Prepared by Nick Griffin (with Jim Hanson) 


How to Create a Look for your PowerPoint

When you start with a blank PowerPoint, you have an opportunity to create a look that will make your information clear and engaging.Slide Master is a great place to start because it creates a format that all your slides in the presentation will adopt.

You Start with this:

Text Box: Note you can change the backgrounds for all the slides by clicking the slide labeled 1. Or you can change the settings specifically for certain types of slides like those for graphs or tables which are shown in the subcategories on the left margin when you are in the Slide Master view1. Click View > Slide Master 

2. OPTION 1: Use Design Themes

Choose the "Design" Ribbon and then pick the Theme you like. Note - Directly to the right of the themes you can also choose color, font, and effects for your slide format to make it more customized.

3. OPTION 2: Use a Custom Background.

A.  Right click the white background of the slide itself >Format background.

B. Choose to have a solid fill, gradient fill, picture or texture fill, pattern fill or the option to hide background graphics

Here are some examples of Custom Backgrounds.  

This is an example of a solid fill:

There are multiple options for gradient fill as shown in this example:

Pattern and texture fills often distract attention from your presentation and make some fonts hard to see so use them with great care.

4. OPTION 3: Picture Background

A. Go online and find a picture to save as a possible background, or use a picture that you already have on your computer. (Note: Pictures with resolution less than 600 x 400 typically don't look very good; you need a fairly decent quality picture.)

As you can see here I have right clicked an image I would like to save with a resolution of 1200 x 870

B. Right click your background, then click Format Background. Click on Picture fill > File... Find your picture and double click it/ok.

Make Your Picture Work.

Your picture hopefully looks cool but your text may not show up well in front of it. So, you need to edit the picture so that your text can be seen. To do that, increase the transparency.

A. Right Click the Picture

B. In this "Format Background" dialogue box you can change the picture's color, brightness, contrast, saturation or give it other effects on the other tabs.


C. To make text more visible, you can give it a shadow, make it bold or change its color by clicking on the Drawing Tools à Format tab in the top ribbon.

Note you are probably still in the Slide Master view.To exit on the ribbon, click Slide Master and there is a red icon "Close Master View."

How to insert a New Slide

1. To inset a new slide, click the Home tab on the ribbon.

2. If you click the top section of the new slide button it will simply bring up a new slide in your presentation.

3. However, if you click the bottom section of the new slide button you will get options for the layout you want your slide to have


How to make an Attention Getter Slide

Your PowerPoint presentation should always begin with a strong attention getter. 

Note: You usually have a Title Slide with your topic and your name before the Attention Getter Slide. You do not show the Title Slide during your presentation; it is just like a "Title Page" for a paper-for you and the professor, not for your presentation audience.

A good attention getter usually does one of these things to get people's attention:

  • Use a funny title or interesting comment.
  • Use a funny or dramatic picture that relates to the theme of your presentation.
  • Use a short, engaging video.

For example, if I am doing a presentation on animals I could do something like this for a starting page:

Or If I was doing a presentation on parenting I could do something satirical like this:


You could also use a short engaging video for your attention getter.To do this, click the insert tab on the ribbon, then click the video button, this will open the insert video window allowing you to choose which video you want in your presentation.

If you do decide to use a video as your attention getter be sure to say 1 to 2 sentences to introduce your video.

How To Insert Pictures

 Text Box: WARNING: USING A MAC? You CANNOT copy and paste a picture in for PowerPoints that you will give to a Windows User or show on a Windows Machine. WHY? Because the pictures will copy in Quicktime format that cannot be read by Windows Machines. You must Insert the Picture from your hard drive.Almost every single slide you show should have a picture, if not many pictures. You are using PowerPoint for a reason, to visually engage your audience. If all you are doing is popping up one text bullet after another, then you are not using PowerPoint effectively. To insert a picture, click the picture icon in the slide (or you can click the Clip Art icon for good symbols).


Windows users: You can also copy and paste pictures from the Internet into your PowerPoint Mac Users should NOT do that; read the warning above.

How To Edit Pictures

  1. Once you have a picture in the right place you can edit it under the Picture Tools Format ribbon.


  1. One fun new option is the Remove Background tab (circle) where you can edit a picture to remove background or other items you don't want. For example, you can delete the pink area in the picture below.


a. By clicking "Mark Areas to Remove" the program turns the area that will be deleted into the color pink. By clicking "Mark Areas to Keep" you can remove areas of pink that you want to stay. 

b. As you go along, there will be plus and minus circles which you can remove by selecting them and clicking "Delete Mark."

c. If you don't like the changes you've made, click "Discard All Changes", but if you want to keep your changes click "Keep Changes"


  1. Another fun thing is to give the picture artistic flair by clicking Artistic Effects and choose an option (below).


  1. You change the color and color scheme by clicking Color. The original picture will also be available in the various options to compare the before and after.


  1. You can also click Corrections and make an image look sharper, with better contrast, or brighter.


  1. Under picture effects, you can do things like give your image a reflection.

  1. Finally there are the usual tools that allow you to rotate, flip, crop, arrange, or give a border to your image.

How to Insert a Video

Videos can add interest and demonstrate key things you are talking about.

Insert a new slide and instead of adding text, click the little video button and choose a video from your computer's folders.       

1. You can edit the video in the Format tab ie. color, size, frame or change its Play Back length, fading, looping, volume, etc. 

a. This is how you change the frame: click the format tab on the ribbon, under this tab you will see options for the frame labeled under video styles


b. This is how you change the color, brightness, and contrast of the video: Format > Adjust

c. This how you play or pause: Format > Play

 2.     When you right click the video you get a number of options like Trimming which opens a new window allowing you to edit the video and its length. 


How To Embed A You Tube Video

Sometimes, you can't get a video on to your computer or it is just easier to connect to the internet. Here is how to do that effectively.

1. Locate the video you want to embed on Youtube.

2. Copy the Emded code from Youtube (it is in the red circled area above)

3. In your PowerPoint, go to Insert > Video > Online Video Site

Note: you must have flash downloaded and installed on your computer for this to work.


4. In the Insert Video From Online Video Site dialogue box, paste in the Youtube embed code and click Insert.

5. It will appear as a black square but when you watch the slideshow it will start playing.



How To Insert Picture Diagrams (SmartArt)

To organize your information into flowcharts and clear diagrams, use SmartArt.

1. Insert a new slide and instead of adding text, click the SmartArt icon.

2. Once you select an appropriate picture model for your information, there will be a special window (text pane window) to help insert and edit text within the SmartArt shapes.


3. When you are in the text pane window you can also add more shapes to the SmartArt by pressing enter below the various text bullets in the box (as I have done in this chart below the power shape).

In the same Design ribbon click "Add Shape" to add a new layer or shape with text (i.e. a circle in this case). For example, if you are adding a new concept to a concept map or variable to a ven diagram or box in a tree diagram.

Note: You can go to the Smart Art Tools tab in the ribbon, click design, click the text pane button, this will allow you to insert or edit the information in your SmartArt.

4. It is easy to change the type of diagram. For example, you can change x to y. When you do, you will not lose the information you type in nor the flow or organization. To do this, click the arrow with a line above it under Design > Layouts

 And then you can either change the layout of the current type of SmartArt, in this case a tree diagram or choose a completely new one by clicking "More Layouts" which is highlighted in the picture below:

For example here I have made the tree diagram from above into a funnel diagram:

 5. It is also easy to change the shape, color, border, style by clicking Shape Styles and choosing one of their given options in the Format tab - you will also see that there is a shape fill,outline and effects icons next to this panel (red circle) which allow for more customized results.

6. In the Design tab you can get more stylized looks by going to "Change Color" as highlighted below or by scrolling through the SmartArt styles panel (red circle indicates the chosen style)

Helpful note: the white box on the side appears if you click the two arrows on the SmartArt border as shown below in the red circle

How To Insert Charts and Graphs

Graphs and Charts make a great way to visualize data and statistics to your audiences. To do this:

1. Insert a new slide.

2. Instead of adding text, click the Insert Chart icon.

3.      Then a window will show with multiple chart options. Choose the one you want.

4. When you choose the chart you want, it will open to an Excel window on the side.

5. You can import data from an Excel or other document.

To do this, go to your Excel document, go to the Data tab and click Get External Data and choose what source you want to get data from. 
You can also just copy data from another Excel spreadsheet or Word table.

6. When you paste in or import Excel data, PowerPoint will automatically change the appearance of your graph. 

How To Edit Charts and Graphs

 After you get the Chart or Graph inserted, now it is time to edit it. 

  1. Back in PowerPoint (minimize the Excel spreadsheet) go to the Chart Tools Tab where you can change the format, design and layout of the graph you just created.

A. In the Design tab you can change the chart type, edit the data, and change the chart layout and style. Note: you usually need to make changes from the original graph by adding a title, labeling axis, and in general making the data presentation effective. 

1. Here is what it will look like right after you input data:


2. However now it might be a good idea to "Switch Row Column" to have a more effective data presentation especially for bar charts (red above)


3. After the chart or graph looks suitable, you can edit the layout.
You can change the title, axis labels, legend position and other effects as I have done below by choosing an option from "Chart Layout" (red circle above) 

4. Now you can see where you can edit your title and axis just as you would any other text box (red circles) 

B. In the Layout tab you can change the chart labels, insert objects (picture, text box,  shape), change the axes, adjust the background, and play with your data in the spreadsheet.

 C. In the Format tab, you can change the shape and word art styles, arrange objects and change the size of the graph or chart.


Here are some examples of different styles and looks of graphs:


How To Make Transitions from One Slide to the Next

You can make your PowerPoint move from one slide to the next with cool effects. 

1. Click Transitions in the top ribbon.

2. Choose from a number of transitions between slides 

TIP: If you do the following to the Master Slide by clicking on the top slide on the left  and add a transition, it will be applied to all slides. That way, you don't have to do this for each slide. 

a.   When you scroll your mouse over the transition you are interested in and pause, it will give you a preview of what it will look like during the slide show.

b.   You can also change the timing of the transition - generally it is good to have them last no longer than 2 seconds. Note: 2 seconds is the automatic duration time, but this can be changed by clicking the up down arrows on the right of the duration button


c.   Slides with a transition effect will have a little star icon to their left.

How To Make your Bullets Appear One at a Time

If you show a slide with all the bullets and pictures on screen at once, people will read and look at those while ignoring what you are saying. Instead, you need to have the bullets and pictures appear one at a time-at the moment when you say them.

TIP: Set your Animations on the Master Slide so that the rest of your slides will do the animations (showing the bullets and pictures one at a time) without having to animate them over and over again on each slide. To make bullets appear one at a time, do this: 

  1. Select the bullets you want to animate. 
  2. Then, go to the animations tab on the ribbon, select the type of animation you want and click the add animation button.


You can sequence the animation order of your bullets: while under the animation tab highlight or click your text box, then click the effect options button to choose whether you want your bullets to come in one at a time (by paragraph) or all at once.

 You can also have the bullets to appear in a particular order, such as animating bullets and pictures to come in at the same time or one after another:

  1. First click the animation tab under the ribbon.
  2. Then, click the animation pane button. This will open an animation pane on the right side of your presentation window.

From the animation pane you can right click the animation you want to manipulate and a options window will appear allowing you to choose whether you want your animation to be; before, behind or at the same time as other pictures or bullets on the slide.


You can give each object a different entrance animation and exit animation by clicking Add Animation.Each animation will be given a number according to its order and will be either gold (entrance) or silver (exit) depending on what you have selected. You can change how the parts of the object can come in when selecting it, or do this for the slide as a whole under Effect Options (All at once or By paragraph). 


How To Make your Pictures Appear One at a Time

1. Select the picture you want to animate.

2. Then, go to the animations tab on the ribbon, select the type of animation you want and click the add animation button.

The little arrow to the side of the icon allows you to choose and preview animation effects for its entrance, emphasis and exit:

Or you can look in the Animation panel for something quicker and easier (Fade, Float in and Wheel are good examples)

You can give each object a different entrance animation and exit animation by clicking Add Animation, each animation will be given a number according to its order and will be either gold (entrance) or silver (exit) depending on what you have selected. You can change how the parts of the object can come in when selecting it, or do this for the slide as a whole under Effect Options (All at once or By paragraph).

Example of Bullets and Pictures Appearing at Once

Many times, you will want to have a bullet and a picture (illustrating the point) appear at the same time. Then another bullet and picture, etc. Here's what to do.

  1. With a Picture selected, go to Picture Tools, Format, Animation Pane.
  2. You can set the order for the bullets and pictures in the animation pane on the right with the order buttons on the bottom.

Here you can see there are three bullets and three pictures, these pictures should be sized the same and overlap each other, with the first on bottom last on top.

Note the numbers next to the bullets and pictures. That tells you the order in which they will appear. If you need them in a different order-drag and drop their order in the panel on the right.

Here, you can see the pictures appear with the bullets in two slides:

How To Make your Pictures and Bullets Disappear

Sometimes, you want a picture to appear and then disappear when you move on to your next point.Easy!

1. Select the picture or bullet you want to disappear.

2. On the Animations tab, click Add Animations and choose disappear (or other exit, red colored animation).
note-it has to be add animations.