Know your audience

It is always important to know who you are presenting to. Your audience can be a group of students, professionals, managers, entrepreneurs and etc, but sometimes, knowing just that is not enough. Demographics information such as gender and race are equally essential to you, especially for preparing your presentation slides. Now, imagine that you are going to create a presentation on family values. If your audience is a group of Asian executives, slides showing Asian families will bring them deeper into your presentation. They will also feel more familiar to what you are showing them and helps relate it to their lives. Likewise, if you are showing images of non-Asian families to them, it creates a gap between you and your audience, making them feel distant to your presentation.

The three slides below are provided to help you better visualize the differences. On the first slide, it shows a happy Western family, while the second shows a happy Asian family. And if you are presenting to a group of students or teenagers, the third slide should suit them well. Take a look at these three slides and decide which image helps you better familiarize and connect yourself to the content. 

No diagonal wipe transition on PowerPoint 2007

Another good reason to upgrade to PowerPoint 2010. When it comes to software, you would normally want to have absolute control over settings, especially the minor details. Just a few months back, I came to realize that PowerPoint 2007 does not offer diagonal wipe transition, instead, it has diagonal strips transitions where the edge is checkered instead of straight. What’s the fuss, you may ask? Firstly, the position where I have placed my title and the template I am using, a diagonal wipe is the perfect transition to use. Secondly, I have to port it over to a seminar room with only PowerPoint 2007 installed. Now, if you are working with PowerPoint 2010, you may not realize this because the wipe transitions are available for all directions and that they all have blurred edges. The downside is that if you port it over to a PC with PowerPoint 2007, it will automatically use the diagonal strips transition – which uses a checkered edge. This is something very different and may not be what you are looking for. There’s no direct workaround as far as I know, except to replace it with a fade effect, or perhaps, use PowerPoint Viewer 2010 instead.

Lesson for the day: Always remember to test your presentation on different versions of PowerPoint if you have them. Otherwise, do a test run on the system that you are presenting on before doing the actual presentation. The best solution however, is to bring your own laptop so that you can reduce any issues that may possibly arise.

Exploring Reflection in PowerPoint 2010

If you have been following through the growth of PowerPoint, you will notice the introduction of several Picture Effects such as soft shadows, reflections, bevel and many other effects in PowerPoint 2007. However, you are limited to the presets given to you and therefore are not allowed to adjust these effects in anyway you like. PowerPoint 2010 fixes this issue and opens up lots of new editing options. In this article, we will explore the Reflection Options and various ways you can play with the new feature.

There are two ways to bring up the Reflection option, either by right clicking and select Format Picture | Reflection, or double click on the picture, select Picture Effects | Reflection | Reflection Options. You will now see 4 editing options available to you right after the Reflection Presets:

1. The transparency setting is similar to our usual fill transparency. Setting it to 0% does not bring the reflection to complete opaque though, instead you will still see a slight translucency in it. Setting it to 100% will bring it to a transparent state.

2. The size setting controls the height of the picture’s reflection. Setting it to 0% will thus show no reflection, while 100% will show an almost full reflection.

3. The distance setting controls the distance between your picture and reflection. Max setting is 100 point. 

4. The blur setting is something totally new, which gives you the option to blur your picture’s reflection. 


There are 2 tricks you can try out with these new options:

1. The Picture Reflection-Transparency trick – If you are a regular user of PowerPoint, you will realize that it does not offer a direct way to set transparency for pictures. The most common workaround, and probably an authentic solution would be to use the Emphasis | Transparency animation to control the picture’s transparency. The downside is you will probably have trouble navigating back and forth in the presentation when you press backspace (which the picture will turn back to normal). The second workaround is to use picture fill from shapes. Insert a rectangle and go to Format Shape | Picture or texture fill. Select your picture and set the transparency you prefer. The downside of course, is that you are filling your picture into the shape, and there will be high chance where your picture will look over-stretched either in the width or height.

With PowerPoint 2010, there’s a new way through the reflection option. Still cumbersome process, but eliminates the time you have to spend to adjust the width and height. First, open up the Reflection Options, then set the transparency of your choice. Set the size to 100% so that it shows a complete picture. Distance can be around 10 point while blur should be set to 0 point. Now, flip the picture vertically. Do a Ctrl-X to cut out the picture and paste special | Picture (png). Crop out the actual picture and we are done. Downside still exists though, remember this is a reflection, setting to 100% size won’t give you a full reflection, thus a small portion at the bottom of the picture will fade out.

2. Alternate Blur – The Blur under Artistic Effect allows you to do a blur effect on your picture. The blur effect however, only caters for inner blur, that is to say, your edge will not be affected. If you are looking for complete blurring of your picture, including the edges, try out the Picture Reflection-Transparency trick again, but instead, make use the blur setting this time round.