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!

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.

Do You Know What’s Hiding in Your Documents?

Most people who share electronic versions of their Microsoft Office documents don’t realize that there is often much more in those files than they think. There is a whole host of metadata that can be embedded in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files beyond just the words, numbers and images you normally see.  What kinds of things?

Office files can have hidden data and personal information such as:

  • Comments, revision marks from tracked changes, versions, and ink annotations
    This information can enable other people to see the names of people who worked on your document, comments from reviewers, and changes that were made to your document.
  • Document properties and personal information
    Document properties often include details about your document like author, subject, and title. Document properties also include information that is automatically maintained by Office programs, such as the name of the person who most recently saved a document and the date when a document was created. If you used specific features, your document might also contain additional kinds of personally identifiable information (PII), such as e-mail headers, send-for-review information, routing slips, and template names.
  • Hidden text Word documents can contain text that is formatted as hidden text.

So know that you know what might be in your documents, you’re probably wondering how you can get rid of it all. That’s where the Document Inspector comes in.

Document Inspector

If you plan to share an electronic copy of a Microsoft Office document with clients or colleagues, it is a good idea to review the document for hidden data or personal information that might be stored in the document itself which can reveal details about your organization or about the document itself that you might not want to share publicly.


How to clean hidden information from your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files

  1. Open the document that you want to inspect for hidden data and personal information.
  2. Click the File tab, click Save As, and then type a name in the File name box to save a copy of your original document.

    IMPORTANT   It is a good idea to use the Document Inspector on a copy of your original document, because it is not always possible to restore the data that the Document Inspector removes.

  3. In the copy of your original document, click the File tab, and then click Info.
  4. Under Prepare for Sharing, click Check for Issues, and then click Inspect Document.
  5. In the Document Inspector dialog box, select the check boxes to choose the types of hidden content that you want to be inspected.
  6. Click Inspect.
  7. Review the results of the inspection in the Document Inspector dialog box.
  8. Click Remove All next to the inspection results for the types of hidden content that you want to remove from your document.

For more details check out this support article from Microsoft.

PowerPoint Shortcuts For Everyone

Anyone who has been around here for very long probably knows how much I *LOVE* keyboard shortcuts. I recently found a great collection of over 120 keyboard shortcuts for PowerPoint that I wanted to share. But I know 120 is more than anyone can easily digest, so before I send you over there I wanted to highlight a few of my favorites that I think everyone can benefit from.  So here we go…in no particular order.

My Favorite PowerPoint Shortcuts

1. Insert a new slide  =  CTRL + M

2. Duplicate an object or entire slide = CTRL + D

3. Nudging things around with the arrow keys  =  Select slide object(s) and press the arrow keys in the direction you want to move them. For even smaller, nudges use CTRL + Arrow Key

Check out this post for more details on this and other ways to precisely position your slide objects.

4. Insert a link to another slide or hyperlink  =  CTRL +K

5.  Use the Format Painter via keyboard  =  CTRL +SHIFT + C to copy the formatting from an object

=  CTRL + SHIFT +V to paste the formatting to another object

6.  Grouping and Ungrouping Objects  =  CTRL + G to group and CTRL + SHIFT + G to ungroup

7. Resize objects with the keyboard  =  SHIFT + Arrow keys

Try this one out! It is great for visually adjusting the size of your slide elements.

8. Rotate objects = CTRL + Left or Right arrow

9. Show/Hide the Selection Pane  = ALT + F10

This one is great when you have a lot of things on your slide and want to access things that are on different layers.

10. Change the capitalization of existing text  =  SHIFT +F3

This is awesome for making text upper, lower or title case without having to retype anything.

I could go on and on, but those are some good ones to get you started.

If you don’t want to remember all these crazy keyboard combinations, no worries! Just put them on your Quick Access Toolbar so they’re always handy no matter what you’re doing in PowerPoint.

The ‘Full Monty’ of 120 PowerPoint Shortcuts

Head on over to https://nutsandboltsspeedtraining.com/powerpoint-shortcuts/ and grab check out their list of 120 PowerPoint shortcuts. They even have a nice PDF you can download, print and hang up next to your work space.

And while you’re there, you should also go ahead and plug-in to their blog to get all of their great PowerPoint tips too!

Remove Image Background In PowerPoint

Starting in the 2010 version, PowerPoint has a really useful tool for removing the backgrounds from photos and images.

Depending on how complex the background is that you want to remove, you can use the automatic background removal or you can draw lines to mark the areas of the picture background you want to keep and which ones you want to remove.

Check out this before and after:


How to Remove an Image Background in PowerPoint:

  1. Click the picture that you want to remove the background from.
  2. Under Picture Tools, on the Format tab, in the Adjust group, click Remove Background .

    remove background

Click one of the handles on the lines and then drag the line so that it contains the portion of the picture that you wish to keep and excludes most of the areas you wish to remove.


Manual Marking

Picture showing background removal lines and handles

In many cases, you can get the result you want without any additional work by experimenting with the position and size of the marquee lines.

If necessary, do one or both of the following:

  1. To indicate which parts of the picture you do not want automatically removed, click Mark Areas to Keep.
  2. To indicate which parts of the picture you do want removed in addition to those automatically marked, click Mark Areas to Remove.

If you change your mind about an area you have marked with a line, either to keep or to remove it, click Delete Mark and then click the line to change it.

A cool thing with this is that now, you can add effects such as shadows, reflections, and glows, to a picture from which you have removed the background. These effects will apply only to the visible picture. For example, if you apply a shadow to the picture, only the part of the picture you kept when you removed the background will cast a shadow.

The PowerPoint Sanity Saving Secret Everyone Should Know

Do you ever collaborate on slide decks with other authors? Many presentations at least get reviewed by someone other than yourself and usually it is painful? If you’re like most people you email copies around and have a heck of a time keeping track of everything. Who said what and when? What stays in? What gets thrown out? It can be a long and frustrating process….until now.

This week I’d like to show you a MUCH better way. The best part? You already have everything you need to make it happen for FREE!!

Keep reading for the details or click this link and try it out yourself. (Please add a slide and/or leave a comment so I know you were there!)

The key is saving your slides to a location that everyone working on can access. Enter Microsoft One Drive. One Drive is a free service from Microsoft that allows you to store and share your PowerPoint slides online. (and any other Office documents too.)

(This also works with SharePoint if you’re in an organization that has it available. One Drive is much easier though IMHO.)

One Drive keeps a central copy of your slides and records edits from multiple authors. You and your co-authors can see who is editing the presentation and where in the document they are working, and their changes get merged into your presentation.

Status Bar

Your collaborators don’t even need to have PowerPoint. They can use PowerPoint online (part of One Drive) for free. Just share the One Drive link with them and they’re off!


Setting Things Up

1. Upload your PowerPoint file to One Drive.

2. View your slide deck and click the “Share with People” button.

3. Choose one of the sharing options for your collaborators.

Now you’ll get a notification when someone else is editing your slides. Plus, PowerPoint’s commenting and review features make it easier for everyone involved and will help you ensure everything turns out just right.

Comments Compare

Once you’re up and running with this setup you’re free from the headaches of tracking and merging multiple slide decks. Plus you can go and do something fun with all the time you saved!s. Plus you can go and do something fun with all the time you saved!

Click here to jump into this slide deck that I created and add your own slide or leave a comment and let me know you were there! 


Tip of the Week #437