Custom PowerPoint Design Tips Roundup

PowerPoint Design Tips

Summer’s a great time for brushing up on your custom PowerPoint design skills. So whether you are sitting on the beach or stuck in the office, here’s a roundup of some of our favorites to get you started:

Repeat Your Last Edit with the F4 Key

Hitting the F4 key will repeat your last edit whatever it may be. This is especially useful for edits that take a number of shortcut keys. Say for instance you are inserting a certain symbol repeatedly; instead of ALT I + S + INSERT and or cutting or pasting you can just put your cursor where you want and keep hitting the F4 key. You only have to do the first edit manually, and from there you can just use the F4 key to ‘do it again’. This is helpful in a lot of different ways (experiment!) and will help reduce your carpal tunnel syndrome.

Putting Text in a Perfect Circle

Curved text can be very helpful in constructing infographic-style diagrams within your PowerPoint documents. In the past, achieving curved text used to require producing artwork in an outside program like Adobe Illustrator, which meant that making changes was a cumbersome process requiring special software. Thankfully, new versions of PowerPoint have included a user-friendly tool for constructing editable text set on a curve.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Type something in a text box
  2. Go To Format -> Text Effects -> Transform -> Follow Path -> Circle
  3. Go To Format -> Size -> Set Height/Width to the Same Values -> Adjust Font Size

Easily Fix Misspelled ALL CAPS Titles and Text

If you are working in a presentation with ALL CAPS titles and subtitles for slides, do yourself a favor and make sure PowerPoint’s spell check feature is not ignoring CAPITALIZED words. Use the following steps to ensure the feature is turned on:

  1. Select the FILE tab 
  2. Select OPTIONS (near bottom of list)
  3. Select PROOFING
  4. Then uncheck “Ignore words in UPPERCASE”

Now you’ll be receiving a hint that capitalized words are possibly misspelled and your slide titles and subtitles (often the first thing noticed on a slide) won’t contain embarrassing misspellings!

Ctrl+Shift+C, Ctrl+Shift+V: Copy, Paste (Text and Shape Styles)

Try this PowerPoint trick: Highlight some bulleted text that has some formatting you like. Hit ‘Ctrl+Shift+C’ to copy the formatting into the clipboard (nothing visible will happen). Now select the text that you want to format in the same way, and hit ‘Ctrl+Shift+V’. The formatting you copied will be applied to the selected text. Magic!  This also works for shapes. Use the same steps but click the outer edge of the element you want to ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ it to your new shape.

Save Time with SET AS DEFAULT Settings

When you are just making a few edits to an existing file, you’ll notice that any new object you draw (e.g., a box or a connector line) doesn’t look right. Sometimes every line you draw will have an odd-looking arrowhead, or every box you draw has a funny bevel effect. It’s easy enough to modify those things, but if you need to fix every single object after you draw it, you can lose critical time (and patience!).

Instead, try this helpful tip: once you fix the first object, RIGHT-CLICK on it, and select SET AS DEFAULT SHAPE from the menu that appears. This forces PowerPoint to update the default settings for the file you are working on. As you draw new shapes from that point forward, they will have the same styles as the object you set as the default.

The good news is that this can save you a lot of time, but even better – since PowerPoint saves those settings within that specific file – you’ll be saving time for any colleagues you share the file with also!

How to Crop Pictures to Any Shape

You may have inserted pictures into PowerPoint a thousand times, but have you ever tried to crop the picture to any shape you want right in PowerPoint? Here’s what to do:

Step 1: Insert the desired picture using the INSERT > PICTURE command. Step 2: Select the picture, and from the Picture toolbar, click the DOWN ARROW under the CROP tool to reveal more options. Mouse over the CROP TO SHAPE menu and select a shape from the menu that appears. The shortcoming of this method is that you can only crop the picture to shapes that come with PowerPoint; but it is a lot easier than using image editing software like Photoshop to get a nice effect! (Note: this command works in PowerPoint v2007 and above.)

Hope you’ve enjoyed our custom PowerPoint design tips roundup. For more on slide design, get in touch with us to organize a training session for your team. Our unique teaching program, developed by our staff of PowerPoint design specialists, shows you how to create effective slides (not just how to use PowerPoint). We give you the secrets to making slides that are easy to understand and sure to get you the results you want.

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