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PowerPoint and Presentation News - Issue 048

Issue 048 of PowerPoint and Presentation Stuff newsletter.

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Free Add-in, Presentation and Templates!

Thermometer: Free PowerPoint Add-in

I just released Thermometer, a free PowerPoint add-in that creates a thermometer style bar in the bottom area of the slide that shows how much of a presentation has progressed and how much more is remaining. It's a very simple add-in and using it is so easy: one click on an icon and you can add or update your thermometer; another click and the thermometer is gone! Learn more and download it free here.

PowerPoint Presentation Bank

This is a new Indezine section that features sample presentations that you can freely download and use - I currently have six presentations available for download. Click here to go there.

Indezine Templates

There are 32 PowerPoint templates available for free download now - start collecting them now.


PowerPoint Live Report

The second PowerPoint Live event was a great success. With something happening all the time, the four days just flew away before I realized it was all over!

Rick Altman, amazing host of the event has since already announced that the next PowerPoint Live will be held again in San Diego from September 25th to 28th, 2005.

Do find out more about this year's event and next year's plans on the PowerPoint Live site.

New PowerPoint Products

TechSmith's new Camtasia 2.1 adds a PowerPoint add-in that allows you to capture an entire presentation to a movie. Such captured movies can be edited or straightaway saved to several formats including Windows Media, QuickTime, Flash and Real. A free 30 day trial is available.

SmartDraw 7 adds several new features to this flagship product from PowerPoint users will benefit from the new Org Chart features that includes the ability to create them on the fly from data sources. A free 30 day trial is available.

Articulate launched the new Articulate Knowledge Portal, a server based solution that provides everything organizations need to organize, manage and deliver Flash presentations and support materials, track who is viewing them and see how well they learn.

Visual Exemplars released the second version of the Perspector add-in for PowerPoint. With Perspector, it is possible for presenters to illustrate complex relationships between ideas in a simple way through the use of 3D and animated images. A demo version is available.

pptXTREME has a new PowerPoint add-in called Photoshop Import that imports Photoshop compositions in PowerPoint with layers intact. More info and a trial version can be downloaded from the pptXTREME site.

Fills & Lines

PowerPoint's ability to present richly colored and textured elements is based on its unique fill and line technology—something that's shared across all Microsoft Office applications. Rather than explain the same fills and lines for all individual elements like backgrounds, AutoShapes, info-graphics, pictures, WordArt and PowerPoint drawings, I thought it would be best to use an entire article for this important concept. Once you have mastered the art of enhancing these fills and lines, you'll feel right at home using it across the entire Office suite.

Look at these samples to find out how versatile the fills can be.

Some of the fills featured above are textures from the Ppted Texture Collection.

Although fills and lines can be used for almost all PowerPoint elements in the same way, there are subtle differences. For example you cannot have a background with a transparent fill and pictures can only be formatted for lines rather than fills.

We are using an AutoShape as an example throughout this article. The same concepts hold true for fills and lines of almost every PowerPoint element.

PowerPoint's Fills

PowerPoint provides five types of fills:

  • Solids
  • Gradients
  • Textures
  • Patterns
  • Pictures

By default, any AutoShape you draw within a slide has a solid fill. There are two ways to change the fill: either through the icons on the Drawing toolbar or through the Format AutoShape dialog box. In this example, we'll use the Drawing toolbar since it's a quicker way to access the same dialog boxes. If your Drawing toolbar is not visible, right click any toolbar and select Drawing from the resultant context menu.

Here's how it works:

  1. Insert a new slide (Ctrl+M) in a new (Ctrl+N) or existing presentation.
  2. On the Draw toolbar, click and drag the AutoShapes button to create a new AutoShapes toolbar within PowerPoint.
  3. Click the Basic Shapes icon (third from left) and choose a simple shape. I've chosen and drawn a rectangle.
  4. By default, PowerPoint creates the shape with a solid color and a thin line.
Tip: The floating AutoShapes toolbar is spawned by dragging the AutoShapes icon off the Draw toolbar. Similar toolbars can be spawned for the Fill and Line colors as well.

We'll explore the next part of this series in the next issue of this newsletter.

End Note

David M. Antonacci sent me information on his resource - it is a Producer based online presentation that explains more about Effective Teaching with PowerPoint in an easy to understand manner. Download and view the presentation here.

I've been reading some interesting stuff these days on how PowerPoint is being used:

"Today, there are people who do their word processing in PowerPoint. They learn PowerPoint, and that's where they want to stay." That's one of the interesting remarks from Ray Ozzie, founder and CEO of Groove Networks Inc., as he continues his conversation with Computerworld, focusing on how collaboration software meets the needs of various types of customers. More on the Computerworld site.

Increasingly, professors are placing their PowerPoint slides on the Web before or after class, a feature that students find convenient and helpful. But while students often ask for this service, it can also make them less likely to attend classes. Jeffrey R Young discusses more on

Anyone who has endured a lengthy business presentation understands "Death by PowerPoint." And while it's bad enough being a victim of a boring presentation that has inspired this phrase, it's even worse being responsible for one. Scott Williams discusses more on the Hispanic Business site.

More PowerPoint related info on the PowerPoint Blog and PowerPoint Notes. And free PowerPoint templates for all of you.

Until next time - have a nice day. And keep the feedback coming.



During the preparation of this issue of the PowerPoint Ezine, I received assistance, content or feedback from Catherine Cormier, David M Antonacci and Jason Hardy (all in alphabetical order). I would like to use this platform to thank them for their help.


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Jigsaw Graphics for PowerPoint

Here are 10 jigsaw graphics containing different shapes. These graphics are available in both black and white and are contained within separate sample presentations that you download. Additionally, these jigsaw graphics are vector shapes, so you can easily edit them within your Microsoft Office program by changing fills, lines, and effects or even applying Shape Styles.

Download and use these Jigsaw Graphics in your slides for just $4.99+

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