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Make better presentations

Download free PowerPoint templates, backgrounds and videos. You'll also find great links to online reference and research tools. There are special resources just for teachers, traveling presenters, ministers and business people.

Recent Posts

Is PowerPoint Really the Problem?

If you visit forums for presenters or google ” how to make a powerpoint presentation “, it won’t be long before you see something about the evils of PowerPoint. In fact one company – SlideRocket – currently has a new promotion based on the very fact that we tend to blame PowerPoint when we make a bad presentation.

SlideRocket Celebrates National ‘Say No to PowerPoint Week’
Enter at SlideRocket.com to Win Your Free SlideRocket Pro Account
It’s time to say rest in peace to presentations 1.0 and embrace a new way of presenting that engages the mind and senses. To help drive a stake through the heart of “Death by PowerPoint,” SlideRocket will give away one SlideRocket Pro account every day this week.
via SlideRocket Press Release.

I’m no PowerPoint evangelist. I think it has suffered from a market monopoly that slows product evolution, so new competition is good. In fact, I think that typical PowerPoint use can be just short of criminal. But I have seen really excellent presentations that were made using PowerPoint for the slides – so perhaps this is actually a case of “don’t shoot the messenger”. The presentation is the sum total of the speaker, the story, the enthusiasm, the call to action…PowerPoint slides are there to support the story.

I’ve seen this slide show several times, but each time I get a little grin. Sometimes the most obvious things are the ones we forget. So for your enjoyment and illumination – from jessedee at slideshare…

via Slideshare.

Presenting with Google Docs

Take a look at Google Docs. Here’s proof that creativity can trump tools. Since it was made with software that does not support animations, this little demo is like making a stunning photograph with a pinhole camera instead of the latest mega pixel DSLR.
Although this presentation is clearly a promotion for Google Docs, but I think it serves as a great reminder that our creativity doesn’t have to depend on software. This cool show was made one frame at a time then played back to give the illusion of an animation.

What is the Future of Presentation Software?

We communicate with texts and tweets. We update our friends with our current status on facebook, control video games with our body movement and watch movies on our telephones. When I can do a quick interview, put a video on YouTube, upload it for the local/national news, and embed it on any blog in a very short time…I wonder – what is the future of presentation software? I’m not suggesting that a video replaces a presentation – but does our audience expect more than a set of slides to accompany our talks?

In the video above, I asked Matt Long – a participant in a local competition – to help me with a short promo for the event. The result was a little piece that the news, weather channels, etc. could run almost immediately. This experience made me think about the ways I presented in the past vs the tools available today. As an ex-salesperson, I wondered…how would I make presentations to my most important clients now? We can make presentations on the internet without traveling – but they still tend to be static slides. Are we using the available technology effectively?

If I want to share an idea with you, in just a few minutes using very affordable hardware and software – a camera and After Effects (or Movie Maker or iMovie or YouTube editing tools…), I can create a message. Just like using PowerPoint – the message can be well or badly done, but the format helps to engage.

I’d love to hear from expert presenters and consultants -

    - what tools are you using now, and what will you be using in the future?
    - has the latest version of PowerPoint (which allows a bit of text over video at least) made this tool viable for the future?

How should be thinking about our presentations? Are we using the right technology if we stay with the tools we know? I do know that a video is far more likely to be engaging than a series of slides with bullets. Can we harness that and make more effective presentations?

I’ve been presenting since the days of writing on transparencies and overhead projectors. From Harvard Graphics to the latest version of PowerPoint – the tools have always seemed to shape the message. I don’t blame PowerPoint like some do. I just wonder if we can get past how easy it is to follow the dots to boring and use our tools in a more effective way. At a time when self published video is so accessible, when a plethora of easy to use software presentation platforms are available, is PowerPoint still relevant?

If it is, how do we make a leap to the kind of engaging experience we have all come to expect? What’s your opinion?

Add Symbols to Your Presentation…¢®Ω

You can easily add non-keyboard symbols to your presentation without the Windows Character Map. See our tip below on quickly adding symbols like, ©, ™, ¢ and graphical symbols from Wingdings and Webdings.

You can insert symbols not on the keyboard by placing your cursor in a placeholder and choosing Insert/Symbols or by clicking on the Symbols button.
insert symbols into powerpointchoose the symbol
Select the symbol you want and click Insert.
choose a symbol to insert

Your selected symbol will appear at the point where your cursor was placed.
click insert

If you frequently use Symbols, add the Symbols button to your toolbar for easy access to symbols like ©, ™, ¢. You can also access alternate bullets, wingdings, webdings, etc.

Quickly Now! PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts for Speed

Take note of these time saving keyboard shortcuts for PowerPoint. Find the right keystrokes for building presentations and for making them.
Helpful shortcuts while preparing a presentation

  • CTRL+N: Create a new presentation
  • CTRL+K: Insert a hyperlink
  • F7: Check spelling
  • CTRL+Z: Undo an action
  • CTRL+Y: Redo or repeat an action
  • ALT+F4: Quit PowerPoint
  • CTRL+M: Insert a new slide
  • CTRL+D: Copy selected slide
  • Continue reading # »

Free Alternative Software – Free and Good

OpenOffice is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite. An open-source project, it is compatible with all other major office suites. The product is free to download, use, and distribute. Get OpenOffice as a download or on CD.
A collection of five tools, OpenOffice includes Writer, Impress, Math, Draw, Calc and Base components. The interface will look familiar to MS Office users. This suite was designed as one complete office package. Opens and saves in Office compatible formats. This free software could really help with your classroom budget.

GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages. Go here and check out the screenshots and features – then download and install.

Customize PowerPoint settings for the way you work

Options for More Efficient Work
Using the Tools/Options menu, you can customize settings to create a more efficient work environment. Often people just leave the default settings, but there are a few changes you may want to modify if you intend to use PowerPoint on a regular basis.
Continue reading # »

Powerful PowerPoint and Microsoft Resources for Teachers

Free 8 unit tutorial for K-12 teachers using PowerPoint.

Links to other free presentation software and tutorials.
Microsoft offers specific resources for educators. Find a range of free educational resources, grant and scholarship information, lesson plans and more.