Posts Tagged ‘powerpoint’

PowerPoint for Office Depot

Retailer Office Depot transforms basic PowerPoint into new professional look

New presentation for Office Depot features brighter and cleaner design

Updated visuals help capture suppliers’ attention and promote strategic goal of “One Partnership.”


Before: The original opening slide had big logos, big photos, and big text. However, the slide’s graphic elements competed with each other for attention.

Office Depot Presentation - After 2

After: We chose one stock photo from Photodisc to replace the four images on the original slide. The logo’s proportions are adjusted and centered. And the text, though smaller, becomes a focal point.

Office Depot Presentation - Before 2

Before: Straightforward but hardly inspirational, this flow chart plainly explains Office Depot’s vendor-selection process.

Office Depot Presentation - After 2
After: The Presentation Team took extra time to re-create this slide by punching up each step and making the slide more visually appealing. Using Macromedia Freehand for the shapes and Adobe Photoshop fro creating PNG images files, we shifted to an icon-based approach. Each “image arrow” is introduced separately with a Wipe Right build in PowerPoint.

Office Depot logoWith a nationwide network of megastores, Office Depot has transformed the way America shops for office supplies. The Delray Beach, Fla-based retailer recently needed a transformation of its own, particular for its Supplier Diversity electronic slide show. In early 2004, the company came to The Presentation Team looking to update this 10-slide Microsoft PowerPoint presentation.

The original design was bland and cluttered with content, which detracted from the company’s message. And because of the small number of slides, company presenters were creeping along at a pace of nearly one page every four minutes.

We set out on a mission to overhaul the sideshow by designing with more white space, replacing boxy JPG images with transparent PNG graphics, and improving audience attentiveness by increasing the presentation’s pacing.

We began the full redesign by creating a new slide template using Adobe Photoshop. In a departure from the conventional use of light text on a dark background, we opted for the cleaner look of dark text against a white background. We created a beige banner with muted images of diverse people for the title bar and ran a narrow gay bar across the slide’s bottom for balance.

Several slides featured complex bullet points with complex concepts. To help the presenter more effectively communicate these ideas, we expanded these bullet points onto separate slides. The presentation increased to 18 slides total.

We returned to Photoshop to work on the graphics. We chose updated images from Photodisc, resizing them and using channel masks for highlighting as needed. We saved the edited images as PNG files and imported them into PowerPoint.

Finally, we replaced the original fly-in graphics with graceful wipe and fade effects. The result was a clean and updated presentation that captured the excitement of the sales force and viewers.



10 Tips to Reduce Cluttered PowerPoint Slides


Ten Simple Tips to clean-up those boring PowerPoint slides

You’ve worked and worked on your presentation…but it still looks cluttered and ugly. Here are 10 quick and easy methods to improve busy and ugly slides, reduce on-screen clutter and improve boring boring presentations.


#1: Simply provide more breathing space.

Rather than cramming all the graphics and text items together, taking up all the available space on a slide, bring the items into the center a bit…shrink them down to a reasonable size…and provide at least 80% “white space” around the items. It creates a more clean and inviting look.



#2: Group bullets and objects into shapes (SmartArt).

Rather than having a whole page of bullets or graphics, try grouping the points into a few colorful rectangles or squares. That way, they’re psychologically percieved as a collective entity.  Also, we remember graphics more readily than text, so work to find a graphic from a stock photo collection or a scanned photo that will support the bullet and make it come alive with graphics.



#3: Eliminate the template.

On slides where there’s no way around the busy-ness (like an organizational chart), simply place your graphics or text on a pure black background. Though templates are great for creating a consistent look, there’s nothing bad about deviating from it once in a while with a non-competing image to get the point across.



#4: Span Bullet Points Across Multiple Pages

It’s a good idea to limit your bullets no more than 6 per page. But this may not be practical in all cases, so rather than cram them all on a single page, split them over 2 or 3 pages. You may consider creating a separate page for each bullet point with related graphics. Though it can add many pages and take longer to develop, the fast-moving graphical pages work to maintain a strong level of interest with the audience. And don’t get worried that you’re adding so many pages to your presentation…it’s virtual! With this method, it’s not uncommon for a 30-minute presentation to have more than 90 slides.



#5: Create a video montage of your graphics.

Instead of a single page comprised of many images, edit a brief video in Google Picasa or Adobe Premiere,(or any other video editing program that imports still images), with each of the graphics moving and dissolving from one to another. Remember to include this video file if you distribute your presentation.



#6: Print Handouts for Complex Concepts



#7: Use animations to introduce text and elements.

Bringing items in one at a time helps to keep the eye focused. Take the time to add transitions and entry/exit effects to your text (dimming bullets after they’ve appeared is also effective), and they’ll flow easier on the eyes of your audience.



#8: Reduce Text, Merge Points, and Edit your text.

Bullet points should highlight key words…not showcase entire sentences or paragraphs of text. Let the speaker elaborate/expand upon each bullet point rather than having the audience read the whole speech on screen. Work to reduce your text to only the crucial information.  And then work at it again.  





#10: Drill-Down and Create Interactivity

By using drill-down “hiearchtical navigation,” you can navigate from a high level overview (main menu), to different sections of your presentation, with each bullet, title, or graphic, serving as a link to another page with more detailed information. 


 Though many of these techniques may add time to your development, it’ll pay off in the end with a more memorable and effective presentation. 

Presentation Storyboard

Presentation Storyboarding

Tips and strategies for Presentation Storyboarding to create PowerPoint presentations more efficiently and powerfully.

Storyboarding – An Introduction

Paper Or Screen?
Paper Alternatives

Screen Alternatives

The Flow

Storyboard Elements

Specialized Requirements

From Storyboard To Finality

Storyboarding – An Introduction

Presentation Storyboard

A presentation without a storyboard is like a cart without a horse. You have no idea which direction whomsoever is going to pull the cart. And when you realize your mistake, it may be too late. And it is at this note that our storyboarding story unfolds…

Storyboarding is never the beginning of any creative project, because you cannot get to this stage unless your concept and vision are completely clear. If you are undertaking a project for yourself or for a client, there would be little to be gained in undertaking a storyboarding session without ideas – the storyboard is an element to capture and refine ideas, not to create them.

What exactly is a storyboard? Is it a piece of paper or a part of your computer screen? Is it that part of your mind where you store the sequence of your creativity? Actually, its all of them – the ‘storyboard’ is both abstract and physical – in our thoughts and on papyrus. The abstract is its very existence, but it’s the physical one which is a retrievable record of its brilliance.

The abstract storyboard has got more to do with our imagination and visualization – it is also the source, inspiration and the very existence that channels the physical storyboard.


Paper Or Screen?

If you’re creating your first formal storyboard, you’ll have to decide if you require a paper or screen board. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages – and both come in so many types that you can have a great time deciding which works best for you.

A paper storyboard is something that’s more akin to our psychology – it’s no wonder so many screen alternatives try to emulate paper. There could be nothing easier than putting a pencil or pen onto paper and scribbling notes, drawing a prototype or creating a flow chart. You can also manage your schedule, ascertain your priorities and do more. It’s no secret that paper is more close to a human being’s comfort level – lots of people are still wary of digital storyboards, after all the mouse or keyboard is not something with which you can cut and write or write between the lines. Things are however changing, or have already changed, as we shall soon examine.

New technologies are in the fore today – a tablet or pen emulates a regular pen, and it comes with a convenient electronic eraser to boot, imagine doing that the conventional way. And you could use a speech recognition program to input ideas straight into your electronic storyboard.

Handwriting recognition and OCR programs can port all your existing paper storyboards onto the screen level as well.

Screen storyboards have other advantages too – you can share them over your network or the Internet, also you can store them on a floppy, an Iomega® Zip cartridge ,a CD-Rewritable or a shared Internet virtual drive. By sharing in myriad ways, your storyboards become more collaborative, and consequently your content is richer, your ideas are originated from a higher base level. This does not mean that paper storyboards are without benefits – not everybody carries a palmtop or laptop everywhere – paper is everywhere: on newspapers, napkins and notes – just find an area to write, and scribble your thoughts away. It is necessary to mention here that it is better to carry a small paper notepad to capture your sudden or planned spurts of inspirations – all loose papers can be lost very easily: they could fly away from your car window!


Paper Alternatives

What’s a paper storyboard? Any piece of paper is technically fit enough to be a storyboard. But paper in many ways belies the very function of a storyboard – ‘permanence’. Granted, there is no such thing called ‘permanent’ on earth – but paper’s permanence levels are directly related to its form. A thick bound register is more permanent than a loose sheet. In fact the register could be more permanent than a floppy or a CD. However, your computer’s hard disk or storing it on the Internet is even more permanent than that.

The single biggest advantage of a screen (also called digital and electronic throughout this article) storyboard is duplication. That’s why I don’t advise you to use paper. For that matter, I don’t think that the screen alternative on its own is a good idea too. So, what do we use? Simple, we use a combination – by all means use paper, but convert it to electronic format as soon as possible.

We just saw how we can use paper to create a better screen storyboard – in the same way we can use screen to create a better paper storyboard. You can create a template in your word processor, which you can then print out in certain quantities. These papers can be stapled or spiralled to form a nice notepad. Use this as your storyboard – just remember to put it all back in the electronic format at due intervals.


Screen Alternatives

I could write pages galore on screen alternatives, but we’ll stick to the basic alternatives presently. In it’s easiest form, your storyboard could be a text editor – in it’s most advanced incarnation it could be your own custom application suite comprising of a storyboard program, a word processor and programs for speech recognition, email, project collaboration and OCR (optical character recognition).

If you would like to use a basic text editor, then you could use Notepad that comes with Microsoft® Windows®. Also, there is an excellent Notepad replacement called EditPad.

Next in the hierarchy tier are word processors – you could use them as they are, or you could use them with a specialized storyboarding template. Such templates can also be printed to paper. If you want to create a template in your particular word processor, you can download a template in Adobe®’s PDF format here – this is very basic and you could emulate it in any word processor which is worth its existence. Needless to say, you will need to download Adobe®’s Acrobat® Reader to view and print this template.

However, let’s face it – word processors can be boring. For routine in-house presentations, word processor software like Microsoft® Word®, Corel® WordPerfect®, Lotus® WordPro® or a dozen more alternatives will do the job – what’s more your good old presentation program will import the entire storyboard as an outline and will even decide how many slides you need and where to place what information – the wonders of computers! All this is boring, safe and predictable – like typists with thick glassed spectacles! We want our presentations to sing, dance, play and maybe even get to the movies. You want sighs and wows, with a few drop-dead responses thrown in for good measure – yes, you need a specialized storyboarding program.

The answer is a little disappointing – I haven’t found any great storyboarding program as yet. There are programs which allow you to draw onscreen, others allow you to input text and create links, but you need more. So, we’ll do the next best thing: we’ll look at a combination of programs and hardware.

The best hardware you can get for yourself is a tablet – pen, preferably pressure sensitive. This will allow you to draw onscreen – my Wacom® tablet even comes with a specialized software called Paragraph® PenOffice® that allows me to draw right inside Microsoft® Word® – what’s more, others who don’t have the tablet or the software can still view all the files and even edit the text. There are such draw-into-your-program programs for other word processors too.

Once you have a tablet, you can try out a great free storyboarding program called Springboard – the reason I never mentioned about this above is that this program is almost useless without a pen-tablet. Still, you may want to take Springboard® for a spin.

Want me to share a secret with you? If you have a pen-tablet, Macromedia® Flash® makes a great storyboarding program! You can draw on its screen, you can even write editable text and you can add and remove pages (or screens, to use Flash’s terminology). Just remember to hide the timeline. What’s more, if you fancy, your storyboard may spring roots in Flash to create a presentation within that program. Flash can become a great presentation program too!


The Flow

Now that you have the software sorted out, let’s talk about ‘the flow’ – this is the unrestrained stream of thoughts originating from your creativity which forms a major part of your storyboard. In fact this is the only link between your abstract and physical storyboards.

You can use sticky notes, both paper and electronic to keep track of your inspirational bouts – for a free electronic version of sticky notes, try ATnotes.

Keep yourself suitably involved with your ideas to prevent your flow being hampered with. Nevertheless, if the dreaded ‘creativity block’ strikes you, there are a few ideas here which could help you. Visit our Creativity Un-Block page.


Storyboard Elements

Every storyboard has elements – representation of actual elements of a finished presentation. These are in the form of text, video, sound, images and more…

It’s just that you don’t put everything that’s going to be a part of your finished presentation into your storyboard – the storyboard is an intermediate stage – what’s more it’s a link to preserve your ideas for use in the actual finished product.

If the text part is longer, just put in the beginning lines to suggest which text you would be using correspondingly in the presentation. In the same way images and videos are represented as placeholders – and sound could be identified by some scribbled notes.

Scribbled notes – that’s one element in a storyboard that does not finish it’s journey to the final presentation. It’s just there to correct and add ideas – it’s the heart of a storyboard.


Specialized Requirements

All we have discussed may have not met your requirements – maybe your needs are specialized – maybe you need to do more.

This need not disappoint – the main thing to remember is that your ideas are important – with a little tweaking here and there, you can adapt solutions to suit you. We are presently discussing only general mainstream requirements, but there’s no reason why you cannot adapt it for yourself.


From Storyboard to Finality

We have to remember that the storyboard is an intermediate stage – concept and visualization are the beginning stages – completion and delivery are the final stages.

To finish a presentation, you don’t need a finished storyboard. In fact a good storyboard will never get completed. As soon as your storyboard has a fixed direction, you should begin work on your presentation, maybe even before that.

And some day, when your presentation is over, and you have won accolades, and some years after that, you may just see your old storyboard. And that storyboard will inspire you again, once more…

Agouron Pharmaceuticals/Dallabrida & Associates

Pharmaceutical company transforms boring PowerPoint presentation

Restless and bored nurses call for update of 10-part medical training PowerPoint presentation

Colorful new look includes professional PowerPoint animation and bold illustrations

Agouron Pharmaceuticals/Dallabrida & AssociatesFor the presenters of Agouron Pharmaceutical’s What’s Your Plan program, it was becoming increasingly frustrating that their audiences of nurses and healthcare providers were growing more restless and bored through their 10-part HIV-treatment training presentation.  So the pharmaceutical firm turned to The Presentation Team to re-invigorate their bland and dry PowerPoint with a bold new look.

Highly clinical in its look and feel, the original presentation featured a flat olive background with bland yellow titles in an ordinary arial font. Although the presentation was dominated by text, a small amount of traditional vector clipart added some visual variety, but appeared too dated. By simply adding new graphics and basic animation, the presenters are freshly motivated and the audiences are more attentive to this educational presentation.

Templates can be eye-catching and professional

Before-1 After-1

An flat olive colored background combine with arial text to produce a basic unmemorable page.

The colorful template brings the slide to life.  The title text has been placed in a more prominent area of the layout and the company logo has been added for a consistent feel on all slides.

Change bullets to graphics for added impact

Before-2 After-2
Whenever a list of bullet points appears on a plain slide with no images, you have given the audience an excuse to stop listening to your audience.

We pulled out the bullet points and gave the text a corresponding modern image.  We enlarged the text and arranged it with the graphics on the page, rather than keeping them in list form

Add graphics that help convey the key message


  Agouron Pharmaceuticals - PowerPoint Redesign 1 - After

Lengthy bullet points over a dull background is neither graphically impressive nor interesting.

Although we kept the bullet points, a change in font style and type style as well as the placement of an eye-catching illustration goes further in communicating the points of a successful medical regiment program.

The end result was a fresh new look that motivates audiences and maintains their attention…translating to more effective healthcare!

Top PowerPoint and Presentation Graphics and Stock Photo Resources

Improve your presentation with graphics, stock photos and PowerPoint resources

Let’s face it: we live in a visual world. Today’s audiences are demanding of a high-impact presentation experience. So how do you make your presentation shine graphically? First, it’s important to make sure your message is clear and on target. Before diving into the graphic selection process, focus on the content. Once you’re comfortable with the flow of the presentation, it’s time to get creative. Finding appropriate graphics for presentations can turn into a full-time job, so plan accordingly.

PowerPoint comes with a huge clipart collection to get your started. It’s a simple matter of “Insert…Picture….Clip Art.” PowerPoint will import virtually any type of stock media. You can either cut and paste from Photoshop or Freehand or bring the file in directly by using the Insert menu.

However PowerPoint’s clipart library, while convenient and versatile, is often regarded as amateurish. Making your presentation look different from a standard PowerPoint presentation requires outside resources. Clip media, including photography, vector-based clip art, sounds, music and backgrounds are available- some for free, some for a fee- to the savvy searcher. Indeed clip media has become a booming industry brought about by the digital age.

Basic clip media packages available at most computer supply shops, though more professional packages are available from Publisher’s Toolbox.

Incorporating these images into a photo editing program like Photoshop can provide amazingly compelling graphics. But, a word of warning: don’t go overboard with clip media! Too many pictures or sounds can detract from the impact of your message and lessen the presentation’s power. But with the proper planning and research, you’ll discover the resources to create a world class presentation.

Help Me Present!


  • ADB
  • ADP
  • ADT
  • Accenture
  • American-Express
  • Aramark
  • Carvel
  • Comcast
  • Costa
  • Cox
  • DAI
  • GE-Healthcare
  • GTE-Financial
  • Gtt
  • Johnson-and-Johnson
  • Markem-Imaje
  • Motorola
  • NASA
  • Office-Depot
  • Oracle
  • Polo
  • Republic-Services
  • Ryder
  • Siemens
  • Singlehop
  • Software-AG
  • TD-Waterhouse
  • UBS
  • VTiDirect
  • Venn-Strategies
  • Verizon
  • Whirlpool
  • “We engaged The Presentation Team to do a Presentation training for our team and he did a great job. He spent time understanding our requirements and the skill level of our team members and created a course which met our expectations and goals. I highly recommend The Presentation Team as a Presentation (PowerPoint) trainer.”

    Navdeep Sidhu
    Senior Director, Software AG

  • “Kevin Lerner provided best-in-class services when hired to work on promotional materials for the launch of a key product at Motorola. The expertise and quality that he brought to the project were second to none and as a result, he delivered a top-notch presentation that was quickly adopted throughout the organization. Kevin is great to work with, delivers on time, is a great team player and is always willing to go the extra mile.”

    Maria Cardoso

  • “Kevin has been a working with Cox Communications to deliver world-class PowerPoint presentation visuals since 2009. His ability to meet our specific needs, timeframe, and budgets has been exceptional. His professional interaction with our team reflects his deep expertise in the industry, superior presentation design skills, and commitment to superior service.”

    Jonathan Freeland
    VP, Video Marketing at Cox Communications

  • “Kevin is an enthusiastic, creative, and passionate presentation guru. Our company was impressed and felt the value of his training in 2013 that he was invited again recently to again share his knowledge. Both times he has been energetic and addressed many areas for presentation development. From planning to follow-up Kevin is personable and easygoing, motivating our teams to take their presentations to the next level.”

    Yoshimi Kawashima
    Project Coordinator, Nissin International

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from tips & tricks to aesthetics, all with the intent of getting the message across crisply and creatively. I’ve already received praise for decks that incorporate the skills obtained from his training. I highly recommend Kevin’s services.”

    Era Prakash
    General Electric

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from “The PowerPresentations seminar opened my eyes to all the limitless possibilities in presenting.”

    Leah Gordillo
    Saint Francis Medical Center

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from “[Kevin and The Presentation Team have] always delivered 110% in terms of meeting our objectives for finished product and budget”

    Paul Price
    Watsco Corp.

  • “I had more people come up to me after I spoke, commenting on the visuals you created, than I did on the subject matter!”

    Andy Smith
    Smith & Robb Advertising

  • “As a Fortune 1000 company, we sought to produce a classy, yet conservative presentation for our shareholders. It was evident that you and your team listened to our thoughts as you developed the presentation…”

    Will Flower
    Republic Services

  • “Your expertise in the filed of PowerPoint and general presentation techniques helped elevate us to the level necessary to beat the competition.”

    Mike Geary
    James Pirtle Construction

  • “Kevin brought a high level of creativity, enthusiasm, and deep multmedia experience to our team. He worked dillegently with the team to produce an outstanding proposal which we subsequently won.

    Jeff Keller

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