Our guide to PowerPoint
Jane McGuire

Our guide to PowerPoint

First published date June 29 2015 Amended date June 29 2015

Sure you know how to stand in front of an audience and give a presentation, but do you get cold sweats when it comes to putting it all together on PowerPoint? Whether you need to train for work, brush up some rusty skills or add some training to your CV, we’ve got just what you need.

From a crash course to an advanced analysis, the field of PowerPoint training is vast. At a first glance it can be tricky to know which course to choose. Most are divided into levels of training – from beginner to advance, each covering the key functions of the programme.


What will I learn?

Do you know the difference between a transition (the movement between slides) and a custom animation (the movement or animation on each slide)? When attending a PowerPoint course, a trained industry expert will teach you how to use the programme to create a professional looking presentation. From inserting and editing to formatting the slides, when it comes to producing a flawless presentation the little details definitely matter.

Without being a graphic designer, learning how to create artistic and engaging slides can make a world of difference. Covering principles of bullet points and numbering, animation and transition effects, you will learn how to organise your ideas in the best possible manner. Adding charts and diagrams is a more interesting way of getting facts across. Remember that the colour scheme, formatting and alignment does matter. The material might be groundbreaking, but if the design is poor, your presentation will look amateur.

As a beginner, or a learner with a bit of background experience, your course will teach you how to delete, copy, move and re-order the slides. According to industry experts, when trying to wow in a company presentation or job interview, remember to keep your slides as text free as possible – a picture really does paint a thousand words.

Like many Microsoft Office programmes, there are always more technical elements to master. An advanced course will enhance and develop your skills. Embedding videos, multimedia, hyperlinks and action buttons all take your presentation that one step further. Why not add sound effects and timings? Moreover, using tools such as slide sorter and outline view will give your work that polished finish. Learning how to take advantage of PowerPoint’s technical programmes will stand you in good stead for future projects.


Why do I need PowerPoint?

PowerPoint has a lot to offer. Whatever your job, at one point you will probably be asked to present your ideas to colleagues, or in an interview. Knowing how to utilise the software efficiently can save you time when trying to prepare. Remember it’s a good idea to export your presentation to Word before printing, as this allows you to keep your slides simple, adding extra notes on the printout.

Like many computer programmes, PowerPoint are always updating their software so as the job market changes and develops, so should your skills. Taking some time out to brush up on the latest updates might save you a headache next time you try and log on!


Top tips

When it comes to a good presentation, we’ve found a few tips that just might help –

- Be concise and brief, nobody wants to read an essay off a slide – break it up

- Use a dark background if you are giving people text to read – there’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to read the information

- Keep things simple

- Avoid using PowerPoint templates – your audience will have seen them a thousand times and it won’t make you look professional

- If you are animating text, make it happen quickly – dissolving text was cool when you were at school, but not so much in a job interview 

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