Beyond the Basics in PowerPoint: More Advanced Features in PowerPoint

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Most office professionals have basic PowerPoint presentation skills. A deck of slides with standard formatting, static images, and slide transition effects makes for an effective presentation, but it's a conservative approach to sharing information visually. Make presentations more exciting and useable by adding more advanced features.

Instructions in this article apply to PowerPoint 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; PowerPoint for Mac, and PowerPoint for Office 365.

Insert Photos and Graphics

PowerPoint's strong suit is its visual presentation of information. Your audience sees slides that summarize key points or interesting findings instead of reading a white paper. Because the software is designed to put imagery front-and-center, you don't need large blocks of text to help explain your topic. Photos and graphics make slides interesting to an audience. Make your slides more appealing by emphasizing images and minimizing text, as you can do for a graduation activity. PowerPoint isn't only for the office!

Add 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.

Embed 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 aren't. 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.

Choose Printing Options in PowerPoint

You may need printouts for yourself, complete with speaker notes. Or, you may want 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, formatted speaker notes and picking the right combination of options when you print your presentation or export it to PDF enhances the quality and the usefulness of the paper copy.

Save Time with Macros and Master Slides

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 Presentations Portable

Presentations on the road can go wrong 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 portability tools to pack your presentation for remote viewing, including PowerPoint Online and all the bells and whistles you built at your own desk.