Office for Mac: Hidden Tips & Tricks in PowerPoint for Mac 2011

Photo of Apple Presentation System box

Continuing our series on hidden tips and tricks for Office for Mac 2011, we’re shifting our focus to everyone’s favorite presentation software: PowerPoint.
Used correctly, PowerPoint can be an invaluable tool that can help you get your point across clearly and effectively.

Check out the tips below to help you use PowerPoint for Mac 2011 better than ever.

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1. Make Objects Fly

Move past basic animations and give your items’ motion a purpose. You can give items in PowerPoint for Mac 2011 specific paths to follow as they move on screen. You could use this to show a plane flying over the country, money going into a slot, or show the path of travel for people.

To set a path for animation, first select the object on your slide you want animated and click on the Animations tab of the Ribbon. Next, click on the Motion Paths button to show the different paths that are available.

Choose the motion path you want and click on the slide to start it. Double-click to end the path and get a preview of it.

PowerPoint for Mac 2011 slide showing Motion Path

2. Make Diagrams From Bulleted Points

Instead of using boring bulleted lists, why not make useful diagrams out of them that are easier to read and all-around more interesting?

To create a diagram, click on the SmartArt tab of the Ribbon and choose which graphic you want to use. From there, add your information using the editing helper that appears.

PowerPoint for Mac 2011 slide showing diagrams

3. Make the Screen Go Black

This tip is for when you’re actually giving a presentation.

If you need to talk for a moment and don’t want your audience distracted by how amazing your PowerPoint looks, all you have to do is press the B key on your keyboard. The screen will go black until you advance to the next slide.

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4. Make the Screen Go White

While making the screen black during a presentation is a great way to hide the content for a moment, what if you want to punctuate a point?

You can make the screen go white just as easily as black by hitting W on your keyboard.

This is great for when you want to get everyone’s attention, especially after a complex idea or diagram.

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5. Pair a Remote With Your Mac

Believe it or not, you can use any IR remote to control a presentation on your MacBook. By default your Mac will work with remotes from Apple, but any remote can be programmed.

Pairing a remote is a good idea even for Apple remotes because you can tell your Mac to ignore all remotes but the one you paired. This can save you from any pranksters in the audience that have their own remote and want to mess with you.

To pair a remote with your MacBook, open up System Preferences and click on Security & Privacy. Next, click the lock icon and enter your password.

On the General tab click on Advanced in the bottom right corner, then click the Pair button to add a new remote. If you’re not using an IR remote at all, disable the IR receiver by checking the “Disable” box. This will stop anyone from controlling your presentation via IR.

6. Save as Images or a Movie

PowerPoint for Mac 2011 lets you export your presentation as images so you always have it with you on your mobile device, even if it’s not the perfect version with animations. This is also very useful for sending the presentation out to others for notes.

You can also save your presentation as a movie so the animations stay in. You just lose the controllability that the presentation itself has inside of PowerPoint.

To save a presentation as images, open the presentation you want to export, go to File > Save as Pictures and choose where to save them. Each slide will become an image that you can do whatever you want with.

To save as a movie, go to File > Save as Movie.

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7. The “Five Rules” Presentation

When you’re looking at Templates in PowerPoint for Mac 2011 you should see a category titled “Guided Methods.” These are templates that help you out by showing you what to do.

One of these templates is “Five Rules for Creating Great Presentations,” and it might be the most useful one.

PowerPoint for Mac 2011 Guided Methods template window

Think of it not as a template that you fill with your clipart, but as one that fills you with basic rules and ideas. This template is training on the best ways to make a presentation. If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it right now. You and your next audience will be glad you did.

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