The PowerPoint® Blog

I work with PowerPoint on a daily basis and I am very honored to be a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP. We have a talented team of presentation designers at TLC Creative Services and ThePowerPointBlog is our area to highlight PowerPoint tips, tricks, examples and tutorials. Enjoy! Troy Chollar

#3. Behind-the-Scenes PowerPoint Issues

Slide page numbers are a nice feature to utilize in PowerPoint for the speaker to keep track of the presentation. But are the page numbers in your presentation setup and used as designed?

Page numbers are an easy automated element in PowerPoint when setup correct.

While page numbers may display on slides, that does not equate to setup correct. And not being setup correct is something the TLC Creative presentation design team spends literally hours fixing (time that does not need to be added to the project invoice if setup and used correct) if not set up properly.

Before talking about setup and use issues, let me address this common question – should page numbers be used at all?

The conversation is generally about how page numbers take up unnecessary space, they don’t’ benefit the audience, and often are not formatted consistent throughout a presentation. Ultimately, it is up to the presenter. But if the presentation template is preset for page numbers, which also enables them to be turned on/off in 3 clicks, then TLC Creative finds the value in page numbers. We like to keep page numbers active on all slides during the design and rehearsal phases for easy reference to what slide has revision requests. Then we turn them off for the actual presentation.

 Page Number Problems
Problem 1: Manually adding a text box with the page number to a slide. This is short term thinking. What if the slide count changes? What if the real slide numbers are turned on and now the slide has two different slide number text boxes on the slide?

Problem 2: Slide numbers are added as hard-coded text boxes “<#>” that are not linked to the slide number footer. While this works, it is also short term planning. What happens when slides move into another presentation and have hard-coded text boxes?

Problem 3: Slide number text is in different position and text formatting across slides. This goes back to properly setting up the master slide. Using the preset slide number text placeholder position and formatting is the best way to maintain consistency throughout the presentation. Then resetting the slide will update text boxes to be consistent (Microsoft – why is there not an option to just reset the footer placeholders formatting and not the full slide!).

The key is being able to use PowerPoint’s HEADER AND FOOTER feature that instantly can add, or remove, slide numbers from a selection of slides or the entire slide deck in 3 clicks. Remember, a text box will display the page number; however if that text box is not linked to the master slide footer placeholder for text boxes it is more of a problem than help, because only slide number footer text placeholders are programmed to function with the header/footer dialog options.

How Does It Work?

The good news is, it just works. There are no options or settings. Just go to INSERT > HEADER & FOOTER (or SLIDE NUMBER) > on the HEADER AND FOOTER dialog > check or uncheck the “Slide Number” box > click “Apply” to change just the selected slides, or “Apply to All” to change all slides in the presentation*. Done!

TIP *: “Apply to All” only applies to all slides that use that Master Slide. If the presentation has multiple master slides (see Issue #1 in this series on multiple masters) slide number formatting and just turning on/off requires more effort.

TIP: Turn off slide numbers on all slides, using the HEADER AND FOOTER Apply to All. Then review slides to identify which still show a slide number. It is either a manual text box on the slide, a slide number footer that has lost its link to the placeholder (Microsoft, why is not possible to reconnect slide text boxes to master placeholders!), a master slide that has multiple slide number text boxes, or the another master slide that needs to have page numbers turned off (and then on when review complete).

Page numbers can become a burden in slide formatting, or if setup correct, that can become a valuable asset (or at least not a frustration!).

By |2024-06-19T14:30:25-07:00June 20th, 2024|PowerPoint|

#2. Behind-the-Scenes PowerPoint Issues

“16×9″ is an aspect ratio, not a size (although, if it is 16″ x 9” it can be a size…). “16×9” is the current standard HD rectangle shape, or aspect ratio used by almost all computer monitors, projectors, TVs, etc.

When coordinating presentations for a multi-presenter event, the goal is to string all of the presentations into a single master presentation. The behind-the-scene-settings of the actual page size of each presentation is really-really important. And the industry standard is PowerPoint’s standard page size for “16×9″ which is 13.333″ wide by 7.5” tall.

As example, there are 5 presenters. The 5 presentations are all “16×9” but they have the following page sizes:

  1. 13.333×7.5″ (Microsoft PowerPoint standard page size)
  2. 16″x9″ (a literal interpretation of “16×9”)
  3. 10×5.625″ (legacy PowerPoint widescreen page size – this is old!)
  4. 10×5.625″ (Google slides presentation converted to PowerPoint – why is this the Google setting?)
  5. 26.667×15″ (Apple Keynote presentation converted to PowerPoint)

While all of these files are a 16×9 aspect ratio, combining them into a single file can become a nightmare. Merging different page sizes will create issues such as text boxes changing size and changing text line wraps, content being out of position and alignment, master slide logos and other art becoming distorted, and overall creates a situation where slides do not display as expected.

There is no easy fix for this scenario, it’s a manual process of updating the presentations page sizes and reviewing for edit needs before merging – ugh.

The takeaway for presenters is that the behind-the-scenes presentation setup can have big impacts on how your slides are displayed. And for presentation designers, be aware of checking presentation page sizes, because miss-matched sizes can create many content layout issues.


Troy @ TLC

By |2024-06-12T16:32:08-07:00June 13th, 2024|PowerPoint|

#1. Behind-the-Scenes PowerPoint Issues

My #1 behind-the-scenes of PowerPoint issues is Master Slides. Note, PowerPoint’s Master Slides, ability to have multiple masters, options to assign different background styles to individual master layouts, and more are all fantastic. But the option to “Keep Source Formatting” was well intentioned, but as an unchecked option it can literally cripple a presentation!

Let’s use this client supplied presentation file as an example of what I experience virtually daily.

This is a single 46 slide presentation for 1 presenter. The slides are beautiful and a fantastic presentation. But looking behind-the-scenes, this PowerPoint file has 15 separate Master Slides – that is 16 templates embedded in the file!

I can easily identify that the “Keep Source Formatting” feature was used several times. Because…

  • 7 of the Master Slides are named the PowerPoint default “Office Template” and duplicates of each other.
  • 6 of the Master slides are the event template that has been inserted 6 duplicate times.
  • And the 2 yellow Master slides are truly unique inserted templates.

Of note, after formatting the presentation, with none of the content visually changed, all was consolidated to 1 Master slide.

File Size:

  • The provided presentation, with it 16 embedded templates, was 189 MB.
  • Consolidating to a single template, the event template, reduced the file to 132 MB (there was 67 MB of content in the unneeded Master Slides!).
  • Further, optimizing the images with NXPowerlite, updated the presentation to 56 MB!!

Troy @ TLC

By |2024-06-05T07:47:06-07:00June 11th, 2024|PowerPoint|

10 Behind-The-Scenes PowerPoint Issues in Provided Presentations

I would like to say “I don’t know who needs to hear this.” But, I do know. It is everyone that uses PowerPoint and makes the assumption that the slides look good, so there is no problem with their presentation slide deck.

Let’s start with noting I am not picking on anyone specific, and this is not based on just one bad presentation. It is based on 100s of presentations from 100s of people!

Slides can be beautiful, and crash the computer. Slides can be beautiful and need 45 minutes to complete the edits that would take 10 minutes on a well maintained slide deck. What this series is about is highlighting 10 far too common behind-the-scenes issues that people are not aware are an issue or do not know to look for to fix the issue.

With that, join me for the next 10 blog posts showcasing PowerPoint file issues that everyone should fix if they are present!

Troy @ TLC

By |2024-06-07T14:21:48-07:00June 6th, 2024|PowerPoint|

New Episode on The Presentation Podcast!

Troy, Sandy, and Nolan continue our conversation on roles in the presentation industry. In today’s episode we focus on the roles of the writer vs. designer and more deeply explore the role, process, and structure of writing when building presentations. Join us for updates, spirited conversion, and of course, pro and tech tips.

Listen to episode 199 on your favorite podcast app, or online here.

By |2024-06-03T03:52:14-07:00June 4th, 2024|Resource/Misc|

Adding The Photoshop Generative Fill Remove Background Image to a Slide

Using the .png image created in the previous post, which literally took longer to create the post screen captures than actually remove the background, here is our slide with original image.

And the .png image with no background added to the slide.

Size and position the inserted .png over the original image.

Delete the original image and add the doll image for a great, quick to create, slide!

Troy @ TLC

By |2024-05-14T08:43:13-07:00May 30th, 2024|PowerPoint|

Photoshop Generative Fill to Remove Background (Amazing & Easy!)

PowerPoint has a remove background feature. For this complex image, it is not going to work (well). So we are opening the image in Photoshop and using the amazing Generative Fill tool.

The only thing needed is to click the SELECT SUBJET button.

The accuracy is literally amazing to me on the selection made!

With the subject selected, click the LAYER MASK icon to remove the background.

Isolated image!

TIP: do not export this image as the .png for the slide, it has lots of unneeded pixels. Go to IMAGE > TRIM

With these settings, click OK and the canvas is cropped to the visible pixels (Trim is a feature that has been in Photoshop for a long time, and it is amazing!)

Export this image as .png that is now ready to use on a slide.

Troy @ TLC

By |2024-05-14T08:37:04-07:00May 28th, 2024|PowerPoint|

PowerPoint Image Flip for the Fast Update

PowerPoint is a robust image editor, something that is taken for granted by those that have not endured the app evolution over the past years. But one humble feature that has seemingly always been there is the ability to rotate, or flip an object, or image. As a presentation designer, visual continuity is something I always am aware of, and revising slides where possible. As example:

Here is an iconic image from the recent Barbie movie, inserted onto a slide.

For this slide, the image was first moved to the right to setup the layout for a side-by-side comparison.

And the iconic Barbie that inspired the movie scene added.

Note, the doll photo shoot has Barbie facing to her right. The opposite of the movie scene. Continuity not ideal. But the doll has nothing indicating direction, or “backwards” so the image update can be accomplished direct in PowerPoint. Select the image > PICTURE FORMAT or HOME tab > ARRANGE > ROTATE > FLIP HORIZONTAL (note: for TLC we have the rotate and flip icons on the QAT as we use them often!).

And with a few clicks that slide images now align, facing the same direction, and visual continuity achieved

Troy @ TLC

By |2024-05-14T08:25:20-07:00May 23rd, 2024|PowerPoint|
Go to Top