How to conceal PowerPoint objects without deleting them

Sometimes it can be difficult to select an object in PowerPoint, either because it’s hidden by another object or it’s too close to another one. There are cases too where you would like to see what the slide could look like without an object or a set of objects, but do want to delete them entirely. For all those tasks, the Selection Pane is your most unknown best friend.

Display the Selection Pane

The Selection Pane contains the list of all objects of a given slide. To have it appear:

  1. click the Home tab if it’s not displayed
  2. on the Editing menu on the far right, click Select
  3. choose Selection Pane

The Selection Pane now appears on the right hand side of your window.

As you can see in the screen shot above, this pane contains the list of all objects in the slide. When there are groups, like for instance here Group 4, it provides the list of objects contained in that group. However, as you can see, you will also have groups of groups. One of the key benefits of the Selection Pane is to discover all elements of groups and be able to select them independently if need be.

Select objects with the Selection pane

Let’s imagine that you want to change the color of the number 1 in the slide below.

It will be very difficult to select just the number 1 in the orange circle because it’s part of a group. However, once you clicked on the orange circle and discovered it’s actually Group 38 in the Selection Pane, then you can click only TextBox 40 to have only the textbox containing the number 1. Now, just pressing the Enter key will select the text itself to change its font, color or size.

Note that you can rename the object if you want to increase the usability of the Selection Pane.

Conceal objects

Notice on the right of the object name a little sign that looks like an eye (I know, it’s half an eye). In the slide above, if you click on the eye sign right of Group 38, the whole group (orange circle and text) will disappear.

However, the object is still there, it is just not displayed anymore. By clicking now on the horizontal line will make it reappear again. This is how you can conceal objects in front of others or can just create a slide without some of the objects to check what it looks like without deleting them physically. For instance, I can conceal all numbers in the slide above, just by clicking the eye icon for each group.

Once the choice made, it’s saved with the PowerPoint file and it will be used in Slide Show mode as well as in the printout. It’s therefore a great way to avoid the mess in printout created by superposed objects. You just conceal them for printing purpose and have them reappear for slide show. Note finally the Show All (and Hide All) button at the top of the pane that allows you to have all concealed objects to reappear in one click!

The Selection Pane is probably the most useful best kept secret of PowerPoint!

Linking multiple PowerPoint presentations together

When you prepare a PowerPoint presentation, sometimes it happens you need in “incorporate” another one into yours. A few examples that might ring a bell:

  • You have multiple speakers and want to create an agenda that ties all presentations together
  • You want to go through another existing presentations during your presentation and then go back to your flow
  • You need to give the floor to another speaker

For every reasons above, or maybe others I’m not thinking about, you have two options:

  1. Incorporating each presentation into a main one
  2. Linking each presentation to the main one

The first option has three drawbacks: first, all the presentations need to have the same format (if one is 4×3 while all others are 16×9, there will be modifications to the 4×3 one when incorporating); second, your main presentation may be really heavy (imagine five 10MB presentations all together, this makes your presentation 50MB and your email system may not allow to send it); third, if one of the presenters makes a modification to his or her presentation, you will need to reincorporate it within the main one, with all the format issues mentioned. Of course it has one benefit: you have only one presentation in the end.

Linked presentations

I personally prefer linked presentations. It provides the following benefits:

  • Each presentation is independent from the main one, therefore it can be modified until the last minute without putting the main presentation in jeopardy
  • Each presentation can be mailed independently
  • Each presentation can have a different format, background, and still retain those without any risks

The only inconvenience is you will need to link those presentations to the main one and use hyperlinks to move from one to the other. But as you will see, once understood, this is really a piece of cake.

Linking the presentations together

As an example, let’s create an agenda with two speakers and therefore two linked presentations, as shown in the screenshot below.

We will link the two following presentations to the agenda. As you can see, formats are different (by the way, you probably now it’s better to have the same format between presentation for a give conference, however, sometimes, it may not be possible or too late to make amendment, this feature of linked presentation will therefore be really useful).

In the main presentation, you select the first bullet point, right click and chose Hyperlink. In the Insert Hyperlink window, pick the presentation you want, in this case The power of words.pptx.

To be able to make the presentations movable to another machine, you need to use relative addressing, this means you need to delete the folder tree before the file name. This means all presentations will need to be in the same folder. If you forgot to do this, PowerPoint will look for the absolute address, meaning the exact same folder hierarchy. If you use the machine on which you create the main presentation, this won’t be a problem. However, if you use another machine, this can prove to be challenging. So put all the presentations in the same folder and get rid of the absolute addressing by deleting the folder hierarchy in the Address text box. Then click OK.

You will now notice your text has become an hyperlink that will be clickable during presentation. Note that you can create hyperlinks on text as well as on images.

Running the linked presentations

When you are in presentation mode, by moving your mouse over the first title of the agenda, you will notice the mouse pointer changing so you can click on it.

By clicking on the link, the presentation opens. Now, the beauty of this feature is that when the linked presentation ends, you automatically come back to the agenda slide. You can then proceed to the second presentation, then move on to the next slide when the second presentation ends.

With this technique, you can link any document, web page or presentation and keep your presentation slim and powerful.

Creating a template with PowerPoint – Part 2 of 2

Last week, we look at how to create a custom layout for your PowerPoint presentation. This week, we close this topic by making this custom layout a template that you can reuse to create new presentations or apply to existing ones.

Every element is part of the template

There are generally two types of templates: one that just contains the slide master and layouts, one that adds slides that forms the skeleton of your new presentation. The first type seems obvious, it’s just a template for creating an empty slide deck with predefined formatting. The second does the same and adds slides to the new presentation to save time. Whatever kind of template you are going to save, keep in mind that all elements: slide master, layouts, slides, handout master, notes master, will be saved in the template. Therefore, a PowerPoint template is a pretty comprehensive document. If you want a professional presentation, ensure you customize all those elements.

Once ready, just click File and Save As, then choose PowerPoint Template (*.potx) in the file type dropdown list. DO NOT press the Save button yet. Look at the message appearing below the More options… link. It says: We recommend another folder for the type of files you’ve selected, then there’s a link Go to recommended folder… Note that in the Save As dialog, you need to select again PowerPoint Template in the Save as type dropdown list and give a name to your template, then hit the Save button.

The recommended folder is actually one that is called Custom Office Template under you Documents folder. Your templates need to be saved here if you want to find them with the following procedure.

It’s becoming Personal

Once your potx file is saved in the Custom Office Template, you can use it to create a new presentation. Start PowerPoint or click File then New, and you will see the option PERSONAL under the Search text box.

By clicking this option, you will be presented your own templates found in the above mentioned folder. Select it, click Create and you now have a brand new presentation using the template you created.

All the templates you will create in PowerPoint, Word or Excel will be saved in the same folder for convenience reasons. Note that you can have templates saved in other locations, but they will not appear in the New window under the Personal option.

Templates are a great time saver when you want to create consistent presentations. Go for them, you saw how easy it is!

How to create a reusable template with PowerPoint

You have created a wonderful presentation in PowerPoint and you would like to use it as a template for future presentations (same applies to other apps like Word for instance). You can transform this presentation into a template. However, you need first to understand the slide master concept.

One Master to rule all the Layouts

Open this PowerPoint presentation you want to save as a template, then go to the View tab and click Slide Master. You should have something that looks like the screenshot below.

This is basically the template of your presentation, its underlying structure. If you make modification to any of the slides layout, it will reflect in all your presentation slides. For instance, like changing the font, the color, or adding a graphical element.

Notice the hierarchy in the left pane. The first slide at the top is the slide master and the below slides are called layouts. Each slide of your presentation depends on a specific layout, we will come to this in a minute. Yet, the Slide Master (the first at the top) defines the common elements to all below layouts. Change the color of the title of the Slide Master, all layout title will change accordingly. There’s an exception to this: if you update the color of the title of a specific layout as individual modification on a layout always takes precedence to the Slide Master. For instance: try changing the title color of the first layout, then change the Slide Master title color, you will see the new color does apply to all layouts except the first one which keeps its own color.

You can have multiple Master Slides and layouts, which is a nice feature when you cut and paste slides from various presentations. In that case, all pasted slides comes with their layouts if you “Keep Source Formatting”. In the creation of a template, for consistency and size of the file, do not create multiple Slide Masters, add new layouts if need be and Rename them with something meaningful. A meaningful name will be useful when you apply a template to a slide of your presentation.

Layout template to slide relationship

In Normal view, right click on the slide you want to apply a layout to in the Slides tab on the left, point on Layout and chose the right layout, as chosen below.

You can work on each slide master and each layout to finalize your template. Note that you can change the Handout master and the Notes master as well if you intend to create a printable version of your presentation. Very useful to leave to your audience.

In the next episode, we will see how to save and reuse your template.

PowerPoint – Saving as picture

PowerPoint is the tools of the Office suite designed to create and deliver digital presentations. It’s very easy to add bullet points, various texts and a variety of shapes to enhance slides. It’s also very easy to insert pictures, coming from the web or from your own collection. If it’s common knowledge that a picture is worth a thousand words, you will see below how to use PowerPoint to create pictures from slides, in a matter of one click.

There are two ways to create pictures from slides. If the results is an image file, the content of this file will be slightly different between the two methods. Let’s look at them.

Saving a PowerPoint slide as a picture

The first way is simply to do a File, Save or Save As and chose from the Save as type drop down a picture file format, like in the screen shot below, JPEG.

PowerPoint Save As dialog box showing picture file type

Note you can create GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, Bitmap, and WMF.

Whether your presentation contains one or more slides, PowerPoint will ask you if you want to create one picture per slide or just the slide that was on screen when you click File, Save.

PowerPoint Dialog box asking whether to save on slide or all slides as picture(s)

If you chose All Slides, PowerPoint will create a folder, naming it the File name you chose in the previous Dialog, and will create one file per slide, naming each Slide followed by its number in the slideware.

If you chose Just This One, PowerPoint will create one file with the name you chose in the previous Dialog.

Saving just the selection as picture

In the previous method, the whole slide is saved as a picture. But what if you would like to save only a part of a slide, for instance only what you select?

  1. Select what you want to save as a picture (you can use Ctrl-A if you want to select the whole content of a slide)
  2. Right-click you selection
  3. Click Save As Picture
  4. You will now get to input your file name and choose its format. Note that the list is limited to picture format now.

Differences between the two methods

Saving the presentation (whether you choose one slide or all the slides) as a picture, saves each full slide as a picture. If, like in the example below, the background of the slide appears around the content, the background will appear in the picture.

An example of a full PowerPoint slide saved as picture

Now, if I had just selected the photo and the text, and had applied the Save As Picture method, I would only get what I selected as the picture content.

An example of a selection saved as picture

Both methods have their merits, both are easy to create enhanced pictures with text or just use PowerPoint to create cool pics.