PowerPoint XP Basics
PowerPoint is a graphics presentation program that will assist you in presenting
information to your class or other audience. Your students or other audience
member benefit from PowerPoint presentations because not all learners are
auditory learners. By stimulating the visual and sometimes auditory senses, you
reach a larger audience and make more neural connections to enhance learning.
Now that the cerebral stuff is out of the way, lets get to using PowerPoint.
Loading the program
1. Click on Start, move up to All Programs, then over to Microsoft PowerPoint and click.
Typing on the slide
2. The first slide to appear is a title slide. We are doing the basics here (we’ll add the pretties later),
so click in the area marked Click to add title and type the title Creating PowerPoint
3. Click in the area marked Click to add sutitle and type your name.
Creating a new slide
4. Now that you have a title slide, you need to create a second slide. Bill Gates gives you three
ways to do just about everything, so you could:
a. click on the formatting toolbar, or
b. pull down Insert and select New Slide, or
c. hold the Ctrl key and tap letter M (More slides; N is used for a new presentation).
5. Create a new slide by using one of the methods above.
Selecting a slide layout
6. There is a large variety of slide layouts that should be visible in the Task Pane
(the vertical menu on the right side of the screen) when you create a new slide.
Select the one that best fits the information you will put on your slide. For this
example, select the Title and 2-Column Text (the name appears when you
hold the mouse still on the layout).
Promoting and demoting text
7. Click in the title area and type Entering Text Into a Slide.
8. Click in the left column and type Major point.
9. Tap Enter and a new bullet and line should appear. To add supporting
information about the Major point, you should make the text smaller and
indented below Major point by pushing the Tab key. Notice the bullet
changes shape, is indented, and when you type the text will be slightly
smaller. Type Added detail.
10. Tap Enter and type More added details.
11. Tap Enter, Tab and type Even more specific details. This should be indented farther, the font
size should be even smaller, and there should be a different bullet shape.
12. Now we need to type a second major point. Tap Enter, then hold the Shift key and tap the Tab
key twice. Shift tab promotes the bullet to a higher level; pushing Tab by itself demotes the
bullet to a lower level. Promoting and demoting can also be done with the Outline Toolbar
(View, Toolbars, Outlining) by using the left and right green arrows.
13. Type Another major point.
14. Click in the right column and type Push Tab to demote text.
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15. Tap Enter, demote the bullet, and type The text indents, the bullet changes, and the text gets
16. Tap Enter, promote the bullet and type Push Shift Tab to promote text.
Now you know how to enter text and demote the less important, supporting details for the major
points and promote bullets back up to type another major point.
Applying a design to a presentation
17. Plain black on white isn’t very exciting, so let’s add some color! Pull down
Format to Slide Design.
18. In the Task Pane, you will see thumbnails of the designs. When you find a
design you like, click on it to apply it to your presentation. Be sure that the
design doesn’t interfere with reading the text – while the design gets
attention, the text carries your message! If you don’t like the design, select
19. If you don’t like the particular color scheme of the design, you can change
them! Click on Color Schemes at the top of the Task Pane. Click on any of
the color schemes to see their effect on the design.
Saving your presentation
20. You save PowerPoint presentations like any other Office document. Click on the floppy disk
icon ( ), select where you want to save, type a name that will remind you of the presentation’s
content (PowerPoint Basics), and Save. PowerPoint files are quite large and you may not be
able to fit very many of them on a floppy disk. It is always good to save your work in two
different locations and save often (every 10 minute).
Take an Important Break
Before we get too wrapped up in the upcoming bells and whistles of PowerPoint, it is important to
recall the purpose of PowerPoint presentations – to communicate information to others. Colorful
designs that attract attention are worthless if your audience can’t read the information! Here are
some suggestions that may help you connect with your audience.
Make sure every word is easy to read.
o Use high contrast against the background.
o Keep the text short – phrases, not sentences.
o Organize text by demoting and promoting bullets.
o Us a font size that can be read from the back of the presentation room.
o Avoid “cool” or funky fonts; stick with plain letters that are easily read.
Keep sounds to a minimum, or better yet, none at all.
Include graphics sparingly to support the text, not to overshadow it.
Print and practice your presentation before you give it.
Keep your audience with you by animating text (that’s coming up!).
With those in mind, we will venture into ways to make your presentation more interesting, but
keeping an eye out for too many bells and whistles that detract from the message.
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Inserting a picture onto a slide
1. Pull down the Insert menu and select Picture. A submenu will pop out and you will use the top
two choices most often:
A. Clip art – these are drawings and some pictures that come with Microsoft Office. In the
Task Pane, type a word that describes the picture you want. Scroll through the samples and
click on the one you want to insert it into your slide.
B. From file – these are files that you have on a disk. If you are going to put this presentation
on the Internet, remember the files must be jpg or gif. Locate and click on the file, then click
on the Insert button.
2. Once your picture has been inserted, it is probably not the right
size. If you need to make it smaller, it can greatly reduce the file
size if you will change the size in a photo editor program like
Microsoft Photo Editor (see last page). To change the size of the
picture a little bit, click on the graphic to make the handles (8 small
circles around the picture) appear, move the mouse pointer to one
of the corner handles, and your mouse pointer should change to a
double diagonal arrow. ( or ) When you resize a picture
from the corner, it does not change proportions. If you drag it from a side, it will distort the
picture making it look different.
3. Once you have the picture the size you want it, click in the center of the picture and you will
notice the cursor changes to a 4-way arrow ( ). Drag the picture where you think it will
look best, or you can move it by using the arrow keys on the keyboard as long as the handles are
4. The green circle at the top is used to rotate the graphic.
Points to consider when placing pictures:
picture content is appropriate for the subject of the slide, it supports the text
picture size should not overpower text – the words are the most important part of the slide
picture is not being covered by text, not even by just one letter
picture placement does not detract from the text
pictures with a direction should face the center of the slide – the dove on the left is flying and
directing your attention to the center of the slide while the dove on the right is flying out of the
slide, directing attention out of the slide.
Always direct the viewers attention to the center of the slide. If you want to position the
dove on the right side of the slide, then take the image of the dove into a photo program
(Microsoft Photo Editor, PhotoShop, or even Paint) and flip it horizontally so it flies toward
the center of the slide.
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Animating text and graphics on the slide
You want your audience to stay with you while you are presenting the
information. One way to keep them with you instead of reading ahead is
to animate the text so it enters a line at a time and in an interesting way.
1. Scroll up to the title slide, click on the down pointing triangle at the
top of the Task Pane, and select Custom Animation.
2. Click on the title, then click on Add Effect, Entrance, and More
3. Drag the window that opens off to the side so you can see what it
does to the title. The effects range from basic to exciting. Try several. Now try Swish. It is
cute, but it would drive your audience crazy waiting for it to finish! Don’t use it!
4. Select an animation effect for the title, and then select an
animation effect for your name. Your task bar might look
like this on the left. I had the title fly in from the top at
medium speed and my name fly in from the bottom at
medium speed. I use medium speed only on the title slide,
because you are getting their attention, they’re settling down
and getting their minds geared up for the presentation, all of
which takes time. I never use medium speed in my
information slides – your audience doesn’t want to wait for
5. Notice that each animation starts with a
mouse click. If you want them to come in
one after the other automatically, change On Click to After Previous. If you
want them to enter at the same time, select With Previous. If things enter in the
wrong order, you can change the order by selecting one then use the green Re-
Order arrow at the bottom to change the order.
6. Scroll down so the second slide is visible. Click on the title and select an animation.
7. Click on the Major point in the left column of text. Set a
custom animation so the Entrance of the text will Fly-In from
the Left, Very Fast, but leave the Start: box empty. You may
need to click on the double down arrow at the bottom of the list
to see all the text at the right. The numbers correspond to the
text levels in the slide. Notice that there aren’t numbers for the
8. When this slide is played, all of the text from Major Point to
Even more specific… comes in all together. Save your
presentation again, and we will try it. In the bottom left corner
of the screen, click on to run the show from this slide. Notice
that the right text box is there from the start, and then the title
comes in, then the block of text under Major point. This is not
good because you could still be talking about Major Point, but
the audience is reading Even more specific details. The
solution is to make the Start: show On Click. Click on the down arrow by start and change it to
On Click. Now numbers should be in front of every bullet so you control when it comes on the
screen. Run the show again and see the difference.
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9. So far, so good, but one small problem remains. While
you are talking about Even more specific details, the
students could be going back to read the Major point
again. To make this less appealing, we are going to
dim the text after you have brought up the next bullet.
Click on the black down arrow beside and select Effect
Options. In the window that opens, select a color in
After animation that is somewhat similar to your
background. This will become the color of the letters
when they dim. You don’t want them to disappear,
just be a little harder to read.
10. Click OK and run the presentation again. Probably
only the one line, Major point, changed color after you clicked the mouse button. To make them
all dim, collapse the other numbers by clicking on the double arrows at the bottom of the Task
Pane text windows. Click once on Major point, pull it down to Effect Options, and select a
dim color. After you click OK, all of the text in the left column should dim one at a time after
you click the mouse button. Run the slide show to verify that it is working. Now the students
can’t read ahead because you animated the text and it doesn’t show on the screen until you click,
and it is less inviting to re-read because of the dim (but they can still read it if they want to take
notes or get the spelling of a term.
11. Animate the text in the right column and make it dim when you click to make the next line
Just like you can animate text and graphics moving into a slide, you
can animate the process of going from one slide to the next. This is
called a slide transition.
1. Pull down Slide show to Slide Transitions or click the down
triangle at the top of the Task Pane.
2. Try several animation effects and choose one that you like to
apply to all of your slides. By using only one kind of transition
throughout the whole presentation, it is less distracting for your
audience like it would be if each slide had a different transition.
3. You can set the speed, although just about every transition is
better fast so your audience doesn’t have to wait for it to finish.
4. Click on Apply to All so your presentation has a uniformity to it
and is not as distracting as if each slide behaved differently.
5. Save your presentation again on both your floppy disk and your I
6. Usually you will have On mouse click checked, but if you put a
presentation to music, you might want to choose Automatically
after and set the number of seconds.
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Printing PowerPoint presentations
NEVER click the printer icon on the standard
toolbar! If you do, each slide will print on
its own page and take a tremendous
amount of ink or toner!
1. Pull down File to Print. In the window
that opens, click on the Print what: box
and change it to Handouts.
2. In the Handouts section, you can print 4
or 6 slides per page and each slide will be
the same size on the paper. If you choose
3 per page, it will print larger slides with
lines off to the side where your audience
can write notes. Two slides per page
makes each slide quite large. Try each one
and click on Preview then cancel the print
3. If you look beneath the slide, there is a
small opening in which you can type notes
to yourself about how you want to present that slide and what you want to say. If you change
Print what: to Notes Pages, each slide will print on the top half of the page and the notes you
typed below the slide will print on the bottom half of the page – great to use as an aid while you
are presenting in front of the audience!
1. Animate your first slide, so when you start the slide show, the first slide appears on the screen,
but no words appear. It is good to do this since it gets the attention (an curiosity) of the
audience. You can leave this slide on the screen while you are being introduced, while they turn
off the room lights, etc., but you should never allow the audience to see the PowerPoint
2. Add one extra slide to the end of your show that has no text on it (other than possibly a thank
you or your contact information). When you reach the end of your presentation, you can leave
this slide showing until they get the room lights on and you either turn off the PC projector or tap
the PC Mute button (stops the light without turning off the bulb so you can turn the light back on
quickly if you want to return to a slide). Don’t Escape out of the program or go to the
PowerPoint construction screen when the projector light is still on – very unprofessional!
3. Avoid the almost irresistible temptation to look at the big screen while you are presenting. Tip
your computer monitor up and look at it instead. Turning your back to the audience makes you a
great target for students, you lose eye contact with them, and I think it is disrespectful. Talking
while looking away from your audience severely impacts the volume and clarity of your voice to
those in the back of the room.
PowerPoint is a great tool to present information, audibly and visually, to an audience!
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