Welcome, intrepid investigators! Our second Hidden Gem is a new look at PowerPoint. The presentation program will have been around for a quarter of a century next year. When it was born, most office computers had green screens and very few of them were connected to each other.
Today, however, packing a punch in a presentation demands multimedia and instant delivery to anywhere in the world. The latest version of PowerPoint won’t disappoint.
The Target: PowerPoint 2010, video/sound features also apply to PowerPoint 2007
Whereabouts: Featured in all versions of Office 2010, or available standalone from the Microsoft Store.
Modus Operandi: Look like a company twice your size with seamless presentations, packed full of innovative effects and transitions.
Sometimes, PowerPoint is a victim of its own success. It’s the first choice for literally millions of companies around the world – and that means some of the program’s more popular presentation techniques get seen too often. Instead of “Presentation Fatigue” - settling for yet more bullet points whizzing in from the right - treat this problem as a clarion call for a bit of creativity in your next presentation. PowerPoint 2010 includes not just the most powerful graphics handling yet, but combines it with enough easy manipulation and delivery tools to turn anyone into (almost) a budding George Lucas.
To show a video within a slide, select the slide into which you want to play a video. Select Insert > Media and hit the arrow under Video. Select Video from file and find the file you want to play. To link to the video file whilst keeping it separate (which keeps the presentation size down, and allows you to change the video later), on the Insert button, select Link to file. Alternatively, to embed the video directly into the presentation (which means you don’t have to remember a second file when you send it out), just hit the Insert button.
Click the video frame to open the Video Tools tab for additional controls like:
Start automatically when the slide appears (Playback > Automatically)
Start when the frame is clicked (Playback > On Click)
Play the video full-screen (Playback > Play Full Screen)
Exactly the same process works for adding sounds. Select Insert > Media and hit the arrow under Sound. Select Sound from file and find the file you want to play.
In the slide editing screen, a marker shows where you have “put” your sound (even though the marker will not display in the finished presentation). Select it to open Sound Tools with a range of similar options to Video Tools above.
There are some commonly applicable jobs which you might like to do with sounds, which are treated slightly differently:
Play e.g. background music across multiple slides or the whole presentation.
To do this, apply the music as an entry transition to your first slide; and set it to last for n slides, where n can be anything up to the whole presentation. To do this, select the Animations tab. Enter your music as the Transition Sound. Select Effect > Stop Playing > After and then the number of slides you’d like the music to play for.
Insert a narration soundtrackNarrations work very much like other sounds, except that they take precedence over any incidental effects. Select Slide Show > Record Narration. Follow the simple instructions which will lead you through testing your microphone and setting up. In Slide Show view, you will read your narration in real-time, advancing slides with a click each time. When you’re done, your narration is saved. You can revise the timings later if you want, using the Animations Transition settings (Animations > Advance Slide > Automatically After)
Tell the world
Now that you have a slick presentation, it’s time to tell everyone. Again, in the old days, presentations were delivered live, to a room. Today’s PowerPoints, though, can spread across the world in seconds to many more people. If you’d like to package up your presentation for other people to watch in their own time, you have lots of options:
Pop it on a CD to send out to people (File > Save & Send > Package Presentation for CD). Be sure to include any linked files, and be sure to wipe any notes or personal data first!
Create a video to put online (File > Save & Send > Create a Video). Be sure to select the right video quality settings – Internet and DVD will be right for online use.
Email it to people who don’t even have PowerPoint 2010. No problem: point them to the free PowerPoint Viewer.
Another of PowerPoint 2010’s party tricks is live delivery. Using the PowerPoint Broadcast Service, you can send a link to as many people as you want, and invite them to log on at a scheduled time to watch and hear as you deliver your presentation. In order to give low-bandwidth users the best possible experience, many embedded audio, video and transition functions are disabled; but there’s still no better way to cram five hundred people around the world into a virtual meeting room at a moment’s notice. All you need in advance is a Windows Live ID – get one here if you haven’t already got one through another Microsoft service like Hotmail or Live Messenger.
To broadcast your presentation, select Slideshow > Broadcast Slide Show and then Start Broadcast.
A link to your presentation is automatically created – send it manually or through PowerPoint to as many invitees as you want. All that remains is to hit Start Slide Show and talk to the world.
Under the magnifying glass...
With PowerPoint 2010, you can also:
- Edit, trim and fade video from within PowerPoint itself – no further software required
- Reliably compress video and audio from within PowerPoint, reducing file sizes
- Share and co-author presentations via the collaboration tools in Windows Live
- Keep your audience engrossed with more transitions, animations and effects than ever before – including an enhanced range in 3D.
The target exposed
Find out more: