9 Ways to Spice Up Office 2010 Documents

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New Video Aids for PowerPoint

If you've ever used a video clip in a PowerPoint presentation, only to have it vanish when you've tried to run the presentation on someone else's computer, you'll appreciate PowerPoint 2010's new video tools. By default, any local video file that you insert is embedded in your presentation, so you don't have to worry about bundling additional files with your .pptx file.

Compress as needed: Of course, embedding video files can dramatically swell the size of your PowerPoint file. To avoid problems associated with out-of-control file growth, you can compress your videos to reduce their size. Click the File tab to access the Backstage View of your presentation; by default, you'll see the Info page, with 'Media Size and Performance' as the top section in the center.

Click the Compress Media button, and you'll have several options for reducing the file's size (and video quality). Be sure to play back the compressed file; if you feel that you've surrendered too much in quality, you can always revert to a larger file size.

You can embed, compress, edit, and play Web video with Office 2010's new tools.
Easily play Web video: If the video you want to use is on a Website, PowerPoint 2010 makes the video easier to play back--if you run your presentation on an Internet-connected PC. Copy the embed code from the site, open the Insert tab on the ribbon, and click the Video button in the Media group on the far right. Then click Video from Web Site in the pop-up menu, and paste in the embed code. (This feature isn't available in the 64-bit version of Office because Adobe hasn't created a 64-bit version of Flash to support the video playback.)

Edit video from within PowerPoint: You no longer have to work with video files in a third-party application to prepare them for your presentation. The built-in video editing tools in PowerPoint 2010 let you work on your movies from within the application.

When you insert a video clip into a slide, two new Video Tools ribbon tabs--Format and Playback--will appear. Format has tools (similar to those in the still image-editing ribbon tabs) for adjusting exposure and contrast, for displaying the video within geometric shapes such as stars or circles, and for creating frame effects such as soft edges, glows, and bevels.

The Playback tab is where you can trim your clip (it works on a copy of the video file--the original remains unchanged), add bookmarks so that you can start playback anywhere you wish, add fade-ins and fade-outs, and specify whether to loop a video or rewind it.

Transitions and animations at your fingertips: In PowerPoint 2010, Transitions has a tab of its own, which makes it very easy for you to discover, try out, and apply transitions to your slides. Live preview applies here, too: To see a Live Preview, navigate to a transition you want to try.

New to animations is the Animation Painter, which lets you quickly copy an animation and then apply it to objects in other slides.

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