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

New episode available on The Presentation Podcast

As a presenter-trainer-host, what makes for a good experience for attendees to want to listen and learn something? We leave aside non-educational reasons for attending events and focus on what people want to learn and get out of training presentations. Being presentation designers and trainers, we admittedly wander into the PowerPoint and stage craft of presenting – and it is a great conversation! Listen here.

By |2023-10-14T09:34:10-07:00October 17th, 2023|Resource/Misc|

Template Design – and New Microsoft Fonts

I am working a PowerPoint template project (yes, this is the real art, for a real template – and yes, I have removed logos and product indicators – and yes, PowerPoint design can be fun!).

What I want to highlight in this post is this awesome new Microsoft hand drawn style font, Dreaming Outloud Pro. I actually do not know when it was officially added, but one of our designers found it and added to the template concept and I love it!

Troy @ TLC


By |2023-10-09T14:54:35-07:00October 12th, 2023|PowerPoint, Resource/Misc|

Help! Template Placeholder Text Not Displaying

This is a continuation from the last post, about PowerPoint Placeholders – the master layout preset text and media placeholders that show up as a dotted outline on slides. And I included an example of a media placeholder with instructional placeholder text.

I received an email saying only part of the descriptive placeholder text was displaying. There is a reason, and we need to do a bit of  a text formatting hack to make the above placeholder look like this on inserted slides.

It is typography “hard returns” vs “soft returns”. Placeholders only display the 1st paragraph. Additional paragraphs are there, and seen on the Master Slide, but only the 1st paragraph is seen on inserted slides.

For quick reference:

  • A “Hard Return” is a line break that starts a new paragraph. In typography, the icon for a hard return is:

  • A “Soft Return” is a line break without starting a new paragraph. In typography, the icon for a soft return is:

With PowerPoint placeholders, if the text uses hard returns for each line:

At the slide level, only the first paragraph is going to display

The text formatting hack is to use soft returns to create line breaks, but keep all of the text within the 1st paragraph.

Now PowerPoint sees all of the text, even thou it looks like 3 line breaks, it is 1 paragraph and on slides everyone sees all of the helpful placeholder text!

Troy @ TLC

By |2023-10-04T19:47:13-07:00October 10th, 2023|Tutorial|

Template Placeholder Text – Customize it!

I am working on a fairly robust PowerPoint template design, and one of the template build steps has become a good conversation with the client – the Placeholder Text.

Placeholder text is the “description” text in slide placeholders. Placeholders are visually distinguished by having a dotted outline (vs. solid outline). The dotted outline indicates it will not display when presented or printed.

The great thing is, the placeholder text can be updated on each layout. As example, the default “Click to Add Title” can be made more descriptive to lead the team into what content is expected in that text box, on that layout. I updated the title slide text placeholders here to literally instruct anyone using the template that the title is a SHORT set of words – not a full sentence.

The Master Slide, and each Slide Layout have placeholders, with description text. Customize them to help end users know what is expected.

For this template project, there are image placeholders for partner logos. The client had a good question, which went into a more detailed conversation about what a good logo is. So, we updated the placeholder text to provide technical guidance.

PowerPoint has hundreds of backend options that can be preset – making placeholders helpful is just one of them our design team at TLC Creative Services customizes.

Troy @ TLC

By |2023-10-04T19:47:30-07:00October 5th, 2023|Tutorial|

New Episode at The Presentation Podcast!

The Presentation Guild represents us, the presentation industry representation. The Guild’s monthly email newsletter with its list of activities and opportunities for presentation designers inspired this episode. We are joined by 4 of the current Guild board members to talk about the Presentation Guild, its events, how they are announced, who can attend, what is planned, and more! Listen HERE.

Troy @ TLC

By |2023-10-02T11:55:07-07:00October 3rd, 2023|PowerPoint|


I had to share this setup from a recent corporate event. I am onsite managing the presentations for a large event, in what I call my “office for the week”. But this one was a bit unique.

First the tech setup was a single 8′ table for 3 techs (I generally have a 6′ table for my computers, monitors and space to have presenters review, and edit slides). Fortunately, I include a computer stacker in my tech kit. But what made this really unique is where the tech area is. I am generally backstage, or sometimes front of house. But for this meeting, the room was a bit small and in order to maximize attendee seating (~250 attendees), I was outside the meeting room in the hall!

On the positive side, I did not need any of the work lights I pack for the dark backstage environment!

Troy @ TLC

By |2023-09-27T16:13:18-07:00September 28th, 2023|Personal|

Things Not Working, Check Microsoft Updates

ote, this post is for Windows only (although Mac has its own dilemmas with update needs). I find that a feature I have been using, perhaps earlier that same day, suddenly is not available or does not work. My new thinking is things do not continue working until broken, they now work until Windows or something Microsoft has an update and things stop working because they see an update is needed.

I am constantly running 4 update checks to limit these random not working/error messages. Most likely only need 3 apply to your, but I am covering all 4.

Windows OS updates
Go to Start > Settings > Windows Update > click Windwos Update (in upper right)

Click Check for updates

O365 Updates
Open PowerPoint > File > Account > Update Options > Update Now.

Windows Store updates
The Windows Store is controlling more and more of the installed apps.
In the Start menu search for “Store”

Select and open the Microsoft Store app > Library > Get updates.

Lenovo Vantage
This only applies to Lenovo computers, but Dell, Asus and others have their own update apps.
In the Start menu search for “Lenovo”

Select and open the Lenovo Commercial Vantage app > Run System Update

Install updates following information provided.

This is a lot of ongoing effort. It feels that more the 50% of the time, whatever issue I was having is resolved with these updates. Hopefully this is a good reference and resource!

Troy @ TLC

By |2023-09-15T11:06:38-07:00September 26th, 2023|Resource/Misc, Software/Add-Ins|

Presentation Summit – Promo Code

If you have not registered for one of the premiere presentation industry conferences – we have a special promo code for the virtual edition of this annual event. Valid for the 2023 virtual event, November 5-8.

When registering, use the promo code 95SPECIAL and a 2nd attendee of your choosing can register for $95!

By |2023-09-15T11:00:32-07:00September 21st, 2023|Resource/Misc|

The Presentation Podcast – episode 182!

October 15-18 is coming soon. We spend some time with event director Rick Altman to talk about this year’s Presentation Summit. Troy, Nolan, and Sandy get answers to the split event format, how this year’s onsite venue was selected, and what really happened on that African safari adventure. All three of us will be at the onsite event and hope to say hello to you there!

Listen here.

By |2023-09-15T10:48:23-07:00September 19th, 2023|Resource/Misc|

Remove Old Presentations from PowerPoint’s “Recent” List.

Have you ever gone to open a PowerPoint file, selected a presentation from the RECENT list, and got the “File-not-found” error message?

I have found that PowerPoint, and all Office Apps, are not really good at keeping track of files listed in the Recent list. Once a file is added to the Recent list, the listing stays there – even if the file is moved to a different location, renamed or deleted – for all time, and the original location and name are what’s referenced. Essentially, PowerPoint can take the file name, but it doesn’t guarantee it will be available when you click on it.

There is an option to manage what is displayed in the Recent menu, but it’s not easily discoverable. Right-click on the line with the file that should not be displayed in the Recent list. Then select REMOVE FROM LIST. The file is not being deleted. Only it being displayed on the Recent list will be removed.

Troy @ TLC

By |2023-09-08T11:23:51-07:00September 14th, 2023|PowerPoint, Resource/Misc|
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