7 Little Known PowerPoint Tips You Ought to Know

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Here are 7 little known tips which will help you save time, and make the most of out of PowerPoint!

1. How to turn embedded files into images

Put any chart or table inside a PowerPoint file and you may have a lot more information embedded, than what you actually display on the slide.  That would be fine if you want your users to double click on the embedded object and edit it themselves, but what if you wanted the embedded information truly hidden?

All you need to do is select an area around the object, then select Grouping–> Ungroup –> Group.  This will instantly convert any objects in your selection into images so you don’t have to worry about your users double clicking on an embedded object and digging around.

2. How to save images from a PowerPoint deck

To extract pictures from a PowerPoint file, just export it as a HTML web page. (Click File –> Save As –> then Select .html from the File Format drop down menu).  All the images will neatly be stored in a directory for you.

Of course, if you only need a few images from the deck, just right click the image and select Save As Picture

3. How to master keyboard shortcuts for PowerPoint

Like all MS-Office programs, PowerPoint comes with it’s own set of keyboard shortcuts as well.  I’ve summarized 15 of my favourite ones which will shave off time from your presentation preparation.

ppt shortcuts  

4. How to save space with PowerPoint decks that have large images

To make your presentations more lightweight you should consider compressing images by slightly lowering the resolution or removing cropped areas which you’re never going to see anyway.  To do that, try the following:

  • Step 1: Right click on any image to bring up the menu and choose Format Picture
  • Step 2: Click on the Picture tab, then Click the Compress button
  • Step 3: Select All pictures in document, Print, Compress pictures, and Delete cropped areas of pictures.

5. How to align objects better in a slide

PowerPoint has a very useful option called ‘Snap to Grid’ which allows all objects to be easily aligned on a slide, but snapping it onto a virtual grid on your slide.  To enable this:

  • On the Drawing toolbar, point to Draw, and then click Grid and Guides
  • Under Snap to, check it the Snap objects to grid check box is selected

Now drag a few objects around in a slide, and you’ll note that it’s much easier to align them properly.

6. How to move an object one pixel when your grid is turned on

Rather than turning the grid on and off every time you want to do some finer alignment, (e.g. moving an image one pixel to the left or right), all you need to do is hold the ‘Alt’ button and move the object with your mouse.  Holding down the ‘Alt’ button will override the grid settings.

7. How to easily change from CAPS to lower case (or vice versa)

If you have text that is in the wrong case, select the text, and then click Shift+F3 until it changes to the case style that you like. Clicking Shift+F3 toggles the text case between ALL CAPS, lower case, and Initial Capital styles.

Bonus tip #1: Change the default slide layout in PPT

Bonus tip #2: Summarize PPT slides efficiently

Bonus tip #3: You can also share PowerPoint presentations online with Slideshare

What other Powerpoint tips do you have?  Tell us in the comments! 

[tags] powerpoint [/tags]

How to Rearrange Your Windows Taskbar

Have too many things open in your Windows taskbar and want to rearrange them?  Now you can. 


Taskix is a free program which does just that.  Keep your eye on the highlighted item below.  You can get from here:


To here…


… just by dragging and dropping any of your taskbar items, as it gets sorted on the spot.

It’s that simple!

Organizing your taskbar items into logical groups cuts through the clutter, and helps with productivity.  So much so that it kind of makes you wonder why Microsoft never built this into their system in the first place.

Bonus tip:  If you want an alternative which is arguably more powerful as it allows system tray sorting as well, you can try Taskbar Shuffle

The reason why I’m recommending Taskix is because of it’s incredibly small and lightweight memory footprint in comparison to Taskbar Shuffle (plus I rarely ever need to reshuffle the system tray anyway). 

What other interesting Windows tweaks do you use?  Tell us in the comments!

[tags] windows [/tags]

How to Change Your Email Headers to Ensure Your Email Gets Read Faster


What do I need to get some attention?

The average American employee spends about a quarter of their working day (around one and three quarter hours) dealing with email” ManagementIssues.com

It’s hard to scan through and pick out the ‘important’ emails to respond to when one is faced with a deluge of email every single day.  Here are some personal tips for email headers which I use to ensure the email gets read and replied to in the fastest possible manner.

1. Get Personal – Type in the person’s name into your subject heading.  This is perhaps one of the lesser known and most underrated approaches to crafting email subject lines, but works incredibly well for me   For example:  Rather than an email title of ‘Need your report’, try ‘John: Need your report’.  Get that person’s name in there and you instantly create a more personable experience, and a higher chance of your email getting read.

2. Tell them if the request is a quick one – If you require some really quick work done or input from the recipients, let them know it won’t occupy too much of their time.  For example, if it takes 2 minutes to complete, tell them it will take 2 minutes, or mark down ‘Quick request’ in the subject header.  That way your email comes through as a task that can be quickly dealt with, and will have a higher chance of being read with something done about it. 

3. Don’t overuse the word ‘Urgent’ – Make this mistake and you’ll start to sound like the ‘boy who cried wolf’.  When a truly urgent email goes out with a subject heading starting with the word ‘URGENT’, you don’t want your recipients to glaze over it.

4. Be specific – Get right to the point with your subject headers.  Also make use of acronyms like ‘FYI’ and ‘FYA’ in the headers itself so the recipients know what they will need to do after reading your email.

5. Be concise – If your title has less words, it’s easier to scan, you’ll increase your chance of it getting read.

What email productivity tips do you use?  Tell us in the comments!

[tags] email[/tags]

On the Go – The Best Mobile Web Applications Reviewed – Business Apps

In our last installment of ‘On-The-Go’ we had a look at two great media mobile applications.  This time around, we’ll be taking a look at some of my favourite business orientated mobile web apps.

Translate hardcopy documents into searchable text with scanR


scanR is a service that helps you capture information contained in whiteboards, documents and business cards. scanR lets you use your mobile camera phone or digital camera to clean photos of whiteboards, documents and business cards, extract the printed information, and get a digital file in your email, contact manager, or fax.

Just snap a pic, then MMS or send it to scanR in an email, and you get a searchable (NOT just a mere image) PDF sent back to you.  The only catch is that you need to have a 2 megapixel or better camera on your phone for best results.

Catch up with the latest business news with Plusmo


RSS feeds are the bread and butter of my reading on the web – so having them on my mobile is the only sensible way I’d ever use my phone to catch up with the latest news.

Now I’ve tried plenty of mobile RSS readers, but I liked about Plusmo was that offered offline reading as well.  This is great if you just want to download all your reading at one go and look at it later – Perfect for the road warrior who’s always on the go.

Special thanks to David Lian who hooked me up with a Wi-Fi enabled Nokia N93i so I could play around with these cool mobile web apps.

Want more cool mobile apps?  Check out part 1 of this series.

What other mobile web applications do you like?  Let us know in the comments!

[tags] plusmo, mobile, cellphone, scanr [/tags]

Top 5 Useful Items You Never Knew You Could Print Out


Want your printer to do more for you? Here are 5 interesting ways to put your printer to good use.

1. Print out your very own customizable pocket organizer


The PocketMod is no stranger to productivity fans and has been around for a very long time.  It’s basically a paper replacement of a PDA, but extremely well designed, very customizable and simple to set up.

It’s more functional than a simple notepad, cheaper and less cumbersome than a PDA. 

It also opens like a book, leading to easier to find, more organized notes, and the first page has a pouch – big enough to carry a business card.

All you do is use the download the free PocketMod maker, or just create one instantly on the site.

Still not convinced?  PocketMod even comes with extensions for ‘Google Calendar’, ’30 Boxes’ (Online Calendar), ‘Remember The Milk’ (To do lists), as well as many other useful services.  (Yes – it’s a PAPER replacement of a PDA). 

2. Quickly print out big beautiful nametags


A better way to create good looking nametags, Big.first.name helps you come up with handy nametags in a snap. 

Big.first.name supports importing name lists in plain text or CSV (comma separated value) format, as well as direct extraction from event service Upcoming.Org, which means you don’t have to spend a lot of time crafting these tags. 

3. Print out graph paper, Smith Charts, Soduku tables, and so much more


PDFPad provides a place to download all kinds of other specialized papers like graph paper Smith.  This site is perfect for science and math work, craft projects and other graph paper needs – all of which are customizable in terms of size and measurements.  When you just need a few sheets of specialized paper, this is a quick easy way to get it. 

4. Design printable professional looking business cards


Businesscardland is a free service which helps you design your very own business cards online.  It comes with a mountain load of templates, text, backgrounds and templates to make your life easier.  After you’re done designing your card, you can save it as a PDF file to send to a commercial printing service (or do it yourself if you have a good enough printer). 

5. Print out a lens hood


This site contains PDF documents that can be printed and cut out to make lens hoods for a variety of 35mm and digital SLR camera lenses. Lens hoods give better quality photographs by reducing flare caused by non-image-forming light.

  • Ultra compact – can be carried unfolded
  • No waiting to order one – simply download, print, cut-out and attach
  • Redundancy – don’t worry if you lose one; just print another!
  • 100% recyclable
  • Can be modified to cater for different digital SLR sensor crop factors
  • Available in both ’rounded’ and ‘petal’ versions

Update: Due to good response and contributions from readers – here’s an extended version of this post – an ultimate guide to items you never know you could print out!

What other interesting items do you print out?  Tell us in the comments!

[tags] paper, printouts, print, pocketmod, pdfpad, [/tags]