Issue #81 April 5, 2005

1. PPT - Easily Duplicate Object

When you are drawing a diagram, do you spend a lot of time reformatting each object? I have found a way to save a bunch of time when creating similar objects. Let's use a common example. I am drawing a process diagram that has 8 boxes, all should be formatted to look the same since they each represent a step in the process. I create the first box and get the size, color and font to look exactly the way I want. Now I need to create the next seven boxes. I could copy and paste each one, but the paste routine in PowerPoint positions the object on top of the one you are copying. It makes it hard to grab the right object and move it to a new position. Here's an easier technique. Position your cursor over the object you want to copy, in this case my perfectly formatted box. Hold the Control key down and click you left mouse button down and drag the object to the spot you want it to be in. This creates a copy of the object in the new spot. In this way, I can create the other seven boxes in their correct position quickly and easily. Then I just need to edit the text of each of the copied objects if necessary. Try this Ctrl-drag technique next time you have to duplicate objects on a slide. It works with most types of objects such as text boxes, shapes and inserted graphics.

2. Questions to Ask on Technology Purchases

New technologies are introduced every week and we are tempted to buy the latest and greatest. The marketing promises may sound like you absolutely NEED this latest item. Before you do your research on the different brands and how they meet your needs, ask these questions to see if you should even spend the time investigating. First: What will this add to my productivity, reduce my costs or increase my income? If you are buying it to keep up with someone else or be "cool", don't waste your money. The only justification for purchasing new technology in my opinion is that is will measurably add to something you need to do. When I looked at purchasing a voice recorder last year I justified it because I record my presentations and review them for ways to improve. Second: Am I getting the best value at this store? Include service and support in the equation. The lowest purchase price may have the biggest hassle factor if something goes wrong. While some may say that buying an extended warranty is a waste of money, mine came in handy last year when my laptop needed a new motherboard - it saved me double what the warranty cost me. Third: What is my plan to use this new technology? Have you planned your training on how to use the new technology and planned how you will form a habit of using it. If not, it will gather dust and not deliver the benefits you identified above.

3. Useful Resource -

This web site was suggested by one of the newsletter subscribers, Lily. It is a great site to get stock photography for inexpensive prices. They have a great selection and it costs only a few dollars to download a photo that fits what you need. I used it recently in getting just the right photo for a Student Entrepreneur of the Year presentation I was assisting on. Check it out at: