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The Ribbon, that is the series of tabs and the related buttons that you see atop the PowerPoint window, is a big change for users of Office 2003 and before. Most people, once they give it a try for about two weeks, have told me that they not only prefer it but now hate going back to the old way. If you are new to the Ribbon concept, let me give you a quick tour. What was once a long list of menus and assortment of toolbars and icons is now the Ribbon. Think of the Ribbon as the child of menus and icons. PowerPoint's features are arranged in the tabs at the top of the Ribbon.
The Home tab contains nearly every command you'll use on a frequent basis. In fact, Microsoft had studied users' habits for over four years to decide what commands were the most popular. Here, you'll find the Copy and Paste, New Slide, Slide Layout, Formatting, Shapes, Find and Replace and a few more. I'd like you to take notice of a few of the Ribbon features. First, many of these commands feature a pulldown menu where you'll find additional options.
Often, they are shown in what we call galleries. Second, many command groups, such as Font and Paragraph, have an Action button that launches a dialog box for more information and settings. And third, when you hover your mouse over many options, you'll see a feature called Live Preview, giving a preview of what your change will look like before you've committed to it. This removes the trial and error method of using undo over and over again. Let me show you some of the other tabs. Under Insert, we can add tables, a picture, ClipArt, a screenshot from another application and even piece together a photo album.
We can add a variety of shapes used to build flow charts, diagrams and illustrations. We can use the SmartArt feature to really put together a great-looking diagram, and we can even add a chart using the interface familiar to us from Excel. We can text boxes, headers and footers, today's date and equations. If we really want to spice up our presentation, we can add audio and video. Notice that the Insert tab contains all the commands that you would use to insert something into our presentation. When we want to control the design, the overall look of our presentation, we go to the Design tab.
Here, we can change the page size and orientation, as well as apply a variety of professional looking themes to our presentation. For example, I can click on the Technic theme, or the Origin theme, or the Newsprint theme and change the way things look. We'll talk more about these features soon. Transitions allow me to set up the transition between one slide to the next. For example, when this slide is finished and I want to advance to the next slide, I might use the Cube Transition or the Zoom Transition.
I can also this tab to change the advanced settings on the slide so we can automatically advance after a certain time limit. The Animations tab allows me to control how objects fly in and ultimately leave our presentation. Of course, we can make this little a bit more complication, building complex animation styles throughout the entire presentation. This is great to use when you are trying to convey a very complicated idea. The Slide Show tab is used when we are ready to present. We can click From Beginning to start the slideshow from the very first slide, or From Current Slide to start it from the slide that we are currently looking at.
We can Broadcast this over the Internet or set up Custom Shows where only certain slides are shown. Set Up Slide Show provides us with a number of options, including automatically repeating the presentation over and over again until we press Escape. We can Hide the current slide, and we can even set up automatic timings that advance to the slide as if we are presenting ourselves. The Review tab is all about proofing our document using Spellcheck, the Thesaurus, and looking Upwards, Changing the Language and also using the available Translation tool, Adding Comments so we can track of changes that we need to make, Comparing the document with other presentations and working with other people.
The View tab allows us to change the way we'll look at our presentation, from normal view to Slide Sorter View, Notes and Reading View. We can also use the View tab to edit our Slide Master, which controls the over all slides somewhat in the way you might think of a template. We can turn on the features like a Ruler, Gridlines and more. So, if you've skipped Office 2007, and this is your first experience with the Ribbon, I expect you will be initially frustrated, but give it a try, and soon you will be moving through tabs just as fast as you work through menus, and you'll find it to be more fun and more productive.
In the chapter Customizing the Ribbon, I'll show you how you can rearrange the options you see on the Ribbon and even create your own tab. I'll also show you how to use the Quick Launch toolbar so you can customize that with your most favorite commands.
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