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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.

On this new slide, click the Insert Chart icon, select the Column chart type from the tab on the left, choose the 3D Clustered Column chart style from the icons at the top, and click OK.

A chart spreadsheet appears for your custom data, plus three icon buttons on the right to modify the chart elements, chart style and colors, and to change the chart data after the chart is created. 

Enter the names of the sales agents from the previous table. Enter some hypothetical sales totals (since the table shows the same numbers for every agent) and delete the two additional columns B and C (because we are creating a chart that compares only one column of numbers — sales totals) and watch the chart develop as you type. You can change the colors using the Style/Color options dialog box, resize the chart, then close the spreadsheet.

Editing a spreadsheet in PowerPoint is just like editing one in Excel. You can delete columns and rows, size columns, and use the editing F2 key. Also, notice the icons across the top of the spreadsheet. The chart icon displays the Move, Size, Minimize, Maximize, Close dialog box. Click the disk icon to update the data or changes you make. The arrow icons are Undo and Redo, and the small spreadsheet icon with the green 'X' box is the option to edit the data in Excel. 

Insert SmartArt Graphic

SmartArt Graphics (SAG) are slideshow gold. This collection of infographics includes everything you need to create organizational charts, graphical bullet lists, timelines, process arrows, radial clusters, pyramids, gears, funnels, labeled grids, and so much more. This feature has so many options, it would take several articles to cover them all.

For our example, select the Two Content template slide. Click the SAG icon in the left box first. From the Choose a SmartArt Graphic screen, select Cycle (from the list of nine SAG types), then click the Hexagon Radial icon, and click OK. Note the graphic and a description of how it's typically used appears in the View pane on the right.

The Hexagon Radial SAG appears in the left box. You can enter your text on the graphic or in the text dialog box. Click the individual Text words (inside the square brackets) on the graphic to enter text there, or click the small arrow to access the Type Your Text Here dialog box. Enter your text in the Text dialog box, then close it.

For the right side, click the SAG icon and, again, from the Choose a SmartArt Graphic screen, select Picture from the list, then click the Vertical Picture Accent List icon, and click OK. The graphic and a description of how it's typically used appears in the View pane on the right.

 

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