Issue #55 March 30, 2004

1. Restoring PowerPoint Slide Layout

Have you ever copied a slide from one PowerPoint presentation to another and then found it doesn't look like the other slides you created? It is not aligned quite like the others and now you have to manually try to correct it. Last year I had a client that ran into this problem all the time. One person created the slides, then another was to put it into the corporate template. They would spend a lot of time struggling with the reformatting until I showed them that there is an easier way. Whenever you create a new slide, you are prompted to select the slide layout for the new slide (in a dialog box in PowerPoint 2000 or earlier, in the Slide Layout task pane in PowerPoint 2002 or above). The Slide Layout specifies the generic layout for the slide - whether there is a body text box, columns, etc. Well, you can reapply the slide layout to an existing slide if you want to. This will reset the text boxes and graphics to the default positions on the slide. This is also very useful if you accidentally move the body or title text boxes and need to reset them to the default positions. Just click on the Format menu item and click on the Slide Layout menu item. Then you can select the slide layout from the dialog box or task pane. It may ask you if you want to reapply the layout and you can confirm your choice. In PowerPoint 2002 and above, there is a drop down arrow on the right of the slide layout icon which allows you to reapply the layout to reset the positions.

2. Conditional Totals in Excel

Do you ever wish you could total a column in Excel but only total those items that meet a specific criteria? I need to do this when I analyze my business to see what proportion comes from my workshops, my consulting and my product sales. I used to use the subtotal function after I had sorted the data. This required me to sort the data out of the order I otherwise want to keep it in. Sorting can sometimes make some formulas go wacky, causing bigger problems in the spreadsheet. But there is an easier solution built into one of the Excel functions. The function SUMIF allows a sum of a column based on a criteria in that or another column. You can check out the Excel help file explanation or here is a quick summary of how it works. The format is SUMIF(Range,Criteria,SumRange). The Range is the range with the values in it that you want to compare the criteria to - for example the column listing the type of work I did for each invoice. The Criteria is the value to look for in the Range - in my example it is the code I use to represent a particular type of work, such as product sales. The SumRange is an optional argument and is the range of cells that you want to add up. If you omit the SumRange it totals the numbers in the Range. In my case the SumRange is the invoice amount for each job I do. Using SUMIF, I can pick out only those jobs of a certain type and total the revenue from that type of work. This has allowed me to analyze my past results and focus my attention on those areas I want to grow.

3. Useful Resource -

If you have ever had a problem with your computer (what am I saying "if" - like we haven't all had some problem, usually at the exact wrong time), you know how frustrating it can be to get through to a technical support person when you need an answer right away. And most tech support numbers these days involve costs, from the cost of the call, to 1-900 numbers to the company taking your credit card as soon as they answer the phone. Well, here is a web site that just might help you out of a bind one day. This web site offers free technical support forums that may have just the answer you need - quicker and cheaper than the manufacturer tech support line. Check it out at: