Make your PowerPoint presentations pop with charts, graphics, and images

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You can buck the stereotype of PowerPoint presentations as bullet-pointed snoozefest. PowerPoint has a wealth of new graphics, layout, and animation features to liven up your deck. We’ll focus on how to add tables, charts, graphics, and images to your slides, but that’s just a sample—delve deeper into the menus and you’ll find a wealth of additional options.

Hot templates: easy starters

Like the other programs in the 2013 suite, PowerPoint has a new Home page packed with professional templates in seven different categories (business, calendars, charts & diagrams, education, medical, nature, and photo albums). In each category, there are hundreds to thousands of template options.

For this example, choose the Business category, and select the Business Digital Blue Tunnel Presentation.

f2 choose a template

Choose a template from the Business category

On the template view screen, click Create.

f3 click create

Click Create to use this template.

This template, like so many others, includes five pre-designed slides that only require you to type over the sample data and modify the graphics to customize the slides.

f4 template pages

Pre-designed slides to customize

The following slides provide five different layout options (plus a blank background slide) to continue customizing your presentation.

f5 additional layout pages

Slides with special features to add flair 

Choose one of the two layout pages that display the six icons inside a dotted square. Each icon represents an option to insert a special feature. For example, you can insert a table, a chart, a SmartArt Graphic, a picture from your local drive or the web, or a video.

f6 add fx options

Special features options

Insert Table

Click the spreadsheet icon in the box. In the Insert Table dialog box, enter five columns and 10 rows, then click OK.

f7 insert table

Insert and design a table.

Click the table to select it, and position the cursor on one of the square handles (top, bottom, or sides) to size it. Place the cursor on one of the borders; when it changes to a pointed cross, click, hold, and drag to move it. Position the cursor on any of the column or row lines to resize the columns and rows.

Enter your custom title and text where it says Click to Add Title and Click to Add Text, respectively. Next, enter your data into the table. If you need additional columns or rows, position your cursor in the white space of the table and right-click. Two formatting dialog boxes appear to provide a number of options, plus the ability to insert and delete columns and rows.

Let’s add an additional “Totals” column. Position your cursor on the top row’s last column on the right. Right-click, then select the Insert Column/Row icon and choose Insert Columns to the Right. A new column drops in for your Totals data.

f8 modify table

Customize the table and insert new columns/rows.

Insert Chart

Charts are always preferable to a matrix of numbers.

f9 insert template page

Insert new slide template

If you didn’t copy this slide before you changed it, you can insert another template for this page from the Home tab. Click Home, select New Slide, then click the Content with Caption slide. It drops in after the slide you’re working on. To move it, just click, hold, and drag to new location. 

On this new slide, click the Insert Chart icon, select the Column chart type from the tab on the left, choose the 3D Clustered Column chart style from the icons at the top, and click OK.

A chart spreadsheet appears for your custom data, plus three icon buttons on the right to modify the chart elements, chart style and colors, and to change the chart data after the chart is created. 

f10 insert chart

Select a 3D column chart

Enter the names of the sales agents from the previous table. Enter some hypothetical sales totals (since the table shows the same numbers for every agent) and delete the two additional columns B and C (because we are creating a chart that compares only one column of numbers—sales totals) and watch the chart develop as you type. You can change the colors using the Style/Color options dialog box, resize the chart, then close the spreadsheet.

f11 modify chart

Modify chart Elements, Style & Color, Values & Names.

Editing a spreadsheet in PowerPoint is just like editing one in Excel. You can delete columns and rows, size columns, and use the editing F2 key. Also, notice the icons across the top of the spreadsheet. The chart icon displays the Move, Size, Minimize, Maximize, Close dialog box. Click the disk icon to update the data or changes you make. The arrow icons are Undo and Redo, and the small spreadsheet icon with the green ‘X’ box is the option to edit the data in Excel. 

f12 completed chart

Completed chart - A very nice addition to your slideshow.

Keep reading to learn about SmartArt Graphics—slideshow gold!

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