#13 New and Improved Gradient Tool

Gradients in PPT 2007 made so many great things possible (eg. not having to go out to Photoshop). But the User Interface was not very user friendly (okay it scares most people in my training classes). Now PPT 2010 gives the gradient fill tool a GREAT User Interface!

Everything works the same, uses the same dialog boxes, accessed the same, etc.

Everything new is found in the Gradient Stops dialog. Here is my sample gradient with 4 stops:

The drop-down menu approach of PPT 2007 is replaced with a visual bar that shows each stop and is a live preview of the gradient. To change attributes of any stop, just click on the stop “arrow” – easy!

The Stop Position slider is gone as it is now integrated into the gradient bar. The Transparency slider remains and works the same. What is new is the Brightness slider. Here is my sample gradient with Stop 3’s Brightness at 100% – white:

Here is the same gradient with Stop 3’s Brightness at -100% – black:

0% is the true color with various tints created as the Brightness slider is used. I am not certain how much I will use this feature, but it’s there.

The real improvement is the Gradient Bar with its integrated Stops and live preview, something I will be using a lot!

– Troy @ TLC

By |2016-09-16T09:17:40-07:00November 30th, 2009|PowerPoint, Tutorial|

#12 – Sections

For organizing content, multiple-topic or multiple-speaker presentations the new SECTIONS feature is fantastic! Basically it is an improved way of organizing slides when viewed in the slide sorter (also seen in the thumbnail pane).

Here is my sample presentation – 28 slides.

On the home tab the Sections menu a section can easily be added.

Here is the presentation divided into 3 sections.

I collapsed the first two sections so only the last section (slides 20-28) is visible.

Same setup, but I collapsed the third section and expanded the second.

Sections can easily be renamed (eg. topic, speaker, etc.)

The sections also are seen and usable in the thumbnails. This is the same view as above, with the 1st and 2nd sections collapsed and the 3rd section visible.

Note: collapsed sections still view in slide show. The sections are only for organization and do not affect what is seen during a slide show.

– Troy @ TLC

By |2016-09-16T09:18:01-07:00November 28th, 2009|PowerPoint, Tutorial|

#11 – Remove Background Tool

I spend a lot of time in Photoshop preping images for presentations. But I may be able to spend a bit more time in PowerPoint thanks to this new tool. Tucker, one of the Microsoft developers described the way this really great new tool works is the “magic coding”. That’s a good enough description for me as it actually works better than Photoshop’s ‘magic wand’ tool.

1. Insert an image you want to remove the background on – typically I would open the file in PhotoShop, drop out the background, save the image as a .png with transparency, and then insert into PowerPoint. Here the image looks great, but I want the template background to show through, which is not white.

2. With image selected go to the format(tab) >> Background Removal Tool

3. The tool takes it guess at what is not wanted (purple mask)

4. Modify the selection with the + and – tools

5. Here is the image with all of the include image(+) and remove image(-) markers.

6. End up with a great image that allows the background to show!

The effect is not permanent, the background can be further modified at any time. The background remeval can be reset back to the original image too.

– Troy @ TLC

By |2016-09-16T09:18:43-07:00November 24th, 2009|PowerPoint, Tutorial|

#10 – Animation Painter

Okay, this one is great! Actually, I have enjoyed this function since PPT XP thanks to the PPTXtreme Edit add-in. The Animation Painter makes my top 10 because it is that much of a needed feature and will be used by everyone.

Here are my sample shapes that I want to animate:

I setup the first image (square) with a complex animation that involves 3 animations all set WITH PREVIOUS for a dynamic entrance.

The Animation Painter works like the Format Painter. Select an object with an animation, click the Animation Painter, and apply that animation to any other object – on any slide.

I want the same animated entrance for the circle, but do not need to spend the time applying the 3 animations and setting their attributes. Now I:
1. select the square
2. select the Animation Painter
3. Select the circle
4. click the animation painter again and all of the animations are set!

As a side note: You know you are running pre-beta software when the buttons do not have icons, but a generic dot….

– Troy @ TLC

By |2016-09-16T09:19:02-07:00November 22nd, 2009|Resource/Misc, Tutorial|

#9 – Export Presentation as Video

This one could easily be in my top 5, but there is so much good stuff in this version of PowerPoint it makes the top 10 list.

Yes, PowerPoint for Mac has had an export to video function for a few versions. Yes, Keynote has had an export to video function. Yes, I like everyone else has wanted, needed, hoped for this function and have invested lots of money in third party solutions. Well it is here and it works incredibly well!

1. It is easy to do. Go to BACKSTAGE >> SHARE >> CREATE A VIDEO

2. Pick a quality level (High Quality = 720p (1280x720px))

3. Watch the progress bar and when done, watch your presentation as a video!

– Only exports to .wmv format
– Appears to be be frame accurate (eg. no gaps or jumps in animation)

– Troy @ TLC

By |2016-09-16T09:19:21-07:00November 20th, 2009|Software/Add-Ins|

Office 2010 Public Beta Announced Today

Just a quick post about Microsoft officially announcing and making available to the public the Office 2010 Beta!

Here is the official press release with some interesting details and marketing stuff.

This is the site to get all the details and your copy.

– Troy @ TLC

By |2016-09-16T09:19:39-07:00November 18th, 2009|PowerPoint|

#8 – Video Styles

There are so many great things when working with inserted video files in PPT 2010 this can only be an overview of some of the new tools and ways to work with them.

Here is my sample video, an abstract motion background loop:

With the movie selected the FORMAT tab offers all of the custom settings:

Videos are no longer contrained to rectangles! Any autoshape can contain a movie, just select the one you want:

Here is my sample movie set to playback in some custom shapes:

In addition the CROP TOOL works on videos now! So the next time you have a CNN news ticker running along the bottom of a video, just use the crop tool to remove it!

Almost any style options for shapes and images can be applied to videos. As example here is the RECOLOR pallet (note the pallet gives a live preview of the video in the thumbnails):

Here is the video changed to a blue from its original pink – just 3 clicks!

Here is the sample video with a lot of style settings applied:
– Drop shadow
– Gradient outline
– 3D perspective
– Reflection (that plays in synce with video!)

And the video played perfect, even with all of the custom styles applied.

– Troy @ TLC

By |2016-09-16T09:20:04-07:00November 18th, 2009|PowerPoint, Tutorial|

#7 – Image Crop Tool

When doing a PPT Training seminar I am always amazed that people are not aware of the image crop tool and how to use it. For PPT 2010 this simple, useful tool gets a lot better!

Here is my sample photo:

With the image selected I go to FORMAT >> CROP (okay, in reality I have added this to my QAT for faster access):

Now the image has the familiar black-dash handles for cropping – but it also has the standard dot handles…

When cropping an image the non-visible (cropped) portion of the image is still visible with a dark mask:

Here is the cropped image when I click off of it (deselect it). Only the cropped image is visible:

The cropping can be adjusted at any time, by selecting the image and crop tool. But the really great function is the ability to move the crop window to any position of the image! Think about setting up one image as a style guide cropped to a specific size. Duplicate the image, replace the image and move crop window to best crop the new image – but have the exact same size (visible) image.
Move Image within Crop Window

– Troy @ TLC

By |2016-09-16T09:20:56-07:00November 16th, 2009|PowerPoint, Tutorial|

#6 – Video and Audio Options

The Microsoft development team has added some really, really great usability options for working with video and audio files!

First, when a video or audio file is inserted it can easily be previewed from the edit view with full playback controls:

A. Play/Pause
B. Playback duration, which is draggable
C. Step forward/back (approx. 1/4 second per click)
D. Timecode
E. Volume control

In slideshow a pop-up playback bar can be activated – just move the mouse to view it (note: the pop-up playback bar can also be disabled during a slideshow (my preference)) that has play/pause, playback duration indicator (also draggable) and volume control.

When a video is inserted it by default shows the 1st frame of the video (often black) which is called the “Poster Frame”. In PPT 2010 the Poster Frame can easily be set to any frame in the video or an external image!

Here is the new Ribbon tab to Edit video files:

It makes many of the current options easy to find and set. It also adds some new features, like the “Trim Video” button.

The Trim Video button opens a new dialog box that most of the time replaces the need for video editing software!

A. Playback preview
B. The orange left bar can be moved to any point and the video begins playback from there (called ‘trim’).
C. The red right bar can be moved/slide to any point, but not past the begin/orange bar, and the video ends there
D. Shows the timecode position of the begin/orange bar
E. Shows the timecode position of the end/red bar

There are even more fine tuning options for both videos and audio files. PPT 2010 really opens PowerPoint to the power of multimedia integration!

– Troy @ TLC

By |2016-09-16T09:21:21-07:00November 14th, 2009|PowerPoint, Tutorial|
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