Four tips to make it easier when collaborating on the creation of a presentation; Issue #136 June 12, 2007

PowerPoint Tip – Collaborating on Presentations

In my consulting work, I get a chance to collaborate on developing presentations with people in many different geographic locations. Sometimes it is face-to-face and other times it is done virtually. Collaborating on presentations instead of doing it yourself is becoming more common. Today I have some tips for making collaboration work no matter if you are in the same room or oceans apart.

Tip #1 Get on the same version
If at all possible, everyone should work on the same version of PowerPoint that will be used to present with. I had a situation earlier this year with a client where their older version of PowerPoint did not support some of the animation and transparency features that I had used in designing the slides. In this case I had to design down to the version they were using.

Tip #2 Use viewer if necessary
One solution to different versions of PowerPoint being used is to use the PowerPoint Viewer to be able to see the presentation as it has been designed. The Viewer is available for download from Microsoft and will allow you to show the latest features even if you have an older version of the full PowerPoint program.

Tip #3 Keep Updated
Make sure that everyone on the team has updated their version of PowerPoint with the latest service packs from Microsoft. I recently had a client that kept seeing a black box around some graphics I had created. It turned out that it was because I was using a transparent background in the graphic and without the service pack, it would not appear properly. Once they updated their PowerPoint, everything looked fine.

Tip #4 Meet via the Web
One of the best investments I made last year was signing up for a web meeting tool. It allows me to schedule a web meeting to review slides or to spontaneously show examples to a client who has just called me. Last year I completed a project that had people in the U.S. and the U.K. and myself in Canada where we never met each other in person. It was all done via web meetings and they were thrilled at the way it worked at the time and cost savings. You can check out the service I use at

Don’t be concerned the next time you have to collaborate with colleagues on a presentation. Follow good presentation practices, like setting goals and preparing an outline before you start, and use the above tips to make the creation run smoothly.