PowerPoint and Text
Learn about PowerPoint and Text.
Author: Geetesh Bajaj
Text symbolizes content like nothing else.
A presentation bereft of text may be more like a blank page or a family picture album, rather than a corporate show - and even family picture albums need text in the form of captions!
All text content is usually determined during the actual storyboarding session of a presentation. For more information on storyboarding, visit Indezine's Presentation Storyboarding page.
Contrary to its name, WordArt is not an integral part of Microsoft Word. It is a mini-application you can access from within PowerPoint itself - or any application which can access an OLE object.
It's possible to achieve quick professional results with text in WordArt - colours, blends and shapes all providing an identity which elevates plain text to a logo, blurb or something similar. Yet, WordArt's primary advantage is that any text input is editable without having to apply the effect all over again.
WordArt has its share of disadvantages too - the edges look a little coarse, even with font smoothing enabled. Also, the tendency to go overboard with WordArt effects can prove fatal to your poor presentation!
Text boxes are objects - like containers or placeholders for text. But they do more - they can be formatted to be coloured, patterned or transparent. And they can be successively-built and animated as well.
With the Text Box button on the Drawing toolbar active, just click anywhere on a slide and start inputting text - and you've created a basic rectangular text box - what could be easier?
It gets even better - choose an AutoShape from the Drawing toolbar and drag and create one on your slide. Thereafter, activate the Text Box icon on the Drawing toolbar and click within that AutoShape to start typing text inside it. PowerPoint comes with an assortment of AutoShapes - any such shape can be used as a text box - so you end up text that fits within the shape of a heart or a thunderbolt.
Right click any text box and choose the Format option - you could fill your shape with a gradient, pattern or custom colour. You can thicken the outline or set it's properties to None to vanish the outline altogether. If you choose a colour as a fill, you can set it's transparency value too.
Text boxes can be animated like any other object in PowerPoint - combinations of successive builds of these animations can create awesome effects. You'll find details on creating a scrolling text animation later in this page.
Line spacing is one of the least used features of PowerPoint - ironically because many users don't know about the existence of such an option!
I've seen many presentations where efficient use of line spacing could have given a better result. Fortunately, it's one of the easiest features of PowerPoint.
Select your text box and choose Format -> Line Spacing. The dialog box that appears contains three options:
- Line Spacing
- Before Paragraph
- After Paragraph
Try tweaking with the figures here - PowerPoint allows you to preview effects in realtime - or else you can always press the 'Cancel' button to revert.
Bulleted lists - either preceded by a character or a number are elementary to PowerPoint. Yet, there were no numbered lists before the advent of PowerPoint 2000.
The option to choose your bullet from any character of any installed font was always available in PowerPoint - and this almost always widened your choices in choosing bullets - yet many users forgot to embed those fonts within the PowerPoint presentation, resulting in an ugly scenario of font substitution at a delivery machine. To learn more about embedding fonts, refer to Indezine's PowerPoint And Fonts page.
PowerPoint 2000 made its debut with a new bullet option - graphical bullets. You can use any small bullet size graphic as a bullet - but be aware that these bullets will be substituted with normal bullets if your end user views the presentation in PowerPoint 97 or the PowerPoint Viewer. In such circumstances, it's a good idea to install PowerPoint Viewer on your system to check the implications of a bullet substitution or some other incompatible feature.
The 'Change Case' option in the Format menu brings forth the 'Change Case' dialog box. This is an easy way to change the case of selected text - for instance you may find yourself editing a presentation created by someone else - someone who seems to have a love affair with CAPITALS - one click of a button will result in a bearable transition to Title Case.All the 'Change Case' options have a shortcut key associated with them - press Shift + F3 to cycle through the 'Change Case' options.
The last movie you saw had scrolling text credits in the end. Maybe, you want to replicate something similar in PowerPoint. It's easy!
Create a text box - a regular rectangle or any AutoShape. Start inputting your text straightaway - for example:
Helpless Haunted House
Now that you've entered all the names or any other text you need, deselect the text box. Click on the periphery of the text box to select the text box, not the text inside the box!
Press the Alt key on the keyboard - with the Alt key still pressed, drag and move the entire text box above the area off your slide. Right click your text box, and choose 'Custom Animation' from the options in the flyout menu.
In the 'Effects' tab of the Custom Animation dialog box, choose 'Crawl From Bottom' in the 'Entry Animation' drop down menu.
Proceed to the 'Order and Timing' tab and select the radio button representing 'Automatically' and change the value to 00:00 seconds. Preview your animation - tweak settings again in the 'Custom Animation' box if required.
You can animate WordArt in the same way.
Many users of PowerPoint also use Word - and it's easier to create and edit an outline in Word rather than PowerPoint. Word and PowerPoint share a lot of synergies in the field of creating outlines. PowerPoint can automatically create a presentation from an imported Word outline - it can also export an outline of an existing presentation to Word.