Power up your next presentation with these PowerPoint secrets

PowerPoint found its humble beginnings in 1987 when it was first launched by Microsoft. Back then, it was created to be a visual story telling tool for Macintosh users and when its true potential was realised, it was released for Windows users as well...and well the rest is history.

Call me the Picasso of PowerPoint, but I just love the endless possibilities that a blank slide holds. Over the past 13 years, I’ve come across my own hacks and secrets to make my presentations pop.

Some say 'a magician never reveals his secret', but today, I'm feeling rebellious enough to share my top 3 secrets...

 

Secret 1: Never make a presentation from scratch

 

Don’t waste time on creating a custom template for a project unless it’s absolutely crucial. The world is full of creative designers who have already done the work. It’s as easy as modifying existing designs to suit your needs.

Here is what I do:

  • I head to slidesgo.com and look for a template I like. Just ensure you make an account on the website and they'll offer you tons of free templates. 

    slidesgo.com

 

  • Once you find what you like, click on the red download button for PowerPoint.

 

  • Now open the template on PowerPoint and head to the ‘View’ tab. Over-there click on ‘Slide Master’. This is where the magic happens!

    Note: Slide Master allows you to make your own templates and set them for the presentation. If you share the presentation with anyone on your team and they create a new slide, it will have all your settings saved with a custom theme. This makes collaborative working a cinch - especially if you’re working remotely.

    Slide Master option

 

  • Within Slide Master you can now change the colours of the elements and modify them to suit your needs on the slides needed. Once the elements and fonts are set, click on ‘Close Master’ to apply it. 

    Save changes on slide master

 

  • To add new slides, select them from the ‘New Slide’ option and you’re good to go. 

         

 

Secret 2: You don’t have to be creative

But you can fake it. Here’s how to give a bland presentation a little flair.

Colour C-c-c-combos

To get the best colour combinations for your presentation, check out some great palettes here: https://coolors.co/palettes/trending


Coolors website


Incredible Images

While that sorts your colours, what about getting HD images?

Google Images?
Never! 

I’ve been using this website for years and they have great HD images for free: https://pixabay.com/


pixabay website


And to add a little more panache (Sorry, I’ve never used that word so I thought of using it here) to your presentations - use small icons. Small icons when used beside bullet points can add a lot of value to your sentences. In fact, I use them as complete sentence replacements, to give my sides a nice minimal look. My personal favourite is the Noun Project: https://thenounproject.com/

Noun project website


These sneaky little ideas can transform your entire presentation into a TED talk worthy slide deck.
 

Secret 3: Make images with a transparent background on PowerPoint

If you don’t have access to image editing software like Photoshop, or just don’t have the skill yet, PowerPoint has a well-kept secret that’s got you covered.

You can easily edit out the background from images within PowerPoint to make them transparent. In this example, we took an image from pixabay.

Paste the image on a slide in PowerPoint.Next, select the image and click on the ‘Remove Background’ button in the ‘Picture Format’ tab.


Image Editor


You will now be prompted with tools to select the areas to keep and the areas to remove. Carefully select the areas to remove and they will be highlighted in pink. PowerPoint automatically selects the area for you based on its intelligence and in most cases you don’t have to make any changes.


Remove background


Once done, click on ‘Keep Changes’ and your edits are done. You’ll end up with something like this:

Keep changes

 

🔥 Hot tip: If you do this same thing on Slide Master, it will make a template slide for you with that image and your image won’t move when you make edits.


As you can see the possibilities of using transparent images are endless.

With these secrets, you now have the ability to wow your audience in your next presentation. Just remember - with great PowerPoint comes great responsibility.

Want to know more hacks and level up your PowerPoint skills?

Check out our very own PowerPoint course here.