PowerPoint 2007 For Starters The Missing Manual
E. A. Vander Veer
Pogue Press, O'Reilly Publishing
Reviewed by Joseph Kluepfel, Director
Broward Personal Computer Association, Inc.
E.A. Vander Veer has written two "Missing Manual" books for Power Point 2007. One titled Power Point 2007 The Missing Manual for those more experienced in using PowerPoint, and this one, PowerPoint For Starters The Missing Manual for those starting out in designing slideshows and presentations.
The Introduction briefly covers the differences between 2007 and earlier versions, mainly the use of the Microsoft Ribbon interface rather than the old Files and Menus. The Missing Manual is divided into three parts.
Part 1 Creating a Slideshows covers the building of a slideshow adding text, charts, diagrams and tables.
Part 2: Delivering slideshows, provides choices for ways to present the slideshow to an audience.
Part 3: Beyond Bullet Points - graphics and transitions shows you how to add the parts of a good and interesting presentation. You can add pictures, sound and video.
Chapter 1, Creating a Basic Presentation carries you through the basic steps, either from scratch or from templates, within PowerPoint or getting them on line. The trouble with templates is that everyone using them has similar looking presentations. You can be creative and design your own. Chapter 1 goes on to help you add slides with text and how to move the text around on the slide. The author warns you to "distill your message into as few words as possible" and "don't cram too much information onto your slide".
Brief instructions on making the presentation are included, namely the use of the scroll bar to select slides, either with the Slides view or Outline view. Chapter 1 does list the basic navigation tools, and refers to Chapter 7, a complete course for setting up and running presentations.
Chapter 2, Editing Slides goes into the details of editing text, checking spelling and adding special characters. Here is where the new Microsoft Office Ribbon interface shines. The author works you through the use of this great set of tools step by step, selecting cut, copy or paste, moving text and how to undo an action. A good section on checking the spelling covers automatic spell checking and contextual spelling (included in PowerPoint...with a warning). You occasionally need special characters in your text and we are given a brief reminder of how to obtain them.
Chapter 3, Formatting and Aligning Your Text, really gets down to the "creation" of an attractive presentation. The details of using Auto Format are discussed, as is AutoFit. Sure, you can manually format the text, but here we are shown how the programs "Auto..." does it for us. If you want to do it yourself, the Ribbon again is the master tool, but the "Mini Toolbar" which appears when a section of text is selected, is truly a wonder. Hovering over an icon changes the section to show the effects - Font, Size, Color, Bold, Italic, Alignment.
Adding Special effects is a short two page instruction on the use of text effects such as warping, beveled (3D) and pre-crafted effects.
The section called Manually Aligning and Indenting Text is an extensive course in setting up your slides to be neat, easily read and to "catch the eye". Here is where we learn to make the words "alive" to get attention.
Chapter 4, Formatting and Layout Your Slides, goes into the details of the slide layout, how to use "canned layouts", change orientation (Landscape or Portrait) and to reposition elements (text or objects). The use of color is discussed, either in backgrounds or in text, such as adding a Gradient Effect. PowerPoint has professionally designed themes and the author advises that one might want to use them instead of over-doing the "creative" thing.
Chapter 5, Editing Your Slideshow gives you the steps to inspect and revise your presentation, shuffle the slides, add slides from other slideshows, edit the Slides and Layout Masters. You can add Headers and Footers to slides, handouts, and speaker notes. This chapter shows you how.
Chapter 6, Adding Charts. Diagrams and Tables goes from creating charts, in detail, to adding diagrams and creating tables. Again, step-by-step instructions are given with very useful do's and don'ts to polish the presentation.
Part 2: Delivering Slideshows
Chapter 7, Delivering Presentations provides all of the steps in setting up, presenting and creating shows. Marvelous tips, warnings and aids are given.
Chapter 8 Printing Presentations covers the instructions for printing slides, handouts and overhead transparencies, speaker notes and presentation outlines.
Part 3: Beyond Bullet Points - Graphics and Transitions
Chapter 9, Putting Images on Slides is really a short course in drawing, adding pictures and modifying them.
Chapter 10: Slide Transitions is a short description of how to use the 50 plus PowerPoint built in transitions.
E.A. Vander Veer has given us a remarkably simple but thoroughly complete "Missing Manual", one that will give you all of the tools needed to learn how to prepare and present interesting slideshows.