1. Turning Photos into a PowerPoint show

A subscriber recently asked me if there was a way to easily create a PowerPoint show of the digital pictures from his daughter's wedding. PowerPoint is a great way to share photos from any special occasion. Even funeral homes are starting to see families create self-running shows to honor a loved one. PowerPoint 2002 and higher has a feature that makes this very easy. In a new slide show, click on the Insert menu item, click on the Picture menu option and click on New Photo Album from the sub-menu. This will take you to a dialog box where you can select pictures from your hard disk, set up each picture the way you like it, and then when you click the Create button, it creates a slide for each picture. Now you have a PowerPoint show you can save and send to others or set up to run in a loop at a family gathering. This is one of the techniques that I will be including in a new product I am working on this fall. It is a series of video tutorials on advanced techniques in PowerPoint. I'd really like to hear what you think of this, so I have posted the video tutorial for this technique on my web site as a sneak preview for all of my subscribers. I'd ask that if you have a moment, you go and view the tutorial, then click on the link on that page to send me your comments. Go to: http://www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/resources.htm

2. Using the arrow keys

The arrow keys are some of the most useful keys on the keyboard that many people don't use nearly as much as they could. I was just doing some consulting with one of my clients last Friday and this came up again when he saw me use the arrow keys and asked what I was doing. One use of the arrow keys is for highlighting text in Word, PowerPoint or just about any program that includes text. Simply use the arrow keys to navigate to where you want to go in the document. Press and hold the Shift key down and use the arrows keys to highlight the text you want. Then you can apply formatting to the text, copy it, type over it or delete it. But that's not all you can do with the arrow keys. They are also very useful when dealing with graphical objects such as clip art, lines, text boxes or photographs. If you want to move one of these graphical objects, click on it with your mouse, then use the arrow keys to move it around. If you want to move the object pixel by pixel, you can hold the Ctrl key down and use the arrow keys to move the object a small amount at a time. I use this regularly in Word and PowerPoint to move a graphic into the exact spot I want it to be in. But yes, there's more (sorry, do I sound like a bad infomercial?). The Alt+DownArrow key combination will drop down a list of options in a drop-down field in a form, dialog box or web site. When doing data entry in forms, this can save a lot of time from having to go back to the mouse each time to drop down the list of options. There you have it, the amazing things you can do with the arrow keys.

3. AVI video editing software

If you use Windows and are starting to explore adding video to your presentations, you will need to get video editing software that handles AVI movies (the default video format on Windows). There are many expensive packages out there, but I have found one that you may want to check out. While I have not used it, I have heard good things about it, and for the cost of the download, you would be wise to consider it. See this site for details: http://sourceforge.net/projects/virtualdub/