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The Incredible Drawing Toolbar

By: Tom Bunzel

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Date Created: December 31st 2004
Last Updated: December 31st 2004

This book extract from Teach Yourself PowerPoint 2003 in 24 Hours is an Indezine exclusive with permission from Sams Publishing.

The book includes shortcuts and ways to accomplish the most common tasks in PowerPoint. Readers are able to work at their own pace through the easily digestible, one-hour lessons.

Authored by Tom Bunzel, the book has in-depth coverage of working with sound and video inside PowerPoint. It also has a comprehensive chapter on PowerPoint's drawing abilities.

I wish to thank Tom Bunzel, Michelle Newcomb and Kate Hollcraft for facilitating the permission to extract.

Introducing the Drawing Toolbar
Why Use Drawing Objects?
Grids and Guides

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As a consultant and trainer, I’m always amazed how few PowerPoint users are conscious of the Drawing toolbar at the bottom of their screen. In many ways, the Drawing toolbar rivals the other elements we’ve already covered in its potential to communicate visually because it combines both formatting and artistic capabilities.

In this hour, we’ll cover

  • Drawing and formatting lines and arrows
  • Creating ovals and boxes
  • Exploring other AutoShapes
  • Annotating slides with objects


Introducing the Drawing Toolbar

We’ve already ventured into the Drawing toolbar briefly in some of the previous hours. Most PowerPoint users have the Drawing toolbar at the bottom of their Normal view by default. If it’s not there, click View, Toolbars on the main menu and select the Drawing toolbar

It’s also possible that you moved the Drawing toolbar or docked it elsewhere. You can grab any toolbar by its handle, the upright line on its right, drag it to the middle of the screen, and click the x to close it. Or you can push it to any edge and dock it.

In its default position, the Drawing toolbar is docked at the bottom of Normal view, as shown in Figure 14.1.

PowerPoint Drawing Toolbar
Figure 14.1 The Drawing toolbar has a powerful array of visual symbols and formatting tools to complement other elements in your slides.

We’ve already worked with some of these elements briefly, using text boxes in our animation in the previous hour, and adding them as supplements to bullets in Hour 2, “Diving into PowerPoint.”

We also worked with the diagram object, Insert Clip Art and Insert Picture commands in the content hours by using the various Content layouts in the Slide Layout task pane to place them precisely into our slides. From the Drawing toolbar, they’re available to us without a layout and enter the slide at the center. We can then resize these elements and place them where we want them without the constraints of an automatic slide layout.

If you use the diagram object and Insert Clip Art and Insert Picture commands from the Drawing toolbar, and decide you want an automatic layout, you can reapply it to the slide from the Slide Layout task pane (see Figure 14.2).

If the slide also contains bullets, use the appropriate Text and Content layout.

To find the Text and Content layouts, just scroll below the Content Only layouts in the Slide Layout task pane.

There are many other potential tools on the Drawing toolbar. Maybe you’re wondering why it’s worth going through it at all—after all, you might not even be interested in artistic presentations. You might just want to give an audience the facts.


Why Use Drawing Objects?

We ended the last hour by mentioning that any object that can be selected can be animated. Let’s say you have a particular fact that’s worth highlighting, such as the sales total for a particular individual in our chart.

Wouldn’t that be a great spot for a flying arrow? You already know how to animate them. Now let’s learn how to create these objects correctly and efficiently (see Figure 14.2).

PowerPoint Drawing Objects
Figure 14.2 Making this arrow fly in from the left or dissolve in is as easy as any object we worked with in the previous hour. Putting it at a slight angle is just a matter of twisting the Rotate tool.


Grids and Guides

Now that you understand the value of the Drawing toolbar, let’s work with a few features that make its use more precise.

In an earlier hour, we set up the vertical and horizontal rulers under the View menu. Now we’ll click the Draw button on the Drawing toolbar and select Grids and Guides.

The Grids and Guides dialog box enables us to set up additional elements to help us align drawing objects, as shown in Figure 14.3:

  1. The grid—A series of boxes across the slide to help lay out our shapes

  2. The guides—Horizontal and vertical lines that can be dragged through the slide to line objects up with the rulers

  3. Snap—Automatically glues objects to the grid

The grids and guides will not show up during the full-screen slideshow.

PowerPoint Grids
Figure 14.3 The Grids and Guides dialog box enables you to show a grid and/or a set of vertical and horizontal guides to help align drawn objects.

Using the grid and guides is a matter of preference; if you like them, set them as a default. If you’d rather see the screen in a cleaner view, leave the grid and guides turned off, or just use them temporarily whenever needed.


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