Mask with PowerPoint: Part III

In the previous tutorial, we talk about how to make a text glow and fade off from left to right. Today, we will move on to flashing a text from left to right. By flashing, it means that lets say if you were to animate a text named “Masking”, it will flash from left to right. “M” will appear first, then “a” will appear when “M” disappear, so on and so forth.

Is this hard? The answer is no. In fact, only the “Flash Once” effect is required in this scenario. The tricky part is the settings that has to be adjusted.

First of all, create a textbox and type some words in it.
Click Slide Show > Custom Animation.
Click Add Effect > Entrance > Flash Once.
Now, double click on the Flash Once effect. This will bring up the Effect Options dialog box.
Click on the Animate text dropdown field and select By letter.
Set the delay between letters to 100%.
Next, click on Timing tab.
Set the speed to 0.02 seconds. You can also adjust it according to your preference.
Click Ok and preview the animation.

Below are two ways you can try out to enhance the effect.
The first way is to add a Fade entrance effect on the text after the Flash Once effect. Then, set the start to After Previous, speed to Medium and delay to 0.2 seconds. This method will be shown on the first slide of the sample.

The second way is to make a duplicate of this textbox.
Then, remove the effect on the duplicated textbox.
Change the font color so that it is different from the original textbox.
Right click on the duplicated textbox and click Order > Send to Back.
Adjust the position of the textbox so that both the textbox will be on the same position.
Now, if you preview the animation, it should look something like this:

Figure 1: Example on the “Flash Once effect”.

This method will be shown on the second slide of the sample.

Click here to download the sample now!

We are not done with it yet! Stay tuned for Part IV!

Mask with PowerPoint: Part II

Hi folks. Today, we shall continue with Part II of Mask with PowerPoint.
If you are familiar with the glow masking animation in Flash, this tutorial should be interesting to you. For first timer, glow masking animation is an effect that can be created in Flash. A simple example to explain how this works would be: Allowing a text to glow from the left direction to right, and is normally done in a slow manner. Here’s a preview of the glow masking animation.

Figure 1: Glow mask a text in PowerPoint.

While you probably need to create this effect in Flash using masking, this can be easily achieved with PowerPoint 2002/XP and later versions’ custom animations. To start off, set your background to black or any dark colors (Click Format > Background. Click on the dropdown field and select black).
Create a textbox and add in some text.
Now, open up the custom animation. Click Slide Show > Custom Animation.
Select the textbox, then click Add Effect > Emphasis > Change Font Color. * Also note that this cannot be done using WordArt *
On the Change Font Color effect, set the Font Color property to white.
Set the Speed property to Fast.
Now, double click on the Change Font Color effect to open up the Effect Options dialog box.
Under Enhancements section, click on the Animate text dropdown field and select By letter.
Give it a 10-13% delay between letters. Any numbers between 10 to 13 should be appropriate.
Click Ok.

Next, add another Change Font Color effect. Click Add Effect > Emphasis > Change Font Color.
On the Change Font Color effect, set the Font Color property to black. * Note that the color you set here is the actual or original color of the text. Hence, if you have a red text here, set the Font Color property to red. *
Set the Speed property to Fast.
Double click on the Change Font Color effect to open up the Effect Options dialog box.
Ensure that under the Enhancements section, the Animate text is set to By letter.
Give it a delay that is similar to the one you have set earlier on the first Change Font Color effect.
Now, click on the Timing tab.
Click on the Start dropdown field and set it to With Previous. This allows both the Change Font Color effects to animate at the same time.
Next, set the Delay to 1 second. This allows the second Change Font Color effect to start 1 second AFTER the first Change Font Color effect.
Click Ok and preview it in the slide show. If you are satisfied with it, we are done. If not, you can always experiment with the settings by adjusting the speed, delay and N % delay between letters.

To make it even more complex, you can even enable the border of the text to glow rather of the body itself! Unfortunately, this has to be done by duplicating an additional textbox. I will not be covering this effect. I certainly hope that you will experiment and figure it out instead. This is how we learn more things, isn’t it? 😉

And at anytime if you encounter problems, this attachment will definitely help. The attachment below includes the basic glow masking animation taught above, and also a sample on the border glowing animation:

And not to forget, stay tuned for Part III!

Mask with PowerPoint: Part I

If you have seen how Macromedia Flash masks objects and animating them using layers, you will know that it is not possible with PowerPoint. But are these masking effects really impossible with PowerPoint? The answer is no. There are several methods and workarounds that you can use to create the masking effects. Up till this point, if you are still unclear with what masking is, below shows some pictures of how masking works.

Figure 1: Masking a text in PowerPoint.

Figure 2: Glow mask a text in PowerPoint.

Figure 3: Masking a picture in PowerPoint.

This tutorial will be separated into several parts. Today, we will learn how to mask a text or WordArt in PowerPoint.

As shown in Figure 1, you want to mask a text. The initial background is black in color. Next, you see a white circle moving around the screen, revealing a text black in color. The solution is simple. The background is black, the text is black, and the circle is white. Still don’t get it? We just need some ordering.

First, click Format > Background. Click on the dropdown field and set the background to black.
Next, draw a circle AutoShape and set the color to white.
Finally, make a textbox and type in some words.

Make sure that the ordering are right. The white circle must be at the back, while the text is at the front. This will create the masking effect as shown in Figure 1. How about background with gradient, picture, or texture?

Same method. But instead of making a textbox, create an WordArt this time round.
First, click Insert > Picture > WordArt.
Select the first style, and type some text. Click Ok.
Now select the WordArt you have created.
Click Format > WordArt.
Under the Fill section, click on the color dropdown field, and select Background. By doing so, the WordArt will follow the background on the slide.
Next, under Line section, click on the color dropdown field and set the line color to No Line.

Now, you can animate around on the AutoShape to create some interesting animations. Examples will be to add motion paths and grow/shrink (Emphasis) effects onto the AutoShape.

Click here to download the sample now!

Stay tuned for Part II!

Bar Chart with Custom Image

A simple bar chart may look dull. You can change the colors, fill it with gradients, textures and even patterns of the bars. But how about replacing the bars with the image you have created? The procedure is relatively simple.

First, you will need to create an image. This image will be used to replace the bars on the bar chart. In this article, we will use apple as an example. The image below shows an apple that has been created. Take note that you will probably need to leave some spaces around the apple so that the apple can stack and appear nicely on the bars.

Figure1: Image that will be used to replace the bars

Next, start PowerPoint. Then click Insert > Chart. Double click on the chart to edit them. Now, double click on the bars that you want to customize it with your own image. This should bring up the Format Data Series dialog box. Set the border to None. Then under the Area section, set the color to None. Click on the Fill Effects button. Select Picture tab. Then click “Select Picture”. Select the image you have created and click Insert.

Now under Format section, select Stack. Alternately, you can also select “Stack and scale to: x Units/Picture”. The lesser x you set, the higher times the image will be repeated. Finally, click Ok twice. The final output is shown below.

Figure 2: Output of the Apple Bar Chart

3D Ball – Lens Flare effect

If you have seen the article on “Creating a snowfall effect” I have made for Indezine (Click here to enter link), here’s another sample you can take a look at. Following through the article, you can also make use of the snow fall to create lens flare effect on a ball to make it looks realistic. To achieve this, you will need 2 instances of “snow”, where the first one will be bigger and has the transparency set to 20%. The second one will be smaller, which will overlaps the first one.

To download the sample, simply click on the bottom link:

PowerPoint Shortcut Keys

Keyboard shortcuts in PowerPoint are extremely useful, just like playing computer games. If you have ever seen gaming experts playing computer games, you will probably see them manipulating with the keyboard more than the mouse. Getting familiar with the shortcut keys is another way of achieving efficiency. Most importantly, you do not need to spend time with frustrating steps such as right clicking on a textbox and select copy, then right clicking on the slide and select paste to make a duplicate of the textbox. If you are good with shortcut keys such as Ctrl-D, you just need one step to duplicate the textbox. You do not need to be a professional typist. The only requirement is to be familiar with where the keys are. Here’s a link from which shows you a list of PowerPoint shortcut keys. No doubt that the list is long. But remembering one or two will certainly be helpful to you when creating a presentation.

Click to enter link: PowerPoint Shortcut Keys

You should also try out OfficeOne Shortcut Manager add-in, which allows you to define your own keyboard shortcuts.

Click to enter link: OfficeOne Shortcut Manager 3.1 for PowerPoint

Total Animations Count

So you have numerous animations on your slide. Aren’t you interested to know the total number of animations you have added onto the slide? Here’s a quick way you can use to check it out.

For PowerPoint 2000 and below, the animation order will show you the total. But how about PowerPoint 2002/XP and 2003?

First, open up the Custom Animation task pane. To do so, click Slide Show > Custom Animation. You will probably see animations with “On click”, “With previous”, “After previous”, and triggered animations. Now, click on the first animation that you have added. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard. Next, press the End key. This allows you to highlight all the animations at one go. Hover over the “Start: ” setting. Set the “Start :” to “On Click”. After changing the setting, scroll to the bottom and take a look at the number stated on the last effect. This will be your total number of animations on a slide. To undo, simply hold down Ctrl key and press Z. Alternately, click Edit > Undo.

Simple, isn’t it 😉

Working with the Dissolve Effect

Dissolve Effect in the Custom Animation does not look good in presentation. It simply doesn’t look like a real dissolve. Since it does not work well alone, you can always experiment it out with other effects. One good example you can try is to have Dissolve and Spin effects together.  The result is good if you have a circle-based logo. Here is a sample which you can take a look at. I named it “Spin the Dissolve”. Take a look and you will understand why. 😉

Customizing PowerPoint Toolbars

Often, you need to use PowerPoint to create presentations. Preparing slides and handling them are cumbersome, especially if your presentation contains 100+ slides. Commands in the toolbars are there to solve your problems. They speed up your work and improve efficiency. 

So what are commands and toolbars? Commands are orders given to PowerPoint to perform some tasks. Command buttons are stored in different toolbars. With these toolbars, you do not need to go through the menu bar searching for the commands you want. For instance, if you want to insert picture from file, you can click on the “Insert Picture” button in the Drawing toolbar rather than using the menu bar (Insert > Picture > From File). There are many useful toolbars. Unfortunately, not all of them are enabled. To enable them, you will need to go to the menu bar, then click View > Toolbars > Customize. From there, browse around the Toolbars and Commands tabs to get yourself familiar with them.

There are some useful commands that you can drag to the toolbars. Here’s a preview of my PowerPoint interface. You may find some toolbars handy for you, while some are not. This depends on the type of presentations you normally work on.

Figure 1: Preview of my current PowerPoint interface. Click to Enlarge.

Useful commands to be added onto your toolbar includes:
– Slide Master for entering the slide master,
– Grouping command to group and ungroup objects easily,
– Objects order command for bringing and sending objects front and backwards with ease,
– Set AutoShape Defaults command for making the properties of current Autoshape as default, which allows new AutoShapes to follow this defaults. E.g. Color Fill, Font Face and Size properties,
– Pick Up and Apply Object Style commands, is used to copy the properties (E.g. Color Fill, Font Face and Size) of one object and paste it onto another object.
– Control Toolbox comes into handy when you need to insert checkbox, flash (.swf), windows media player control and etc. For flash, you will need to use Shockwave Flash Object,
– Last but not least, Add-ins. These are additional stuff for your presentations which are downloadable from the internet. Some add-ins are free, while others require you to purchase them.

Christmas Room Demo

Previously, I did a PowerPoint Game in PowerPoint, called Birthday Room which has been published in PowerPoint Heaven ( ). Last year, I decided to make a sequel to the game naming it Christmas Room. The sequel in mind will be much harder than Birthday Room.

Unfortunately, I haven’t done much on it. Thus, this sequel has been halted. Whether the graphics will be improved or will the game be completed are still undecided.

Anyway, I will just post up a demo of how the game looks like. No triggers have been added yet. Click on below link to download Christmas Room Demo: