Aug 24 2009

Book Review: The Non-Designer’s Design Book

Non-Designer's Design Book

Don't judge a book by its cover -- even though it is a "design" book.

The Non-Designer’s Design Book (Third edition) by Robin Williams – not to be confused with the famous comedian by the same name – provides “design and typographic principles for the visual novice.” Although this book does not focus on PowerPoint presentations at all (mainly desktop publishing examples – business cards, brochures, newsletters, etc.), many of her design principles are transferable to the PowerPoint world. I became interested in reading this book when Garr Reynolds referenced her in his Presentation Zen book. Continue reading “Book Review: The Non-Designer’s Design Book”

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Jul 11 2009

How Colors Can Make Your PowerPoint Charts More Digestible

Mmmm. It all looks good. Where do I focus? (c) iStockPhoto / Adventure Photo

Mmmm. Fruit salad. It all looks good. But where do I focus? (c) iStockPhoto / Adventure Photo

By default PowerPoint or Excel 2007 will create multicolored pie charts or single-colored bar charts. Unfortunately, these default color combinations can cause charts to communicate less effectively unless they are modified.

In most cases, when you’re using charts in PowerPoint slides you’re trying to highlight a specific data point or a subset of data points:

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Apr 13 2009

PowerPoint and the Elusive Color Picker / Eye Dropper

An eye dropper tool should be baked into PowerPoint

An eye dropper tool should be baked into PowerPoint

If you’ve used drawing or photo editing applications such as Illustrator or Photoshop, you will be familiar with their color picker or eye dropper tools, which enable you to extract a color from an image so the same color can be added to other objects. I wish PowerPoint offered this same functionality, but alas it doesn’t. Luckily, there are many outside color picker apps that can be leveraged in conjunction with PowerPoint. Continue reading “PowerPoint and the Elusive Color Picker / Eye Dropper”

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Jan 16 2009

PowerPoint Color Transparency Tip

By removing the white background from an image, you can layer one image on top of another graphic.

By removing the white background from an image, you can layer one image on top of another graphic.

When you’re working with picture images in PowerPoint, you may want to remove unnecessary parts of an image so that you can see other graphics behind it. If the image in question is a vector image (e.g., WMF), it may be very easy to customize the clip art image. However, if the image is a bitmap image (e.g., PNG, JPG, GIF), then you cannot simply “ungroup” the image and edit it as you want. If you own Photoshop and you’re proficient with it, this task may be fairly straightforward for you. However, many business users don’t have access to this expensive photo editing software or if they do, they may not know how to use it. Continue reading “PowerPoint Color Transparency Tip”

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Nov 15 2008

8 Tips for Effective Team PowerPoint Presentations

What more intimidating that one PowerPoint ninja? How about a team of PowerPoint ninjas?

What is more intimidating than a PowerPoint ninja? How about a coordinated team of angry PowerPoint ninjas? (c)iStockphoto/Ethan Myerson

In various business scenarios, you might find yourself a part of a team that is responsible for building and presenting a PowerPoint presentation. When you’re working independently on your own PowerPoint slides, you have full control over the outcome of your presentation. Coordinating a PowerPoint presentation with other individuals introduces new challenges, which can frustrate even PowerPoint ninjas who are caught unprepared. As a team, you don’t want to waste time on unnecessary or overlapping PowerPoint slides, or reworking poorly designed slides at the end. In order to be successful with group or team presentations, you should consider the following eight tips: Continue reading “8 Tips for Effective Team PowerPoint Presentations”

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