What happens if you’re tasked with a project where you can’t rely on your beloved Adobe suite and – shock of all horrors – you have to use PowerPoint? I grant you, PowerPoint may not be the obvious choice for a piece of design software. However, it is possible to create beautiful things with it. This is much easier of course if you know some tricks of the trade – as luck would have it I have complied a list to get you started:

Ctrl/Shift/Drag

This is my most commonly used shortcut. It’s great for constructing quick layouts for almost any slide. Just drag an object with Ctrl+Shift and you will create a carbon copy of it (animations and all). You can then use the alignment tools to keep everything neat and TA-DA! Hours saved.

powerpoint hacks for graphic designers

Ctrl/Shift/V Ctrl/Shift/C

This is the ultimate hack for consistency across a presentation. Highlight a piece of text or an object and Ctrl+Shift+C to copy the style but not the content. Then select the object/text you need to alter and paste the style with Ctrl+Shift+V. When you have a deck of slides that need to have consistent fonts, colours and graphic style this is a quick way to make sure that everything is as it should be without having to write anything out again or play around with altering each element individually. See this in action in a cool Tweet we made.

powerpoint hacks for graphic designers

Fade

Everyone has worked on projects with an impossibly quick turnaround. Even in the face of fast approaching deadlines, it’s still possible to make a few small changes to your content that will really lift the visuals and make them far more engaging.

Changing each transition to a fade helps the presentation run much more smoothly. It takes literally seconds to do and yet makes every slide appear more considered.

The same goes for elements within the slides. Even if you just have each part of the slide fade in, one by one it helps to carry the narrative you are telling and looks so much better.

powerpoint hacks for graphic designers

‘Smooth end’ on ‘Fly in’ animation

This is a very easy way to get your presentations from clunky to slick in an instant. Once you have animated your object to fly in, right click on the effect in the animation pain and select ‘Effect options’ from the menu. You should see a panel with blue sliders. Slide ‘Smooth end’ onto full capacity and job done. Zero to hero in less than 5 seconds.

powerpoint hacks for graphic designers

Animation brush

Once you have created an animation you are happy with use this tool to paste the animation onto any other object. Select the object you want to copy from, then click the animation brush. Your cursor will change to the brush symbol, then ‘paint’ (click) the object that you want to paste onto. If you want to paint onto multiple objects, then just double click the brush in your toolbar. Once you are done double click again to turn it off. This is a shortcut to multiple objects animating in exactly the same way without having to mess around with tweaking the individual elements of each one.

So go forth and be productive in PowerPoint! And if you’re keen for more, then why not read up on our list of PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts #geekout.

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Jan 2019

Have you ever thought about what makes some PowerPoint slides look a bit too much like PowerPoint? The Wipe animation effect is a chief culprit with its soft gradient edge. But there is an alternative, and it involves one of my favourite PowerPoint tricks, called ‘the mask’. So without further ado read on to learn three masking effects in PowerPoint to tidy up your slides, and bring them into the 21st century.

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