Recently, I was asked by a dear friend to create a PowerPoint presentation for her mother’s memorial service. I took the scanned photos from her son and created a presentation in minutes, using the photo album option. This is easy to do, but not often known by PowerPoint users. Here’s how to create a Photo Album without inserting each photo separately using some photos I took last summer at a Durham farmer’s market:
Once you’ve created your photo album, you can change the background, give it a new title (PowerPoint uses your name and has a default title slide to get you started. Here’s an example of changing the background using the slide master:
Changing your background using the slide master
I chose the color green, because I was showing photos of a farmers market. You can add a more complex image, but I urge you to use caution because it can overpower your images. Try one and see how it looks. If you don’t like it, you can always change it. In the case of my friend’s mother, I used an image of flowers because her maiden name was bloom. It was a bit muted so it didn’t overpower the images. Another tip is to be sure to close the slide master before you resume editing. People often don’t close it and get frustrated trying to get back to their slides. It isn’t explained well, so it’s easy to do.
Next, add some music to the mix. This is great for a slide show of images. You need to be sure to remove the sound from slides that have video added so it doesn’t distract from the video. You should be sure to use audio that is legal and there are places you can get audio for background. One example of a site that I use frequently, is Incompetch. It is background music that you search according to the mood you are trying to set. The creator, Kevin MacLeod, a composer who is willing to share much of his music for free. On the site, you can listen to his music and decide what is right for your presentation and download it. The file is an MP3 file and works well with PowerPoint. Here’s an example of me finding a file and downloading it to my computer and adding it to my PowerPoint:
Adding music to your presentation
Once you have added your audio, set up your presentation with slide transition. Here’s what you do:
- Click on transition
- Click the drop down arrow so you can see all transitions. I like to choose random, so it varies. You can choose to do the same or choose one that you really like or that you feel goes with the feel of the presentation. You can also choose one at a time, but that takes a lot of time and effort, so I don’t recommend it.
- Once you have made your choice, uncheck “On Mouse Click, so it will advance automatically.
- Click “After” to choose how long to show slide before it automatically advances. I like 5-6 seconds for images, so people have a chance to really view the slide. Try it and see if it works for you. Again, you can do each slide individually, but I don’t recommend it.
- Click “Apply To All” so all slides have the same settings.
- Be sure to SAVE your file. In fact, save it every 5 minutes or so as part of your best practices.
In the past, you would either show your PowerPoint on your computer or save it to a disk/file to share with someone else. This is where it could get dicey. If you have audio and/or video, it may or may not play on another computer. Often, the problem was the audio and/or video was not with the PowerPoint file you created. PowerPoint would go looking for the file at the file address associated with your presentation and not finding it, it would not be able to play. One way to address this is to create your presentation in a folder and share that folder to the computer you plan to use as a host. Even then, it would fail at an alarming rate. Not a fun experience if you are giving a talk or presenting something important.
If you had access to programs such as Captivate or Camtasia you could open your PowerPoint and add the audio/video to the Captivate or Camtasia presentation. The problem is the cost of the program and the time to learn it as well as the need to export the file to something you could use. If you needed to make a change, you had to start all over again. In recent years, it has become much easier to do, but there is still a cost. TechSmith has a program I have mentioned before, SnagIt, that I recommend using. It is cheap (under $50) and easy to use. Still, it requires a new program and it does have a cost. Lucky for us, PowerPoint has finally made some real changes to the program with its latest version that allows you to export the project to video directly from the program. It is a little time consuming, depending on the length of your project, but it works really well. Here’s how you do it:
Wait for the video to be created and then share at will. It can even be shared on Facebook. Let me know if you have any questions. Until next week.