Those charming slideshows that people make for wedding couples to highlight their lives before the nuptials aren’t the only reason to use PowerPoint’s Photo Albums. Corporations create similar slideshows to celebrate or chronicle corporate events, then place them on the company’s Intranet for all the employees to enjoy. They also use Photo Album slideshows for kiosks, trade show booths, and other marketing events to showcase the company and its products.
PowerPoint makes this task super-easy with its intuitive menus and dialog screens that walk you through the process, prompting you for responses along the way. It all starts with the Photo Album button on the Ribbon menu under the Insert Tab. The following instructions explain this feature in detail.
Image you work for a sports medicine company who wants to chronicle the company retreat for the corporate Intranet, and then use that same Photo Album slideshow for its kiosks in shopping malls across the country to advertise the benefits of exercise and fitness. With smartphones everywhere, there’s never a shortage of photographs. So, after all the pictures are uploaded to the company server, the first thing you must do is browse through the hundreds of options and select the best pictures for the project.
1. Create a folder called Corporate Retreat.
2. Copy 100 or so of the best-quality, image-appropriate photos into this folder.
3. Open a blank presentation in PowerPoint (don’t worry, this file will be discarded).
4. Select Insert > Photo Album > New Photo Album.
5. On the Photo Album dialog screen, click the File/Disk button.
6. The Insert New Pictures screen appears.
7. Navigate to the Corporate Retreat folder and choose Organize > Select All (or click anywhere inside the image window and press Ctrl+A), then click the Insert button.
8. The Photo Album screen appears again with all your photo selections displayed in the Pictures In Album window. Scroll through the list and review your selections. Use the up and down arrows to rearrange the picture order, or click the Remove button to delete unwanted images. Note that the photo must be checked before you can move it or remove it.
1. To make adjustments to the individual images, select the photos one at a time—that is, check the photo, make the adjustment, then uncheck the photo. Move to the next photo that requires an adjustment, check the box, make the change, then uncheck the box again.
2. The adjustment buttons appear under the selected photo (on the right side of the screen). The first two buttons control the rotation, the second two buttons adjust the contrast, and the last two buttons control the brightness.
3. Notice the options on the left and bottom left. Under Picture Options, you can select (check box) for All Pictures Black & White or Captions Below All Pictures. If the latter is grayed-out, you must first select a layout (from the Album Layout section) for the pictures in the photo album. For most, the selection will be one picture (per slide). Additional options include 2 (or 4) Pictures (per slide) and 1, 2, or 4 Pictures with Title (per slide).
Note that if you select Captions Below All Pictures, PowerPoint prints the filename below each photo. You can then go through each slide and convert the filenames to descriptive captions.
1. Once you choose a Layout, the Frame Shape field becomes active, and you can then select the shape of the frames for your slides. The choices include Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle, Simple Frame White, Simple Frame Black, Compound Frame Black, Center Shadow Rectangle, Soft Edge Rectangle. Notice the Preview box on the right, which shows your selection. Click the Update button when finished.
You can select any of these options for individual photos or for all photos in the Photo Album.
2. The last option in the Album Layout panel is Theme. If you’d like to apply a theme, click the Browse button and select a theme from the Choose Theme dialog screen. If you decide the selected Theme isn’t working for you, select Insert > Photo Album > Edit Photo Album and change the selected theme to the Office theme, which is just a plain, white screen.
1. Select Design > Format Background to change the background color or add a gradient, pattern, picture, or background to the slides. Or, select Design Ideas and choose a fancy layout design from the list.
2. Last, select Design > Slide Size and choose Standard or Wide Screen, or enter a custom size in the Slide Size dialog box.
Note: These options apply only to the selected slides. If you want all the slides to be the same, click inside the Thumbnail Panel and press Ctrl+A to select all the slides, then choose your layout options.
Fonts & Special Text Effects
1. Now you can browse through the photos and customize the captions. Select the text inside the text box and type over the filename.
2. If there are no captions, position your cursor at the bottom of the slide and choose Insert > Text Box. Draw a text box below the photo, then type your caption inside the box. Highlight the text, then select a font style, size, and color from the Home Tab > Font group.
3. As long as the text box is selected, you can also customize the paragraph spacing and add bullets, Quick Styles, and special effects from this same screen.
4. Note that when the text box is selected, the Format > Drawing Tools menu appears. You may not choose to “spice up” the captions with a lot of special effects, but you can experiment with some nice effects on the Title and End slides.
5. Highlight the target text, right-click, and choose Format Text Effects from the popup menu. Choose Text Options from the Format Shape menu panel, then browse through the options: Shadow, Reflection, Glow, Soft Edges, 3-D Format, and 3-D Rotation.
Note: Only the highlighted text is affected by the special effects you apply. So, be sure to highlight the entire title unless you want different effects for each word.
6. With the text still highlighted, scroll through the Special Effects and experiment with different options until you’re satisfied. For example, try adding a Reflection, a Bevel (from 3-D format), and then use 3-D Rotation to try some different angles.
Most importantly, play around with it and have some fun. It’s easy to undo any changes you don’t like.
Graphic Design Tools
JD Sartain is a technology journalist from Boston. She writes for PCWorld, Network World, CIO, & several other tech magazines.