Make your point

A walk through Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 shows how its new additions can make creating presentations easier.

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By  Administrator Published  September 24, 2007

If you're looking to create quality presentations then PowerPoint 2007 is just what the doctor ordered. Featuring a new interface, new themes, formatting and charting options, the application makes putting together a polished and professional presentation a walk in the park. Don't have the version 2007 on your PC? Then head over to www.microsoft.com and take a online test drive.

Before we begin, we'd like to highlight that this workshop is geared at those who have already used the 2003 version of PowerPoint.

1. Create custom slide layouts

If your aim is to keep your company presentations consistent in terms of their design and layout we have good news for you. In PowerPoint 2003 you had to edit an existing slide layout to suit your needs, however in the 2007 version you can create your very own custom slide layout, which is called a ‘Slide Master layout'.

To explain, a slide master manages a group of slide layouts. This means you have a slide master and then an associated title slide layout, a title and content slide layout, a section header slide layout, a two content slide layout and more. The individual layouts inherit their default settings from their parent slide master, and then you can go in and edit each layout to suit your needs.

To create a custom slide, click on the View tab, in the Presentation views section click Slide Master. In the Edit Master section click Insert Slide Master. You can now begin tailoring the master slide to meet your requirements.

2. Design Themes

These are a new feature in PowerPoint 2007 but work similarly to design templates in the 2003 version. In a nutshell, design themes make it easy to co-ordinate your presentation with colours, graphics and fonts that all work together to create a particular mood for your slide show. The best part about these themes is you can see a live preview of the effects immediately. This means you can play around with a number of themes before deciding which one to go for. Here's how to access Design Themes:

• First, click on the Design tab

• Place your cursor over any of the theme thumbnails shown to see the design reflected immediately on your slide

• Single-click the design theme when you find one that suits you like

Now be aware the design themes that are immediately visible on the Design ribbon are not all the themes available. You can scroll through the existing design themes by clicking on the up or down arrows to the right of the themes windows shown, or click the drop down arrow to reveal all of the available design themes at one time.

Once a style has been selected, you're not limited to the colour of the theme as it's currently applied.

• Click on the ‘Colors' button at the right end of the design themes on the Design ribbon

• Hover your mouse over the various color schemes shown in the drop down list and see a live preview

• Click on the colour you like and it will be applied to the slide.

Sometimes you might want to show display slides without a background image. This is often the case when you want to print. The background graphics will remain with the design theme, but can be hidden from view. Here's how:

• Check the Hide Background Graphics box on the Design ribbon.

• The background graphics will disappear from your slides, but can be turned back on at any later time, by simply removing the check mark in the box.

PowerPoint formats you should know

PowerPoint's new file format has been changed to XML, which is good news because this should mean fewer corrupted files and smaller file sizes thanks to file compression. However, with the new format comes a number of new different file extensions. Here they are:

• PPTX - Normal PPT 2007 file

• PPTM - PPT plus macros

• PPSX - PPT 2007 show file

• PPSM - PPT 2007 show plus macros

• POTX - PPT 2007 template

• POTM - PPT template plus macros

• PPAM - PPT add-in

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