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Make your PowerPoint presentations pop with charts, graphics, and images

Julie Sartain | July 11, 2014
You can buck the stereotype of PowerPoint presentations as bullet-pointed snoozefest. PowerPoint has a wealth of new graphics, layout, and animation features to liven up your deck. We'll focus on how to add tables, charts, graphics, and images to your slides, but that's just a sample--delve deeper into the menus and you'll find a wealth of additional options.

You can buck the stereotype of PowerPoint presentations as bullet-pointed snoozefest. PowerPoint has a wealth of new graphics, layout, and animation features to liven up your deck. We'll focus on how to add tables, charts, graphics, and images to your slides, but that's just a sample — delve deeper into the menus and you'll find a wealth of additional options.

Hot templates: easy starters

Like the other programs in the 2013 suite, PowerPoint has a new Home page packed with professional templates in seven different categories (business, calendars, charts & diagrams, education, medical, nature, and photo albums). In each category, there are hundreds to thousands of template options.

For this example, choose the Business category, and select the Business Digital Blue Tunnel Presentation.

On the template view screen, click Create.

This template, like so many others, includes five pre-designed slides that only require you to type over the sample data and modify the graphics to customize the slides.

The following slides provide five different layout options (plus a blank background slide) to continue customizing your presentation.

Choose one of the two layout pages that display the six icons inside a dotted square. Each icon represents an option to insert a special feature. For example, you can insert a table, a chart, a SmartArt Graphic, a picture from your local drive or the web, or a video.

Insert Table

Click the spreadsheet icon in the box. In the Insert Table dialog box, enter five columns and 10 rows, then click OK.

Click the table to select it, and position the cursor on one of the square handles (top, bottom, or sides) to size it. Place the cursor on one of the borders; when it changes to a pointed cross, click, hold, and drag to move it. Position the cursor on any of the column or row lines to resize the columns and rows.

Enter your custom title and text where it says Click to Add Title and Click to Add Text, respectively. Next, enter your data into the table. If you need additional columns or rows, position your cursor in the white space of the table and right-click. Two formatting dialog boxes appear to provide a number of options, plus the ability to insert and delete columns and rows.

Let's add an additional "Totals" column. Position your cursor on the top row's last column on the right. Right-click, then select the Insert Column/Row icon and choose Insert Columns to the Right. A new column drops in for your Totals data.

Insert Chart

Charts are always preferable to a matrix of numbers.

If you didn't copy this slide before you changed it, you can insert another template for this page from the Home tab. Click Home, select New Slide, then click the Content with Caption slide. It drops in after the slide you're working on. To move it, just click, hold, and drag to new location. 

 

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