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Tame your computer – box clever

9 Jun

CleverclogsTipTime2PowerPoint has some nifty design features to bring your presentations to life. (SmartArt springs to mind.) But there might still be times that you need to use the good old Text Box to add text to shapes or objects on your slide.

There are two ways in which the Text Box button can be used. Most people I train draw a box (I guess, as the button implies) and then type inside that box. This is great if you roughly know the exact size and location, but do you know the second method, that I believe is slightly faster?

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the Text Box button in the Text group on the Insert tab.
  2. Click anywhere on the slide and type the text. (Press ENTER to move to a new line.)
  3. If necessary, (with the box still selected) drag any of the sizing handles that surround the text box to resize it.
  4. If necessary, point to the border of the text box and drag it to a new position. Or simply press any of the ARROW keys to nudge it.

 Related tips:
Tweak your SmartArt graphics
Convert an existing bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic
Draw three concentric circles with text in each
Adjusting text within an AutoShape 

Tame your computer – some colourful pointers

2 Mar

CleverclogsTipTime2Back in October 2013 I wrote a tip on how to turn your mouse into a laser pointer, so you could draw attention to something on a slide. In PowerPoint 2010 you can do this by pressing CTRL and your left mouse button, but to be perfectly honest, I had difficulty remembering the trick as it was so unintuitive.

If you agree and have upgraded to version 2013 or 2016, you might like the new shortcut.

Here’s how:

  1. Start the Slide Show as normal. (F5, anyone?)
  2. Press CTRL + L to switch the laser pointer on.
  3. Press CTRL + L to switch the laser pointer off.

If you don’t like the red pointer, you can make it green or blue:

  1. If necessary, end the Slide Show. (For example, press ESC.)
  2. On the Slide Show tab, in the Set Up group, click Set Up Slide Show.
  3. Select your preferred colour from the Laser pointer color list.
  4. Click OK.

Related tips
Top ten Microsoft PowerPoint shortcuts
Turn your mouse into a laser pointer

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Tame your computer – get your show on the road

2 Sep

CleverclogsTipTime2You can save your PowerPoint slides in a variety of ways, depending on what you want to do with it.

When you save your file it will – by default – be saved in a way that’s most suitable when you’re still tweaking your presentation. This means that if you want to present it to an audience you have to click around to start the Slide Show, which can be a nightmare if you’re shaking nervously or have a mouse that’s more like a shopping trolley.

Back in 2011 I told you how to make a slide show that automatically starts when opened. I know that can cause duplication as well as frustration when you want to edit the presentation, so why not simply open the presentation in slide show …?

Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the .ppt or .pptx file, as normal. (WIN and type .ppt anyone?)
  2. Right-click the file and select Show.

This will also prevent you from running the risk of giving away the content of your presentation, as the Slides thumbnail pane is not visible in this view.

Related tips
Save the current document, presentation or worksheet as a PDF
Save your presentation so that it always opens in Slide Show view
Save a slide as a picture
Techniques for running panic-free presentations
Keyboard shortcut to start slide show from current slide

Tame your computer – use more commands

15 Jun

CleverclogsTipTime2Do you sometimes have the need to send a PDF version of your document to someone? If so, do you first save it as a PDF and then attach it to your email message? Or perhaps you use the Save & Send option from the File menu? But that’s four clicks and it can be faster! Especially once you have added the relevant button to your Quick Access Toolbar. (This customizable toolbar can be found in the upper-left corner, next to the relevant Microsoft Office program icon.)

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the arrow at the far end of the Quick Access Toolbar.
  2. Click on More Commands.
  3. In the Choose commands from drop-down list, select All Commands.
  4. Scroll down the alphabetical list and double-click on E-mail as PDF Attachment.
  5. Click OK or press ENTER.

If you do this from Excel and your workbook has more than one sheet, the entire document will be converted and attached. Each sheet will be displayed on a separate page.

Related tips:

Tame your computer – go to it

6 Apr

CleverclogsTipTime2There are various nifty built-in navigation tricks you can use as you deliver your PowerPoint presentation. The one I frequently used to use was right-clicking anywhere on the screen and selecting Go to Slide, as well as Last Viewed. But I say “used to use” as that option is no longer available in later versions of PowerPoint. And as I don’t like the See All Slides alternative – it shows a thumbnail of all slides, by which time I worry nobody in the audience is paying attention anymore – I’ve found a new way to refresh my memory to jump to a specific slide.

Here’s how:

  1. Start the slide show as normal.
  2. Press CTRL + S.
  3. Double-click the slide you want to display (or click it and press the Go To button or G).

This obviously relies on the use of titles when you create your slides. If you don’t and you happen to know the slide’s number, you can simply type the slide’s number and press ENTER to jump to it.

Related tips:
Navigate through your slides while presenting
Navigate to a specific slide during a presentation
Techniques for running panic-free presentations
Black out the screen during a presentation 
Keyboard shortcut to start slide show from current slide
Save your presentation so that it always opens in Slide Show view

Tame your computer – make a quick exit

25 Aug

If, like me, you prefer to use your keyboard rather than your mouse you might know – or want to know – that Microsoft introduced “KeyTips” in Office 2007, offering a quick way to select commands using your keyboard. One of the favourite KeyTips of my dear friend Danijela is ALT, F, X which will select the Exit command from the File tab.

Here’s how:

  1. Press ALTFX. (Or Press ALT + F4.)
  2. When prompted, type the underlined letter s (Save) or n (Don’t Save) or press the ESC key to cancel the operation.

This will close down the whole application, not just the active document, as described in tip 272.

I’ll update the shortcut archive but in the meantime a big thank you to Dani for this week’s tip inspiration!


Related tips:
Selecting commands without using your mouse
Close a window without clicking in the upper-right corner 

Tame your computer – top 10 tips for Microsoft PowerPoint

22 Apr

Following the success of the recent top ten Excel, Word and Outlook tips, herewith your favourite PowerPoint shortcuts with links to the relevant tips, if any.


1 F5 Start slide show from first slide
2 SHIFT + F5 Start slide show from current slide
3 ALT + SHIFT + down arrow Move text or bullet points down
4 ALT + SHIFT + up arrow Move text or bullet points up
5 SHIFT + F9 Show or hide grid for positioning objects
6 ALT + F9 Display drawing guides on screen
7 CTRL + SHIFT + G Group/ungroup shapes, pictures, or SmartArt
8 CTRL + left mouse button Laser pointer in Slide Show View
9 CTRL + D Duplicate selected slide
10 SHIFT + F3 Toggle between UPPER CASE, lower case and Sentence Case


Keyboard shortcuts may sometimes be unintuitive or hard to remember, but I drip feed a new shortcut weekly, to help you to boost productivity without reaching for your mouse.

Tame your computer – cut to the chase

23 Jan

Earlier this month a course delegate asked me whether there was a way to move a bullet point up or down in PowerPoint. Obviously you can use cut and paste, but I remembered there was a nifty keyboard shortcut. But what was it?

So I used my own search page and typed in three words (PowerPoint bullet up) and hey presto … tip 308 came up in the preview of the shortcut archive.

Here’s how:

  1. Put your cursor anywhere in the bulleted text or paragraph you want to move.
  2. Click ALT + SHIFT + UP ARROW to move the bullet point or text up or ALT + SHIFT + DOWN ARROW to move it down.

And I just noticed it also works for pictures in Word.

Tame your computer – get smart with SmartArt

2 Sep

Hope you’ve all fallen in love with SmartArt, introduced in Microsoft Office 2007?! (I still encounter people who don’t know about this nifty feature, hence the question.)

My only bugbear about SmartArt is that it’s difficult to tweak individual bits. Perhaps you want to remove one of its arrows. Or animate a specific part of the graphic. Well, you can do so once you convert the SmartArt into individual shapes.

Here’s how:

  1. Consider duplicating the slide (CTRL + D) as this is a one-way process.
  2. Right-click on the border of the SmartArt graphic.
  3. Select Convert to Shapes.

If you struggle with or don’t like the right-click, the Convert button can be found on the SmartArt Tools Design tab. And if, like me, you love keyboard shortcuts you may want to check out ungrouping the SmartArt graphic by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + G twice.

Related tips:

Tip # 501: Change the emphasis of a SmartArt graphic by changing its direction

Tip # 355: Tweak your SmartArt graphics

Tip # 268: Convert an existing bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic

Tip # 230: Draw three concentric circles with text in each

Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.

Tame your computer – picture perfect

25 May

Not so long ago I was helping a client update her PowerPoint presentation. We had used one of the SmartArt Graphics that can contain pictures, but wanted to reposition the photo … more head, less body. The right-clickers among you might intuitively try Size and Position, but that applies to the placeholder, not the picture itself. But don’t despair – you can get access to the photo.

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the picture in the SmartArt.
  2. Click on the Picture Tools Format tab.
  3. Click on the Crop button.
  4. To resize the picture, drag any of the corner sizing handles, so that both the height and width change and you won’t end up with a distorted photo.
  5. To reposition the picture, make sure you have a 4-headed arrow cursor and drag the picture to the desired location. Hold down the SHIFT key to “snap” the picture to a perfect horizontal or vertical “grid”.
  6. Click anywhere outside the placeholder to “confirm” the change.

With thanks to Miranda for this week’s tip inspiration.

Related tips:
Tip 501: Change the emphasis of a SmartArt graphic by changing its direction (tip_501.php)
Tip 355: Tweak your SmartArt graphics (tip_355.php)
Tip 268: convert an existing bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic (tip_268.php)

Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.