Essential PowerPoint Animations Tips

PowerPoint animation tips

I’ve been reviewing a lot of the older PowerPoint tutorials that I’ve posted in the past. Most are still relevant, but a few have changed. In this post, we’ll do a refresh on the basics on PowerPoint animations.

PowerPoint Animation Basics

There are four types of animations in PowerPoint:

  • Entrance: object comes on to the slide
  • Exit: object leaves the slide
  • Emphasis: object remains in place, but animates to provide emphasis or become a focal point
  • Motion path: object follows a drawn path.

powerpoint animation panel

When selecting animations, keep in mind that there are additional animation choices at the bottom of the selection panel. And not all animations are supported when converted for e-learning. And one last tip, because you can animate doesn’t mean you should.

Triggering PowerPoint Animations

Animations are generally triggered by three things:

  • On click: object doesn’t animate until mouse click triggers the animation. This is what you need if you’re syncing animations with narration for your e-learning courses.
  • With previous: object animates with the previous animation. It also animates automatically if it’s the first object on the screen.
  • After previous: object animates after the previous animation.

When you select an animation and when it should start, you also have the option to set its duration and whether to delay or not. Once you understand how to time animations, you can compound them and create all sorts of effects.

You can also set triggers in PowerPoint to animate on other actions, such as clicking on a shape. These work great in PowerPoint by itself but are something I’d avoid when converting PowerPoint slides to an e-learning course.

PowerPoint Animation Pane

The PowerPoint animation pane gives you more control of the PowerPoint animations.

  • You can see the stacking order of animated objects.
  • How the objects are timed to the timeline.
  • Clicking on the drop down arrow exposes more advanced PowerPoint animation options such as start/stop effects and timing.

powerpoint-animation-panel

PowerPoint Animation Painter

You can add multiple animations to a single object. This allows you to create all sorts of complex animations. However, this can also be a time-consuming process. One production tip is to use the animation painter to copy animations from one object to another. This is especially useful if you need to repeat an animation on a different object.

powerpoint animation painter

Here are a Couple of Bonus Tips

When using motion paths, select one of the pre-built motion paths rather than drawing your own. You’ll end up with fewer edit points which will make the animation along the path much smoother. If you do need to draw a custom path, use the curved shape tool and edit the points.

PowerPoint animation motion path edit points

Use the selection pane [Home>Select>Selection Pane] to edit the names of the objects on the slide. It makes it a lot easier to understand what’s happening in the animation pane.

powerpooint animation selection pane

Here are some cool PowerPoint animation tutorials as well as a bunch more. They should spur all sorts of ideas.

Once you understand the basics of PowerPoint animations you’ll be able to create virtually anything you want and build e-learning courses in PowerPoint that won’t give away that they were created in PowerPoint.

Do you have any PowerPoint animation tips?


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

e-learning Articulate workshops

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Articulate Roadshows. Join us for one or two days of e-learning goodness. Day 1 focuses on more general e-learning topics and Day 2 is centered on learning to build some nice, reusable interactions. They're great activities to help you learn more about the tools. Sign up using the links below. Seats are limited for the events. If you're interested in presenting at one of the roadshows, let me know.
  • Toronto: August 9 & 10. Early bird rate expires July 21. Register here.
  • Seattle: August 21 & 22. Early bird rate expires August 7. Register here.
  • Austin: September 12 & 13. Early bird rate expires August 28. Register here.
  • San Francisco: October 10 & 11. Early bird rate expires September 15. Seats limited for this event. Register here.
  • London: November 13 & 14. Details coming soon.
  • Manchester: November 16 & 17. Seats will be limited. Details coming soon.
  • There are a couple of other events planned. Once we get all of the bookings confirmed, we'll add the registration page and info.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

Free PowerPoint Template to Manage Free Fonts

free PowerPoint template

There are tons of free dingbat fonts available for download. And they’re great to use for your training and e-learning courses. Here’s what you already know:

Great! But what about managing those fonts and quickly previewing the icons and images you can use? It’s a pain to review them one-by-one.

Here’s an easy way to manage all of those free fonts and preview the ones you want to use to create graphic and icon files for your courses and presentation.

Free PowerPoint Template

free powerpoint template icons

You can download the PowerPoint template here. I made a simple video to show how to use it. Essentially you select the font characters and apply the dingbat font to see the correlation between the keystroke and what it produces.

Here are the basic steps:

  • Create a slide for the font characters. I like to create a single slide for each wingding font.
  • Select the characters (watch the video to see how you only select the letters you want to change).
  • Apply the wingding font to the selected characters.
  • This gives you a single screen with all of the characters and corresponding keystroke.
  • If you want to save the slide, type in the name of the font for quick reference.

Click here to view the video.

As a bonus (and slightly different approach) Taylor at Nuts & Bolts Speed Training offers his free font cutter solution and a number of icons.

What do you do to manage and preview those wingding type fonts?


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

e-learning Articulate workshops

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Articulate Roadshows. Join us for one or two days of e-learning goodness. Day 1 focuses on more general e-learning topics and Day 2 is centered on learning to build some nice, reusable interactions. They're great activities to help you learn more about the tools. Sign up using the links below. Seats are limited for the events. If you're interested in presenting at one of the roadshows, let me know.
  • Boston: July 18 & 19. Early bird rate expires July 7. Register here.
  • Toronto: August 9 & 10. Early bird rate expires July 21. Register here.
  • Seattle: August 21 & 22. Early bird rate expires August 7. Register here.
  • Austin: September 12 & 13. Early bird rate expires August 28. Register here.
  • San Francisco: October 10 & 11. Early bird rate expires September 15. Seats limited for this event. Register here.
  • London: November 13 & 14. Details coming soon.
  • Manchester: November 16 & 17. Seats will be limited. Details coming soon.
  • There are a couple of other events planned. Once we get all of the bookings confirmed, we'll add the registration page and info.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

Here’s a Simple PowerPoint Hack to Help with Course Design

PowerPoint Hacks to impress

Like many of you, I’m no graphic designer. I do have enough skill to get what I need or know enough to modify existing templates. The good thing is that today, it’s not that big of a deal because you get media assets like Articulate’s Content Library. So you have plenty of quality templates and stock images to help guide your design.

However, there are times when you may be stuck with a specific image and need to figure out how to create different (but matching) layouts without doing a bunch of edits in a different program. Here are some tips based on a presentation I gave recently on creating a professional portfolio. I had three images and used those to create different looks. And I did it all in PowerPoint.

I’ll show you what I look for and a few simple hacks to free up space and create different layouts.

Here’s a PowerPoint tutorial with more detail.

The tutorial below reviews what I’m sharing with more detail so that you can see how to choose and manipulate stock images for your courses and presentations.

PowerPoint Hack tutorial

Click here to view the tutorial video.

  • How to create more whitespace and get rid of extra content.
  • How to create matching backgrounds.
  • How to create content areas.

PowerPoint Hack: Start with Matching Graphics

Whenever I find a stock image that works for my project, I try to find more from the same artist. And if that’s not possible, I try to find images that are very similar in style. This allows me to mix and match elements. In the case of my presentation, I started with these three images:

PowerPoint hack

And with those three images, I was able to create various distinct slides.

PowerPoint hack various slides

PowerPoint Hack: Identify Content Buckets

By themselves, the stock images look fine and really don’t require any edits. However, when it comes to adding custom content, then the stock images have some constraints especially when it comes to adding content.

Identify places where you can add content (like images and text). If you start with a large enough stock image, you’ll be able to scale it and still maintain visual quality.

Here are a few areas from the images that can be modified to become content buckets.

powerpoint hack content area

PowerPoint Hack: Create Whitespace

After identifying places to put content, I look for ways to declutter the image and create more white space. There are a few ways to do that:

  • Cover up part of the stock image to get rid of clutter.
  • Zoom in and focus on clean flat areas.
  • Crop and reposition the image.
  • Create your own white space using image elements.

Here are just a few looks taken from a single image. In the first batch, I created three iterations of the one image.

PowerPoint hack custom layouts

And in the second, I replicated the background to give me enough whitespace and room to create my own matching images. In the presentation, I added a few white boxes to represent pages.

To learn more, watch the tutorial video. It provides the detailed step-by-step process.

The key point is that all of this is done right inside of PowerPoint and doesn’t require special skills or advanced features. What’s nice about this is that it only takes a few minutes and this approach provides an easy way to create professional quality layouts that are consistent in how they look.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Articulate Roadshows. Join us for one or two days of e-learning goodness. Day 1 focuses on more general e-learning topics and Day 2 is centered on learning to build some nice, reusable interactions. They're great activities to help you learn more about the tools. Sign up using the links below. Seats are limited for the events. If you're interested in presenting at one of the roadshows, let me know.
  • Boston: July 18 & 19. Early bird rate expires July 7. Register here.
  • Toronto: August 9 & 10. Early bird rate expires July 21. Register here.
  • Seattle: August 21 & 22. Early bird rate expires August 7. Register here.
  • Austin: September 12 & 13. Early bird rate expires August 28. Register here.
  • San Francisco: October ?? Details coming soon.
  • London: November. Details coming soon.
  • Manchester: November. Details coming soon.
  • There are a couple of other events planned. Once we get all of the bookings confirmed, we'll add the registration page and info.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

When PowerPoint goes bad

What are your pet peeves about using PowerPoint? Is it the tool itself or how people use it?

I use PowerPoint, and think it is a good way to engage students and staff, and can be used as a way to spur enjoyment, engagement and interest in your subject. But that’s more about how the tool is used rather than the tool itself. So, here are some observations I’ve made over the years about PowerPoint, and how people use it ‘badly’:

  • Font – Inconsistent use of fonts across the slide deck, or even on the same slide. Using fonts that really don’t work on screen (like Times New Roman), or using Comic Sans. Please. Don’t.
  • Images – So you found Google images or another such image search. You’ve copied the image to your slide and it looks good. It doesn’t. That small image might look OK on your screen, but test it in a classroom or lecture theatre, you’ve stretched it so much it’s pixelated so much it’s almost unrecognisable.
  • Words – Writing your whole lesson in PowerPoint and spending half the lesson with your back to the class so you can read from the projector screen. Same goes if you stand behind the lectern PC and read of that screen instead.
  • Bullet points – PowerPoint makes it too easy to use them, but that doesn’t mean you should (yes, I can see the irony as I’m using them here too).
  • Colour / Templates – Just because you can lots of colour or standard PowerPoint templates doesn’t mean you should. Keep it simple so your key message shines through – the more colour / mess on the slide will only detract or hide your content.
  • Charts / Tables – Do you really need that chart or table that shows 50 different points of information.
  • Animation – I’ve never found animated stars or arrows to help the presentation. If the slide is structured properly you shouldn’t need them.
  • Clipart – Please. Don’t.
  • Volume – You may feel that your one hour presentation needs 100 slides. I’m pretty sure your audience/class doesn’t. 

If in doubt about any aspect of your use of PowerPoint, the best time to find out how you’re doing is now, while you’ve time to go and check it all out and not half way through the most important presentation of your career. Would you rather a slightly awkward conversation in private now or suddenly realise the conference venue has emptied for lunch 45 minutes early, just after you start your 16th of 135 slides?

Go find your friendly learning technologist (yes, we are friendly!), ask us to look over it and tell you what we think. We will be honest but we’ll be critical and, most importantly, constructive. We will offer support and suggestions, we will give your pointers on how to cut the information on the slides (and how to deliver it too, if you want) and we will be there to help you feel comfortable creating slide decks in future and deliver them. Every learning technologist I’ve ever met will do this, without question and without judgement; we’re just happy we can offer our expertise and make your job easier (and more successful).

There are plenty of online tutorials and help websites if you want to find out yourself about using PowerPoint ‘well’. Try sites like this and this and this.

If in doubt this video – Life after death by PowerPoint – will help you see the error of your ways.

Image source: EU PVSEC (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Dozens of Free Dingbat Fonts for Commercial Use

free fonts

In an earlier post, we looked at how to convert dingbat and wingding fonts into vector images that you can use in your e-learning courses and presentations. They’re great for creating icons or bullet lists.

Not that you know how to convert the fonts into vector images, you need some fonts to use.

I reviewed a bunch of the free fonts and tried to sort to the those that are free for commercial use. If you want to search on your own, look for facefonts, dingbats, or wingdings. They tend to produce good results. Also, most of the free font sites have an assortment of these fonts.

As always when using free resources, confirm the licensing agreement and provide proper attribution. And it’s still good practice to give the owner props.

Free Faces & Character Fonts

free font icon

Free Icon Fonts

free font icons 2

Free Shape & Arrow Fonts

free fonts arrows

Are there certain fonts like these you like to use?


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

Upcoming E-Learning Events


 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

Create Free Icons and Images in PowerPoint Using Dingbat Fonts

free icons PowerPoint

In the e-learning community, a number of people shared free icons and shapes. There’s a lot of variety from which to choose. And they’re great for your courses, so make sure to take advantage of all of those free resources.

Looking at the free icons reminded me of simple trick we show in our PowerPoint workshops. It’s one I’ve shared in the past when I showed how to create custom shapes in PowerPoint, but today I’m adding a bit more detail.

Convert Dingbat Fonts to Free Vector Images

There are two video tutorials below. The first one jumps right into the basics of doing the conversion of the dingbat font to a vector shape and the second one adds a little more detail and context for those not familiar with the feature.

View tutorial video  (short version)

Here are the basic steps. You can watch the video for more detail and nuance. You’ll need PowerPoint 2013 or newer.

  • Install a dingbat font or use wingdings (which should already be installed).
  • Add a character on the slide.
  • Duplicate it so you have two objects.
  • Select both and then go to Format > Merge Shapes > Fragment. This converts the font into a bunch of vector shapes. Again, you’ll need PowerPoint 2013 or newer for this.
  • At that point, you can edit and customize the vector as you desire.
  • When done, select all of the shapes and group them. Ctrl+G is the shortcut.
  • Right click and Save as image. I like to save as .PNG to preserve the transparency.

Here is a long form version of the video above with a more detail and context.

View tutorial video (detailed version)

This is super easy tip and a great way to take advantage of all of the wingdings and other symbol-type fonts available to you.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

Upcoming E-Learning Events


 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

Here’s a Free Quiz Template for E-Learning

free e-learning PowerPoint template

I created a couple of simple quiz templates to use in a workshop and thought I’d share them here as well. One is created in Storyline and the other in PowerPoint. I also added a tutorial video for those who want to learn more about using the template for a simple quiz in Storyline.

Free Quiz Template: Storyline

You can download the free template here. It contains two slides. The first slide is a graphic slide that you can customize to meet your needs. And then once you’re done, do a Convert to Freeform and turn it into a quick quiz questions.

free Storyline template

In the video I show some ideas on how to customize it and apply a color scheme, as well as how to work with the feedback master.

Free Quiz Template: PowerPoint

The free quiz template in PowerPoint is pretty simple. If you want to edit the interactive part you need to do so at the slide master level. This is a good example of leveraging the slide master to make your interactive slides easier to manage and edit.

free PowerPoint quiz template

Hope you enjoy the templates. They’re great to practice using the software features. Feel free to use them as you wish.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • We'll be adding events for 2017 soon. If you'd like to see one of our workshops in your area just let me know.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

Best PowerPoint Tutorials for E-learning

powerpoint tips tutorials

When we started this blog in 2007, PowerPoint-based elearning was all the rage, and for good reason. It was a great entry point for people just getting started, especially when the alternative was custom Flash programming that required programming skills and resources.

Today, the elearning market is different and PowerPoint elearning isn’t as important (or relevant) as it was ten years ago. It’s something I shared in this blog post on why PowerPoint isn’t the right tool for interactive elearning. With tools like Storyline, you get PowerPoint ease-of-authoring with a lot more capability and you still don’t need to learn any programming.

But that doesn’t mean PowerPoint’s obsolete. It just means that a lot of the tutorials shared over the past ten years are not as relevant as they were when they were first published, such as working with clip art (which is now defunct).

I did look through many of the older posts and here’s an updated list of PowerPoint tutorials that still come in handy if you build elearning courses  with PowerPoint; or if you want to become a PowerPoint guru and learn things like how to use it to create graphics and illustrations.

There are some really good PowerPoint tips and tricks in that list. Even if you can’t go through them all, make sure to bookmark them for quick reference.

What’s your favorite PowerPoint tip learned via these blog posts over the years? Feel free to share them via the comments.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro
 

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • August 3 & 4 (Seattle, WA). Connect with your peers in the Pacific Northwest and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. SOLD OUT.
  • September 20-21 (Dallas, TX). Connect with your peers in Texas and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. SOLD OUT. A couple of seats are open. Register here.
  • October 12-13 (Vancouver, BC). Connect with your peers in British Columbia and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Register here.
  • November 1 & 2 (London). Two-day Articulate Roadshow. Learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Register here.
  • November 4 (Dublin). Articulate E-Learning Workshop. Learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Limited seats for this event, so don't delay. Register here.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

3 Ways to Get Placeholder Text for Your E-Learning Courses

lorem ipsum

Adding placeholder text is one of those tasks that we do a lot when building our course screen layouts or templates. It helps us make sure things are looking right before we spent too much time building out the real content.

In today’s post I’ll share three easy ways to add placeholder text to your elearning courses.

Use the Built-in Lorem Ipsum Generator

PowerPoint, Articulate Studio, and Storyline offer built-in lorem ipsum generators so that it’s really easy to add some placeholder content. Here are the steps:

  • Add a text box
  • Type in =lorem() 
  • Hit enter

That will create a good amount of random placeholder text. However, it may be more than you need. That’s OK because you have some flexibility.

lorem ipsum

You can add numbers inside the parenthesis to control how many paragraphs and sentences are presented. For example, =lorem(2,1) will give you two paragraphs with one sentence each.

Here’s a tutorial that shows how to create random text in PowerPoint. The process is exactly the same in Storyline, but you use lorem instead of rand.

Use an Online Lorem Ipsum Generator

There are a lot of online lorem ipsum generators. Just do a search and you’ll find more than you need. I like the ones where you can generate placeholder text in other languages, too. This is another good one because you can set word count and choose Kafka text which is perfect for bureaucratic, compliance training. It may even be possible to use nothing but Kafka for your real training and have no one notice.

If all you need is lorem ipsum text, then the built-in tools are fine. Why go to a website to find something you already get in the elearning applications? However, some people don’t like the lorem ipsum text and want real readable text. Or they don’t like the fact that the lorem ipsum text doesn’t get past the spellchecker.

lorem ipsum

That’s OK, too, because there are sites that create random text that is also legible. And some of them are funny. Here are a few:

Use a Lorem Ipsum Browser Extension

Why go to a website to get your placeholder text? Why not just grab some from right within your browser? There are a number of browser extensions that offer quick lorem ipsum text. Just click on the extension and copy and paste your placeholder text.

lorem ipsum

Here are a few that I’ve used in Chrome. I’m sure that the other browsers have something similar.

As you can see, there are more than enough ways to generate fake text and with the amount you need for your slides. And of course, make sure that you let your subject matter expert know it’s fake text so that they don’t ask why you localized the course before getting final approval.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro
 

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • August 3 & 4 (Seattle, WA). Connect with your peers in the Pacific Northwest and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. SOLD OUT.
  • September 20-21 (Dallas, TX). Connect with your peers in Texas and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. SOLD OUT.
  • October 12-13 (Vancouver, BC). Connect with your peers in British Columbia and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Register here.
  • November 1 & 2 (London). Two-day Articulate Roadshow. Learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Register here.
  • November 4 (Dublin). Articulate E-Learning Workshop. Learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Limited seats for this event, so don't delay. Register here.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

Here Are Two Cool PowerPoint Tips When Building Templates

PowerPoint template PowerPoint tips

One of my favorite ways to learn is by deconstructing what others do. It allows me to find new ways to do things. And even though I’ve been doing this stuff for a while, there’s always something to learn.

A couple of weeks ago, Creative Markets, gave away this PowerPoint template. Looks like it’s no longer free. It’s a nice template with a lot of useful layouts.

powerpoint template PowerPoint tips

But there were two things that I really liked about the template and how they approached their production. So in today’s post we’ll look at what they did and learn to apply it to your own templates.

I created a PowerPoint tutorial that goes through both tips in more detail.

PowerPoint Tip: Use Pattern Fills for Image Placeholders

In PowerPoint, we can create all sorts of master slide layouts and add a whole host of placeholders. One type is the image placeholder.

Since the placeholder is designed to hold an image, when you don’t insert an image on the slide, it may end up looking like a big empty spot. And this could be confusing because people may anticipate that an object is going to be there and when it doesn’t show, they may think something is broken.

PowerPoint tip pattern fill PowerPoint tips

What I like about this template by Dublin Design is that they filled the image placeholders with a pattern fill. If you add an image, the pattern is replaced with the image. However, if you choose to not add an image, the pattern becomes a subtle part of the slide design. Very clever.

PowerPoint Tip: Use Merge Shapes Feature to Create Custom Image Fills

This is the tip that really caught my eye. They created a fill shape that was very unique and adds a lot more pizzazz to the design. It also helps you see the image placeholders in a new way.

Created editable shapes

When you insert an image placeholder it’s rectangular. However, if you right-click you’ll notice that you cannot edit its points. To change this, go to Edit Shape and select the rectangle shape. Now when you right click, the placeholder acts more like a regular shape and you have the option to modify the edit points and make the shape anything you want it to be.

Merge shapes to create unique placeholders

Starting with PowerPoint 2010, there are some merge shapes features. In PowerPoint 2010, you’ll need to add them to your ribbon toolbar. In PowerPoint 2013, they’re under the Drawing Tools’ Format ribbon.

PowerPoint tip: custom fill shape PowerPoint tips

Create an image placeholder on the master slide layout. Then insert a different shape. Use the Merge Shapes feature to create unique image placeholders.

Again, here’s a PowerPoint tutorial that walks through the steps in more detail.

There you have it, two cool PowerPoint tips to help you the next time you build an elearning template in PowerPoint.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro
 

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • June 29-30 (Toronto, ON). Connect with your peers in the Toronto area and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Register here.
  • July 26 & 27 (Boston, MA). Connect with your peers in the northeast and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Register here.
  • August 3 & 4 (Seattle, WA). Connect with your peers in the Pacific Northwest and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Register here.
  • September 20-21 (Dallas, TX). Connect with your peers in Texas and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Register here.
  • October 12-13 (Vancouver, BC). Connect with your peers in British Columbia and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Register here.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.