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VAs – Start a presentation from a template

VAs – Start a presentation from a template

Templates In PowerPoint

Now you may be thinking – I know you can start a presentation from a template, but did you know that Microsoft provides lots of ready made design templates both locally on your computer and online? No? Well let me show you.

In PowerPoint click File New and you can choose from any of the templates offered on the screen. These are Design templates and include colours and layouts and sometimes variations.

PowerPoint Template

But if you look at the top of the New screen you will see that you can search online and there are categories. One such category is Business which I picked to use as an illustration.

PowerPoint template search

When I click Business I can now choose from quite a selection and I chose Tech Dividend Design.

PowerPoint Online template

It downloads the template and when you click Create a new presentation is opened on your screen complete with ready-made slides for you to simply update with your data.

PowerPoint template

Cool no? I think so!

PowerPoint courses

Did you know that I have three PowerPoint courses in the tomorrow’s VA Academy?

Master the Slide Master takes you through how to get to and modify the slide master so that you can update the design of your presentation in one place.

How to Create Infographics just using PowerPoint – shows you how to harness the software you have on your machine to create Infographcis.

Create Instant Instagram Posts in 30 Minutes or Less – yep, you are correct! I show you how to use PowerPoint to create Instagram posts. Once your template is set up you can create 30 or so in half an hour.

I have a special offer today. Get 15% off any of the courses. The Master The Slide Master comes in two flavours, one for Windows and one for Mac.

The other two are recorded using PowerPoint for Windows – however work the same way for Mac.

Use the Coupon Code – PPT15 at the checkout to get 15% off the price.

Get them here – Courses

You will see that there is also a bundle – Social Traffic Mastery which includes all three courses. This is priced at 3 courses for the price of 2 so when you apply the PPT15 Coupon Code you get an even bigger discount.





Testimonial – This is what one of my students says about Master the Slide Master

The first thing I heard about Shelley Fishel, the author of this course, was from my web designer – “she knows EVERYTHING about Microsoft Office. Any problems, just message her.” This came an the right time. I had just had my first skirmish with the Slide Master and I had come off worst. Still licking my wounds, I didn’t have the confidence to ask for help. 

Word reached Shelley that I needed help and she told me about the course. I knew I needed it but ego knew better. Oh, crud. A few months went by and I had reached the dizzy heights of 20 to the Slide Master, 0 to me. I had spent hours trying to recreate the same thing in Excel that someone had done using the Slide Master. It didn’t work. Of course, it didn’t work! 

Swallowing my pride, I took this course. It’s great. Easy to manage, there’s one video that’s just over five minutes and the rest are less than five minutes. It’s in bite-sized pieces and everything is carefully explained with Shelley doing it as she’s talking. 

It’s clear and easy to understand even a bolshi 63 year old can understand it. 

I’ve changed the fonts and I’ve changed the colours in the Slide Master, which is my new BFF. It isn’t quite purring but we’ve shaken paws and I’m taking it out for a drink later πŸ™‚

Why would anyone take a perfectly good idea for a presentation then build it using the Slide Master when PowerPoint is so good for putting projects together? 

Because, when your project is a daily planner with 365 pages and you get to the end and realise you’ve got the same spelling mistake on every page you’ll wish you had used the Slide Master to build it on, because you’ve got to go and correct every page. Or start again using the Slide Master. 

Using the Slide Master will be a game-changer in my journal design business. It will save me hours of work. 

Thank you, Shelley! 

Shân Marshall

VAs – Start a presentation from a template

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?

VAs – Start a presentation from a template

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 – Start a presentation from a template

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!

Online Course Creators – why branding your slides is important

Online Course Creators – why branding your slides is important

What is this branding you talk about?

When you see a logo on a billboard you notice it and without thinking, you know who the brand is. Think Coca Cola or Nike or even Tesco.

The colours and shapes that are associated with the brand – the visual elements reinforce recognition.

Now when you are working on slides for an online course or presentation, you want to keep your brand top of mind.

I Thought Less Is More When It Comes To Slides For Courses?

And you would be correct. The best slides are plain with minimal branding (but some!) and have lots of images to help retention of the learning.

So, What Do You Mean By Brand Your Slides?

I mean using your brand fonts and colours and keeping your slides consistent with the visual elements of your branding where possible. For example, for my own online courses I use slides that have my brand colours top and bottom, the headings use one colour and the body text another.

Logos are used sparingly as I don’t want to detract from the content – however I have found a way of incorporating the logo into the slide background so that it is not taking away from the messaging.

Themes or Designs are the way to go

I have a design theme which incorporates my colours as mentioned above. I have a dark blue border at the top incorporating my logo and a turquoise border at the bottom the titles are all in the Orange from the brand and it has the logo in the top left dark blue border.

Now you don’t need to have the borders, you could just have a discreet logo top left or use your brand colours for titles, shapes and borders of pictures etc. The choice is yours.

However, using some form of branding that helps your learner remember who you are is a good thing! When teaching reinforcement is key.

OK – You convinced me, now how do I do this without taking too much time?

You can of course create a slide in a presentation and keep on duplicating that slide so that the brand elements you set up are on every slide. However, there are problems with working this way. First off you may forget to delete content that exists on one slide and it becomes included in the next one. Then, if the colours and fonts are not embedded within the design, you can easily miss them or use the wrong shade.

Enter the Slide Master

You may have heard about the Slide Master and wondered what on earth it had to do with you!

What does the Slide Master do?

The slide master is like a template – for the design elements of your presentations. In the Slide Master you can set the colour scheme, choose which fonts and colours to use in the Headings and body text. What the bullet points or numbers should look like. You can create specific layouts that do a particular job and are always consistent.

By setting up the Slide Master to reflect your brand, you no longer need to edit the colours or fonts on the slides themselves. If you also set up the way shapes look and which overall colour scheme to use, then picking colours from your brand palette is a cinch.

How do I get to the Slide Master and Make these Changes?

In PowerPoint, go to the View Ribbon, choose Slide Master from the icons on offer.

Next up you will see all the layouts in the side bar on the left. Here you will find the Master master slide with the number 1 showing and below that all the master slides for each of the different layouts on offer.

You can make changes to any element on the Master Slide, change the font and/or font colour here, and any new slides you create will have the new fonts and colours.

When you are done making changes, close the Slide Master and you will be back in the presentation.

Now when you add a new slide, you will be using the new colours and fonts and whatever else you have changed.

Can I save this Slide Master to use again?

Yes of course! That is the whole point. As an online course creator, you will be creating more than one course – or you may be a virtual assistant that has been asked to put the slides together for an online course creator. This means that you need to have access to this particular slide design again and again with the ability to switch to it fast.

The Slide Master is saved as a Design in Windows and a Theme on Mac.

They are saved in a special location on your computer and the next time you open up PowerPoint will be available on the Design Ribbon.

How do I Use my new Slide Master?

When you start PowerPoint, simply go to the Design Ribbon and select the Design you wish to use. The design will be applied to whatever slides you have, or you can even apply it mid presentation.

What About A Template?

A template is a master presentation that holds the design and any standard slides you want to use. So, for example, if you always have an opening slide or an end slide, you can create a presentation, apply your course design, create the standard elements and then save it as a template.

Next time you start a presentation for a new online course, you have the design sorted and need only concentrate on the content of your training! A real time saver I am sure you will agree.

To learn more about the Slide Master, you can take my online course called Master The Slide Master. In the course I take you through exactly what the Slide Master is, how to get to it, how to modify it and also how to change the colours so that you are using your brand colours. You will also learn how to create custom layouts and to save both the Design and a template.

There is one version of the course for Windows and one for Mac – you can access them here.

Master the Slide Master – Windows Version

Master the Slide Master Mac Version

I also have a couple of ebooks on Amazon (they are included with the course so when you sign up to the course you get the guide too!) if you prefer to learn by reading.

Master The Slide Master PowerPoint Windows on Amazon

Master The Slide Master PowerPoint Mac on Amazon

Until next time…

Online Course Creators – why branding your slides is important

How to record Narration in PowerPoint

Recently I was asked – How do I record a voice over for my slides?

Someone asked this in a Facebook Group I belong to.

“What’s a good program for recording audio only for voiceover with slides?

Keeping in mind I read with a screen-reader and will be slower as a result, I need something with reasonable recording time that’s not short.

Also, how do I combine them? Could I embed the voiceover with the slides, so people don’t even have to read?”

Record Narration

I assume that you have the slides and probably some notes of what you want to say. To record the Narration:

Head over to the Slide Show Menu and click the dropdown under Record Slide Show then choose where to start from.

You will see the following screen

  1. Recording tools
  2. See or hide Speakers Notes
  3. Increase or decrease the font size for Speakers Notes
  4. Clear all recordings
  5. Settings – Microphone and Cameral settings
  6. Turn on camera or microphone here
  7. Pick a colour and pen style for annotating
  8. See the duration of each slide here

To start recording click the Record Button and use the arrows on the right and left to move back and forth through the slides – all the while saying whatever you need to say.

When you are finished click the Stop Recording button and you are taken back into PowerPoint.

To see what you have recorded, play the presentation and it will play the slides keeping them on screen for the length of time you had them displayed whilst recording. It will also play any camera or voice recordings so long as you have ticked the boxes Play Narrations and Use Timings.

Rehearse Rehearse Rehearse!

Before you launch into recording, you can Rehearse Timings. This does not actually record your voice but it does record the flow of the slides and the length of time each one is on screen.

I like to use this when I am preparing as I can go through and “say” out loud my whole presentation so that I can improve. You can also record as many times as you wish and simply clear the previous recording.

How do I Clear the Previous Recording if I don’t like it?

Click the drop down next to Record Slide Show.

Choose Clear Timings – use this if you just rehearsed and want to start over

Choose Narrations on All Slides – choose this to clear all Narrations.

If you want to clear both Narrations and Timings, go back and choose each one individually.

Where can I see Timings?

Sometimes you just want to see how long each slide will play for. You can do this by switching to Slide Sorter View.

Get to Slide Sorter View by clicking on the View Ribbon and choosing Slide Sorter or by clicking the Slide Sorter View Icon a the bottom right of the screen

You will see that wherever there are timings there is a star with the number of seconds displayed.

Can I change the Timings?

Yes, you can Clear the timings from an individual slide or the whole presentation.

Can I record slide by slide?

Instead of recording the whole thing and having to go back and forth re-doing the whole thing for one or two mistakes, you can actually record slide by slide.

When you do this PowerPoint keeps the recording of each slide and includes it with the rest of the recording.

On the Slide Show Menu

Click Record Slide Show

Then Click Record from Current Slide

Click the record button to record your narration for the current slide then click Stop recording. Close out of the recorder and then you should see the narration and timing on the slide. If you don’t see the timing on the slide in Slide Sorter view – switch back to Normal View and then go back to Slide Sorter View. The timing will now be displayed.

Using the Keyboard – On Windows

You an also use Keyboard Shortcuts to start the recording.

Press the ALT Key to display letters on the Ribbon – you will see each Ribbon gets a letter. To go to the Slide Show Ribbon press the letter S.

Once on the Slide Show Ribbon you will see more letters and numbers. Press the letter N to get the recording options

Then press the required combination to start recording either the current slide or the whole presentation.

Did this help you?

Please leave a comment and let me know if this has solved a problem for you or helped you in any way.

I love hearing from my readers.