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Using PowerPoint

Ursula Hoffmann

How to create a presentation:

Getting started:
Use a blank presentation rather than one of the offered templates. Type and format text. Insert an image that is already in the folder in which you are creating the presentation: click Insert > Slides from Files >
Then click Insert > New slide....
Save -- Filename must have _ instead of space, and only one period, between filename and extension, e.g. xxxxxxxxxx.ppt

There are lots of tutorials on the web, such as

Using a PowerPoint presentation with a lecture:

A PowerPoint presentation may be useful when you address an audience. Your slides should simply and briefly list the outline and points of  your lecture, add images or charts, but they should not distract from your lecture.
You need to have the presentation on a computer, and you need a good projector for projecting what is on the computer display to a big  screen.
Some people print the slides for a handout to every member of the audience. This can be helpful.
But do not tempt the people in your audience to read what is on the screen instead of listening to you.
Also, do not keep any slide on the screen for very long.

Using a PowerPoint slideshow:

A slideshow can be created from the presentation, setting controls and timing, so it will automatically play for a user.
Obviously, this is not accompanied by a lecture, so the slides must be self-explanatory. Or you could have two slides side by side, one for text, the other for a graph or image. Also, the timer must be set for sufficient intervals to allow the viewer to absorb the information shown on the slide before the next slide is shown.

Two excellent utilities:

Digital Photo Slideshow -- you can resize, change format, create a slide show for PC or web, and much more -- free download to test, $20 to buy.

Check out Impatica to easily compress a PowerPoint presentation for the web -- my 70 MB file changed to a 2 MB file.
If you added audio or video to your presentation, the compression rate is even better.
See How to use Impatica -- mini-manual


PowerPoint presentations have very large file sizes as they include a lot of  graphics, text, programming information.
For use on the web, remember that you need lots of space and time to upload/download.  Use low-resolution images.
For use on Blackboard, remember that only a very small file will be useful -- anything larger is too slow. For a large file, link to a website.
Moreover, the users need to have PowerPoint or a viewer plug-in on their computers.

However, you can save a presentation as an html file for the web.
Alternately, use one of the two utilities recommended above, or create html files, using Netscape.

Mac to PC or PC to Mac:

Let's say you create a PPt presentation at home and copy it to a CD, to present somewhere else. It needs to work. Check in advance.
The "somewhere else" computer does not need PPt -- an installed PPt viewer is enough, a free download. Check in advance.
To avoid incompatibility problems, carefully check the document Mac to PC or Pc to Mac http://www.pptfaq.com/FAQ00281.htm

Create on Mac, move to PC -- or vice versa:
The main points:
Filenames: Save your file in PC8.3 filename style, with the extension .ppt (for presentation) or .pps (for slide show). Do not use punctuation space in your filenames other than underline instead of space -- and one period between filename and extension.
Text: Do not squeeze into placeholders.
Fonts: Arial, New Times Roman, Courier, Symbol will work. Verdana may not.
All images must be .jpeg/jpg. Quicktime-compressed images will not work on a PC. Embed. Links to external files will break unlwaa you copy them to the folder where the PPt file is before inserting them. Use only RGB color.
Know your operating system and your version of PPt -- as well as that on the computer to be used at the other end.
Good luck.

updated January 2007