Issue #79 March 8, 2005

1. PPT - Excel screen shot

If you have to show numeric data from Excel on PowerPoint slides, you will be interested in this tip. Many times we want to use a table of data from Excel on a slide. If you simply select the cells in Excel, copy the selection and paste it into PowerPoint, you will get a PowerPoint table that may or may not look like the table of data that you want. It may reformat the figures, change the layout or do other things that you don't want it to do. Wouldn't it be nice if we could take a picture of the cells instead of copying them into a PowerPoint table? Well, you can. To do so you use a little know feature of Excel called Copy Picture. Here's how it works. First, select the cells in Excel that you want to copy. Then, hold the Shift key down and click on the Edit menu. You will see some new options, including the Copy Picture option. Click on the Copy Picture option and it opens a small dialog box asking you what appearance to copy (select screen) and what format you want to copy it in (select Picture), then click OK. It now copies the selected cells as a picture to the Windows clipboard. Now switch over to PowerPoint and paste the picture of the cells into your slide. You will see exactly what you saw in Excel. Now that you have the cells as a picture, they can be sized and recolored just like any other picture. Recoloring the picture of the cells allows you to change the text or line colors to match your slide look (the Recolor button is in the Format Picture dialog box which can be selected by right-clicking on the picture once it is on your slide). Try this technique the next time you want to display a table from Excel on a PowerPoint slide.

2. Gaining space on hard drive

In today's era of huge hard drives, why would you need to worry about running out of space? Well, it is a problem that you may face quicker than you thought due to the size of media files these days. I have recently been cleaning files off my hard drive since my laptop only has a 15GB hard drive. One of the techniques I use is to search for large files to delete, since deleting a few large, unused files can save space quicker than deleting hundreds of smaller files. To find large files, I use the Windows Explorer program that you use to look at the file directories on your system (access it by clicking on the Start button, click on My Computer, then click on your hard drive letter (usually C)). In the top toolbar, there should be a Search button. Click on the Search button to bring up the Search task pane. Select that you want to search for All files and folders. Click on the What size is it? option. I usually look for really large files, so I click on the Specify Size radio button and enter at least 4000KB (four thousand KB is about 4MB). I also restrict the search to the directories where my data files would be. You don't want to search through program files (usually in the Program Files directory) since you never want to delete those files. To restrict the search to a single directory, click on the drop down arrow beside the Look in selection box and click on the Browse... option. This allows you to select which directory you want to search (ie. My Documents). The search will return a list of all files that are larger than 4,000 KB. These files are likely the ones that are hogging space on your hard drive. You can delete them if you don't need them any more. Or you can copy them to a CD or diskette for safe keeping in case you need to refer to them later. I recently used this technique to find a 990 MB file that was left when I aborted a video capture. Deleting that file sure freed up a lot of space! When you have deleted your files, make sure you wait a few days before emptying the Recycled Bin (where deleted files go) to make sure you don't need them again.

3. Useful Resource - Design courses on About.com

One of the things I am working on this year is more formally upgrading my skills in graphic design. I already know a fair bit from what I have done and read, but I think there is never a point where you can stop learning. In my quest for resources, I came across a good set of basic lessons on design that I think anyone could benefit from. It is written from the print design perspective, but you can adapt it to PowerPoint quite easily. It is part of the About web sites. Here's the link to the starting point for the lessons: http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/graphicdesign/a/designbasics.htm