Beyond the Basics in PowerPoint

These advanced features bring the Pow! to your presentation

Hands using different digital devices for lots of functions
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A deck of PowerPoint slides with standard formatting, minimal images, and basic transition effects is a passable visual presentation. But it's a conservative approach to sharing information visually. You can make presentations more appealing by employing advanced PowerPoint features.

Information in this article applies to PowerPoint 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010 as well as PowerPoint for Mac and PowerPoint for Microsoft 365.

Insert Photos and Graphics

PowerPoint is well suited to the visual presentation of information. Your audience members get a different experience when they view slides summarizing key points instead of, for example, reading a white paper. So, take advantage of this fact by emphasizing images more than text. You can choose from your own photos, illustrations, and graphs, or online images.

If you're not used to thinking this way, try writing text for a slide and then finding an image to tell part or all of the same story.

Add Animations and Transitions

You can also jazz up your presentations using animations. These fun special effects provide visual interest as audience members digest the information you've just discussed. Animations within a slide (for example, bullet points appearing one by one) help you avoid revealing information before you're ready to discuss it.

Embed Music, Narration, and Timing

Did you know that you can embed music or play ambient sounds in the background to enhance your message? You can also add your narration to the presentation to ensure you make all your points or to prepare the presentation for upload to your website or YouTube channel. Finally, you can time the slides so they advance without you having to switch them manually, enabling you to focus on your own part of the presentation.

Choose Printing Options

You can create hard copies of your slides for yourself or your audience. They can be used for a variety of purposes:

  • Give you speaker notes to use while you present
  • Provide a means for audience members to remember your points and take notes
  • Give a co-worker an easy way to view your slides to offer comments

PowerPoint is optimized for on-screen viewing in Presentation Mode. However, you can choose one of the many printing options to print speaker notes or a variety of formats for audience notes.

Save Time with Macros and Master Slides

In addition to the helpful features mentioned so far, PowerPoint includes some that can save you time. For example, you can create macros or your own design template complete with your company logo. Developing a template isn't as tricky as it sounds and PowerPoint excels at re-using content.

Make Presentations Portable

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