04 May

PowerPoint Tip: Save and Restore the QuickAccess Toolbar in PowerPoint 2007

One of the new features I really like in PowerPoint 2010 is the ability to backup and restore the custom QuickAccess Toolbar. I “scrub” my hard drives several times a year which basically means re-installing everything from scratch and losing all my settings. Many of my clients still use PowerPoint 2007 so to ensure maximum compatibility I still keep that version around. Since Office 2007 doesn’t have the ability to save and restore user settings I basically would have re-create my toolbar every time.
Fortunately manual backup & restore of the toolbar settings are extremely easy. You just have to know which file to look for.

This will come in handy if you’re switching computers or using multiple computers and want to quickly re-create the QuickAccess toolbar.

The Quick Access Toolbar for PowerPoint 2007 is saved as “.QAT” file (stands for Quick Access Toolbar) and depending on your Windows version will be located in one of the following folders

Windows XP:

C:\Documents and Settings\(User Name)\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Office

Vista:

C:\Users\(User Name)\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office

Windows 7:

C:\Users\(User Name)\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office

QuickAccess Toolbar Location in Windows 7

Note for this screen shot I've changed my username.

(User Name) denotes the user name you use to log into the computer

The file you need is called PowerPoint.qat

All you have to do is first set up your QuickAccess Toolbar and then copy this file to a safe place like a second hard-drive. When you get a new computer simply paste this file into the same location and you’re ready to start working.

Note you can also use this same tactic to restore Word or Excel QuickAccess toolbars. The files will be called Word.qat and Excel.qat

21 Apr

PowerPoint Tip : Fix Your Crooked Lines

Here’s a tip on how to quickly fix a crooked or less than perfectly straight line in PowerPoint.  Sometimes you might notice that even though you were holding shift your line still ended up slightly crooked.  This kind of an imperfection can drive a designer mad =)
Maybe it’s close to two objects and it’s snapping to a point or grid… well instead of changing your whole page set up just to fix this line here is a quick tip to straighten it out.

Format Tab on a Mac

Format Tab on a Mac

When you click the line go to the Format Tab in the ribbon and look at the Size option. On the right you can see that the line above has a height of .05″. Well that’s not the stroke (thickness) of the line. This number actually denotes the height difference in the location of the starting point and ending point of the line. Which means that the end point is raised above the starting point by .05″. (Think of a right triangle. The width of the line is the hypotenuse and the height is the opposite side.) Now all you have to do is just zero that field out and you’ve got yourself a perfectly straight line.
Note in vertical lines you’ll see the opposite effect. The “crooked” difference between the points will be in the width field.

11 Apr

Use Your Own Textures for Slide Backgrounds

Dirt image by M.Maslowska (Typeface: 28 Days Later)

A quick way to create a unique slide background is by simply using a great texture. By definition a texture is “The feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface or a substance” (Dictionary.com)

Textures just like photos can convey the message and they work particularly well in situations where the art direction of a presentation is more abstract.

18 Feb

Use Clip Art to Make Custom Icons for Your Presentation 2.0

Few months ago I did a blog post on using clip art to create custom icons and to date this has been one of my most visited posts.

Bruce Gabrielle, the author of Speaking PowerPoint actually wrote the tip into his book and recently created a short video tutorial for it. So if you rather follow the steps on screen here is the short video:

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HauteSlides is a visual communications consultancy specializing in presentation design & data visualization through unique graphic design solutions that translate complex information into compelling and memorable visual stories.

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