Your First PowerPoint Presentation

Learn PowerPoint Right from the Beginning

Start learning PowerPoint right from the beginning. Your first PowerPoint presentation does not have to be an intimidating process. With every skill you mastered in the past, you were a beginner once. Learning how to use PowerPoint is no different. Everyone has to start at the beginning, and luckily for you, PowerPoint is a really easy software to learn. Let's get started.

PowerPoint Lingo

Common PowerPoint terms
Common PowerPoint terms. © Wendy Russell

There are terms that are specific to presentation software types of programs. The nice part is that once you learn terms specific to PowerPoint, those same terms are used in many other similar software programs, so they are easily transferable.

The Best Laid Plans ...

Planning is the key to a successful presentaion
Planning is the key to a successful presentaion. © Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images

Most people just start diving right in and try to write their presentation as they go. However, the best presenters don't work that way. They start at the most obvious place.

Opening PowerPoint for the First Time

PowerPoint 2007 opening screen
PowerPoint 2007 opening screen. Screen shot © Wendy Russell

Your first view of PowerPoint actually looks pretty bland. There is one large page, called a slide. Every presentation should begin with a title and so PowerPoint presents you with a title slide. Simply type your text into the text boxes provided.

Click the New Slide button and you will be presented with a blank slide with placeholders for a title and lists of text. This is the default slide layout but it is only one of many selections. There are many options to choose from for the way you want your slide to look.

Dress Up Your Slides

Design themes and Design templates in PowerPoint
Design themes and Design templates in PowerPoint. Screen shot © Wendy Russell

If this is your first PowerPoint presentation, you are probably a little intimidated that it will not look attractive. So, why not make it easy on yourself and use one of PowerPoint's many design themes (PowerPoint 2007) or design templates (PowerPoint 2003 and earlier) to keep your presentation looking coordinated and professional? Choose a design that fits your topic and you are ready to go.

What Makes a Successful Presentation?

speak for success - PowerPoint presentations
speak for success - PowerPoint presentations. Image - Microsoft Online Clip Gallery

Always remember that the audience did not come to see your PowerPoint presentation. They came to see you. You are the presentation -- PowerPoint is the helper to get your message across. These tips will help get you on the road to making an effective and successful presentation.

Shutterbug Alert

Pictures and clipart in PowerPoint
Pictures and clipart in PowerPoint. Screen shot © Wendy Russell

Just like that old cliché says -- "a picture is worth a thousand words". Make your presentation have impact, by adding at least a few slides that include only pictures to make your point.

Optional - Add a Chart to Express Your Data

Excel chart and data to be shown on PowerPoint slide
Excel chart and data to be shown on PowerPoint slide. © Wendy Russell

If your presentation is all about data, then with the picture idea in mind, add a chart of that same data instead of text. Most people are visual learners, so seeing is believing.

Add More Motion - Animations

Custom animations quicklist in PowerPoint 2007
Custom animations quicklist in PowerPoint 2007. Screen shot © Wendy Russell

Add Some Motion - Transitions

Choose a transition to apply to one or all of your PowerPoint 2007 slides
Choose a transition to apply to one or all of your PowerPoint 2007 slides. Screen shot © Wendy Russell

There are two types of motions that you can use in PowerPoint. One advances the complete slide in an interesting manner. This is called a transition.