1. PPT - Animate multiple objects
There are times when you want to animate multiple objects on a slide at the same time. For example, sometimes I will have a diagram where I want to emphasize three spots on the diagram using circles that show the important areas. If I animate each circle one at a time, I have to click three times to get all three circles on the screen. One option you have when animating multiple objects is to change the animation sequence to have items come on automatically with the previously animated object. This can be set after you animate each object and it allows the three circles to appear at the same time, but it requires a fair amount of work to animate each circle and then go in and change the timing for the second and third circle animations. A quicker way to achieve the three objects coming on together is the following. Select each object you want to animate together by clicking on the first object, then holding the Ctrl key down when clicking on the other objects. In my example, I select the first circle, then hold the Ctrl key down and click on the second circle and while still holding the Ctrl key down I click on the third circle. Now I release the Ctrl key and animate the group of objects using the normal animation task pane. When you select multiple objects, PowerPoint animates them at the same time, resulting in the exact effect you want, without nearly so much work. Try this technique the next time you want multiple objects to be animated together.
2. Photo Editing
I use many more photos in my presentations than I did two years ago and I have shared in past newsletters some techniques for using photos in your presentations. I have talked about the importance of resizing and resampling your photos down to a useable size (1024 x 768 for a full screen photo usually) and have recommended IrfanView in the past (download it at http://www.irfanview.com). Before you do the resizing, make sure you have edited your photo. By editing I am referring to two steps. First is cleaning up your photo, the second is cropping. Cleaning up may include fixing red eye that happens when using a flash for a picture of a person, low lighting in a photo or minor sharpening of colors or other aspects of the photo. Cropping is removing portions of the photo starting from any edge or corner so you can have the item of greatest importance in the photo be as large as possible. Once all of the editing is done, save the photo using a new file name. Never save the photo to the original file name or you will lose the original photo. I usually add some phrase to the file name to indicate it has been edited and resampled, such as "small" to indicate that it is the small version usable for presentations and web sites. You can use software such as Photoshop for these tasks, but it is an expensive and very complex program to use. A great tool is made available from Google called Picasa - it is my resource listed below.
3. Useful Resource - Picasa
Google bought a program called Picasa a while ago and earlier this year released a second version which is better than the first. It is primarily designed as a photo catalog tool, but it has very good editing tools built in. It has tools for red eye reduction, fill lighting (one of the best features in my opinion) and color sharpening. It also has a good cropping tool that works well for focusing an audience on the portion of the picture you want them to see. It can do resizing and resampling, but it is not as flexible as IrfanView in my experience. I recommend you check it out at http://picasa.google.com.