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Basic Microsoft PowerPoint - Free Computer Tutorials

Posted by Jim Bernstein

PowerPoint is Microsoft's popular presentation software. It is used to make slideshow type presentations that can be utilized in meetings, presentations and sent via email. With PowerPoint you can add images, sounds and animations to spice up your presentation and make it stand out. It is a fairly simple program to use and in just a short time you can have eye-catching presentations ready for your next meeting.

PowerPoint menus
The menus and toolbars within PowerPoint are very similar to Word and Excel and feature many of the same menu items and buttons. You have your typical New, Open, Save and Print choices along with all of the options under the specific menus. You can also customize the toolbar by right clicking on a blank area and choosing Customize or by selecting one of the pre-designated toolbars.

When you open PowerPoint you will be prompted with what you would like to do first. This may vary depending on your version of PowerPoint. We will be using PowerPoint 2000 for this tutorial.

Upon opening the program you will see a menu asking you what you would like to do.

If you choose the AutoContent Wizard it will walk you through a process that uses the information you provide to help you create a presentation. It gives suggestions for slide options and material to use in your presentation.

If you use the Design Template then you can choose from pre designed templates and presentations that you can customize to suit your needs. You can apply these templates after your presentation is created if you aren't sure what you want to use right away.

If you choose Blank presentation you will be prompted to choose a slide type to start off with. You can pick a layout or simply start with a blank slide.

If you pick a layout or blank slide then you can enter in your text and graphics any way you choose. If you picked a layout to start with then you will have areas where you can click to add items such as a title or a chart. You can also insert additional slides from the Insert menu as needed.

If you don't like the plain white background you can add some color to it by going to the Format menu, selecting Background and then choosing whatever option you like. You can make the background a solid color, texture or even a picture. There is an option to apply it to the one slide or all of the slides at once.

After you add your text, tables, images etc you can simply drag them around the slide to position them as you like or even resize them.

Adding sounds, images, movies and animations
One of the nice features of PowerPoint is the ability to make your presentation more of a production than just a simple text slide show by adding pictures and sounds to enhance its effectiveness. PowerPoint has built in clip art, sounds and movies and also lets you import your own and supports many common file types.

To insert one of these objects simply go to the Insert menu and pick the type of item you want to insert. If it's a built in item then you will be taken to the Clip Gallery where you can select from various images, sounds and movies.

If you are going to insert your own item then you will be able to browse to its location and select it that way. Once you insert the object you can reposition and resize it to your liking. There is even an option under Insert, then Object where you can place Word or Excel documents as well as other file formats into your slide show.

Many people like to use animations to enhance their presentations. This can be applied to text as well as images. Under the Slideshow menu there are choices for Preset Animation or Custom Animation. The Preset Animation consists of applying animations to your presentation. Custom Animation allows you to come up with your own unique animations and adjust the timing to coincide with other parts of your slide show. You can even apply multiple animations to one object if needed.


Preparing your presentation as a slide show
You can view your presentation on screen in a variety of ways and also view it as it will appear as a slide show. On the bottom left of the screen you will see a toolbar that allows you to change the on screen view. There are the Normal, Outline, Slide and Slide Sorter views. The last option lets you view your presentation as an actual slide show.

When you are all done with your presentation and have it looking the way you want then you can save it as a slide show if you need to send it to someone else to view it. Go to the File menu and then choose Save As and where it says Save as type select PowerPoint Show (*.pps). Then name the file and choose where you want to save it. Now you can email it to other people so they can view it. They will need to have PowerPoint installed to open and edit it but can use the free PowerPoint viewer to view it as a slide show.

See Next:
Saving your PowerPoint presentation as a slide show

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