Issue #97 November 15, 2005

PPT - Inserting Pictures

Is there a "correct" way to insert a picture on a PowerPoint(R) slide? Yes, there actually is. First, let me share the incorrect way - unfortunately this is the way that far too many people use. The wrong way to insert a picture on a slide is to copy and paste it from another place, whether that is a photo viewer, graphics program or any other application. Why is this the wrong way? Let me illustrate with a recent example. Richard Peterson, my good friend and North America's Presentation Coach, sent me a file he had trouble with. It was from one of his clients and at least half of the pictures were replaced with a white rectangle that said that QuickTime was needed to view the pictures. After some research, I figured out that they had used Copy & Paste to insert the pictures on a Mac platform. When you Copy & Paste on a Mac, it embeds Quicktime parts into the picture on the PowerPoint(R) slide. This can cause problems as we discovered. But it is not just a cross platform issue either. Copy & Paste is probably responsible for files being so large due to high resolution pictures being inserted using that method. So now you know what not to do, what should you do. Instead of Copy & Paste, save the picture in a file (the JPG format seems to be the best compromise between quality and file size for presentations). Then clean it up, crop it and resize & resample it so that you have a picture that is clear and a file that is as small as it can be. Make sure you save this cleaned up picture to a new file name so you don't lose the original picture file. You don't need fancy software to do this, just use the free tools we have previously discussed, such as Picasa and IrfanView. Then, on your slide, click Insert -> Picture -> From File. Select the newly saved file and click OK. Now you will have the picture on your slide and can do any final adjustments necessary. You also have a presentation that will run quickly and move easily between computers so others can see exactly what you intended.