The videos and tutorials below will help you quickly create clear, compelling visuals in PowerPoint. You will learn the skills and techniques that the experts know but are not taught in technical training courses. You don't need to know every feature of PowerPoint, you just need to know how to create the visuals that effectively communicate important messages to your audience.

Each section explains what you will learn, why it is important, and links to a video or tutorial that will show you exactly how to create that type of visual. This is not a course you have to spend days going through. Refer to each section only when you need to create that type of visual. Each document or video will open in a new browser window so this list always stays open. If your browser requires you to give it permission to open or play content when you clik on one of the video links, allow it to open the content or the video may not play. When you watch the videos, I suggest you make them as large as you can (use the full screen option) in the browser in order to see the details of the instructions.

If you are struggling with what visual will work for a particular message, I suggest you view this SlideShare deck that explains a decision tree based approach to determining which visual will work (requires Internet connection). You will see almost all of these visuals below because you will learn how to create them.

You can jump to a section using this list of sections:
Avoid information overload by moving detailed backup information to hidden slides
Copying cells or graphs from Excel
Creating tables of numbers in PowerPoint
Creating effective basic graphs
Creating advanced graphs (& graph alternatives)
Creating diagrams
Working with images
Text slides
Focusing the audience
Productivity & Delivery Tips

Or you can scroll through the topic headings below, stop when you find one that you need to use, and within minutes, you will have learned how to create that type of visual.

Avoid information overload by moving detailed backup information to hidden slides

Audiences tell me that information overload is the biggest issue in presentations today. When there is too much on the slide or the presenter tries to cram too much into the time they have been given, the audience is overwhelmed and they stop paying attention.

One of the best strategies for reducing information overload is to move detailed information off the presentation slides and into hidden backup slides or leave the information in source files. If someone asks for more details, you can always jump to the hidden slide or file to answer the question.

Resources:

Learn more about the strategy of creating one PowerPoint file with the presentation slides and the detailed backup slides in this ebook. Click to read the PDF ebook.

Want to create and use hidden slides? Click here to read a step-by-step tutorial.

Need to possibly access a file, such as a spreadsheet or document, during the presentation? Watch this video to see exactly how to do so.

Copying cells or graphs from Excel

Most analysis is done in Excel, which is a great tool for that task. How do you use that analysis in a presentation? Don't just copy the entire spreadsheet on to a slide. Be careful in selecting the results that support the conclusion you have come to. If possible, create a visual that shows the results instead of using a table of numbers.

Excel can create graphs in the same way as PowerPoint because it is the same graph creation routine for both programs. If you choose to create the graph in Excel, check out some of the videos and tutorials on cleaning up graphs in PowerPoint below because they apply to Excel graphs as well.

Resources:

Since Excel is used so often as a source for information in presentations, I created an ebook that covers how to use Excel data in presentations to executives. Click here to read the PDF ebook.

There are many ways to copy a table of Excel cells into PowerPoint. The ebook above lists every possible method, but this video shows you the five methods you will likely use and when each one might be the best for a particular situation.

Just like there are many ways to copy a table of cells from Excel to PowerPoint, there are many ways to copy an Excel graph to PowerPoint. This tutorial shows you five methods and when you may want to use each one.

Creating tables of numbers in PowerPoint

If you don't want to create a table of numbers in Excel and copy it to PowerPoint, you can easily create the table in PowerPoint.

Resources:

If your table includes numbers, watch this video to see how you can easily line up the numbers whether you use a text box or a table (it is the same video as above for copying Excel cells because some of the techniques apply to copied text boxes. Skip ahead to 19:44 in the video to see how to line up numbers.). No more pressing the spacebar to get numbers to line up (and being frustrated that they don't quite line up exactly). Also learn when using a text box instead of a table might be best.

After the table is created, read this tutorial to learn how you can add visual indicators that allow the audience to immediately know if the number is an indicator of good, neutral, or poor performance.

Creating effective basic graphs

You can create graphs in PowerPoint, and I think in many cases it is a better approach than copying a graph from Excel. It follows the color scheme in PowerPoint automatically, and it allows full access to all of the PowerPoint graph and animation tools.

Resources:

If you are just getting started with graphs in PowerPoint, watch this video on how to create a graph, including how to copy the data from Excel instead of retyping it.

Once you have the graph created, you will need to clean it up since there are a number of elements that are distracting for the audience. Watch this video to see the basic cleanup that every graph needs.

When you want to take your graph to the next level, read this tutorial on how you can make the graph even cleaner and easier to understand.

Now that your graph has been cleaned up, consider if there is one data point or series that should be emphasized because it is the one you want the audience to focus on. If so, watch this video to learn techniques for emphasizing certain elements of a graph.

Another way to focus audience attention as you are presenting a graph is to animate it to build piece by piece. This gives you the opportunity to give context to each data series or category without the audience jumping ahead and looking at data that you will explain later. This video shows the basics of animating a graph in PowerPoint 2007. Microsoft totally rewrote the animation feature for PowerPoint 2010, so read this tutorial on the Indezine.com website that covers the same features in PowerPoint 2010 and above (requires Internet connection).

Creating advanced graphs (& graph alternatives)

The graphing feature of PowerPoint can be used to create advanced graphs. Below are some of the visuals you can create. Most of the techniques can also be used in Excel if you prefer to create graphs in Excel.

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Comparing to a Standard
If you are comparing measured values to a standard or average, the best way to show this in a graph is to use a dashed line for the standard value. This video shows you two methods for column graphs (that also apply to bar charts) and the simplest method for line graphs.

Bullet Graph
A bullet graph is a great way to show the comparison of measured values to a projection, past value, or other standard that is different for each category. In the example shown here, the blue column in the back shows the industry average and the red column in the front shows the average for the ABC fleet of vehicles. By having the columns in front of one another, the comparison is much easier for the audience than if the columns were side by side. You can create a bullet graph in PowerPoint or Excel and this tutorial explains how.

Speedometer Graph
A speedometer graph is an alternative to show two values that make up a whole, or 100%, like the example shown here. It is also a good choice when you want to compare the split at two points in time. This video shows how to create a speedometer graph.

Basic Waterfall Graphs
Waterfall graphs are a common visual used in financial presentations to show the components of a change from a starting value to an ending value. It is often seen in quarterly financial presentations to investors, as well as internal presentations. This video shows how to create a basic waterfall graph in PowerPoint. Below you will have access to a calculator that makes creating more complicated waterfall graphs easy.

Calculators for Visuals
Some of these advanced graphs require calculations that can be tricky. Since most presenters don't want to have to remember how to do the calculations or figure them out in the first place, I created an Excel file that contains calculators for some of the visuals. Right-click here to save the Excel file to your computer. Videos on how to use each of the calculators are below.

Waterfall Graph Calculator
When you need to create more than a basic waterfall graph or the calculations get complex, use the waterfall graph calculator in the Excel file above. This video shows you how to use the calculator and use the results to create a waterfall graph in PowerPoint. You can also use the results to create a waterfall graph in Excel.

Steps to a Total Graph
A steps to a total graph is a variation on a waterfall graph. It starts at zero and shows how each value adds up to an ending total. Use the waterfall graph calculator as above with the starting value as zero. This example of a steps to a total graph shows you what one looks like.

Stacked Bar Charts
Many data visualization experts do not like pie charts. While I don't agree with some who call for a ban on pie charts, I think that using a stacked bar chart is a good alternative that you should consider and likely incorporate in your presentations. This tutorial explains how to create a stacked bar chart instead of a pie chart. Stacked bar charts work very well when you want to compare proportions at two or more points in time or between two groups. You can create a chart like the one shown here by following the instructions in the tutorial and add more rows to the data sheet as needed.

Stacked Bar Breakdown Charts
Stacked bar charts are also a good way to show the breakdown of one segment into sub-segments, like the example shown here. This is another visual I created a calculator for so that the calculations would be easier. This video shows how to use the calculator and how to use the results to create a stacked bar breakdown chart in PowerPoint. You can create the same type of graph in Excel with the results from the calculator.

Diverging Stacked Bar Chart
Another variation on the stacked bar chart is a diverging stacked bar chart, like the one shown here. This type of visual shows two groups of values on the same graph and is a good alternative to a stacked column graph when you want the audience to be able to see the change in one of the groups between the categories or over time. This visual is created using the stacked bar chart graph in PowerPoint or Excel and I created a calculator in the Excel file referenced above to make it easier to create. This video shows you how to use the calculator and how to use the results to create a diverging stacked bar chart in PowerPoint. You can also create the graph in Excel using the results of the calculator.

Grouped Item Comparison
An alternative to a graph is to create a grouped item comparison like the one shown here. It represents the values as collections of shapes instead of using a graph that is built in PowerPoint or Excel. This visual is not built in to PowerPoint or Excel, and this video shows you how to create this visual in PowerPoint.

Proportional Object Collection
When you have to compare values that are different by one or more orders of magnitude, a PowerPoint or Excel graph does not work well because the small value will hardly show up at all. It is so small because in graphs, the measurements are only in one dimension. As a column graph, only the height changes with the value, not the width. An alternative to a graph is a proportional object collection. These shapes represent the values in two dimensions and are able to show large differences better than the traditional graphs. The size of each shape must be exactly proportional to the value it represents, so calculations will be involved. To make it easier, I created a calculator in the Excel file referenced above. This video shows you how to use the calculator and how to use the output to create a proportional object visual in PowerPoint.

Treemap Visual
A treemap visual is a substitute for a pie graph. Instead of dividing a circle proportionally like a pie chart, a treemap divides a rectangle proportionally into smaller rectangles that represent the proportions of the total amount being discussed. The example shown here shows how the rectangles are sized to all fit together into one large rectangle. Calculating the size of each rectangle can be difficult, so I created a calculator in the Excel file referenced above. This video shows you how to use the calculator and how to use the resulting shapes sizes to create the treemap in PowerPoint.

Creating diagrams

Relationships are usually best represented by diagrams. While there are some built-in diagrams in PowerPoint in the SmartArt feature, I suggest creating diagrams yourself. The SmartArt diagrams are not very flexible, are sometimes difficult to adjust to what you want it to look like, and are difficult to animate. Drawing the diagram using the drawing tools in PowerPoint ensures that you will get exactly the diagram you want.

The tutorials & videos below show how to create some of the most common types of diagrams used in presentations.

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Timeline Visuals
A timeline visual shows when events occurred or will occur in a certain time period. It is important that a timeline visual be accurate, so you can't just draw some lines and hope they are evenly spaced. Use the techniques in this video to quickly and easily create an accurate timeline.

Calendar Visuals
Another time-based diagram that is familiar to almost everyone is a calendar diagram. We are taught the calendar early in elementary school, so everyone is familiar with it. Almost all of us refer to a calendar on a daily basis to check our appointments. We don't use paper calendars much anymore, but the electronic calendars on our computers, tablets and phones all look similar to what we learned in school. This makes a calendar diagram a good choice when you want to show when during a time period certain events occur. This visual is better than just a list of dates on the slide. Calendars are not built in to PowerPoint, but you can easily create them using the techniques in this video.

Gantt Charts (3 methods)
A Gantt chart is a common visual used in project management. It shows a timeline, and shows when each task starts and finishes along the timeline using a rectangle shape. Tasks that overlap are easily seen in this type of diagram. Project management software also adds the linkages between tasks by using lines from the end of one bar to the start of another bar. It is this added detail that usually makes Gantt charts taken from project management software too busy for use in a presentation. The audience gets distracted by all the extra details and does not focus on the message you want them to understand.

If you want to create a Gantt chart by drawing rectangles and positioning them by hand, watch this video. This technique works well for situations where the exact positioning is not as important.

When the positioning of the bars needs to be more accurate, you can use a table to define the time periods and position the bars more precisely. This video shows you how to create a Gantt chart using a table in PowerPoint. This is the method I recommend for most situations where accuracy is important because it gives you more precision without the extra effort of the next method.

If you need the greatest accuracy for the bars, you can create a Gantt chart that is driven by data that is taken from a project management software package. This approach is more complicated and may not produce the best looking Gantt chart, but it will be very accurate. This video shows you how to create a data driven Gantt chart using Excel and PowerPoint together.


Insider tips for creating diagrams
Drawing the diagrams you want to use can initially sound like a task that requires specialized software and design knowledge. Not at all. PowerPoint contains powerful drawing tools that allow you to create almost any diagram you want. This video will show you the tips you need to be able to use these tools like a pro.

If you want to jump start your use of diagrams that show relationships or sequence even more, consider starting with a pre-made diagram from Diagrammer.com. This site has over 4,000 diagrams you can download in PowerPoint format for free. This article explains how to use the site to find the diagram you want and how to customize it for your presentation (requires Internet connection).

Using the freeform line tool
The freeform tool is a tool that you can use in many ways in creating slides. This video shows three ways to use this tool. First, how you can use the tool to outline a trend on a graph that can then be added to a similar graph to show a comparison. Second, how to use the tool to create your own custom shapes. And, third, how to use the tool to create a mask over a section of a photo.

Decision Tree Diagrams
A decision tree is a good visual to illustrate the relationship between questions and possible outcomes when making decisions. Each question is followed by lines that take the viewer to each of the possible outcomes from the question. The outcome can be a final result, or it could be another question that has possible outcomes. This type of diagram makes the result of choices clear for the audience. When presenting a decision tree, you can use animation to reveal each question and each answer one at a time so you can give further explanation and context to each decision that needs to be made (see the tutorial on build animation later). This video shows how to create a decision tree diagram.

Working with images

Images are a powerful visual in a presentation. Some types of presentations, like financial results, rarely use images. Other presentations, like product marketing or sales presentations, often use images. Training or support presentations may use screen capture images to show what needs to be done. The videos in this section cover the key techniques for working with images on your slides.

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Screen Captures
If you want to explain what the audience should do on a program, application, or website, a screen capture will help the audience understand because they can see exactly what you are referring to. This video will show you two techniques that are built in to Windows.

In Windows 7 or higher, there is also a program called the Snipping Tool. It allows you to draw a rectangle around anything on the screen and copy it to the Windows clipboard. You can then paste the image on your slide. Another free tool you can download and use is Jing, from TechSmith. This tool is similar to the Snipping Tool, but it adds in a few features. You can learn more about Jing on the TechSmith website (requires Internet connection).

Cropping and resizing images
Once you have an image on your slide, you can make it more effective by cropping out the parts that do not add to the message. This allows the audience to focus on just the parts of the image that are most important. You should also make the image as large as possible on the slide without distorting or degrading the image. This video shows you how to crop and resize an image so it keeps the quality and focuses on the key part of the image.

Placing text with images
Most images benefit from having text close to or on top of the image to give context for the viewer. The text helps the audience understand what they are looking at and they more quickly return their focus to you and your message. They don't need to spend as much time figuring out the image. This video shows you how to place text on top of an image so it can be seen no matter what the colors are behind the text.

Finding & using logos
One type of image that presenters regularly use is a logo. It may be the logo of your own organization, or it may be from a partner, supplier, client, or other associated organization. Logos used on websites are usually lower quality because the website load time can be negatively impacted if a high-res image was used. If you need to find and capture a logo quickly, this video will show you how to do so. Always check with the organization or legal experts if you wonder whether you have permission to use the logo in your presentation.

Converting slide objects to images
PowerPoint has many excellent tools for working with images. In fact, some designers use it as a substitute for high end design software like Photoshop. While it may not have all the tools of a higher end package, it does have a lot of capability. You may find that you'd like to use some of these image editing tools on a table, spreadsheet, graph, diagram, or other non-image object. In this case, you can convert the object to an image in order to use the image tools. This video shows you how to convert slide objects to images.

Text slides

Contrary to what some designers claim, text slides are not going away. Text slides are an important part of almost every presentation. While many presenters are familiar with the basic bullet point text slide, you can do more with text, such as placing text points inside shapes such as rectangles to separate the points or make one stand out from the others. For contrasting lists, such as In Scope and Out of Scope for a project, arranging the text in columns can help the audience better understand. The videos below show you some additional techniques for making the text on your slides effective.

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Advanced text formatting
When you know how to format the text on your slides with the techniques in this video, you can break the text in lines or bullets exactly where you want, use multiple formatting within a single text box, copy text formatting from one block of text to another, and format text inside shapes, such as rectangles.

Text emphasis techniques
When you are presenting a quote from someone or referencing a passage from a legal or regulatory text, you need to use the entire quote. If you don't, the audience may think you have edited the quote to remove important words, words that may change the meaning of the quote. Within the longer block of text, there is likely one word or a phrase that you want the audience to focus on and remember. To make this word or phrase stand out, use the technique in this video.

Focusing the audience

An important part of using visuals on your slides is to present them in a way that allows you to focus the audience at each step of the way. This allows you to build your story to the conclusion you want the audience to reach. The tutorials and videos below show how to use callouts and animation techniques that help focus the audience during the presentation.

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Adding callouts
Callouts allow you to direct attention within a visual to a specific spot. They can be used to point out a number in a spreadsheet or table, a specific part in an image of a machine, a difference between the heights of two columns in a graph, and many other instances. This tutorial shows you how to add callouts that direct attention and can be seen on top of any background image or object.

Build elements on the slide
Using build animation allows you to display one text point or one portion of a visual at a time. You sequence the items in the order that will allow you to best walk the audience through the message and come to the conclusion you wanted them to reach. This video will show you how to use build animation in PowerPoint 2007.

Microsoft rewrote the way the animation feature works in PowerPoint 2010. If you are using PowerPoint 2010 (or later), follow this introduction tutorial, this tutorial on text animation, this tutorial on animation events, this tutorial on animation speed, and this tutorial on how to re-order animations at Indezine.com (requires Internet connection).

Moving elements on the slide
Audiences get annoyed when objects fly, twirl, and bounce on the slide. Does this mean that you should remove all motion from your slides? No. Motion can be very useful for the audience, as long as it is helping them to understand the point you are making. This video shows you how to appropriately use animation that includes movement.

Since the animation features work differently in PowerPoint 2010 (and later), if you are using those versions, follow this introduction tutorial, and this custom motion path tutorial from Indezine.com (requires Internet connection).

Splitting an image to animate it piece by piece
If the visual you are using is an image from another program, such as a graphics, design, analytical, or other system, the standard animation techniques won't work because the image is a single object on the slide. The entire image can be animated, but not each piece. If you want to build each piece on the slide, you may be able to break the image up into separate images. This way, you can build each of the pieces, which are now their own image, one at a time. This video shows you techniques to split one image into multiple images and animate the pieces.

Using Reveal animation to build an image piece by piece
Not all images can be broken into pieces using the techniques above. Sometimes the image is too intricate to be able to easily break it up. In this case you can still build the image when presenting by using the reveal animation technique. This is similar to what the teacher did in school when they put an overhead transparency on the projector and covered up most of it with a piece of paper. As they pulled the paper down, it revealed more of what was on the transparency. This technique works the same way. You cover up the image with shapes. As you present, you remove each of the shapes, revealing that part of the underlying image. This video shows you how to use this technique in your presentation.

Previewing animation effects
When you are animating objects on a slide, you will sometimes want to check that the effect or sequence is correct. Instead of going into Slide Show mode, you can use a Slide Show preview mode. Hold the Control key and click on the Slide Show icon at the bottom of the PowerPoint window. This creates a Slide Show window in the top left corner of your screen. It acts exactly like Slide Show, so you can see what will happen as you build the slides while also being able to see the editing mode in the rest of your screen. I often have the Animation Pane open in editing mode while using this preview technique so that I can check the sequence and quickly identify any errors I need to correct.

Break Down & Zoom In Technique for explaining complex visuals
When you have a complex table, diagram, or other visual that you need to explain to the audience, the break down and zoom in technique may help make it easier for the audience to understand the complex visual. This technique involves showing the complex visual first to give context. It is too complex to try to explain all at once, so you indicate the different sections of the visual you want to go into more detail on using semi-transparent shapes on top of the visual. Then, you can have separate slides for each of the sections. Each section can be much larger on its own slide and you can add callouts as described above. If you feel that the audience may lose context when you move from one section to the next, you can always display the entire visual again with the shapes that show where the sections are. This video shows you how to use this technique in PowerPoint. The video was done using PowerPoint 2003 a while ago but it still applies in current versions of PowerPoint.

Zoom In On A Portion Technique for explaining one part of a complex visual
If there is only one section of a complex visual that you want to focus in on for the audience, the zoom in on a portion technique is a good approach. In this technique, you show the complex visual for context. Next, you use a callout shape to indicate where the important section is on the visual. You then bring a large version of that important section on the screen in front of the complex visual, so the audience still has context for where the section came from. You can then use callouts as described above to further explain this section. This video shows you how to use this technique in PowerPoint.

Productivity & Delivery Tips

In my workshops when I share the following productivity and delivery tips, many participants wonder why no one has told them about these tips before. They could have saved so much time by using these techniques for quickly performing actions in PowerPoint or used one of these tips to deliver their presentation more smoothly. Check them out and remember them when creating and delivering your next set of slides.

Productivity Tips

Selecting Objects: This video shows you different ways to select one or multiple objects, regardless of whether they are behind other objects or not. You will also see the Selection Pane, a great tool that more presenters need to know about.

Draw horizontal or vertical lines: If you have ever tried to draw a perfectly straight horizontal or vertical line in PowerPoint, you know how hard it is to keep your mouse moving exactly straight. You can easily draw this type of line by using the Shift key. Hold the Shift key down before you start drawing and keep holding it until after you have finished drawing the line and released the mouse. By holding the Shift key, you restrict the line to 45 degree increments, meaning you can draw a horizontal or vertical line easily.

Draw perfect circles or squares: PowerPoint does not have circle or square shapes by default, only ovals or rectangles. To draw a perfect circle or square, you will struggle to get the dimensions perfect unless you use this method. Again, use the Shift key. Hold it down before you start drawing with one of these tools and keep holding it until you have completed drawing the shape. Holding the Shift key restricts the shape to have equal proportions. The oval tool will be restricted to a circle, the rectangle tool to a square, the diamond tool to a proportional diamond, and the triangle tool to an equilateral triangle. Now it is easy to draw these proportional shapes when you need them.

Rotating shapes at set angles: If you need to rotate a shape or image a common angle, such as 45 or 90 degrees, using the green rotation handle on its own can be difficult. By holding the Shift key down before you use the green rotation handle on an object, you restrict the rotation to 15 degree increments. This allows you to easily select the exact common angle you need. Just make sure to not release the Shift key until after you have completed the rotation and let go of the green rotation handle or the restriction will not apply.

Fine positioning control: If you are trying to get shapes or objects to be perfectly beside each other, using the mouse or even the arrow keys may not work. Many people have the Snap to Grid option turned on and this restricts the common object movement to the default grid, which usually means at least three pixels or more. If you need to move an object one pixel at a time, select the object and hold the Control key down while using the arrow keys to move the object. This overrides the default behavior and will move an object one pixel at a time, allowing you to get the precise positioning you want.

Delivery Tips

Jump to any slide - Method #1: If you need to jump to a slide during your presentation, either because you have a backup slide (hidden or not) you want to show in order to answer a question, or someone asks you to go back to a previous slide, there is an easy way to do so without exiting Slide Show mode. Press Ctrl+S on the keyboard in Slide Show mode. You will see a list of all of the slides in your presentation. Hidden slides have round brackets around the slide number, so you can easily identify them. Use your mouse or the arrow keys to select the slide you want to display. When you want to return to the previous slide, press Ctrl+S again and look at the bottom of the dialog box. You will see a section listing the last slide viewed before you came to this slide. Use the mouse or arrow keys to select that slide and you can resume your presentation.

Jump to any slide - Method #2: You can also jump to any slide in the presentation by typing the slide number on the keyboard and pressing Enter. This does require you to know the slide number of the slide you want to jump to. This technique is good to know if the time for your presentation gets cut short. If you know the slide number of your "call to action" or concluding slide, you can just enter it using the keyboard and wrap up your presentation without breaking the flow by rapidly clicking through many slides to reach the last one.

Draw on the slide: When presenters used overhead transparencies, you could write on the transparency as you spoke. You could point out an important part of the visual (which you use callouts to do in PowerPoint as described above), or you could add written comments or drawings. PowerPoint also allows you to draw on the slide in Slide Show mode. Here are the steps to follow to draw on the slide:

  1. Press Ctrl+P to turn the cursor into a pen cursor. You can right-click and select pen options such as type of pen, color of ink, and thickness of line.
  2. Use your left mouse button to draw on the slide as you would in a drawing program. This is usually easier to do with a mouse than with the trackpad on a laptop. It also takes practice to make the drawing look smooth. Some presenters prefer a drawing tablet or a touchscreen laptop to give better control.
  3. If you want to erase a portion of the drawing, press Ctrl+E to change the cursor to an eraser cursor. This eraser removes entire lines when you click on them, not portions of lines, so be careful using it and practice before you present. Press Ctrl+P to change back to the pen cursor. If you want to erase everything you have drawn, press the E key.
  4. When you are done drawing, press Ctrl+A to return to the regular cursor, and press A to hide the cursor. When you exit Slide Show mode, the program will ask if you would like to save what you have drawn on the slides. This can be helpful if you are capturing input or discussions with the audience and want to have the drawings for distributing to others after the presentation is over. The drawings get saved as simple line objects on your slides and can be edited later.

Turn off the slides: There is no rule that says if you are using PowerPoint that you must always have something on the screen. When there is nothing on the screen, the audience's attention focuses on you, the presenter, because there is nothing else to visually distract them. There are three good reasons you may want to turn the slides off during a presentation.

  1. The first reason follows from the focus that the audience will have just on you. Turn the slides off when you want to tell a powerful story that illustrates your point. In my workshops, I demonstrate this when I black the screen and tell a story about how the idea I have just shared with the participants helped in a real presentation situation. The audience is paying full attention to you when you tell the story.
  2. The second reason is not something you can plan for in advance. When someone asks a question during the presentation, should you leave the slide up or turn the slides off? The answer depends on whether the visual on the screen is relevant to the answer you are giving. If the visual is not related to the answer, turn the slides off. That way, the audience will focus only on the answer you are giving and not be distracted or confused by the visual that does not relate to the answer.
  3. The third reason could be planned or could be spontaneous. Any time you want to move in the room and will walk through the beam of the projector, turn the slides off before you move. One of the most annoying things you can do is walk through the projected image or stand blocking part of it. If you want to move from one side of the room to the other, turn the slides off, move across the room, then turn the slides back on and continue your presentation.

You can turn off the slides in one of two ways. If you know when you will want the slides turned off, you can create a black slide by inserting a new slide and drawing a black rectangle over the entire slide. If you want to turn off the slides at any time during your presentation, press the period key (.) on the keyboard. This is a toggle, so pressing the period key again turns the slides back on.