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I. RUNNING START.1. What the Heck Is PowerPoint Anyway?
II. BUILDING YOUR PRESENTATION.
III. FANCY, FLASHY, FABULOUS FEATURES.
IV. SHARING THE PRESENTATION WITH OTHERS.
V. GETTING THE MOST OUT OF POWERPOINT.
[Figures are not included in this sample chapter]
While working on your presentation, you are likely to have manyquestions--ones like, "How do I make a black background?" or "What does thisbutton do?" or "Isn't it lunch time yet?" If you are lucky, you have a nearbyhandy-dandy expert who can answer all your questions for you. (If you arereally lucky, you will find a billion dollars, and you can hire a crewof people to make your presentations for you, as well as to bring cold sodasand warm pizza--but that's a little much to hope for.)
Unfortunately, we don't all have a handy-dandy expert, and even experts gettime off. Besides, if you bother experts with every little question, they'relikely to become annoyed, and annoyed experts can do some really nastythings to your computer.
Youalready have an easy-to-use, technologically simple source for answers rightthere by you. Just look around. Is it next to the book? No, check the otherside. Maybe it's under the book? Wait, now I remember--it is the book!Yes, The Complete Idiot's Guide to PowerPoint is more than just a handybug-squasher. It's very good at answering ques tions, because of the followingadvantages:
It has a nice, big table of contents.
You won't find all the answers here, however.PowerPoint has so many little features and options that there wasn't room tosqueeze every little answer in. Also, you can get a quicker answer to somequestions on the computer. In addition, you may not always have the book withyou while using PowerPoint, particularly if you borrowed this copy from afriend or a library. (If you did borrow it, you probably shouldn't use it tosquish bugs... at least, not big ones.)
PowerPointhas many onscreen buttons, each of which displays a little picture that tellsyou exactly what the button does...or would do, if you could read the minds ofthe graphic designers. For example, one button has a picture of a star withspeed lines coming out of it, making it look like a shooting star. Does pushingthis button give you information about famous shooting stars, such as JohnWayne and Annie Oakley? No, it just adds a toolbar full of animation controlbuttons to the display. (This is a curious design for a button, because JohnWayne and Annie Oakley weren't animated; they were live-action!)
However, most of the people reading this book aren't interested in animating(or even reanimating) Mr. Wayne and Ms. Oakley. (At least, I hope not! I'drather the audience was made up of people who want to use the book to squishbugs, because there's probably a lot of w ould-be bug-squishers out there.) Foryou, each button has a name that explains, basically, what it does. To see thename of a currently usable button, just point to it. After a second, the nameof the button appears in a yellow box. This is called a ScreenTip. Pointto the little star-with-lines button, for example, and you will see thebutton's name, Animation Effects. That certainly tells you more than thepicture of the star did.
Ifyou pull down the Help menu, you find a command simply known asWhat's This? Sounds mysterious, eh? If you select this command, thepointer changes into an arrow with a question mark. If that's all it did, itmight be mysterious, but it wouldn't be useful.
If you use that pointer to click a button or select a command from a menu, the button or command doesn't take effect. Instead, a box pops open with a short explanation of the thing you clicked. Try clicking the button with the little picture of a star, and you will get this explanation:
Animation Effects adds or changes animation effects on the current slide. Animation effects include sound, text, and object movements, and movies that occur during a slide show.
Thankfully, it says nothing about bringing the dead back to life. Click the mouse, and this message disappears.
Whileusing PowerPoint, you probably see a small animated character in it thatdoesn't seem to have anything to do with PowerPoint. (If you don't, click theHelp button and it will appear.)
This animated fellow is your Office Assistant. The Assistant alwayshas an eye on what you are doing and can answer your questions at any time.Sometimes it's just sitting still, sometimes it's bopping back and forth inanimated motion, but sometimes it is offering advice--and it's always ready toanswer questions.
Sometimesthe Office Assistant realizes you might not know the best way to do something,or are doing it awkwardly. When this happens, a light bulb appears--the lightbulb being the recognized international symbol for an idea. (However, it's ayellow light bulb, which means it's a bug light.)
Click that light bulb. A comic-strip-style word balloon with advice in itappears. In addition to written advice, the balloon may also hold some buttonsthat you can click to let the Assistant help you get the job done. The OfficeAssistant will only volunteer this particular piece of advice once, so payattention!
(If someone else has been using this copy of PowerPoint, you can make surethat the Office Assistant doesn't skip the tips that it has already shown tothe other person. Right-click the Assistant, select Options from theshortcut menu, click the Reset My Tips button, and then the OKbutton. The Assistant will suddenly have amnesia, forgetting that it ever toldanyone anything!)
Office Assistant Unleashed
In the previous version of PowerPoint, the Assistant was trapped in a separate window. Now he's right in front of everything, and you can move him by just draggin g him with the mouse.
TheAssistant is pretty good at answering "How do I...?"-type questions. If youhave a question like that, click the Assistant and a word balloon appears. TheAssistant's smart enough that the balloon may already have a list of topics itthinks you might want to know about. If you are interested in somethingthat's on the list, simply click the topic, and a window of information pops up(often with a more-detailed list of topics to pick from).
Whether or not the Assistant provides a list, it will provide a space forasking a specific question. Just start typing, and your question will appear inthat space. Press Enter, and the Assistant will try to answer yourquestion.
The Office Assistant really wants to help, but it needs to know what youneed help with. It gives you a whole list of possible topics. If you wantsomething else, you can just type it in.
This is when you learn that the Assistant isn't very smart.
Cartoons are never very smart. Even Mister Peabody, genius inventor of theWayback machine, never went back in time and invested in Microsoft in the earlydays. The Assistant will not come up with a specific answer to your questions.Instead, it will produce a list of topics that it thinks can answer yourquestion. You get to click one of the topics and hope that it has the rightinformation.
You see, the Assistant isn't smart enough to understand the question. Instead, it looks for certain keywords that tell it what topic is being talked about. If you ask,
How do I add a button to the toolbar?,
it will give you a list of topics, one of which is the right one (Add a button to a toolbar). If you ask,
How do I button my shirt?
Button, button, who's got the button?,
however, that topic also appears. The Assistant just recognizes the word button and pulls up its list of button-related topics.
Dependingon how your copy of PowerPoint was installed, you may have a choice ofdifferent Office Assistants. They all offer the same advice; the onlydifference is how they look. Some look more goofy and fun, and some look morebusinesslike--just like your real-life coworkers!
Short on Assistants?
Each Assistant installed on your system takes up a lot of disk space. That's why some of the Assistants that you see here may not be installed.
These are the different Office Assistants that are available with Microsoft Office. They may look different, but they all give the same advice!
To change yours (your Office Assistant, not your real-life coworkers), right-click your Assistant to get a shortcut menu. From that menu, select the Choose Assistant command. A dialog box appears, with a tab named Gallery displayed. There are two buttons marked Back and Next that you can use to flip through all the Assistants on your system. After you find the one you want, click the OK button to use it. (If the Assistant tells you that it needs the Microsoft Office CD, get that CD, put it in your drive, and click OK.)
When the Help information appears, it may just be something that you read, and after you finish, you click the Close (x) button.
Some Help information has more than that, however. Some have a list of steps that you can leave open while you work on doing what it says. Others have hyperlinks, places to click on to get more information. You can recognize these hyperlinks because they have a gray button or a colored text. The pointer turns into a pointing finger when you pass over them (someone obviously never told your computer that it wasn't polite to point.)
Click a hyperlink and you might see a small, quick explanation of what you clicked appear in a box. Or the whole Help window might move to another page of information about what you clicked. If it moves on to another page, you can get back to the page you were on by clicking the Back button. (And here you were hoping the Back button would cause the computer to scratch your back for you! Boy, when computers can do that, they will be really user friendly!)
The Help display has a lot of things you can click for more help.
The Office Assistant's advice is handy if you just have a quick question to ask. If you want to do more in-depth research without constantly asking the Assistant questions, however, you can. This is a completely indexed reference work ready for you to use. And lucky for you, it's a reference work about PowerPoint! (At first, Microsoft was going to put The Beginner's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Squished Bugs into the system before they came up with this brainstorm.)
To access the table of contents and index for this reference work, ask the Assistant a question. Then, in the Help window, click the Show button (if you are using Windows 98) or the Help Topics button (if you have an earlier version of Windows).
Help Printing Help
To print out a Help topic, right-click it and select Print or Print Topic from the shortcut menu. A Print dialog box appears. Click OK!
The information in the Help system is organized like a book, but you aren't going to want to read it straight through. There are two main ways to find what you want: Look in the table of contents or look through the index.
To reach the table of contents, click the Contents tab in the Help dialog box. A list of topics appears, each with a little book next to it. That book means that this is a big topic, and it is broken up into sections. Double-click the book, and the list expands to show all the sections in that book. Double-click the name of a section, and that section displays in the Help window.
If you want to know about how to add another button to one of PowerPoint's toolbars, for example, open the Toolbars and Menus book. In there is a paper marked Add a button to a toolbar. Double-click that. A display with the information that you want appears.
If you want to close a book that you have open, double-click it again. The list of sections of that book will disappear quicker than a bowl of mice at a python party.
The index can find any article based on any important word in the article. To look something up using the index, click the Index tab in the Help dialog box. This tab has three areas: a text entry field, an alphabetic list of keywords, and a list area for help topics. If you have a good grasp of the traditional order of the alphabet, you can use the scrollbar to go through the list and double-click on a keyword that describes what you want help about.
If you want to find the topic faster, you can type the first word of what you are looking for into the text box. As you type, the part of the keyword list starting with that word will appear in the list section. You can type more than one word, click Search to find topics that have all the words.
When you find the topic you are looking for (or if you find a topic that you aren't looking for but sounds fascinating anyway!), double-click it. You might go right to the Help information you wanted, or you might be taken to a shorter list of related topics, from which you can select one topic.
If you want to use the index again, press the Clear button before selecting your words. That resets the index so that it won't limit you to just the articles with the previous words you entered.
Kill Your Assistant
If you find the table of contents and index handier than using the Assistant, right-click the Assistant, choose Options, and then clear the Use the Office Assistant check box. From the n on, clicking the Help button will take you right to the Help window.
The Help system is full of information that people need. Well, actually, it's full of information that the folks at Microsoft thought people were going to need when they were making up the Help system. That's close, but it's not quite the same thing.
After all, no matter how much effort you put into expecting how someone is going to use something, they will still surprise you. I remember one toy that our parents bought for us. It was a soft doll of a little old lady, one of those where you pull the string and it talks. It was a perfect gift for rambunctious kids: soft, nondangerous, engaging, respectful, and most of all, nonviolent. So what did we do with it? We used it as a hand grenade! Pull the string, count to three, and throw it into another kid's room. If the doll finished saying its phrase before being cleared out of the room, we considered the grenade to have "gone off," and the people in the room to have been "blown up."
Computer users are a lot like that. The people who design the programs spend a lot of time figuring out how you are going to use the program, and then you turn around and try to do something with it they never thought of. This can create two types of questions that can't be answered in the Help files: "How do I do such-n-such?" and "When I do such-n-such, why does the program stop working?"
Because new questions pop up, Microsoft has a Web site devoted to answering them. If you have your system set up to access the World Wide Web, you can get to it by pulling down the Help menu and selecting the Office on the Web command. When you pick this, PowerPoint loads your Web browser and gets it to display the Web site. (You may have to enter your Internet password information.)
Improving a Point
It's a good idea to check out the Office Web site from time to time, even if you don't have a question. Microsoft often offers additional files to add features to their products, available for free just by downloading them from the Web site!
Sometimes, the answer just can't be found. You have checked the book, asked the Office Assistant, gone through the Help index, checked the Web site, asked the expert down the hall, asked the guy who was stealing a donut from the expert down the hall, and what you need to know just doesn't seem to be out there. What to do?
It's time to call up Microsoft! If anyone knows, they should! Microsoft has a whole flotilla of people just sitting by the phone, waiting for you to call. (Well, not just you. But I'm sure they would love to hear from you as well!) Microsoft's technical support staff is friendly, quick, and knows lots and lots of answers.
But that's why you should use them last. Oh, the problem is not that they know the answers, but that everyone knows that they know the answers, so everyone calls them. Sometimes you can get through to them very quickly; but other times, it takes quite a while, because everyone is trying to ask them things at once. You may spend a lot of time on hold, waiting to get through.
To get information on how to call them, pull down the Help menu and select the About Microsoft PowerPoint command. A window opens, giving you certain information about your copy of PowerPoint (the revision number and things like that). On the bottom of the window is a Tech Support button. Press that, and you will see a list of Help topics on how to contact Microsoft's helpful helpers! (Leave the About Microsoft PowerPoint window open, however, because the technical support people will need some of that information to help you out.)
Clicking the Help Button icon causes the animated Office Assistant character to appear.
When the Office Assistant has a light bulb with him, click it to get some suggestions about what you are doing.
If you need help figuring out how to do something, click the Office Assistant and type in your question.
The Help, What's This? command turns your pointer into an arrow and a question mark. Click the arrow or question mark on anything to find out what it is.
Clicking the Help Topics or Show button in the Assistant's answer brings up a table of contents and an index for Help.
When using the table of contents, double-click a book to see more information on that topic. Double-click a paper to see Help information on that topic.
The Help, Office on the Web command brings up a Web page of Help information if you are properly connected.
To find out how to reach Tech Support, use the Help, About Microsoft Powe rPoint command and click the Tech Support button.