"How to" Guideline series is coordinated by Helen Mongan-Rallis of the Education Department at the University of Minnesota Duluth. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions to improve these guidelines please me at e-mail hrallis@d.umn.edu.

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Creating PowerPoint Slide Shows

Guidelines Developed by Helen Rallis

You can use the animation features within Power Point to create a slide show (like showing old fashioned slides, only you can add all sorts of other special effects and you don't have to carry around a tray of slides!). These guidelines will guide you to perform the following:

Overview of topics:

  1. Set up the slides
  2. Develop the slide show (animations)
  3. Create Custom Slide Shows

Setting up the slides:

  1. Plan out your entire slide show (what slides to include, sequencing, and if there is to be any text on the slides).
  2. Create a series of blank slides:
  3. Insert the photographs you want for your slide show onto the Power Point pages you have created. Usually it's best to have one photograph per page (but it's up to you what effect you want to have here). To insert the photographs there are a couple of different ways to do this:
  4. Adjust picture size to fit the slide. Be sure not to resize it too large so that the quality of the picture is compromised and it is no longer clear. You may find that you need to go back to the original high quality image (the one that you saved the first time you took or scanned the picture). To resize the photo you can:
  5. Change background color: Once you have created all the slides, experiment with different colored backgrounds or slide designs so that the pictures contrast with the slide background color. You can have different colored backgrounds for each slide if this is not distracting to the viewer. Typically it is better (and easier) to have the background the same.
  6. Rearrange slide order: You can rearrange the order of the slides by going into the slide sorter. To move a slide from one position to another, click on it once, then drag it to the desired position and release the mouse.

Develop the slide show

Create Slide Transitions. PowerPoint provides a variety of animation effects that you can use when moving from one slide to another.

  1. From the menu --> Select slide transition. This will bring up the slide transition dialog box:

    screen shot of slide transition box
  2. Select the desired transition from the pull down menu under the Effect box.
  3. Select transition speed (slow, medium, or fast).
  4. Under the Advance box select how the transitions will be applied (automatically after the number of seconds that you type into the box), or on mouse click, or both [Note:It's usually best to select both, so that during the presentation you have the option of advancing the slides quicker than you had originally intended if you want to speed things up].
  5. Under the Sound box you can select a sound to be played during the slide transition (Tip: only choose this if the sound adds to people's understanding of the slide. Sounds can be very annoying and can distract people from the point that you are trying to make].
  6. Apply the selected effect: You can choose to do this just to the one slide that you have on the screen now (click the Apply button), or to the entire presentation (click the Apply to all button). If the slides will be looping automatically and are all similar, you can apply the same effects to all slides (much easier this way!).

Other options for setting the timing of slides

If you would like to have some slides show for longer periods of time to give the viewers a chance to read text or to examine a complicated diagram, then you will need to set the timing for each slide separately. It is best to do this when you are in the slide sorter view where you can see thumbnails (miniatures) of each slide.

  1. From slide sorter view.
  2. Rehearse timings. This allows you to set the timings for each individual slide.
  3. Record narration: This allows you to set the timings for each slide and at the same time record any comments you want to make to go along with the slide (be sure to check that you microphone is working and that it is selected in the Control Panel under "sound.").

Design tips:

  1. Make the content is the focus of your presentation and not the special effects (e.g. animations, transitions, sounds).
  2. Use special effects only if needed to emphasize a point (by having the audience focus on it) and to enhance your objectives.
  3. Pacing is important. Give audience sufficient time to understand (and, if applicable, read) what it on the slide. Rehearse the timings before you give the presentation.

Creating Custom Slide Shows

Custom shows are like a presentation within a presentation. They can be used when you want to depart from the main content of your presentation to:


To access your custom slide shows you create an agenda slide. An agenda slide allows you to jump to the custom slide show and then return automatically to the agenda slide for you to continue with the rest of your (regular) presentation.

The agenda slide looks and acts very much like a web page. It lists the different parts of you presentation (like an index or home page on the Internet). From this agenda slide you can create hyperlinks that jump to a different section of your presentation and then return you automatically to the agenda slide so you can move on to the next item.

In the example on the right, the agenda slide links to three different custom shows (each consisting of 3 slides). At the end of each of these shows the presentation is set to return back to the agenda slides.

storyboard layout or agenda & other slides
Storyboard showing custom shows

To create an agenda slide that links to custom shows:

Design tip for custom slide shows: have all the slides for your custom slide show(s) be at the end of your regular presentation (so the custom slides appear like pages in the appendix of a book, and are accessed only if you choose to link to them).

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