Subscribe to Podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on Stitcher
Subscribe on Google Play
Subscribe on Spotify

VAs – How to Insert and Format Charts in PowerPoint

VAs – How to Insert and Format Charts in PowerPoint

PowerPoint Chart

You have a client who asks you to create a presentation. Now amongst the information that needs to go into that presentation is some data. Your client really wants this data presented as a chart and asks you to do this.

What if you are not sure how to do so? How long is it going to take you to learn? How many hours will you spend trawling the inernet to find out how to create a chart in PowerPoint?

In today’s blog post, I am going to help you with that

Get started via the Insert Ribbon or the Chart Placeholder on a slide.

Inserting charts

  • Click on the Insert Chart icon in a placeholder
  • Or Click on the Charts Icon on the Insert Ribbon

Figure 1 – add a chart

You will see the Insert Chart Dialogue Box which prompts you to select the type of chart you want to create.

Figure 2- choose the chart type

Once you have selected the type of chart, an Excel spreadsheet opens up on top of your slide, with a sample chart in the placeholder. Fill in the data area on the spreadsheet and the chart will update with your numbers and categories. When you have finished filling in the data, simply close the spreadsheet. The chart updates and the spreadsheet disappears.

Figure 3- fill in the mini spread sheet

Open and view chart data

You may want to see the data in the spreadsheet in order to make a small (or even big) change.

  • Click on the chart you want to modify.
  • On the chart tools ribbon click Edit Data
  • The mini spreadsheet opens up and you can now modify the data

Figure 4- edit the data
  • If you select Edit Data in Excel, then a full size spreadsheet opens up on top of PowerPoint complete with data ready to edit.

Figure 5- complete the spreadsheet

You can overtype the cells that are filled in. If you need to add more columns to the chart drag the small blue triangle which appears at the bottom right of the range and then add in your new data.

Figure 6- drag the corner to make the chart larger

Continue to update the mini spreadsheet until you have all the data. Then use familiar Chart Tools just like in Excel as the Ribbon will change to show the Chart Ribbon.

Leave me a comment telling me how this has helped you and what else you would love help with in PowerPoint?

Keyboard Magic in PowerPoint for Virtual Assistants

Keyboard Magic in PowerPoint for Virtual Assistants

Keyboard Shortcuts PowerPoint

Keyboard Magic in PowerPoint

As you know I am all about saving time and getting more done so I was wondering how much time do you spend trying to figure out where the command to do something is in PowerPoint? Or in any Microsoft Office product for that matter. Do you know your Keyboard Magic?

We have many icons on the Ribbon and sometimes the one you want is not on the Home Ribbon but on one of the other ones. Tough to remember where everything is right?

Here is where Keyboard Shortcuts come in.

By remembering the keyboard shortcuts, you will save a whole load of time. You will stop taking your hands off the keyboard mid typing, you will instantly get the job done and you will save all that time wondering where the icon lives.

Here are a few of my favourite Keyboard Shortcuts for PowerPoint.

Make The Screen Go Black Or White

When in the mid presentation there are times when you need to make whatever is on the screen disappear for a moment. Perhaps you have a particular message to impart and the images on the screen will detract. You have two choices here. Make the screen go black or white.

This shortcut works when you are in Slide Show mode or presenting.

To make the screen go Black – press the letter B

To make the screen go White – press the letter W

That’s it! Simples!

Duplicate A Shape

This is a lifesaver and a timesaver. When designing your slides, often you will have shapes or text boxes and you need to copy or duplicate them. Yes, you can create new shapes but if you want them to be exactly the same then duplicating is the way to go. You can always change the colour or text afterwards.

Press Control + the letter D – your shape will be perfectly duplicated.

Two for the price of one!

Control + D to duplicate a shape works in Word too!

Start The Presentation From The Current Slide

When building a slide deck or presentation, it helps to put the presentation into slide show mode every so often to see what it will look like to your audience.

My favourite keyboard shortcut for this is to press

Alt +S+C – this will start the presentation from the current slide so that you can check how it will look and then press the Escape Key to get back into the presentation to work on it.

Find any keyboard shortcut easily

Did you know that you can press the ALT key and see what the keyboard shortcuts are? Try it. Note the letters on each of the Ribbon tabs. Press the letter indicated and you will switch to that Ribbon, you will then see more letters on the Ribbon, press the keys indicated to activate the command.

Before long you will start to remember the shortcuts that you use often and the keyboard becomes a way of life.

Leave a comment and let me know what your favourite PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcut is.

VAs – Do you know how to create a Timeline in PowerPoint?

VAs – Do you know how to create a Timeline in PowerPoint?

Why do you need a Timeline In PowerPoint

Why would you need to create a  timeline? What purpose does it serve? What if a client asks you to create a visual timeline in PowerPoint to show her book launch plan? It would be a real shame if you declined the job because you did not know how to do this.

The first thought to pop into your head might be, wow. This is going to be really time consuming. How will I be able to charge the client for all that time. I will have to draw lots of shapes and arrows and connectors, add the text and change how it looks. Easier to just say no or to outsource it.

I will let you into a secret. If you have PowerPoint 2016 as part of an Office365 account you can utilise the Artificial Intelligence that is built in to the PowerPoint Designer, to create a timeline. With just a few clicks!

Here is how to do it:

Step One – add tasks with dates

Add the events that need to appear on the timeline in a bulleted list with dates – like this:

Step Two – use Design Ideas

Once you have your bulleted list of items to add to the timeline the next step is to go to the Design Ribbon and click on the Design Ideas Icon at the far right of the Ribbon

When you click on the Design Ideas icon, PowerPoint will show you a list of design ideas in a task pane on the right-hand side of the screen.

Just pick one of the designs that you like. If you don’t see one you like, click the Design Ideas button again to have PowerPoint suggest more designs for you.

Design Ideas

The Design Ideas button is now one of my go-to buttons in PowerPoint. As I am not a designer, and often don’t trust my own aesthetic judgment, it is great to have a tool that suggests how to set out your graphics. It works for pictures as well as bulleted lists and it will also adjust the way that Smart Art looks. It suggests different layouts and picks up your colours from the colour palette. If you have changed the default colour scheme that is what it will use. Really handy for keeping everything on brand.

You do need to be using PowerPoint 2016 and have an Internet Connection for this to work!

Have you used Design Ideas yet? If so what do you think? Please leave a comment below.




P.S – did you know that over on the Course Directory you will find links to all my PowerPoint Courses? Take a look at the Course Directory to see what is there!

A Typical Day in the Life of a VA

A Typical Day in the Life of a VA

Guest Post Series

Today’s guest post is from Zita Lewis – continuing my series of posts by VAs for VAs. In today’s post Zita introduces herself.

A day in the life of Zita Lewis VA

I’m Zita Lewis, a VA/Business Support Manager for female entrepreneurs and small business owners. I’m from Witney in Oxfordshire, a beautiful part of the Cotswolds. I’m a wife, mum and a pet owner (3 rescue dogs, a giant chocolate millipede, a corn snake and a crested gecko). I also run a successful business Zita Lewis – Helping You Helping Your Business. I love to help people get back time in their business so they can concentrate on the bigger picture and the stuff they love.

I’ve been working in administration for over 25 years, since the tender age of 16, when computers didn’t exist and work was done on a typewriter. I took a career break to have my two girls and discovered the word VA. So, I began my VA journey working to support other VAs back in 2013. It’s been a steep learning curve, I’d never run my own business before but I have gradually picked up lots of new resources, tips and tools of the trade. Working within a variety of sectors in my previous life has helped and I now have clients from lots of different backgrounds including VAs themselves. Well they need help too don’t they!

I like to call myself a bit of an all-rounder, I don’t have a particular niche, although I’m always being told I should. I love a mix of general admin alongside techy admin. So, my typical day consists of a wealth of different tasks and I love that. I never know what I’m going to be doing when I wake up in the morning. It could be anything from diary management, email management, to looking for table runners for a conference. I absolutely love research and data entry (I know crazy right). I can also turn my hand to a bit of techy stuff as I built my own website and keep it updated. I love using MailChimp and Active Campaign to create newsletters for clients. I also provide social media content and posting from some clients. Mainly on Facebook which is where I am most comfortable myself. You name it, I pretty much do it. In fact, there isn’t really a lot I don’t do. The only ones I can think of are cold calling (yuck), minute taking and transcription work. Not because I can’t, just because I don’t enjoy it.

I love what I do, I love the joy of making someone else’s life easier. Taking the time out to listen to their journey and how they’ve got there. Helping them to figure out where they want to go next and how to make it happen. If I can help free up some of their time so they can do what they love, then my day has been a success. I pride myself on being as invested in their business as I am in my own. When they succeed, I succeed. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Look out for Zita’s next post coming soon.

How many WiFi connections do you have?

How many WiFi connections do you have?

wifi connections




Do you know who is accessing your Network?

We all have wireless devices that need the internet, so it becomes something that we expect wherever we go. We expect to be able to connect to a someone’s WiFi for the internet, especially when we visit a friend’s home. But are there any risks to that? It’s quite interesting we’d never dream of getting a laptop out at a friend’s house and connecting to their router with a cable, but wirelessly we expect to be given the password, and we give it, as if its not a real connection to our network as there are no physical wires. The problem is that it is exactly the same as being connected to your network with wires. When you have guests connect to your WiFi, they are connected to the network where all your business computers are.

What risks does this bring?

The biggest risk is internally shared data and devices. The person connecting to your network can communicate with all of those devices on that network, your computers, printers, NAS drives, lights, sound system, heating and possibly your fridge or kettle. All of which have varying degrees of security, from within the network, after all, the only people connecting to your network would be someone you trust.

However, what if it is a client? A friend of your child? Friends of friends over for a party? Who would you say “No you may not use my internet” to? If these strange devices you have no control over are on your network, do you know how security conscious the “guest” is? The NHS Ransomware of 2017 spread because 1 computer got infected within the network and none of the others had any protection against it from an attack within the network.

The next issue is that we never change the password. So, while we’ve given it out to everyone who comes into our house or business, their devices remember this password so they can use our internet whenever they are in our vicinity again, and never need permission. Why don’t we change the password? Because we then have to update our Laptops, printers, several phones, several tablets, TV’s, consoles, light systems, heating systems, fridge and kettles and so on….

What can you do?

The answer is simple. Create a guest WiFi. Most routers have this ability inside their settings, it just needs to be activated. A guest WiFi creates another WiFi network which normally ends with the word “-Guest”. It is a completely separate network where each device is isolated and can only see the internet, nothing else.

You can then freely share that password with anyone, and even change it often, so that those devices can’t be sitting outside our home or business using our internet. You can change the password easily and frequently, because you will not have to update all your devices, When your guests come back to visit you can give them the new password. You won’t need to reconnect all your own devices, as you are connected to the main network and the passwords are different for both WiFis.

This is all done from the router. You will need to access the web interface of the router to see if it is a feature you have (please note Internet Providers give a free router, and routers can cost from £20 to £350), some times it is worth investing in your own router as it will be better quality and include these extra features. For a home user approx. £100, for a small business office £150-£250 depending on their specific requirements. The router will work with all internet connections as long as the same type. i.e. Fibre/ADSL/VDSL – going from Talk Talk to PlusNet isn’t a change of technology. The only time there is a change of technology is moving from phone line to cable (like Virgin).

Guest Post

Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Tristan from TLMartin Ltd – Tristan loves looking after Virtual Assistant businesses of any size. He truly understands the IT issues they face and offers lots of guidance to help them keep their data and the data of their clients safe. Tristan will be sharing a regular tech update with us every month – I am really looking forward to learning from him!

If you want to find out more about setting up a guest WiFi network rather than doing it yourself then I highly recommend speaking to Tristan who will definitely be able to help and advise.

Tristan also offers  an IT Health Check without charge at where he will give you a report of your strengths and weaknesses and how they can be easily fixed.

Thanks Tristan!