Dress Your Slides for Success

If you want to make a positive impact with your presentation slides, you’ll need some great looking images. Since Microsoft retired their built-in online image library, a lot of people might be stranded without any good image resources. Fortunately, there are tons of great websites offering free images. Unfortunately, they’re scattered in a zillion different places all across the web.

Since we like to work smarter instead of harder around here, I’d like to share three free PowerPoint plug-ins that will give you access to first-rate image libraries right inside PowerPoint. No more wasting time jumping between browser tabs looking for just the right photo.

Visit my recent post over on my personal website to get the scoop on these free awesome image libraries and how you can use them without ever leaving PowerPoint.

  1. PickIt:  https://pickit.com/
  2. Pexels:  https://store.office.com/en-us/app.aspx?assetid=WA104379997
  3. Shutterstock: https://www.shutterstock.com/lp/powerpoint-presentation-images-plugin


Recovering Unsaved Office Documents

Have you ever forgotten to save a document you were working on? Maybe you accidentally clicked the No button when prompted to save your spreadsheet on closing it? Lost power in the middle of working on an important presentation? Of course, we’ve all had something like this happen at some point….and most likely lost a lot of blood, sweat and tears recreating the work we had already done. (Man I HATE that!)

Well, the next time that happens you should know this handy trick for recovering unsaved Office documents. (Note that it’s not perfect but it has saved me hours of rework a few times.)

How It Works

Once you’ve realized you might have lost some unsaved work. Reopen Word, Excel, or Powerpoint and go to  File » Open then look for the Recent tab.


Scroll down to the bottom or the files list and click the Recover Unsaved Presentations button.

If you’ve got any unsaved documents you’ll see them and get a 2nd chance at saving them before they’re gone forever!

If the document has never been saved, it might have some weird name so don’t ignore it without opening it to see if it is what you’re looking for.


This little trick is based on the AutoRecover function so  don’t be surprised if  your recovered document doesn’t have everything you’ve already done.  Nothing you can do about that –other than remembering to save it in the first place! 😎


Converting Your Bullet Points to Graphics in the Blink of an Eye

You’ve probably heard that bullet points are bad. (If you don’t believe me, here’s some scientific proof.) But most people are not graphic designers and many get stuck when it comes to thinking of better alternatives to the standard lists of text. Plus, who has time to do all that extra work right?! Wrong!

Converting your existing PowerPoint lists into attractive visuals  less than 3 seconds and makes your slides look WAY better. Here’s how it works.

Convert slide text to a SmartArt graphic

  1. Select the text placedholder on the slide that you want to convert.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click Convert to SmartArt Graphic
  3. In the gallery, click the layout for the SmartArt graphic that you want. Hovering over them gives you a real-time preview.

The gallery contains layouts for SmartArt graphics that work best with bulleted lists. To view the entire set of layouts, click More SmartArt Graphics.

Also, be sure to experiment with the colors and styles available from the Smart Art gallery to get an even better looking design.

So go and upgrade those boring text lists to nice looking professional visuals. When it’s this quick and easy there’s no excuse for not having great looking slides.

Intergrating Microsoft Office with Google Chrome

If your preferred web browser is Google Chrome, you probably already know that it integrates pretty seamlessly with other Google tools like Google Docs. But what if you are more of a Microsoft Office user than Google Docs?

Here is a Chrome extension from Microsoft that brings some nice integration with your Office documents.

As you can see, you’ll get one-click access to your Office files, whether they’re on your hard drive or in the cloud.

You can be up and running in now time. Here’s how:

  1.  Grab the Office Online extension from the Chrome Web Store.
  2. Next type chrome://extensions into the address bar and scroll down until you see the listing for Office Online.
    NOTE: You can tie this to your Office 365 account, or if you don’t already have a Office Online/OneDrive account you can create one for free.
  3. If you want to upload documents to OneDrive from your hard drive using drag-and-drop, click the box that says “Allow access to file URLs.”


With this set up, dragging & dropping files into your Chrome browser will automatically upload them to Office Online for easy sharing & collaboration.

Also, when you run across Office document formats on a web page, such as Word documents or Powerpoint presentations, they will automatically open in Office Online instead of requiring you to download them, open the right Office app and then viewing them. PDF files will continue to open in Chrome’s native viewer.

Get a Jump on Your Presentation by Importing Your Outline

Crafting a great presentation means mapping it out before you start building any slides. There are lots of ways to organize your thoughts and one of the more common methods is by creating an outline.

An outline is a great way to logically structure your message. Trying to build slides on the fly without this first step is usually not a good idea.


Once you’ve got your outline in order, you can get a jump on creating your deck by simply importing the outline you already have. It’s easy to your text outline.

  1. Start a new presentation
  2. On the Insert tab, choose New Slide » Slides from Outline…


  3. Locate and select your outline file. This can be a .txt, .rtf, or Word .doc or .docx file.
  4. Your outline will come into PowerPoint and look something like this:


And with a good structure in place, now you’re ready to build a presentation deck that will dazzle your audience!

Super Easy Way to Recover Unsaved Word Documents

Have you ever lost work when the power went our or your battery died unexpectedly? Most of us have felt that type of pain at one time or another. But did you know that if you’re working in Word when that happens or even if you’re in a hurry and accidently hit No when asked if you want to save, you can still get you stuff back?

You can and here’s how.

Let’s say you’ve just closed a document for whatever reason wit out saving your work.

  1. Your first step is to open a new, blank Word file and go to File » Info.
  2. Look for the Versions  button for the big square that has a drop-down that says Manage Versions.
  3. Click that and choose  ‘Recover unsaved documents’ and you’ll see a list of the unsaved files it can recover.

Recover Unsaved Documents

Bing, bang, zoom! And you’re back in business. While it might not be fool proof it could certainly save you a lot of time reworking things you’ve already done. This is a great little trick to keep up your sleeve! You’ll make friends for life of anyone you’re able to help out with this handy trick!

Add the Power of Video to Your Presentations

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a video worth? Sometimes you just need a video to bring things to life and get your point across. Fortunately adding videos to your PowerPoint presentations is a piece of cake.

Adding a Video File

If you already have a copy of the video file you want to use just head over to the Insert tab to find the Video drop-down arrow and click Video on My PC. Find the video file you want to use and click Insert to add it to your slide.

Embedding Online Video

Often, it might be easier to tap into a video already available online and embed a video from Youtube or other sites like Vimeo.  An embedded video still “lives” on the website it comes from so it can be a good way to keep the file size of your presentation down — just remember you’ll need an Internet connection to play it.

For online video, the steps are the same except you’ll choose Online Video…

Getting the Embed Code From YouTube Options

To get the embed code from YouTube, click the Share option below the video, then click the Embed tab. Don’t forget to set your preferences like video size, etc (3) and the copy the embed code (4).


Here is what it looks like in action:

If you’re interested in learning more about working with videos in PowerPoint, check out this info from GFC Learn Free.

Quick & Easy Newspaper Style Columns in Word

Have you ever wondered how to get nice looking, space saving columns of text in Word? Well today is your day. Here are two simple ways to get the results you’re looking for.

Option 1: Tables

Putting your text and images inside the columns of a table is a super simple way to create tables. Many times this is all you need to design the columns you need in your document. Remember to turn off the borders and nobody will ever know there is a table hidden in there.

The layout for the document above was created by using “hidden” tables.

Here are a few items that might help you as you venture down this path:

3 Ways to Create Tables in Word & Which One is Best For You

Using Tables for Document Layout

Option 2: Columns

The columns feature in Word is the way to go if you want things to be a bit more dynamic and automatically adjust to your content.


  1. Select the text you want formatted in columns, or place your cursor where you want columns to begin.
  2. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Columns.
  3. Click More Columns.
  4. Click the number of columns that you want.
  5. In the Apply to list, click Selected text or This point forward.

Using Excel’s AutoFill for Fast & Easy Formatting

The AutoFill feature in Excel can do so many things. One really handy job it can make quick work or is copying formats from one cell to another.

How to copy formatting via Autofill

1. Format the content in your first cell.

2. Hover your cursor over the bottom right of the cell so you can see the Fill handle (it is a black crosshair or plus sign)

3. Click and drag to copy – this will copy content to and may overwrite your existing data – no worries, we’ll fix that.

4. When you let go, look for the Smart Tag and click it to select Fill Formatting Only.

5. Voila! Your original data is back with the new formatting applied.

Excel Fill Formatting

Why Write Excel Formulas When You Can Flash Fill?

A lot of times the data you have to work with in Excel isn’t quite the way you need it to be, and going through a giant set of data to manually correct it is monotonous and time-consuming. Sure you can do a lot of things with a few crafty formulas but once you see what the Flash Fill function can do you’ll be totally amazed.

Excel 2013’s Flash Fill feature allows you to take a part of the data entered into one column of a worksheet table and enter just that data in a new table column using only a few keystrokes.

As soon as Excel detects a pattern in your initial data entry it ‘smartly’ figures out the data you want to copy offers a way to type the rest of the data for you. Accept it and the rest of the cells are automagically transformed!

And the cool thing about it is that you never need fuss with building any kind of formula. It just works!

Flash fill is great for so many things beyond basic number and date series – especially, when it comes to cleaning data.

Extracting Cell Data

Sometimes your data is combined in ways you don’t want. Flash fill can easily handle pulling your data apart just the way you want it.

Flash Fill Extract Name

Combining Cell Data

Of course, there are also times when you want just the opposite and you need to combine multiple cells into one. No problem!

Flash Fill Combine Cell Data

Converting Data Formats

Often you get data like phone numbers, dates, social security numbers, etc that are not formatted the way you want them. Flash fill makes the job of fixing them a snap.

Flash Fill Format Numbers

By default, Flash Fill will be always listening and offers suggestions whenever it can. If you want to turn it off go to File » Options » Advanced and uncheck “Automatically Flash Fill”.

To give flash fill a nudge and trigger it into action press CTRL+E or to ignore it press ESC.