Blog2021-05-06T12:54:43-07:00

#9. Behind-the-Scenes PowerPoint Issues

Question: looking at this slide, does it look okay?

How does the slide look when all of the objects on it are selected?

Let’s zoom in and focus on just one of the description text boxes. Argh!

What we are looking at are text boxes stacked on top of shapes. And when you format a slide like this, everyone remembers the best practice is for text to always be INSIDE the shape. Everyone, please repeat this at least 3 times, “I will place text inside PowerPoint shapes and not stack a text box on top of the shape.

BAD
What are some of the reasons the TLC Creative presentation designers say it’s bad to stack a text box on top of another shape?

  • Alignment is more difficult
  • Animation is more difficult
  • Keeping text inside the shape is more difficult
  • Working in the Selection Pane is more difficult
  • Moving content on the slide, or to other slides, is more difficult

To be direct, the “shortcut” of adding a text box on top of a shape ultimately creates more steps when formatting the slide in the long run – don’t be part of the Microsoft PowerPoint ongoing formatting problem!

As example, let’s demonstrate a few of the formatting issues encountered with the stacked text scenario. Even if the shape and text are grouped, when scaling the 2 grouped together the text doesn’t wrap and will bleed outside the shape.

BEST PRACTICE

The best practice is simple – stop stacking text on top of shapes. Click the shape and add the text directly as part of the shape.

  • Formatting is easier and more time-efficient.
  • When scaling the shape text now wraps inside the box without any issues.
  • When the text alignment, top-middle-bottom is updated, it aligns to the shape automatically.
  • When animating, there is not double the number of shapes to manage because the shape and text are 1 object.

FORMAT SHAPE, TEXT OPTIONS
Of course, saying what to do is easy, but only if you know how PowerPoint formats text inside a shape. Virtually every visual styling need can be achieved with text as part of a shape – virtually every animation effect can also be achieved, but that will be another post. For visual styling, we need to get into the Format Shape dialog and the Text Options section.

Vertical text alignment determines the position of text up and down within the defined space. The adjustment can either be determined as solo or text or text within a shape. There are a few places to access the vertical alignment settings, in this case we’re working through the ribbon: Ribbon Home tab > Paragraph group or Format Shape > Text Options > Text Box settings (example we are using).

PowerPoint has 3 text auto fit options:

  • Do Not Autofit does what it says; the text in the shape is not automatically updated for any reason – it leaves the font size and formatting to you.
  • Shrink text on overflow means if the shape is made smaller, the text automatically gets smaller. If the shape is made larger, the text automatically gets larger.
  • Resize shape to fit text means you set the font size and the shape automatically resizes to fit the text (+ the interior margin settings).
  • Overall, the TLC Creative design team opts for the Do Not Autofit option.

Every shape is like a mini-Word document with its own interior margins, and every shape added to a slide applies the default interior margins. However, the margins can be modified to be larger, smaller, or completely removed as shown above. Experiment with different values. Overall, the TLC Creative design team opts for 0-0-0-0.

TIP: The Brightslide PowerPoint add-in has a shortcut to apply zero margins to a shape in 2 clicks!

TIP: “Wrap text in shape” can be turned OFF on circles and triangles to allow text to fit easier. You will need to manually add line breaks so the text “fits” inside these shapes.

As example, here is a circle shape and triangle shape, both with the text as part of the shape. With “Wrap text in shape” turned off, things do not look correct.

By manually adding the line breaks (using shift + enter to maintain the paragraph line spacing), everything fits!

The theme of this post series is Behind-the-Scenes PowerPoint Issues. Stacking a text box on top of a shape may look good when presenting but is a true formatting issue when editing the slide. Let’s all work together to eliminate this bad formatting shortcut.

~Thanks to Christie on the TLC Creative design team for assisting with the content for this post.

By |July 23rd, 2024|PowerPoint|

#8. Behind-the-Scenes PowerPoint Issues

How would you animate this slide if the request was “Make the left and center images disappear on click.”? 

whitebox-2

BAD 

Here is one solution, the one I see a lot – but not the way I recommend accomplishing the request. The goal is to have the left and right images disappear. A common solution I see is adding a white box added that has a “Fade In” animation.  

whitebox-2

This does accomplish the request, make images disappear. The disadvantage is what the presenter reviewing the slides in slide sort or a PDF sees. 

whitebox

It is difficult to know the slide content, know content is missing from the printout, and prepare for the talk. Using the “cover it with a white box” option also makes formatting the slide much harder (move the white box, use Selection Pane to turn off the white box, send to back, etc. just to adjust the images you can’t see). 

BEST 

So, what is the “better” way to accomplish the request? Let me propose the best way would be to build this as 2 slides: 

whitebox-4

In a printout, or slide review in slide sorter, it is 100% obvious what the audience will see. This helps enable the presenter to plan their talk. Using a Fade transition would accomplish the exact same visual as the white box that animates on. 

EFFICIENT 

To stay with 1 slide, a more efficient and better way to do this is to animate the left and center images*. Easy, select the left image, shift+click to select the center image and add a Fade Out animation. Note, this is the “EXIT” animation, Fade Out. This means that the images will be removed from the slide during the slideshow “on click”.  

whitebox-5

This sets up exactly the same visual as the above options. But within the slide sorter review or printout, the deck looks like this: 

 whitebox-6

Yes, it is not completely clear that the left and center images will disappear when reviewing the slide deck. But the presenter does see what the content is on the slide vs. being surprised there is more to the slide than they saw in the printout! 

-Troy @ TLC 

By |July 18th, 2024|PowerPoint|

TPP e202

Join us on a journey through the cutting-edge world of AI assistants and tools as we explore Microsoft 365 Copilot. Imagine having a personal assistant that not only understands your needs but also anticipates them, seamlessly integrated into PowerPoint to create and edit presentations, elevating your productivity to new heights. In this episode, Troy and Nolan chat with the wonderful Yulia Barnakova, a thought leader in the realm of AI tools and presentation work. Don’t miss this fascinating conversation that delves into the heart of Copilot as part of our daily workflows. This presentation industry conversation is just a play button away!

Click here to listen.

By |July 16th, 2024|PowerPoint, Resource/Misc|

#7. Behind-the-Scenes PowerPoint Issues


Fonts play a crucial role in PowerPoint design:

  • Visual Appeal: Fonts contribute significantly to the overall aesthetic of a presentation, enhancing visual appeal and making the slides more engaging.
  • Readability: The right font choice ensures that text is easily readable, even from a distance, improving audience comprehension.
  • Consistency: Using consistent fonts across all slides helps maintain a uniform look, adding to the professional feel of the presentation.
  • Tone and Branding: Fonts can convey different tones and moods, aligning with the message and branding of the presentation. For instance, formal fonts are suitable for corporate presentations, while playful fonts may be ideal for creative projects.
  • Emphasis and Hierarchy: Different font styles and sizes can be used to highlight key points, create a hierarchy of information, and guide the audience through the content logically.
  • Accessibility: Appropriate font choices, such as those with clear distinctions between characters, enhance accessibility for all audience members, including those with visual impairments.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES MAYHEM

Embedding

  • PowerPoint has the option to embed custom fonts (eg. non-microsoft fonts). My recommendation is, don’t.

Invisibly Adding Fonts

  • One of the strengths of PowerPoint is the ability to pull in slides from anywhere to make developing a presentation easy. This also means fonts used in those other slides are still used in the new deck – even if those fonts are not available on the computer.

Default Fonts

  • When a font is set, but is a non-Microsoft font, and not installed on the computer that opened the PowerPoint file, PowerPoint does not warn us that the presentation needs fonts not available (which is a much needed dialog box!). PowerPoint silently replaces all unavailable fonts with Microsoft fonts, called “Default Fonts”.
    Note: the default fonts are at the whim of PowerPoint, we do not get to choose what font is used. The Default fonts used may be different on each computer, so there is no way to assure what others will see.

Each of these behind-the-scenes issues can lead to presentation disaster with slides not displaying as designed, or in the case of embedded fonts, the presentation being locked and no edit options available! Awkward line wraps, missing text, text overlapping other content, and all kinds of bad things can happen when fonts needed are not available.

AUDIT

  • But, did the presenter know they did not have a custom font installed and what they see is PowerPoint assigning a random replacement font? Do you know that any slide deck you have most likely inherited many custom font needs?
  • For presentation makeover projects, fonts are just one element of the project. And it is almost always a surprise when we inform someone that their slide deck had 20+ different fonts in use (which the TLC Creative presentation design team then cleaned up to just the 2-4 approved fonts per their branding).
  • We accomplish this audit with Neuxpower’s Slidewise PowerPoint add-in.

Below are screen captures from a real client presentation. While this is somewhat extreme on the number of fonts, it represents what we commonly see in provided PowerPoint decks. This example is from a corporate client, using their corporate template.

HOW MANY FONTS!?

The slide deck we received had 28 fonts used across the 50ish slides! That’s just too many fonts in Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.

The image above is the Slidewise audit that shows us every font used in the presentation. It also lets us go to every slide that a font is used on. An important note is that Slidewise’s replace font functionality is far superior to PowerPoints font tools.

TEMPLATE FONTS
Let’s look at the template of this corporate presentation (which is often another behind-the-scenes issue to be dealt with, see post #1 in this series; here). Our goal is to identify the preset template fonts.

This template uses custom fonts (eg. non-Microsoft fonts), and as often happens, the custom “Aspira” fonts were not supplied with the slide deck…

Interpreting the Slidewise font audit:

  • Black fonts are Microsoft fonts or custom fonts that are installed on the computer
  • Orange fonts are fonts used in the presentation that are custom fonts (eg. not Microsoft fonts) and NOT installed on the computer.
  • Note: all text using the orange fonts (custom fonts that are not installed) are displayed by PowerPoint with Default Fonts. PowerPoint does not provide any indicator that text seen in the presentation is displayed with replacement Default Fonts. This is a missing component that has lead to unchecked and unknown fonts in presentations.

REPLACE FONTS
While PowerPoint does have a “replace fonts” feature, we are not going to use it. Here is a summary of how the TLC Creative presentation design team uses Slidewise to “clean-up” the fonts in a slide deck.

  1. Select a font that is not needed/wanted
  2. Optional: expand the font to show each slide the selected font is used on. Click SHOW IN POWERPOINT or double-click to go to that slide – the text box where that font is used will be indicated!
  3. Note: Orange fonts in the list are fonts not installed on that computer. For this presentation the template is based on the Aspira fonts, so we are going to NOT remove these fonts.
  4. With the Verdana font selected, choose REPLACE FONTS. The REPLACE FONTS dialog opens. Ultimately, we are going to replace the fonts with a selected replacement font.
    • TIP: select all fonts to be replaced at the same time, then choose the replacement font (vs. doing this process for each font one font at a time).
  5. From the REPLACE WITH drop down, select a specific font, or chose the “Theme Font (Body)” or “Theme Font (Header)” option.
    • Because our goal is to consolidate all fonts to the template preset fonts we used the “Theme Font (Body)” option.
    • This also sets all of the text boxes to the template theme font so the fonts will automatically update when those slides are pasted into a new slide deck (this is the way PowerPoint works best!).
    • Note: in this example, the template is using a custom font, Aspira Light, which is not installed on the designer’s computer. But Slidewise will still assign all of the selected text boxes with the custom font even though it is currently not installed on the computer.

RESULTS
In under 3 minutes we identified the presentation used 28 fonts! Then consolidated (#6) using Slidewise, to 5 fonts. Why 5 fonts? There are 4 different weights, or versions, of the template assigned Aspira font. We kept all of the fonts in this font family. And the 6th font, Wingdings is used for text bullets and icons, so it should never be replaced without carefully investigating what it is being used for.

NEXT STEPS
Consolidating the fonts was easy and quick (under 3 minutes!). But that sets us up for the next step; manually reviewing each slide to look for text formatting and updating (fixing) needs. Changing to a different font can mean the following things need to be checked/updates: text box sizes and positions need to be updated for the fonts to display properly in the slide layout, line breaks need to be adjusted, line spacing, font sizes, or font styling all could need updating so the text displays as intended.

FINAL NOTE
What fonts, and how many fonts, used in a slide deck is somewhat a hidden mystery. But slides using fonts that are not available is a disaster in the making. What in years past was a manual process of hunting down missing fonts has become a streamlined and easy process with the Slidewise PowerPoint add-in! But it has also brought to light how bad PowerPoint’s font management is, and how common slide decks with too many fonts are, for example: 10-20-40-112 (that’s our # of fonts record)!

-Troy and the TLC Creative design team

By |July 11th, 2024|PowerPoint|

#6. Behind-the-Scenes PowerPoint Issues

Presentation files sizes can be large. They can be massive. Often the bloated file size is from videos that are too large (aka Massive Videos) for what is needed. Because bigger is not always better. Microsoft PowerPoint makes it easy to add videos to presentation slides. Videos are embedded in the .pptx file by default. Which means if a 100 MB video is added to a slide, the file size goes up 100 MB. And massive presentation files with massive video files embedded sometimes can ruin a presentation (aka – PowerPoint, or even the computer, crash!).

The TLC Creative team is blessed/spoiled/has an unfair advantage – use the phrase that feels right. But our team, including accounting and project coordinator roles work on computers with 32-64 MB of memory and Nvidia 30X or 40X series graphic cards. In addition, the TLC Creative computers have multiple video CODECs installed and continuously updated. Presentations and videos of all sizes work when we play them. But we know that not everyone has robust content creation spec’d computers – but we also know that videos in presentations can be optimized to allow them to run on lower powered computers, but often are not.

Designers should know how identify and optimize embedded videos to ensure smooth play by everyone. Note: the focus of this blog post is embedded video. Linked and online video have the advantage of not increasing the file size, but have other inherent playback issues not covered here.

AUDIT
Let’s start with knowing there are videos in a presentation. My favorite tool for this is Neuxpower’s Slidewise add-in (https://neuxpower.com/slidewise-powerpoint-add-in). Part of Slidewise’s presentation audit is a section that highlights if there are videos in the slide deck, what the file size of each is, and exactly what slides the videos are on.

  • Slidewise is a 3rd party add-in that is purchased separately (and in my opinion, worth the expense!)
  • The audit for the demo slide deck reports there is 1 audio file and 3 video files embedded in the presentation.
  • The OTHER section of the slide deck audit will show linked videos.
  • Note: when media is embedded in a presentation, the original file name is replaced by PowerPoint with a generic name, “media#”.

OPTIMIZE
Microsoft PowerPoint has all the tools needed to optimize videos (and audio) built directly into PowerPoint (at least on the desktop PowerPoint app) and avoid the need to use an external video editing app or website. Go to (1) FILE > (2) INFO

If there is a video not in the .MP4 file format, or an audio file not in the .MP3 file format, the (3) OPTIMIZE COMPATABILITY option is available. Click this to transcode all embedded videos to an industry standard .MP4 file format. You can also do this to transcode audio files to industry standard .MP3 files.

Note: The .MP4 file format for videos is the recommended video format as there are video playback engines universally on Windows OS, Mac OS, web browsers, mobile devices, tablet. While other video file formats have benefits, the high quality and ability to natively play on virtually every device make .MP4 the current best option.
The (4) COMPRESS MEDIA option is available any time embedded media is in a slide deck. The good news is, running the compress media function first reviews the media files and only optimizes if compression is possible. In other words, always run this process, it will only help and never hurt your files. Just remember to select the high res setting!

Notes about video file formats and CODECS:

  • .MP4 is not the ultimate file format for quality. But it is the best for file size to quality with guaranteed playback. As example, Apple ProRes has incredible quality, but it also has incredibly large file sizes. They also cannot be played on many Windows OS devices or web browsers.
  • CODECs are the technical aspect of the video inside the file format. As example, not all .MP4 videos are the same. The CODEC applied to the video, inside the .MP4 may not be an industry standard, which at this time is H.264 with LAME audio. We at TLC Creative really (really) like the newer H.265 video CODEC and use it on many projects. But PowerPoint is not one of them (yet).
  • TIP: Even if the video added to a slide deck is a .MP4, run PowerPoint’s OPTIMIZE and COMPRESS tools. If the video is formatted with a non-standard CODEC, the embedded video will be converted to the safest, industry standard file format and CODEC, ensuring it will play on almost any device the presentation is run from.

FINAL NOTE
Bottom line, don’t be intimidated by adding videos to a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. Being aware of the need to optimize videos will eliminate potential issues before you begin. Focus on creating PowerPoint presentations that are both attention grabbing and reliable. This will ensure a smooth experience for both the presenter and the audience.

– Troy and the TLC Creative design team

By |July 9th, 2024|PowerPoint|

Happy 4th of July America!

Mike on the TLC Creative presentation design team developed this Independence Day themed animated GIF – in PowerPoint!

The animated GIF sequence is a series of 5 slides.

  • Slide 1 has animation
  • Slides 2-5 the motion effects/animation is accomplished with the Morph transition
  • Because animated GIFs loop, slides 1 and 5 are setup for a seamless loop

The other unique PowerPoint setup is the page size. The animated GIF is square. To accomplish this, the PowerPoint page size has been changed from the default 16×9 aspect ratio to a square size. In this case, 6″x6″.

By |July 4th, 2024|Portfolio, PowerPoint|

TPP e201

Can AI generated art be copyrighted? Can AI generated art be used in client presentations? Troy, Nolan and Sandy spend this episode going through the many online articles they amassed on the topic of the legal use highlights of AI generated content. While no guidance is provided, it is a lively conversation!
Join the conversation through your favorite podcast app, or online at the episode page with shownotes here.

By |July 2nd, 2024|Resource/Misc|
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