Intermediate PowerPoint

Welcome to Intermediate PowerPoint! To get started, open your sample PowerPoint on your computer. Save it again, this time with your last name underscore play, or Smith_play. We're going to play with it, and we don't want to mess up your original. As you look at your playground, across the top of your screen, you will see a toolbar, and down the left hand side, you will see your slides in miniature. The middle of the screen holds your workspace, where you will create and edit each slide individually.

The Master Slide
Photo Album
Smart Art
Saving PowerPoints

The Master Slide

1. Now it's time to meet your master, er, to look at the Master slide. Across the top of your toolbar, one of your options is View. Click on it, and you will see the fifth option is Slide Master.
The master slide

Click on it, and your content goes away, to be replaced by what is called "master content."
View of the Master slide
Some notes on editing the Master. First, make sure your titles are in at least 36 point font. Forty point is even better. First level headings should be at least two points smaller than the title, so if the title is 36, the first level should be at 34. No headings should be smaller than 28 point, ever. Good graphic design rules say have no more than three types of fonts (colors, styles, etc.) in one document.

2. To exit the Master slide, first save (ctrl s, or windows home icon Winsows home and save). Then choose view and normal. Your slide should reflect the changes you made in the Master slide.


3. Next, let's change your background. Click on the design tab and choose one of the backgrounds available. Notice to the right of your colorful selections, you see options for colors, fonts, effects, and background styles. Go ahead and play with them to see the different effects you can create. Also note that the font changes won't always override the Master selections.

4. If you want to create your own background, simply click on the tiny button beside the word Background.
background control
You will see a control panel appear.
Control panel

To adjust the background color, you can choose a solid fill, a gradient fill, a picture or texture fill, or choose your own color. The picture mode allows you to add tints to backgrounds and pictures. Let's play with these options. Click on "Gradient Fill" and "Preset colors." You'll get a menu like the one below. Play with every button on the menu. What type of  fill do you want? Linear? Rectangular? What direction should it go? Do you want a particular angle? How many gradient stops? What colors? How transparent? See what your choices create.

gradient choices

5. When you have created a colorful slide or set of slides, you should add a background image. Choose picture or texture fill (under gradient fill), and look at your texture options. Then, insert a picture. Choose insert from clip art.
insert from clip art

Choose any image in your clip art collection and apply it to your slide. The, play with the "Tile picture as texture" below the insert from option. You can also adjust the transparency of the picture to make your text more prominent. If you choose the picture option below the fill option, you can adjust the color of your picture.
picture option
With this option, you can apply various colors to the original picture and adjust for brightness and contrast.

6. Let's return to the Design toolbar. Notice that there is a slider bar by your sample slides.
Design slider bar
The middle button will allow you to see all your available designs. Click on the bottom arrow, and you will be taken to a menu where you can acquire more templates and designs.
acquire more templates
Once there, you will see many templates available. Some already have content, and some are of better quality than others. Some will download right into your PowerPoint program, and some you will have to hunt and tinker with. Just so you know--if you download a template and it hides from you or acts funny, it's not you. The Butterfly theme is an excellent example of what a good template should do and be. Go ahead and click on that theme and download it into your PowerPoint program.
Butterfly theme
Once you have downloaded your butterfly theme, you should be able to click on it at the top under your Design button (you may have to click on the top slider button to see it), and it should apply itself to your presentation, right over your clip art. If you right click on your slide in the left hand pane and choose "New Slide," you should get a new slide in the original Butterfly template.

Photo Album
7.  Let's look at the photo album option. Have you ever taken a disk full of pictures and wished there were some quick way to turn them into a presentation? PowerPoint's photo album option makes that process a snap. First, choose the photo album option.
photo album

Click on it. You might get the descriptions below. They are not choices, just descriptions.

photo album tool

After clicking on the photo album option, you will see a menu like the one  below prompting you to point the photo album function toward your disc full of pictures. Choose Insert Picture from File/Disk.  You will be taken to the "My Pictures" folder. If your pictures are there, you can select them. If they are not, you can browse for your pictures.
Photo album step 2

When you see your pictures displayed, click on the first one. Then,  hold down the shift key and click on all the pictures you wish to include. If you wish to include all of them, click on the first one, hold down the shift key, scroll down (if necessary), and then click on the last one. Then click on "insert."

photo album step 3

One suggestion, select the new text box so you can title your album. Also, you can add a snazzy theme with a click by choosing a theme at the bottom.

Adding text and a theme

Your PowerPoint with your pictures as an album will open up, and you can add text boxes to label your pictures or add slides to add narration as desired.


8. Perhaps the coolest and most useful function PowerPoint provides is the shapes function.
Shapes is really a life-changing function. If you want to highlight text or backdrop pictures or just add some action to your PowerPoint, shapes is the tool. It also allows you to "override"  space restrictions in very cool templates, if you need to once or twice. Or, if you're making your own design, shapes helps you to create a nice text spot. For example
Maude Martha heart    The Thinker      Ralph Ellison

To start working with shapes, click on the shapes tool. You will see a variety of shapes options.
Shapes options

Click on a shape to choose it, and then you will see a small cross appear where your pointer was before. Click on the slide and drag your mouse. Your shape will appear. Likely, it will have a color. You can change a lot of things about this shape Notice you have the green rotator tool at the top, and the square and round handles to manipulate the shape. Right click on the shape and choose "Format Shape" at the bottom of the list. You will see fill, line color (outline), line style, shadow, 3-D format, 3-D rotation, picture, and text box options. The fill options are the same as with backgrounds. If you choose solid fill and click on the picture of the paint bucket, you will have an option of theme colors to match your current slide designs--a handy option when you are trying to decide which color of green will best match the slide colors.
Theme colors
You can also easily add a text box by clicking on the text box option.

Smart Art Graphics

Smart art allows you to put in a process image or other organization image very quickly. If you click on Smart Art and then on one of the categories of smart art (all, list, process, cycle, hierarchy, relationship, matrix, pyramid), and then on one of the examples, it will tell you what each graphic represents best. All the graphics are fully editable--you can add or remove blocks in the cycle graphic, for example. Click on cycle and the third graphic from the top, block cycle.
Smart art
Select "okay," and you will see that you can add your own text and drag the graphic anywhere you wish. You can change the colors in the same way that you did with the shapes.
Right click on any of the chart elements, and you will see the following options:
change shape
From here you can add or change shapes. If you wish to remove a shape, simply click on the "cut" icon at the top. If you choose "Add shape," you will see you have options to put the new shape before or after the selected shape.
add shape
You can customize graphics not only to help explain class topics in a visual way, but also to match specific examples you may discuss in class.


The chart option works just as it does in MS Word and Excel. Choose the chart option, and you will see a variety of chart types to choose from: column, line, pie, bar, area, xy (scatter), stock, surface, doughnut, bubble, and radar. You will also see a variety of designs for each chart. Just a design tip: simpler is better. If you are creating a column graph, avoid the double stack or 3-D looks unless you really need that format for a specific reason.

column function

If you click okay on the menu above, you will get the following Excel-looking table:

Excel-looking table
It is actually Excel, and you can go to Excel and get your data from another file to insert into this PowerPoint.Use the Select Data button.
Select data

 Note that you can also paste information from Excel into this table. When you have edited your data, you close Excel, and your chart appears. You can choose from chart layouts and change the chart type and colors using the toolbar above. You can also right click on different points of the chart to see you editing options. Right clicking on the grid lines give you the menu below:
grid lines

Right clicking on the series information gets you this menu, where you can format the chart legend.
series information
Right clicking on the columns gets you this menu, where you can add a trendline, for example:
Click on columns.

Right clicking in the data columns gets you this menu, where you can add minor gridlines and format major gridlines.
left data column
If you click on the bar that outlines the graphic (or in the blank space in the graphic), you will get a menu that allows you to save the graph as a picture (png file) and manipulate it as a picture or easily reuse it in other programs:
save as picture

Look up, and you will see that Design, Layout, and Format have now been labeled, "Chart Tools." You can do just about anything to your chart with these toolbars.

Layout Toolbar:
Chart Tools: Layout

Format Toolbar:
Chart tools: format


11. Click on the Animations tab to add animations. You can animate text or images. You can also edit the transitions from slide to slide, adding different transitions or even sounds. Simply click on the slide you want to add the transition to, and then click on the transition effect you want to apply. Notice that if you click on the tab next to the transitions, you will see many more transition options.
More transitions

If you wish to add sound, choose a transition sound and add it.
Transition sound

To view your handiwork, click on a slide you have added animation to, and then click on the preview button to the far left of your top menu bar.

12. The most fun you can have is playing with animations. Click on Custom Animation,

Custom animation

and the custom animation toolbar will appear to the right of your slide. You can add animation to text or graphics, and you can add repeated animation to both, as well. First, click on some text in one of your slides. You will see the handles and broken line appear. You will also see the Custom Animation toolbar become active. If you click on Add Effect, then you have a menu that lists Entrance, Emphasis, Exit, and Motion Paths. Choose Exit, and you get more options: blinds, box, checkerboard, diamond, fly out and more effects. Choose more effects.
You will get a list of options, and you will see a scroll bar.

More effects 1

Scroll down to see even more options.

More effects 2

Choose one to see what it does. You can simply click on the item and get a preview--you do not have to click "okay."

13. Next, choose Add Effect, Entrance, and Fly In.
Special Effect 1
Notice that you get information in your custom animation toolbar. You can choose whether to start the animation on a click, and whether to set the speed at very slow, slow, medium, fast, or very fast. Some tools let you choose direction, and fly in is one of them. You can choose bottom, left, bottom left, etc. You can make your students dizzy, if you are so inclined.

You can add animation to text and object, and you can preview your animations using the preview button at the bottom of the custom animation panel at the right hand bottom of your screen. Keep track of your animations by matching the numbers on the slide to the numbers in the custom animation panel:

animation tracker

14. Extremely Custom Animation: Motion Paths
To make your objects come in and exit on lines you draw, you can use motion paths. Select the object you wish to create a custom path for. Under add effect, choose motion paths, draw custom path, and then scribble.
motion paths

Draw the custom path on your screen, and watch your object follow it.
You are so cool!


15. We are entering advanced PowerPoint territory here. Save your PowerPoint (if you wish), and close it.
Next, on your desktop or personal storage device, create a folder, and call it Intermed_PP. Do not put any spaces in your folder names, and don't put any spaces in any image, file, or folder names that pertain to this folder. Now, save a copy of your PowerPoint in (or move it into) this folder. Create another folder inside this folder called "sound_files."

Here's why: unlike the picture files, sound files do not automatically attach to your PowerPoint. You must create a folder, and I recommend putting a sound folder inside that folder, and keep your sounds in the folder with the PowerPoint. When you put your PowerPoint on disk to take to class or a conference, load the entire folder. If you email the PowerPoint, zip the folder and email it (right click on the folder and choose send to and compressed zip files). Otherwise, you will open up your PowerPoint at a conference, and you will have no sound. (This rule does not apply to transition sounds.) This rule also applies to video files that you have integrated into your PowerPoint.

16. Now, open up the copy of the PowerPoint that you have saved in this folder (if you don't open up that specific PowerPoint, you may find later that your sounds still don't work because you attached them to the wrong copy). The term used to describe the connection you will create between the PowerPoint and the sounds is called "pull." You will tell the PowerPoint where to "pull" the sounds from.

17. Now, download some practice sounds. Download these files here. Save it in your "sounds" folder in your Intermed_PP folder.

18. To insert sounds onto your slides, choose the sound option under the design tab. Click on the tiny, black, upside arrow under it, and you will get several options. Choose Sound from File.

. Now, open up your Intermed_PP folder and your sound folder and select the sample sound file. Click okay.You will be asked "how do you want the sound to start in the slide show?" You can choose automatically (when the slide first appears), or "when clicked" (when you click on it during your presentation.
sound start

With either choice, you will get a small speaker icon on your slide. You may move it to the corner or anywhere you would like. It will show up during your presentation.
Remember, if you put sounds in your PowerPoint, you have to keep the sounds and the presentation in a folder, and you have to put them all on your disk when you travel. If you separate the sounds and the presentation, you definitely want to check when you reload them, to make sure that they are all "pulling correctly," or are all loading the right files when you direct the presentation to do such loading. When you play sound from the clip organizer, that sound does automatically load into PowerPoint, just like images.

When you insert a track from a CD, you want to load it just like you did the mp3 above--and you will have to put it in a sound file and make sure it travels with the presentation, if you want it to play during the presentation.

Recording Voice
20. Click on the sound icon, and choose "record sound." You will see a sound recorder pop up:
record sound
21. Click on the red circle to begin recording (you must have a microphone in your computer to do this). Click on the blue square to stop recording, and the red triangle to play back your recording.

Note: Some have tried to create voiceover PowerPoints with this tool. However, there are several problems with it. First, the sound quality is not very good. Second, the viewer has to have access to your original PowerPoint to hear the recordings (they don't transfer in pdf, even though Adobe used to say they did--pdf will support .wav files). Third, the viewer has to click each sound icon to hear your voice--it gets tiresome. Finally, and most importantly, it makes a giant file that takes a long time to download, and that probably won't work on GAView/Vista.  If you're going to make voiceover PowerPoints, use a program like Captivate or Camtasia.


. To insert a hyperlink, simply click on the insert tab and then choose hyperlink. You have four options: existing file or web page, place in this document, create new document, e-mail address. Let's start with existing file or web page. If you with to open an MS Word document or pdf or any file, you can click on it in the window, and when you click on the link in the slide, the document will open. If you wish to insert a web address, type or paste the URL in the address bar, and you will be able to open up that address. If you wish something besides the URL to display, click on "Text to display" at the top and insert the text you wish to display.
insert hyperlink
23. If you wish to jump to another slide, you can do that by choosing the "Place in This Document" option. You can again choose text to display (I typed in "Jump to Another Slide" as an example,) and clicking on the slide you wish to jump to. We will discuss uses of this feature more in Advanced PowerPoint. I was told three years ago that nonlinear PowerPoints were the next new thing, but so far, I haven't seen it.

jump to another slide

24. If you wish to jump to another document, and you haven't yet created that document, you can choose "Create New Document," and even create the new PowerPoint, Word Document, or webpage. For example, if you anticipate that your audience might want to know more about the history of Berlin in your presentation on the Berlin wall, but you are not sure, you can put a few pictures on this extra document, in case the audience asks. You'll be prepared, but you don't have to stop your original presentation unless prompted.

New document

25. If you are putting your PowerPoint on GAView/Vista for students, and you want to add a link for students to click to email you, you can do that with the "E-mail Address" button. This option will "sort of" transfer into pdf if you have Adobe Professional. You can also add the subject to the email, for example, "I saw your presentation, and my name is ___" to help students remember to tell you who they are when they email.


26. In addition to links, you can add actions such as open programs or add sounds to your PowerPoint. Click on the "Action" button under the Insert tab.


You can choose to have your action start on a mouse click or a mouse over. Here, PowerPoint has been set to open up a gaming program, Quandary, on a mouse click. It will also play as as yet undetermined sound.

action options


27. Of course, to save as PowerPoint, simply choose the first option, "PowerPoint Presentation." If you don't wish students to have access to your file, just the presentation, choose PowerPoint Show.  To create a full-sized pdf presentation, choose Adobe pdf.  ODP and XPS formats have to do with a battle currently raging over open source software.
Presentation Only

28. To save your presentation as a web page, choose Other Formats, at the bottom. You will get a bevy of choices, including single file web page and web page.
save as web
Single file web page means PowerPoint will package all your images, graphics, etc. into the format so you don't have to reload everything. When it saves as single file, it will look like this:
Single file web

The bad news is, the quality is terrible. Unfortunately, if you choose to save it as a web page, the quality is even worse. Pdf is definitely the better option.
What if you wish to save each slide as an image and import it into a program such as Windows Movie Maker? Choose the gif, jpeg, or png options (Movie Maker will accept all of them), save each slide as an individual picture, and you can simply click on the first image, hold down your shift key, and select the last image. Then, import them all into Movie Maker and get to work!

29. To save as pdf handouts, hold down the ctrl button and hit P.

create pdf handouts
As you can see in the image above, you can choose handouts, and the color, and the number of slides per page. If you want to provide your slides to students before class as a note taking aid, the handouts in black and white are a great option to save trees and keep students from constantly flipping during your presentation. You can even save room for notes--that's one choice on the three slides per page option.

Note: Studies show that students do not learn as much when the slides are preprinted for them before class. Try the Swiss-cheese method, a method research has shown does promote learning and retention. Instead of every word on every slide, put blanks for students to fill in. It keeps them awake and focused and aids in retention, as well.

Happy PowerPointing!

Back to top

Back to technology resources page.

Created by Tammy Powell. October 29, 2009. Edited by Sarah Parker.