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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

                      More by this author

                      Joseph Hindy

                      A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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                      Last Updated on October 16, 2019

                      11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

                      11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

                      Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

                      Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

                      Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

                      In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

                      1. ScheduleOnce

                        ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

                        ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

                        ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

                        Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

                        Available on Web

                        2. Calendly

                          Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

                          You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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                          Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

                          3. Assistant.to

                            For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

                            From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

                            While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

                            Available on Web

                            4. Acuityscheduling

                              Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                              It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                              Available on Web | iOS | Android

                              5. Pick

                                Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                                At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                                Available on Web

                                6. X.ai

                                  For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                                  This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                                  Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                                  Available on Web

                                  7. YouCanBook.me

                                    is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                                    They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                                    Available on Web

                                    8. Doodle

                                      Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                                      It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                                      You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                                      While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                                      Available on Web | iOS | Android

                                      9. WhenAvailable

                                        WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                                        Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                                        Available on Web

                                        10. Rally

                                          Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                                          Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                                          Available on Web

                                          11. NeedtoMeet

                                            Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                                            NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                                            While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                                            Available on Web

                                            Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                                            In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                                            To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                                            Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                                            A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                                            Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                                            If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                                            Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                                            With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                                            The Bottom Line

                                            Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                                            Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                                            Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                                            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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