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10 Tricks That Can Make Anyone A Powerpoint Expert

10 Tricks That Can Make Anyone A Powerpoint Expert

PowerPoint presentations may not be the rage they were a few years ago but more than one person’s career has been determined by the strength of their presentation. Teachers use them for lectures, start ups use them to pitch ideas to investors, and business people use them to present business proposals and reports. If you want your presentation to stand head and shoulders above the competition, then check out these tricks to make you a PowerPoint expert!

1. Create a custom background

PowerPoint expert

    There are a lot of people who think that the stock PowerPoint slide size is the only size option. This is actually not the case. Here’s how you can create your own custom slide size:
    1. Open File.
    2. Select Page Setup.
    3. Type the height and width that you want. You can do it in inches or you can do it in pixels if you prefer.
    4. Click OK.
    Now your slide size will be the custom size that you want!

    2. Create your own custom template

    PowerPoint tricks

      If the stock PowerPoint templates just aren’t doing it for you then you can actually create your own. PowerPoint has a master editor that lets you create a custom slide that you can then use as a template:
      1. Select the Themes tab.
      2. On the far right side, click Edit Master, and then Slide Master.
      3. Edit the template as you see fit. You can do pretty much whatever you want.
      4. Click Close Master. This will change all current and future slides to the one you just created. This is a great way to customize your PowerPoint presentation with a little touch of personality without doing it to every slide individually.

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      3. Align all your graphics

      PowerPoint experts

        Sometimes you just want to get the images you added to line up. You can always try to line them up by eye but why go through the hassle when you can align them without issue using built-in PowerPoint features?
        1. Select all of the objects you want by clicking on one, then hold shift and select the rest of them.
        2. At the top, find and click Align. It also may be labeled Distribute.
        3. Choose whatever type of alignment you’d like.
        The images should line up appropriately in a way that you just can’t do by eye alone.

        4. Format your pictures

        PowerPoint experts

          New in PowerPoint 2013 is a much easier way to format your images. You can add some cursory effects and add a little sheen to an otherwise bland image.
          1. Right click on an image and select Format Picture.
          2. On the right side, a bar will pop up with the formatting options. It’s fun to play around in there and see all of the various things you can do. Adding a little formatting can turn a flat, drab image into something a little more interesting with minimal effort.

          5. Make your title stand out

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          PowerPoint experts

            You can also format words much like you can format images.
            1. Right click on the text you want to format and click on Format Text Effects.
            2. Once again that is all you need to do. There are a bunch of formatting options that will pop open on the right hand side for you to use. As with images, the best practice is to play around with the various options and see which ones you like.

            6. Create custom animations

            PowerPoint experts

              If the current selection of animations aren’t your style, then you can also create your own custom animation. This one is a little tricky so you’ll have to tinker around to get them exactly how you want them.
              1. Go to the animation tab.
              2. Click on the down arrow in the animations gallery box until you see Custom Path.
              3. This is where it gets tricky. Once you select Custom Path you’ll be able to draw your own animation. It may take a few tries to get the hang of how it works so don’t get frustrated!
              4. Once you’re done, test your new creation!
              Like I said, this one takes some time to get right but once you do you’ll never have to use a pre-made animations again.

              7. Transition duration

              PowerPoint expert

                This one is a simple trick and it’s been around for a long time. Unfortunately, it’s vastly undervalued and people should use it more often.
                1. Click on the Transition tab.
                2. In a box to the right side is the ability to change the time on the transitions.
                Sometimes transitions are too slow or too fast and this is a great way to add a little tweak to make things a lot more efficient. There is no need to let a great PowerPoint get wasted by transitions that are too slow or too fast.

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                8. Combine shapes

                PowerPoint expert

                  Not everyone has Adobe Photoshop and that makes things like logo design difficult. If you need something simple then you can draw shapes and combine them in PowerPoint.
                  1. Draw the shapes you want to combine. There are a load of shapes in a load of colors. You can access them in the Insert tab.
                  2. Select all of the shapes you wish to combine by using CTRL and clicking.
                  3. Under the Format tab, click the Merge Shapes button.
                  4. Click combine.
                  Using this simple trick you can create your own custom images to add a little pizzazz to your presentations.

                  9. Zoom in and out of slides

                  PowerPoint expert

                    Sometimes there is a part of a slide that needs more attention. A chart or a graph is a good example. You may just want to make sure one point is effectively shown.
                    1. In the Presenter View there is a magnifying glass at the bottom.
                    2. Once you click on that, drag to where you want to zoom in and click again.
                    3. After you’re zoomed in, you can use the hand tool to move around so you can show other things while zoomed in.
                    4. Once you’re done, click the magnifying glass again to zoom back out.
                    This is a great way to have more control over your presentations and show people something different!

                    10. Add audio across slides

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                    PowerPoint expert

                      Audio on PowerPoint is not the easiest thing in the world. There are tools for audio including the ability to add audio tracks across multiple slides. This is great if you want to add a soundtrack to your PowerPoint.
                      1. Click the Insert tab and then click Audio.
                      2. Click on Audio Online.
                      3. Browse your computer and find the audio file you want to add.
                      4. Finally, click Play in Background so PowerPoint knows to play this in the background of your presentation.
                      With that your presentation will have background sound. You can use music or something more subtle like animal noises or other white noise like surf or wind blowing in the trees — anything to add some ambiance and make your presentation more enjoyable.

                      Wrap up

                      With these tips and tricks you can take what may have been a lackluster PowerPoint presentation and turn it into something special. PowerPoint has been getting more and more features to help you make your presentations unique and the real key is finding the new features to see what you can use!

                      Featured photo credit: Phenomenology Minds Media via phenomenologymindsmedia.files.wordpress.com

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                      Published on November 9, 2018

                      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                      Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

                      Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

                      So, are you ready? Here we begin.

                      6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

                      When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

                      1. Spreadsheets and Databases

                      Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

                      To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

                      In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

                      • Microsoft Excel
                      • Microsoft Access
                      • Statistics
                      • Data Analytics
                      • Adobe Campaign
                      • Quickbooks
                      • XML Database management system
                      • Filemaker Pro
                      • MATLAB
                      • Hive
                      • FORTRAN
                      • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
                      • SAS

                      2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

                      Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

                      Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

                      • Content Management System (CMS)
                      • Google Analytics
                      • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
                      • Email Marketing
                      • Web Page Design
                      • WordPress
                      • Digital Media
                      • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
                      • Campaign Management Software

                      3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

                      A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

                      • Adobe Photoshop
                      • Adobe InDesign
                      • Adobe Illustrator
                      • AutoCAD
                      • CorelDRAW
                      • Microsoft Visual Studio
                      • Maya
                      • Microsoft Word
                      • Microsoft Publisher
                      • Operating Digital Cameras

                      4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

                      The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

                      To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

                      • HTML
                      • C/C++
                      • Java
                      • Python
                      • XML
                      • UI/UX
                      • LINUX
                      • CISC and RISC architecture
                      • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
                      • Memory Management
                      • PCB Layout
                      • SQL

                      5. IT Troubleshooting

                      Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

                      So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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                      • Backup management
                      • Diagnostics
                      • End User support
                      • Client-Server management
                      • Installation and configuration
                      • Issue tracking system (ITS)
                      • System administration
                      • Tech support

                      6. Enterprise Systems

                      Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

                      Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

                      The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

                      Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

                      Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

                      Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

                      1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

                      a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

                      Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

                      Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

                      b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

                      This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

                      c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

                      Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

                      Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

                      2. Rule the Social Media World

                      a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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                      Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

                      From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

                      b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

                      This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

                      c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

                      Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

                      Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

                      3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

                      a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

                      From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

                      b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

                      Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

                      The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

                      c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

                      The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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                      4. Live and Breathe Creativity

                      a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

                      It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

                      From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

                      b. Canva Design School

                      From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

                      c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

                      62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

                      d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

                      The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

                      Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

                      5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

                      a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

                      IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

                      It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

                      b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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                      The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

                      Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

                      The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

                      • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
                      • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
                      • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
                      • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
                      • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
                      • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
                      • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

                      Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

                      Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

                      1. Practice, Practice, Practice

                      It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

                      Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

                      2. Work on Your Efficiency

                      Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

                      For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

                      3. Look for Shortcuts

                      Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

                      4. Apply for an Internship

                      Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

                      By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

                      How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                      The Bottom Line

                      Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

                      So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

                      Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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