PowerPoint in the Classroom

with Sue Special UNIT 2
Creating Slides

  • Simple Slides
  • Orderly Outlines
  • Wise Wizards
  • Tidy Templates
  • Swift Saves
  • Cool for School

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Simple Slides

Okay, what is the blank presentation option?

This option gets you started making slides from scratch. It's the building block of a presentation. Let me show you how.

My Aunt Edna used to make pancakes from scratch. Mmm.

Uh, don't pour any syrup on the slides, though, Jim. Heh heh.

Creating a slide from scratch
In the next step you will create a Title Slide for your presentation using the Blank Presentation option. You will be working in Slide View.

    1. Open the PowerPoint program. The PowerPoint dialog box appears.

PowerPoint Dialogue box

    2. In the PowerPoint dialog box, click the Blank Presentation option button. The New Slide dialog box appears. It asks you to choose an AutoLayout format.

    3. Click the Title Slide layout. It's the first in the list. The name Title Slide appears in the preview box.

Selecting a title slide

    4. Click OK. A Title Slide appears, ready for you to work with.

Note: The PowerPoint dialog box appears only when you first launch the program. If you are already working in PowerPoint and want to create a new blank presentation, click the New button new button on the Standard Toolbar or follow these steps:

    1. Click the File menu, then Click New.

Selecting new from the menu bar

    2. In the New Presentation dialog box, click Blank Presentation, and then click OK.

Okay, now we have a Title Slide. But something's missing. Any guesses?

Hey, who's interviewing who here?

I know. The title!

Good guess, Sue. Let me show you how to add text to those blank slides.

Adding text to a slide
The Title Slide layout contains text boxes for a title and a subtitle. Try typing text into these boxes.

    1. Click in the Title text box. A thick gray border appears around the text box indicating that it is selected.

    2. Type a title.

Typing a title text

    3. Click the Subtitle text box and type a subtitle.

Congratulations! You've just created your first slide in PowerPoint 97.

Okay, you've created an impressive Title Slide for us. But that's just one slide! We need to create more slides or else we're going to have a pretty darn short presentation, aren't we?

Wow, these hard-hitting investigative questions don't let up do they? You should be on 60 Minutes. Here, let me show you how to add another slide...

Adding another slide

    1. Click the New Slide button on the Common Tasks toolbar.

New slide button

    2. The AutoLayout dialog box will appear. Choose a layout for your next slide.

Okay, so now we have multiple slides for our presentation. But how do we move from slide to slide?

It's as easy as the click of a button. Literally. Just click and you've moved to a new slide.

That's great! You've got the moves, baby.

Moving from slide to slide
Let's say you've created several slides for your presentation. You've finished working on the last slide, and now you want to take a look at your other slides. Here's how you move from slide to slide in Slide View.

To move to a previous slide:

    1. Click the upper double-arrow button Previous Slide Button on the lower right corner of the PowerPoint window. The previous slide will appear.

To move to the next slide:

    1. Click the lower double-arrow button Next Slide Button on the lower right corner of the PowerPoint window.

Floating Toolbar tip

Orderly Outlines

Okay, PowerPoint, this should stump you. Let's say I'm doing a presentation on music. I've got slides on everything from Abba to Hansen to the Squirrel Nut Zippers. I want to make sure I don't have too much Rock and Roll and not enough Blues in my presentation. Is there an easier way to plan than just clicking from slide to slide?

Yep. It's called Outline View, and it's designed for viewing the titles and text of all your slides in one, easy to scroll page. Let me show you how it's done...

What is Outline View?
In Outline View, your presentation appears as an outline, made up of titles and main text from each slide. Because you can see all your presentation in one window, rather than one slide at a time, it's an ideal place to plan, organize, or edit your presentation.

This Outline View thing sounds swanky. How do I do it?

Switching to Outline View
To switch to Outline View, click the Outline View button in the lower left-hand corner of the PowerPoint window.

Outline View Button

This is what you should see in Outline View:

Outline View

Note: When you go to Outline View, PowerPoint automatically displays an Outline Toolbar on the left side of the window. It contains many useful tools for working in this view.

Outline Toolbar

When viewing all these slides in Outline View, I may realize something's missing. Like in that example of the Music Presentation, what if I realize Jim forgot a slide for Beethoven? Can I add a slide in Outline View?

Adding a slide to your outline
You can add a new slide in Outline View the same way that you do in Slide View.

    1. On the Common Tasks toolbar, click New Slide.

    2. In the New Slide dialog box, click a slide layout, then click OK. A new slide icon appears in your outline.

    New Slide

You can also add new slides quickly by using the Enter key. To add a new slide right after a slide title:

    1. Place your cursor at the end of a slide title.

    New Slide

    2. Press the Enter key. A new slide icon will appear in your outline.

What if, in Outline View, I want to add text to a slide? What if my favorite band keeps changing drummers? I'll want to mention that.

Adding text to your outline
If you want to add text to a slide that you created previously, click an insertion point in the outline and start typing.

If you want to add text to a new slide you've created in Outline View, follow these steps:

    1. Type a title beside the slide icon.

    2. After the slide title, press the Enter key. PowerPoint adds a new slide.

    3. Click the Demote button on the outline toolbar to convert the new slide to a text object.

    demote button

    4. Type your text.

    Added Text

    5. To add another bullet point, press Enter.

Note: With the exception of the title slide, any text you add will be formatted as a bullet point.

Also, PowerPoint, what if I need to look at just the slide titles to get a broad view, without getting bogged down in the content of each slide?

Moving around in Outline View
When you are in Outline View, you see all the text that appears on your slides. However, PowerPoint lets you collapse the view, so you see only the outline titles. Use this option if you want to print an outline of your presentation, or if you want to check the logical flow of your slide titles without the distraction of extra text.

To collapse all the slides in your outline:

    1. On the Outline Toolbar, click the Collapse All button. The slide text for all the slides will disappear.

    Collapse button

To expand all of the slide titles again:

    1. Click the Expand All button on the Outline toolbar. The text for all the slides will appear again.

    Expand button

While I'm at it, how do you move from one slide to another? In my Music Presentation, let's say I've been checking out Louis Armstrong, and now I want to check out Benny Goodman.

Oh, I love Benny Goodman. There's nothing like Big Band music to get me jumping. And on that note, let me tell you how to jump from one slide to the next.

Jumping from one slide to the next
To move from one slide to another in Outline View, click anywhere on the slide you want to move to.

Moving slides using Arrow keys

Wise Wizards

Hey, Power. Earlier you mentioned you had a Wizard friend. Is he going to pull a rabbit out of a hat for us?

Not exactly. The AutoContent Wizard walks you through the presentation, offering suggestions on visual design, as well as tips on how to organize data. He's great if you're a beginner or in a hurry.

He's sort of like an AutoContent consultant or guru.

Absolutely. Though, we thought "Wizard" sounded better. Especially because some of his results can be pretty magical.

What is the AutoContent Wizard?
The AutoContent Wizard is a good option for creating a presentation if you are a beginner. The AutoContent Wizard offers suggestions for templates to use and types of content to put in. This option is also good if you are in hurry and want to create a presentation quickly.

So how do you use the magic of the AutoContent Wizard? Do you have to say some magic words like "Alakazam"? Or is it something much easier like answering questions in a dialogue box?

Jim, you're right on the second try. Although the Alakazam idea isn't bad. I'll talk to my creators about it.

Creating a Presentation using the AutoContent Wizard.
If you have just launched PowerPoint, click the AutoContent Wizard option button in the PowerPoint dialog box to start a presentation.

If you are already working in PowerPoint, here's how you start the AutoContent Wizard:

    1. Click the File menu, then click New. The New Presentation dialog box will appear.

Selecting new from the menu bar

    2. In the New Presentation dialog box, click the Presentations tab.

    3. In the Presentations list, click the AutoContent Wizard, and then click OK. The wizard will start.

AutoContent Wizard

Working with the AutoContent Wizard
The AutoContent Wizard will guide you through some simple steps.

    1. Read the information on the start screen, then click Next.

    2. In the next dialog box, select the type of presentation you want to give, then click Next to advance to the next dialog box.

choosing a presentation

    3. Continue entering options until you reach the Finish step.

    4. Click Finish.

The AutoContent Wizard will display your presentation in Outline View. The outline is made up of sample slides, each of which has a suggestion for the type of information that should be entered in the slide. You can customize the information in the slides in either Outline View or Slide View.

Tidy Templates

Now listen, I'm a talk show host, not a graphic artist. So how can I make sure my presentations look cool? Does the AutoContent Wizard have a spell for that?

As a matter of fact, he does. That spell is called a template, which is a premade presentation design that lays out the elements for you. I have lots of different templates to choose from.

Wait a minute. What if I don't want some pre-fab design? Or what if I want to change a design I like and make it even better?! Are you going to stifle the artist?

Not at all. You can customize the templates as much as you wish.

What is a Template?
A template, also called a presentation design, lets you create a presentation without worrying about design elements. The template defines the color, background, and font of the slides. PowerPoint has many templates, which you can preview and select in the New Presentation dialog box.

PowerPoint also lets you customize the templates. For instance, you can change the background color or typeface of a template.

Okay, you've told us how groovy these templates are. Now can you show us how to make 'em?

Creating a presentation using templates
If you have just launched PowerPoint, click the Template option button in the PowerPoint dialog box to start a new presentation.

Template button

If you are already working in PowerPoint, follow these steps:

    1. Click the File menu, then click New. The New Presentation dialog box appears.

    2. Click the Presentation Designs tab, and then click an appropriate template. The design will appear in the preview box.

Template designs

    3. Click OK. The New Presentation dialog box will close.

Swift Saves

What's the biggest disaster you've ever had working on a presentation?

I was in Italy, where I had finished preparing a presentation on different types of pasta. It was three months' work.

The Italians have a lot of different types of pasta.

Uh...ya, Jim. Lots of pasta. Anyway, I had just put in the finishing touches when "Bam!". The power went out.

Oh, that must have been terrible. You lost all that work!

Fortunately, I had been saving my work, so I managed to recover it all. My recommendation to all your viewers is: Save your work! That night I could have been scrambling to redo my presentation. Instead, I was riding a gondola in Venice.

Saving Your Presentation
While working on a presentation, it's a good idea to save your work often. Otherwise, you risk losing your work. The next steps show you how to save your presentation to your hard drive for the first time, using the Save As command.

    1. Click the File menu, and then click Save As. The Save As dialog box will appear.

Saving your presentation

    2. In the File name box, type a name for your presentation.

Naming your saved file
Naming your saved file

    3. Click Save.
The presentation is now saved to your hard drive.

Once you've saved the presentation for the first time, periodically save it by clicking the File menu, then clicking Save. Or, click the Save button on the Standard toolbar.

Save button

Cool For School


PowerPoint gives you quite a few ways to create a presentation. If you want total control over the look and structure, you will likely build your slide show from the ground up. If you need a presentation in a hurry, the AutoContent Wizard is your new best friend. If you're great at organizing information, but can't match two colors if your life depended on it, then you'd better leave your slide show color scheme to PowerPoint's ready-made templates.

That said, what's the best way to create a PowerPoint presentation with your students? The answer depends on two factors: time and function. Teaching your class how to create a presentation from scratch is time consuming, but it's worthwhile process. Not only will your students pick up valuable technology skills, they'll also have a blast creating slide shows that define their unique style. You, too, will find the do-it-yourself method the most rewarding as you watch your students breathe life into a blank presentation.

The second consideration is function. What type of presentation do you want your students create? Is it going to be a science fair kiosk presentation, or a simple three-slide show? Of course, the bigger the show, the more help your students will need. Whatever method you choose, be sure that it meets your learning objectives. For example, if your goal is to teach your class how to organize information, you'll want your students to spend more time working on outlines and less on background colors.

While we're on the topic, we have to point out our favorite PowerPoint feature for the classroom-the Outline View. There's very little razzle-dazzle to this feature, which is probably why we like it so much. If you want your students to concentrate on the main elements of a presentation, start them out in Outline View. This modest view will keep your kids focused on researching, organizing, and writing their presentations. After your students have created a logical outline, you can introduce the fancy fonts and mesmerizing transitions.

Your students can follow your instructions for creating an outline, or they can use one from the AutoContent Wizard. The Generic presentation has excellent headings and writing instructions for a simple presentation or a classic essay. When introduced during the research stage of a project, you can even use this outline to teach the finer points of note-taking.