Temzy’s Tech Corner: How to Make Your Next PowerPoint Presentation Lit (Part 2 Of 3)


In the first part of this “trilogy” (Link: Part 1 of 3), the presentation proper was discussed. Without further ado, we’ll pick off right from there with the more interactive phases of the presentation.

  1. Use of a temporary or permanent LASER pointer: You do not need to buy an accessory pointer to draw your audiences’ attention to different aspects of your slide if you are beside your PC. If you want to use the inbuilt pointer at any point during your presentation for a short amount of time, hold the CTRL key, left-click and drag your mouse around. Once you release the CTRL key, the pointer gets hidden. However, suppose you want the pointer to be displayed throughout the presentation. In that case, you can either right-click on the slide show, select “Pointer Options”, then “Laser Pointer”, or simply click the pointer icon and select “Laser Pointer” (If in presenter view).
  2. Use of a blank Black/White screen: At any point during your presentation, if you wish to stop viewers from seeing your presentation TEMPORARILY without making changes to the slide, e.g. for a lunch break, to give exam instructions or to answer an unrelated question, you can display either a black screen by pressing or white screen by pressing either ‘B” or “W” keys respectively. Pressing either of them the second time would resume your presentation at the slide you left it. This method saves you the drama of covering up the projector or disconnecting it.
  3. Navigation between slides: If during a Q&A session, you are asked to refer to a particular slide number, instead of pressing the up/down key up to 15 times, you can quickly type the number (e.g. 47) followed by “ENTER” to get to the desired slide instantly, from anywhere in your slide show. You can also press “HOME” to return to the beginning of the slide show or “END” to get to the end.

The key to any good presentation, however starts from its preparation. One can tell just how skillful a presenter is at using Microsoft PowerPoint from the appearance and arrangement of the slides alone. Like in an advertisement, “it is not what you say, but how you say it”. Hence the focus of this second part would be about making great slides in the first place. Below are some tips and lessons. I would run through some basics, but I would focus on things most people do not know.

  1. Have your content first: It is pretty easy to get carried away with designing your slide, putting colour, changing font sizes, etc., only to find out you are still on slide #5 after spending two hours. Focus on putting all you want in the slide first. When that is done, edit away!
  2. Layout: Depending on the content, slides might need to vary. Some layouts are better for pictures, some for titles and some, like the “Two content” are good for saving space. Aside the method used below, you can also access slide layout by right-clicking that particular slide tile at the leftmost part of the screen.

Figure 1: Layouts can help save space and improve readability


  1. Design (Use of templates/themes): It is common knowledge that they are handy in saving time. Users can access them on the ribbon at the top of the presentation. However, you can tweak these themes to your taste. Click on “Variants” to the right of the themes, to adjust features like colour, font and background. Under format background, you can even “hide background graphics” for slides you want to appear plain for specific content.

Figure 2: You can use multiple themes within the same project

One thing you may not be familiar with is that though when you pick a theme, it applies to the entire presentation, you can also use multiple themes for the same project by selecting the desired slides holding down the “ctrl” key then right-clicking on the desired theme and selecting “apply to selected slides”. You might have a particular theme you’ve fallen in love with and wish to make it a trademark. To make it default, right-click on that theme and select “Set as default theme”. It would then be available for slideshows in future.


  1. Slide Size: This can address the common complaint of a “projector cutting the edges of a presentation”. It can be accessed under “Design”, at the top right corner. Older projectors use a standard ratio of (4:3) while newer ones and modern flatscreen TVs use widescreen (16:9) so where the slides are going to be presented should be kept in mind when making your presentation.
  2. Transitions vs Animations: In brief, Transitions apply to one slide within the entire slideshow, while Animations are used for all the content within a particular slide. The key thing to note with these is using “effect options” as they would enable you to personalise the chosen transition or animation better. You can also edit features like the duration of the effect, apply the effect to all slides using “Apply to all” and control how the slide would advance,

Figure 3: Using “Effect options” would make a unique array of effects

One of the essential things about Animations is the order in which they appear. Be it text, charts or images, everything on a particular slide is assigned numbers, indicating the order in which they would appear in your presentation. Access this order by clicking on “Animation Pane.” From that list, you can use commands like “start with previous” to enable two items to appear together, “start on click” to decide if you want the animation to start once the slide appears or wait for your click, “delay” and “timing” to emphasize aspects of your slide, boosting the focus of your audience as shown below.

Figure 4: The animation pane is the most useful feature in animations

There are many features to note as regarding Microsoft PowerPoint so keep in mind that this is a summary, highlighting the most important things to note before starting your next project. You can access the link to the first article by clicking HERE. I would conclude this series with the following article, so watch out for it. Bella ciao.

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