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In PowerPoint 2010 Essential Training, author David Diskin demonstrates how to engage an audience with images, video, sound, charts, and diagrams in professional presentations. The course also covers a variety of methods to share presentations with others, and provides comprehensive tutorials on how to design presentations that successfully deliver a quality message. Exercise files accompany the course.
Most presentations are somewhat lengthy. Of course, there's nothing wrong with this as long as the content being presented is relevant and useful to the viewers. But in lengthy presentations, it often helps to break it up into small chunks like the chapters of a book, which PowerPoint refers to as Sections. I'll show you two things we can do with Sections: inserting a specially formatted Section slide, and logically splitting our presentation so that we can work with all the Slides and a Section together.
This gives us some useful benefits, which I'll show you shortly. Beginning with slide number four, we introduce our new hires to the basics of our company. We show them the company history, the management team, a photo album, how we give back and then we introduce them to our Web site. Then slide nine starts a new topic: our products. Later on in slide 13, we begin to wrap up our presentation. Each time we switch gears we want our audience to know. This helps keep them aware of what's going on and refreshes their focus.
We'll use Section Slides to make this happen. I'm going to place my cursor between Slides three and four. Then I'll pull down the New Slide menu and choose Section Header. The New Slide works just like any other, and I can provide a title and optional sub-title. Let's do this again for my other two sections. Between nine and 10 we'll introduce our products, and between 14 and 15 we'll wrap it up.
With my three sections now labeled, it's clear to my audience when we're heading into another chapter of my story. Now, let's look at another related feature of PowerPoint 2010. Just like we told our audience about the Sections in our slideshow, now we're going to tell PowerPoint. In front of each of the Section layouts we just created, I'm going to pull down the Section menu and choose Add Section. This creates a new untitled section, which now encompasses all of the slides below.
After I repeat this with the other Sections, I'll show you the benefits. So I advance down to the beginning of the Products Section, click right between nine and 10, pull down the Section menu and add a Section. I'll do that again here in front of the Conclusion, Section > Add Section. There we go. Now as you can see, each Section is clearly labeled in the thumbnails on the left. The audience doesn't see these kinds of Sections, but as we edit our presentation, it can make our lives a lot easier.
I'll start by renaming each Section. A simple right-click on the Section bar itself gives us a menu, and there is Rename Section. I'll call this History, and I'll move down to the next, right-click and rename products. Move down a little further. Here's the Conclusion slide and here's the Section Header. Right-click, Rename Section and Conclusion. Also, head to the very top where PowerPoint creates one called the Default Section, which I'll rename to Introduction.
When working with long presentations it's helpful to hide or collapse a Section that we don't need to see. We can do that by clicking on the small arrow to the left of the Section name, like this. You can see that the Introduction Section has now been collapsed, but it hides three slides. Here's History. I'll continue down the line. There's Products, which I will collapse, and then Conclusion. This has no effect on the way the audience sees our presentation, but as we maintain it, edit the slides and move things around, this can make things easier for us.
I can display these slides again by simply clicking on this arrow to expand the Section. Notice how this looks in Slides Sorter mode. Here's my Introduction Section collapsed and expanded. Here's History collapsed, Products collapsed, and then I'll expand them again. We can also use Sections as an easy way to move groups of slides among our presentation. Watch as I move the entire Products Section up and above the History Section just with a simple drag and drop.
Again, I'll grab the Products Section and drag it down below History. You can even select a Section Header and press Copy, which will copy all of that Section's Slides into the clipboard for pasting later. For those long presentations, I can't overstress the benefit of using Sections: Layout Sections to help keep your audience in tune with your presentation, and Section Headers to help communicate to PowerPoint how your slides are grouped. There's one more feature for Section Headers that I want to show you, but I'll save it for the video, Running the Show.
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Create a Video – This feature converts your presentation into a .WMV file (video) which you can then upload to your own website, YouTube, Facebook, or just about anywhere else. If you upload it to a site like YouTube which permits embedding, you can then copy-and-paste the embed code directly into your own website. It will play when users click the Play button, much like you’ve probably seen on blogs and other websites. This feature includes your voice narration, slide advance timings, and video that you may have included.
Save to Web – This feature uploads your presentation to SkyDrive, a free file-hosting service by Microsoft that you can use for collaboration. You’ll need a Windows Live account first, but once you log in you can create folders and upload files directly from within PowerPoint 2010. Once uploaded, you can provide a public link to the presentation file which can then be added to your website. The presentation will open in visitors’ browsers with forward and back buttons, and they do not need a Windows Live account to view it.
Create PDF/XPS Document – By saving your presentation as a PDF, you can upload the PDF to your website and link to it. Most users will be able to load and watch the PDF presentation, and can advance slides manually. Note that this feature does not permit video, sound, animation, or transitions.
PowerPoint Viewer - A fourth option is to save your presentation as a Show (you’ll find this under the “Save As” menu) which creates a PPSX file. PowerPoint Shows are just like regular presentation files, except PowerPoint opens up in presentation mode to the first slide, and when finished it closes completely. The PPSX file can be uploaded to your website, and linked to. Users with PowerPoint 2007 or later will be able to open the presentation and watch it. For users without PowerPoint 2007 or later, you can provide a second link to the free Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer which they can then install on any Windows machine and watch your presentation.
The first three options discussed above can be started by choosing “Save and Send” from Backstage View (the File menu). Then choose the appropriate option based on your preference.
Note that if your organization has a SharePoint server, and your audience is limited to those with access to SharePoint, you may choose to “Save to SharePoint” instead for an easy, feature-rich solution.
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