It can seem daunting to take a text-heavy slide or list of bullets and turn it into something visual, especially if you don’t think you’re super creative. However, the first step is simply reducing the amount of text on your slides – and you don’t have to be an artist to do that!
You need a media holder graphic for your next big PowerPoint project, but you don’t want to pay to download vectors or graphics from a stock image site. That’s fine – you don’t have to compromise. With a dash of patience and a dollop of creativity you can create professional-looking assets using just the tools you can find in PowerPoint.
This blog post will walk you through how to create this media holder, but it’s just a guide; you can customise it at any stage to create your perfect media holder graphic in PowerPoint.
It’s just 3 rectangles, 2 circles and a line (and a semi-transparent box for the eagle-eyed amongst you!). Media holders are often useful in presentations, whether for displaying screenshots, website or app mock-ups, or as a neat way to show videos.
Let’s get started. First, you’ll need a rounded rectangle, you can find this by going to Insert > Shapes > Rectangle: Rounded Corner. This will become the edge of the phone.
Change the colour to light grey (Shape Format > Shape Fill), or, if you’re working from an existing image of a mobile phone, grab the exact colour from the image using the eyedropper tool.
You can adjust how rounded the corners are by using the little orange nodules.
Once you’re happy with the shape, Copy then Paste it (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V). Then change the colour of this second shape to black. You need to shrink the second shape down – just a tiny bit – so that when it’s placed on top of the grey rectangle you’re left with a thin grey edge around the outside.
Next, align these shapes so that the smaller black rectangle is centred on top of the grey rectangle. To do this, select both shapes, go to Shape Format and under Arrange select Align, Align Centre then Align Middle.
Now you can make the button at the bottom of the phone. Start by making a small circle using Insert > Shapes. To make a perfect circle, hold down the Shift key when you’re creating the shape.
Now add a grey outline and remove the fill. You might need to change the outline weight to get a button that looks right. You can do all of this by selecting the circle and going to the Shape Format tab.
You could leave the button here, but to make the circle look more realistic, add a gradient to the outline. Right click on the circle and select Format Shape > Shape Options > Line > Gradient Line.
Now have a play around with the gradient colours. You want something that is a lighter grey on one side than other to give a metallic appearance.
Next, add some more details using the same method as the previous step – we chose a front camera and speaker. They are quite small so don’t need a gradient. To make sure your line is perfectly horizontal, hold down the shift key when drawing it. You can also download our free PowerPoint design and productivity add-in BrightSlide and use its Straighten Line tools. You won’t find these in native PowerPoint and they can really help polish up a graphic.
The line needs a rounded edge. Select it, then Right Click > Format shape > Cap type > Round. You might need to change the weight of the line to make it look right.
Now to make your PowerPoint graphic look like an actual phone! Create a rectangle shape – this will be the screen. Align it to the centre of your black rectangle.
Next, use the Merge Shapes tool. These are some of the most useful tools for creating custom graphics in PowerPoint as they allow you to make complex, unique shapes by combining, intersecting or merging shapes together.
To make the Merge Shapes options available, select two or more shapes. It matters what order you select the shapes in, so select the black rectangle first then the screen shape. Go to Shape Format > Merge Shapes > Subtract.
It should ‘subtract’ the blue box from the black rectangle, cutting a hole through to the grey shape. Don’t panic if this didn’t work, you might have selected the shapes in the wrong order. Simply Undo your actions (Ctrl + Z) and try again.
You’re doing great! You could stop right here, but if you persevere through the next few steps you’ll end up with a PowerPoint graphic so realistic it will be worthy of printing out to pin on the fridge.
Next, you can add a little shine to your PowerPoint graphic thanks to a semi-transparent box. This will make it look more like the surface of a phone. Create a white rectangle half the size of your PowerPoint graphic. Change the transparency by right clicking on the shape then selecting Format Shape> Shape Options> Fill> Transparency. Use the slider to increase the transparency to 90%. Place it over the phone.
On a white background you won’t be able to see the edges off this shape, however, if you are placing your PowerPoint graphic on a dark background you will be able to. You can remove these pointed edges using the Merge Shapes > Intersect Shapes tool. Copy and paste the grey rounded edge rectangle, then line up your transparent box on top. Select first the transparent shape then the rounded edge rectangle and click Intersect Shapes. The edges of the transparent box should be cropped to match the rounded edged rectangle.
Add an image to your phone screen and crop it to the correct dimensions. We found this image on Unsplash, a great free stock imagery resource. Can’t find the image you need? Check out this blog post for a full list of free design resources.
Once you’ve chosen an image, send it back so it sits below the semi-transparent shape (Right Click > Send to Back > Send Backwards).
You could add video instead of an image. We have a super thorough blog post all about the amazing things you can do with video in PowerPoint.
Congratulations! You’ve created your first graphic in PowerPoint! You can now save the PowerPoint file and copy and paste your media holder into a new deck whenever you need to use it. To swap out the image without messing up your beautiful graphic, use BrightSlide’s Swap Objects tool.
These techniques will also be helpful for creating custom graphs and charts – check out this video tutorial for more information. And, if you want to learn more about DIY PowerPoint, why not join one of our free online masterclasses?Leave a comment
Olivia Kippax Jones
Senior consultantView Olivia Kippax Jones's profile
If you’ve been looking for one, this is your sign to kick those bad presentation creation habits for good!
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I wanted to make sure I send you both a HUGE thank you for making this story come to life and creating amazing graphics to help. We really appreciate BrightCarbon for stepping up our presentation game massively!Sarah Walker Softchoice