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Action buttons are little squares that you could insert into your slides that perform actions. Some of them are pre-programmed, to do things like navigate to other slides. You can also program them to do your bidding. Whenever I work with Action buttons I always start by going to the View Ribbon and then turning on the Guides. This will allow me to position each button in the same place on every slide. I will click on the Horizontal guide and drag it down to the 2 inch mark. Then I'll click on the Vertical guide and drag this over to 4.6.
Now let's go to the Insert Ribbon. Click on the Shapes button and down at the bottom you will see a row of Action Buttons. Each of the images is pre-programmed for a specific task, but you do have the ability to choose an image and then assign it to any function that you'd like. We are going to use the information action button, the i in the circle and I will click on it. When I hold my cursor over the slide, it becomes a thin crosshair, which I will position at the intersection of my guides. I am also going to hold down the Shift key on my keyboard, so as I drag the shape of the button, it stays proportional and square. When I let go an Action Settings dialog box opens, and I can see right now the button doesn't do anything, but I will change this to Hyperlink to, and dropdown the list. It starts off with navigation tools, Next Slide, Previous Slide, First Slide, Last Slide, Last Slide Viewed or just simply End the Show.
If I scroll down I have a lot of other options as well including jumping to a specific slide number, but I am going to choose URL and I am going to send the viewers to our website's About Us page. When I'm done I'll click OK. Down at the bottom I have the option of playing a sound. Now a lot of these are really tacky, but some of them are fun. For kicks I'll scroll down to the bottom and choose Whoosh. Now notice that you have a second tab for Mouse Over. You have all the same settings, but instead of actually clicking on the button, all you have to do is wave your mouse over it and you'll get that effect. I'll stick to Mouse Click and click OK.
Once your Action button is inserted you can format it the same way you would any other object. I'll go up to Drawing Tools and choose Format. I'll go to the Shape Styles gallery and click on the More button and I am going to choose the Subtle Effect - Aqua, Accent 5. Now one of the things that's nice about Action Buttons is that if I copy this, I can paste it on any slide and it will go to the same position. So I am going to press Ctrl+C on my keyboard and I'm going to go to Slide 3 to my Organizational chart and press Ctrl+V on my keyboard and the same button appears in the same location.
Now let's go to our last slide. Here I'd like to add a button that jumps back to the beginning of the presentation. So I will take the same steps. I'll go to the Insert Ribbon, click on the Shapes button, and come down to the Action Buttons. This time I am going to choose the third one that sends me back to the beginning. I will hold my Shift key down, position my crosshairs over the intersection of the guides and drag the button to about the same size as the button before, and let go.
Now because this one was pre-programmed it is going to Hyperlink back to the First Slide, which is exactly what I want. To stay consistent I'll also give it the sound Whoosh. I'll click OK, and then go to the Drawing Tools Format ribbon and change the style so it matches the other buttons, Subtle Effect - Aqua, Accent 5. Now let's see these in action. I will go to the Slide Show Ribbon and click From Beginning.
There's my Action Button. I can see that it's a hyperlink, because my cursor becomes a pointer finger. When I click on it I hear the Whoosh sound and it opens up my Web browser to the page that I want. Now I will go to my third slide. There's the same button and it performs the same action. Now I am going to right-click on my presentation and tell it to Go to Slide and I am just going to jump down to Slide 10. This is the button that sends it back to the beginning, and sure enough when click on it, back to the beginning I go.
In the PowerPoint 2010: Audio and Video in Depth course I demonstrated how to use Action Buttons to trigger macros and do many more complex actions. If you're developing a PowerPoint deck that people will watch on their own, providing them navigation buttons can really help with the usability of your slide show.
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