Issue #34 June 10, 2003

1. Printing Black & White PowerPoint handouts

One of the most common questions I get when doing PowerPoint presentations or workshops is how do you get your handouts to print so nicely in black and white. If you accept the default print options in PowerPoint, a dark background with light text ends up looking awful when printed on a black and white printer. This is one of the ideas I cover in my “The 20% You REALLY Need To Know About PowerPoint” books (see the link above to buy the 2000 or 2002 version). One suggestion I saw recently had you creating two different PowerPoint files with different color schemes in each – no way should you waste your time with that approach. When you go to print your handouts, select the “Pure Black and White” checkbox in PowerPoint 97 or 2000 or select the “Pure black and white” option in the Color/grayscale drop down list in PowerPoint 2002. What this option does is convert the background to white and the text into black. All graphics are printed using grayscale. If your slides have mostly text on them, this is the best option. If your slides have a lot of graphics, test the grayscale or pure black and white settings to see which looks best.

2. USB hard drives

One of the neatest devices to recently become popular is a USB hard drive. This is a small device that looks like a large eraser that plugs into the USB port of your computer and acts like a disk drive on your system. Using the USB standard allows you to plug into any computer and not have to install any special software. The device does not actually contain a traditional hard drive, but it contains memory chips that are set up to act as a disk drive. You can use one of these devices as a quick backup drive or for sharing files. One use is to put your presentation on the USB drive and take it with you as a backup in case your computer stops working. You can buy these devices now at almost any computer or electronics store and they come in various sizes. To help decide what size you need, look at what size files you will want to use it with (your presentation files and any applications or utilities you will need). Then select a device that is slightly larger than the total size of the files you will want to use it with.

3. Useful Resource – MS Office discussion board

When you are stumped by a computer problem, you need help now and it would be great to have a tech support resource always available. The Web allows this through discussion groups (like Google Groups I talked about in a past issue) and discussion boards. One discussion board to check out is the Woody’s Office discussion board at Here you can find answers to many perplexing questions and it may just be the solution to the MS Office problem you are having.