Beyond the Basics in PowerPoint: More Advanced Features in PowerPoint

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Most office professionals enjoy basic PowerPoint presentation skills given how omnipresent the software is in most corporate settings. Pulling together a deck of slides with standard formatting, static images, and slide transition effects make for an effective although conservative approach to sharing information visually.

Note: Instructions in this article apply to PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2010, PowerPoint for Mac, and PowerPoint 365/Online.

Photos and Graphics

PowerPoint's ubiquity derives from its visual presentation of information: You see the slides that summarize key points or interesting findings instead of having to read a white paper. Because the software is designed to put imagery front-and-center, forego large blocks of text. Photos and graphics are what make slides interesting to an audience. Make your slides more appealing—for example, by emphasizing images and minimizing text, as you can do for a graduation activity.

(PowerPoint isn't only for the office!)

Animations and Transitions

Creating effective and interesting PowerPoint presentations takes a bit of effort. Jazz up your presentations using animations. A combination of advanced slide transitions, as well as animations to transition between elements on the same slide, will not only keep eyeballs on the screen, but it'll help you manage transitions and avoid revealing too much information before you're ready to discuss it.

Music, Narration, and Timing

Did you know that you can embed music or play ambient sounds in the background while your slideshow advances all on its own? Narrations can also be added to the presentation so that your message is there even if you can't be. Most people provide their narration when they deliver the presentation, but embedding your narration guarantees you'll say what you want—but you'll also have it ready to export your narrated presentation to a video format for burning to DVD or embedding in a website.

Printing Options in PowerPoint

You may need printouts for yourself, complete with speaker notes, printouts to be used as handouts for the audience, or printouts for a co-worker to offer comments. Although PowerPoint is optimized for on-screen viewing in Presentation Mode, the careful use of formatted speaker notes and picking the right combination of options when you print your presentation or export it to PDF will enhance the quality and the usefulness of the paper copy.

Macros, Master Slides, and Web Pages

Some of the more advanced features in PowerPoint are often used as time savers, such as creating macros or your own design template complete with your company logo. Developing these documents isn't as tricky as it sounds—PowerPoint excels at re-using content.

Make Your Presentation Portable

Presentations on the road engender their own drama when an embedded sound or video file goes missing or the guest machine you're using doesn't have a modern version of PowerPoint loaded on it. Use PowerPoint's own portability tools pack your presentation for remote viewing, including the PowerPoint Online and all the bells and whistles you built at your own desk.