Ed Tech by Bowman Tutorials


Dr. Richard L. Bowman
Harrisonburg, VA, USA  22802

I. Introduction

Microsoft's PowerPoint, an example of powerful presentation software, enables the user to construct exciting multimedia productions. In this tutorial, you will learn the basics of building a smooth and exciting presentation that will provide your audience with an informative and enjoyable experience.

Caution: Using PowerPoint does not guarantee that a teacher will be more effective in presenting subject matter or that students will learn the material more quickly, understand the concepts more completely, nor retain the information longer. Presenters must always keep in mind that the key to effective learning is to have persons interact with the material. The danger is that a PowerPoint presentation may simply be a modern way to give a static, non-interactive lecture.

II. Look at a Sample Presentation

The image below is of the sample file opened in PowerPoint 2007. This tutorial users PowerPoint 2007 as an example, but the hints and suggestions are applicable for older and newer versions and even for other presentation software such as OpenOffice's Impress.

PowerPoint 2007 with the sample file opened

1. Save the files.

Right click on the hyperlinks below. From the resulting menu, select the option, "Save Target As." Save the file in an appropriate directory on your computer.

Hint: Saving a presentation in the "PowerPoint 97-2003" format as the above presentation has been saved (as opposed to saving it in a newer PowerPoint formats) enables it to be opened and run by more persons. The above file will open correctly in PowerPoint 2003 and PowerPoint 2010 and also in OpenOffice's Impress (v. 3.2).

2. Play the presentation.

There are two ways that the saved presentation can be viewed.

In all cases, use the arrow keys or left mouse clicks to move through the presentation. The presentation can be stopped at any point by pressing the Escape key in the upper-left corner of the keyboard.

Note: The video clip regarding the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft on the fourth slide needs to be clicked on to begin playing.

III. Remember These Presentation Principles

A. For a more effective presentation, introduce only one or two ideas at a time.

B. Use large readable fonts with only a few ideas (usually bulleted points) presented on each slide.

C. Make each slide interesting but not cluttered. Often the "bells and whistles" that PowerPoint can provide detract from and hinder the communication of ideas that is the real focus of any presentation.

D. Giving a presentation should involve more than simply reading each slide.

E. Keep the presentation interactive by asking for responses from the audience to pertinent questions.

F. Consider giving the audience something to take notes on and something to take away from the presentation. This may be a print out of the slides themselves. Go to the Print menu to see what options you have for printing the slides.

G. In most teaching situations, do not put all of the information to be given on the topic in the PowerPoint presentation. Consider the slide show as an outline, discussion starter and motivational medium.

IV. Ready, Set, Go!

A. Get Acquainted With The Editing Buttons.

Open up the PowerPoint program and explore the "ribbon" and its menus at the top of the program window.

B. Plan Your Presentation!

Every effective presentation needs a clear focus, and each slide should be designed with this focus in mind. Even if you are creating a "dummy" presentation now as a way to learn how to create PowerPoint presentations, take a bit of time to plan the presentation.

C. Create Your First Presentation.

Method 1: Begin With A Clean Slate.

In PowerPoint 2007, go to the Office Button and select New and then Blank Presentation. A new blank presentation will open with one slide showing--a title slide. Begin by designing a title slide. If the text you type is not large enough or you do not want it centered or whatever, choose the appropriate editing and formatting buttons or menus as necessary.

After the title slide is finished, insert new slides with the desired style of layout until your slide show is complete. The choice of an interesting background and other effects can be added later as described in section later in this tutorial.

Method 2: Using Templates in PowerPoint 2007 Can Give You A Hand.

To access the templates in PowerPoint 2007, go to the Office button and select New. In the window that opens at that point, select the option on the left-hand side labeled "Installed Templates." Click on one of them and follow it through. You may also begin with a new theme.

V. Enhance Your Presentation

A. Explore the themes.

Selecting the "Design" toolbar and then choose a particular background color and design under the Theme section. Clicking will apply that design to your slide show. Try previewing a few different ones and then select one for your slide show or try several of them.

Caution: Make sure to not choose a design that competes with your information so that persons viewing the presentation do not become distracted by the background.

Hint: Careful select a theme that provides a pleasing environment for your presentation and one that has a high contrast between the color of the background and the color of the type used. In addition, the theme should not clutter up a slide so much that it greatly reduces the space allotted for information or detracts from its presentation.

On the left below is a poor choice of a theme due to its low contrast and "wavy" background that hinders clear presentation of information. However, the presentation on the right is a good choice showing an attractive but not detracting environment that exhibits high contract.

A poor PowerPoint theme choice A good PowerPoint theme choice
A poor theme choice. A good theme choice.

B. Create your own design scheme.

This is a topic that is worth investigating on your own using the Help system. Click on the Help button and then type in "create a new custom layout." Follow the various options provided to learn how to modify the predefined templates.

C. Insert pictures, graphics, sounds, and videos.

It is relatively easy to insert a picture, graphic, sound, or video  into a presentation. To demonstrate the technique, try inserting a picture you have on your computer already, or get one from somewhere on the

Add a new slide to your presentation on which you want to insert a picture. Then from the Insert menu select "Picture." Go to the appropriate folder, find the picture you want to use, and insert it into the slide. Once it is in place on the slide, click inside the picture and hold down on the left mouse button. Now you can move the picture to the exact location on the slide where you want it to be. Also "grab" a corner of the picture with your mouse (the cursor will turn into a two-headed arrow) and drag it to make the picture larger.

You may add multimedia this way, too, such as a video or sound clip. But remember that usually you do not need a real high quality video to convey a concept. Too large of a file inserted into the presentation may make the resulting PowerPoint file too big to transfer easily between computers.

Caution: Remember that to use sound or video files in your presentation, the system you will be using to give your presentation must have the necessary software installed to access the multimedia format you want to use.

D. Add animation effects.

Choose one of the slides that have several lines of bulleted text. To examine several of the animation effects for how this text may be presented, click on the text to select it. Select the "Animation" toolbar and experiment.

Note that there maybe a sound associated with this animation effect. This can be VERY VERY distracting to the viewer! To turn off this sound, after applying the effect, go to the "Transition Sound" button on the Animation toolbar and change it to "No Sound."

E. Preview the slide show.

Finally check out the slide show with the "Slide Show" button at the bottom of the PowerPoint screen.

F. Save the presentation.

To save the whole presentation, use the Office button as per usual with Microsoft Office 2007 applications.

G. Create handouts for others and notes for yourself.

The print command found in the Office button will allow you to make colored or grayscale copies of your presentation so that you ma make them available to your audience. Experiment with the options.

VI. Publish Your Presentation On The Web

After generating a presentation that is well-done, an instructor may wish to publish it on the Web so that students access it at their convenience. PowerPoint 2007 makes this task fairly straightforward. From the Office button select "Save As" and then select the "Other Formats." Finally in the resulting Save As window choose the type to be "Web Page." This process is still not quite as clean as it should be, so do some experimenting.

The resulting HTML web pages and images must then be transferred to the appropriate web drive and linked to some previously published web page.

Note: All of the graphics inserted into the presentation and any designs used for the slides will be transferred to the HTML format. However, the animation effects, sounds, and videos may not work on the web.

Appendix: Resources

In addition to this tutorial, the reader will probably find several other resources helpful.

The Help menu!!

All of the components of the Help system are excellent routes to becoming better acquainted with the possibilities embedded in PowerPoint. Use them! Experiment!

Other tutorials at the Ed Tech by Bowman site

Other resources

1999-2011; Dr. Richard L. Bowman

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Created and maintained by: Richard L. Bowman ( richard.bowman@edtechbybowman.net ); last updated: 25-Apr-11.