Jamie Garroch puts the ‘power’ in PowerPoint add-ins. He’s written code for dozens of amazing functionality boosters, some for specific organizations and some available for all users, and he's joining the BrightCarbon team! Read on to learn about the experience that Jamie is bringing to BrightCarbon and how it will help clients and the presentation community use PowerPoint more effectively.
Power-user is a PowerPoint add on that provides lots of little features every regular PowerPoint user has had day dreams about. Saying it has a lot to offer would be an understatement. As a BrightCarbon employee I spend most of my work time (and admittedly, a little bit of my free time) creating, editing, and playing around in PowerPoint (case in point right here).
I’ve had Power-user on my machine for about two months and I still don’t think I’ve come close to tapping into all the functionality it offers. I’m going to take you through a few of the features that I’ve found most helpful, and some that will be more helpful to those who haven’t been able to devote as much time to getting well versed in PowerPoint.
Format > format
Under the format section of the Power-user ribbon, there is another button that says format where you can apply a range of conditions to your entire presentation. So for example, if you are working off an old proposal and want to apply new client colors, you can go to replace color. On the left you can scroll through all the current colors in your presentation, and decide to change all fills or text to a different color of your choice. So everything that was red, can now be made blue in one simple click. You can also do this by playing around with templates, but replace color allows you to swap out one color without editing the entire scheme.
The formatting feature also applies to text. So if you want your company name to always be bold, or the word classified to always be underlined, then you use apply selective bold/italic/underline, type in the text you want to change, and select the formatting you want to apply.
This is almost as good as one font which goes through your presentation and lets you know how many different fonts are present in your deck, and allows you to covert them all to match. If you’ve ever collaborated on documents with a multitude of users, I don’t need to explain to you the value of this. In case you’re not familiar, very often, people have different versions of PowerPoint (2010, 2013, 2016 etc.) or different default fonts set. So, if you’ve got a document being saved on a bunch of different machines, chances are there are going to be some accidental changes in the formatting. One font not only identifies how many fonts are in your presentation, but also tells you what they are. So for example, if you know that you have one text box that you want in a handwriting font, and that’s the only other font listed, you know you’re okay.
You may already be familiar with the alignment and spacing tools that are standard in PowerPoint (and if you’re not, I’m about to rock your world). They allow you to align objects to certain points on the screen, and distribute objects evenly across certain distances. These can be enormous time savers when you are laying out a slide. Power-user took these standard alignment and spacing tools, and added some more options: increase/decrease vertical and horizontal distance.
You can also easily make a process or step diagram by selecting items that are already aligned. Once you have objects in aligned you can select the increase or decrease vertical distance to evenly stagger objects, giving the staircase effect. A limitation in this is that increasing distance will automatically make a descending staircase from left to right. If you click decrease distance to try to go the other way, you will be stick in a loop where your objects spread apart one step, and then go back together to decrease the distance you’ve just created. If you click decrease once, then click increase, you can create a nice ascending staircase.
Power-user offers many pre-built diagrams, some of these are already available in PowerPoint, but with less flexibility. Like PowerPoint, you can link an excel spreadsheet and create a chart based on the data within. The circle diagram is particularly handy, because the only way to get a similar effect is with SmartArt, and spending time in SmartArt can drive a person crazy.
One thing that is unique to power user is the Gantt chart, which is great for inserting schedules. In theory you could achieve the same effect by inserting a table, however with a table you will be far more limited in your formatting and animation. If you insert a Gantt chart via power user, it will create a group of PowerPoint shapes, which will allow you to ungroup and animate in column by column, or row by row. You also have much more freedom with changing the colors, text, and size of each individual object, which can be helpful. Something to note about PowerUser, is that not all the charts will default to the color scheme you’ve got set up in your template, (which it normally would in PowerPoint) so you’ll have to go back and recolor your chart to match the rest of your deck.
Normally when you copy something like an object or a block of text, it gets stored on this invisible space called your clipboard until you are ready to paste it, and it stays there allowing you to paste it repeatedly until you copy something else. Power-user has created a clipboard window which you can open on the left hand side of the screen. This allows you to copy multiple objects and keep them handy as you scroll through a presentation. So if you need to copy a certain logo onto some slides, and a certain text onto all the divider pages, you only have to go through the deck once instead of going through once for the content slides and once for the divider pages.
I work in a community of professional PowerPoint users and developers, so I’ve got tons of resources at my disposal, including a wide variety of PowerPoint maps. However, one of the things my clients most commonly ask me for is an editable PowerPoint map. “Can you get us a map of the United States that we can change the colors of?” or “Can you get us a map of the world where we can highlight the countries we operate in?” are two questions that I get nearly every time I run a training. While the answer is yes, BrightCarbon can make you an editable PowerPoint map, you can also get one right with your subscription to Power-user. Power-user even offers tips on how you can easily remove all the text labels, which is a huge time saver.
It took me a while to realize that when you hit this button it opens a new document. For a few minutes I was fumbling around like, “how do I get out of here!?”, but hey, I make mistakes so you don’t have to. So clicking the template button launches a new PowerPoint document that is filled with pre-made slide templates. These can be hugely helpful if you’re not super PowerPoint savvy and need to throw something together quickly. The template document features 135 slides of everything from simple, nicely laid out slides with icons and text boxes (which would can serve well as value propositions), to more creative takes on timelines like windy roads and production conveyor belts. If I absolutely had to make on negative comment on the templates, it would be that the default color schemes aren’t so great. They’re either PowerPoint standard rainbow, or very muted blues. But, if you’ve got a color scheme already picked out that shouldn’t pose a problem.
Once again, this does not even come close to all the functionality that is available in PowerUser. If you choose to purchase it I suggest spending a good amount of time familiarizing yourself with the different areas of the toolbar. You might be wasting time and effort trying to master something that PowerUser has already made easy for you! To learn more about PowerUser click here.
I received a subscription to this software free of charge in exchange for my honest review and opinion.Leave a comment
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