Issue #83 May 3, 2005

1. PPT - Template Searching

It amazes me how popular it is to search for a pre-made PowerPoint template. In fact, searching for a template or background is second only to searching for the term PowerPoint! There is a whole industry now dedicated to creating and selling PowerPoint templates. This obsession with templates disturbs me because there seems to be this misconception that if I just get the right look to my slides, the message will be great. Hogwash! Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, your slides need to be attractive and not ugly, but content is way more important than look. If people would invest the time working on structuring their message, finding good backup for each key point and practicing their delivery, we would not have so many bad PowerPoint presentations. Now this viewpoint is not going to endear me to the PowerPoint template industry, but I think it is important for our audiences. Many of these fancy backgrounds include multiple images which look "cool", but only end up distracting the audience from the key text or graphics. And it causes the audience to spend too much time looking at the screen and less time focusing on the presenter, who should be the most important element of any presentation. I recently wrote an article on this issue and described how you can quickly create a simple template for your slides that is attractive and not distracting. Then you have more time to structure your message and end up with a better presentation at the end. You can read the whole article on the web site at: http://tinyurl.com/cpybv

2. Compress Outlook folder

If you are like me, you deal with hundreds of e-mails each day. And this makes your Outlook mail folder grow quickly. When it comes time to do a backup (which you should be doing regularly), this file is too large to fit on a single CD. In order to get the file size down to a reasonable level, Outlook has a utility to compress the folder to allow for easier backups. I recently did this on my main mailbox folder and found that it reduced the size by almost 20%. Beware that it can take a long time, possibly two hours or more in some cases, so plan to do it overnight. In Outlook 2002, the steps are as follows: Click on Tools->Options to display the Options dialog box. Click on the Mail Setup tab. Click on the Data Files button to display the Outlook Data Files dialog box. Click on the data file you want to compress (your main data file is usually named Personal Folders). Then click on the Settings button to display the dialog box for that folder. On this dialog box, click on the Compact Now button to begin the compacting. I hope this helps if you use Outlook.

3. Useful Resource - View/Print a calendar

If you need to view or print a calendar for virtually any country or year, this website will be a resource you have been looking for. I have used it to look up public holidays in other countries when planning trips and it is a handy full year calendar with holidays for your desk or bulletin board. Check it out at: http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/