Issue #128 February 20, 2007

PowerPoint Tip: Protecting Your Slides from Changes

You have spent a long time getting your slides just right - everything is in place, colors work, animation builds to emphasize the key points and visuals speak louder than text. Now you have to send it to a colleague or distribute it to others. The risk is that all that work will be for naught when someone else decides to change something on the slide. I have spoken and done consulting in the investment management industry where compliance is a large concern and the risk of slides being changed is a real threat. Other industries have similar compliance risks. Even if you don't have a compliance issue, the risk of your carefully crafted message or visuals being altered and an important client not getting the right message can be even more scary. Just telling people not to change the slides doesn't work. There are a couple of things you can do to reduce or prevent changes. First, use the grouping feature to lock the positions of graphical elements. I use this for callout boxes or arrows to make sure that the element of a visual that the callout is highlighting does not change. I have also used this to lock the relative positions of pictures and names of people to make sure someone's name or picture does not get accidentally moved or deleted. The second thing you can do is to lock all the content on a slide. The easiest way to do this is to save each slide as a PNG graphic file. Then, create a new presentation and import each graphic file as a slide. The slides look like your original presentation, but they have no individual elements that can be changed because the entire slide is a single graphic. You do lose any builds on the slide with this technique, but you can get around that by creating separate slides instead of building on a single slide. I have also used this technique when sending slides to people who view them on a handheld device like a Blackberry or Treo because I have found that the visuals tend to look better by using graphics as the slides. I cover more details on protecting your slide content in my ebook "Guide to Advanced PowerPoint Techniques", which contains 26 techniques that weren't included in Prentice Hall's "Guide to PowerPoint". You can get the advanced techniques ebook at http://www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com/guidetoadvppt.htm . If you haven't purchased "Guide to PowerPoint", learn more and get your copy at http://www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com/guidetoppt.htm .