each new presentation you create (but PowerPoint's templates also include text formatting default information, so if you save a custom template with the text formatting you want, any new presentations you create from this template will automatically have the text formatting defaults already set up for you.
SETTING DEFAULT AUTOSHAPE FORMATTING
Earlier we explained how you could set default formatting for text boxes so that any new boxes you add will automatically be formatted just the way you want them. You can also set defaults for AutoShapes, rectangles, circles, lines and so on:
* Add a rectangle (or any other simple shape) and format it to taste -- change its fill color, line color, line thickness, or any of the other options available in the Format AutoShape dialog or the Drawing toolbar.
* Once you have the shape formatted just the way you want it (and any shapes you draw afterward), right-click the shape and choose Set AutoShape Defaults from the pop-up menu.
Any new shapes you draw, including AutoShapes, will automatically take on the default formatting you just specified. Until you change it again, that is, and now that you know how, it's just a matter of a few mouse clicks.
LET THE CONTROL KEY PUT YOU IN CTRL
The Ctrl key is useful in quite a few ways. Here are a couple uses for it:
* To duplicate and position objects at the same time: hold down the Ctrl key while you drag an object. When you release the mouse, PowerPoint creates a duplicate of the object, leaving the original in its original spot. Hold down both Ctrl and Shift while dragging an object to have PowerPoint constrain your dragging motion to strictly horizontal or vertical (depending on which direction you start dragging).
* To precisely position objects: hold down the Ctrl key while you use the arrow keys to nudge the object left, right, up or down. PowerPoint has an invisible "grid" and normally each press of an arrow key moves the object one grid space. When you hold down the Ctrl key, it temporarily turns off the grid and moves objects one pixel at a time. The closer in you zoom, the more control you have.
* If you'd rather move objects with your mouse, hold down the Alt key while you drag the object. This also turns off the grid temporarily.
Take a moment to do some thinking about linking. For example, let's say you've developed several (or several dozen) presentations that include your logo on every page as picture you've inserted from a graphic file. Maybe you've copied the picture onto each page, or maybe you've done it the smart way and put it on the master page of the template. If that last bit didn't make any sense to you, don't worry -- we'll show you how to do that in an upcoming tip.
Everything looks great. Then one day you find out that the logo has been revised and now you've got to change every logo on every slide in every PowerPoint presentation you've created.
Depending on how you inserted the logo picture in the first place, that might take hours or days of work -- or it might take just a few seconds.
If you linked to the logo picture file rather than placing a copy of it, all you need to do is delete the original logo file and replace it with the new one (making sure it has the same file name). You see, when you link to a graphic file rather than inserting it, PowerPoint doesn't actually store the graphic in your presentation file, it simply remembers where it came from. When it's time to display the graphic, it goes out to the hard drive and finds it again, so if you change the contents of the file when it's not looking, the next time it looks, it'll find your new logo instead of the old. Automatically!
Neat trick. Here's how you make it work:
* Choose Insert on the menu bar, point to Picture, then choose From File on the pop-up menu
* Browse to your graphic file as you ordinarily would and click to highlight it. PowerPoint shows you a preview image of the file.
* Now, instead of clicking the Insert button, click the small downward arrowhead just to the right of the Insert button, then click Link to file on the pop-up menu. PowerPoint inserts your graphic into the presentation, just as it normally would.
Save your presentation, then close it. Now open the graphic file in another program and change it in some way -- add some text, change a color, delete something, it doesn't really matter. Save the graphic, then re-open your presentation in PowerPoint. The graphic in your presentation has been automatically updated with the changes you made to the graphic file. And if you'd linked the same graphic file to a hundred different other PowerPoint presentations, they'd all be updated automatically as well.
There's just one hitch to using linked graphics: when PowerPoint stores a link to a graphic file, it stores the complete path to the file. As long as you don't move the picture from the original folder the link points to, there should be no problems, but if you move the file or move the PowerPoint presentation to another machine that doesn't have the same folder structure (and the same graphic in the same folder) PowerPoint won't be able to find the file and won't be able to display the graphic. We'll have a solution for that little problem in an upcoming tip.
USING POWERPOINT'S MASTER PAGE
We often see presentations that include a company's logo or some other repeated element on every slide. It's a great idea, but when we examine the presentation, we find that somebody has copied the logo to each and every slide in the presentation. That's not such a great idea. Somebody's working WAY too hard. Here's the smart and simple way to do the job:
* Choose View from the menu bar, point to Master, then click Slide Master from the pop-up menu. Or hold down the Shift key while you click the Slide View icon in the lower left corner of the PowerPoint screen. This takes you to the Slide Master.
* Anything on the Slide Master appears on every slide in your presentation, so draw or insert a graphic file as you normally would.
* Click Close on the Master toolbar or click either the Normal View or Slide View icons in the lower left of the PowerPoint screen to return to Slide view.
Now every slide in your presentation includes the new graphic elements you drew or inserted on the Master Slide. The only exception is slides based on the Title Master, but you can easily copy your graphics from the Slide Master to the Title Master if you want your title slides all to have the same graphics.
Using the Slide Master this way has several benefits:
* As you've just seen, it saves a lot of work. Instead of having to put the graphics on each slide individually, you've added them to all your slides in one shot.
* If you need to resize, move or otherwise change the graphic, you only have to do it once on the Master Slide instead of on every slide in the presentation.
* Any new slides you add to the presentation will automatically include the Master Slide graphics
* Your presentation files will be smaller than if you put the graphics on each page
REMOVING MASTER PAGE GRAPHICS FROM SLIDES
In a previous tip, we showed you how you can add graphics to every slide in your presentation simply by adding them to the Slide Master page. But what if you have a few slides that you don't WANT the graphic on? No problem, easily taken care of:
* On a slide where you don't what the Slide Master graphic to appear, choose Background ... from the Format menu.
* In the Background dialog box, click Omit background graphics from master, then click Apply. IMPORTANT: Don't click Apply To All unless you want to change ALL the slides in your presentation. And if you want to do that, it's simpler to go to the Slide Master and remove the graphic there.
Your slide no longer includes the graphic from the Slide Master. But your slide also no longer includes ANY graphics from the Slide Master, and that's probably not what you had in mind. Here's how to fix this problem:
* Click View on the menu bar, point to Master, then click Slide Master from the pop-up menu. This takes you to the Slide Master.
* On the Slide Master, select all of the graphics you DO want to have appear on the slide you just changed, then press Ctrl+C to copy them.
* Click Close on the Master toolbar to return to your slide, then press Ctrl+V. This puts a copy of the background graphics on the current slide.
* Finally, click Draw on the Drawing toolbar, point to Order, then click Send to Back. This sends the graphics behind all the other elements on your slide, where they belong.