1. Aligning objects in PowerPoint

When I have more than one text or graphic object on a slide, I always find it hard to line them up perfectly. I just can't seem to do it by hand, and I am never really sure whether they are perfectly aligned. I was just trying to do this last week for a client. I was arranging two rows of photos of their staff on a slide and needed to have the photos lined up horizontally and vertically so it didn't look all jagged. When I have this need, I use the built in object alignment feature of PowerPoint. To use this feature, you select each object to be aligned in one of two ways. You can select the first object by clicking on it and then holding the Ctrl key down while clicking on the other objects. Or, you can select the arrow cursor in the lower left corner of the screen on the Drawing toolbar and draw a selection rectangle around the objects (when you use this method, make sure all of the objects you want have been selected and none of the other objects have been selected by mistake). Once the objects have been selected, click on the Draw item in the Draw toolbar and select the Align or Distribute menu option. This opens a sub-menu that gives you the options for alignment - you can align the objects on the left or right side or the center of each object or you can align them with the top, middle or bottom of each object aligned. This sub-menu also has options for evenly distributing object on a slide. If you want to evenly space three objects across the slide for example, you click on the Relative to Slide option in the sub-menu first, then click the distribution option you want. In the work last week, I aligned the photos by having the top of each photo aligned with the rest of the photos in that row, then aligned the column of photos by the center of each photo - it looks great. This technique gives you professionally aligned or distributed objects every time.

2. Word Spell Check Indicator

The Office Letter newsletter (at http://www.officeletter.com) had a great tip on using the spell checker in Word that I have adapted for this tip. My typing is not very accurate, so I end up with spelling mistakes all the time and I rely heavily on the spell checker in Word to help me out. You can tell where the spelling mistakes are by looking for the red squiggly lines under a word. I usually scroll down through the document looking for those red squiggly lines and then right-click on the word to find out the possible correct spellings. If it is a longer document though, it is easy to miss one as you scroll through so many pages of text. Well, there is another way to correct the spelling mistakes. There is a spell check icon in the bottom status bar of Word. It looks like a small book and is almost all the way to the right side of the status bar. If you see a red "X" on that book, it means Word has detected one or more spelling mistakes in the document (a checkmark means all is OK). If you double click on that book icon with the "X" on it, Word's spell check feature opens up and it takes you to the first misspelled word and gives you suggestions as if you had gone there and right-clicked on the word. You can then select the correct spelling or skip to the next misspelled word. If you have the grammar checking option turned on, it also stops at those green squiggly lines to give the opportunity to correct those errors as well. I personally do not have the grammar checker turned on automatically because I find it gives too many suggested errors that are not errors at all, but many of you probably find it useful. Try using the spell check icon in the status bar next time you need to correct spelling errors in a longer document.

3. Useful Resource - Indezine PowerPoint directory

One of the most useful (& most visited) web sites on PowerPoint is the one run by Geetesh Bajaj at http://www.indezine.com. Recently he added a great new section which is a directory of everything PowerPoint. If there is a PowerPoint resource out there, you will find it on his new directory. The list is broken into categories such as Design, Training, Consultants and so much more. Check out all the resources available at: http://www.indezine.com/services/index.html