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PowerPoint: Creating & Editing a Basic Presentation (Mac)

Information for the BC Community

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The following instructions will guide you in creating a no-frills (no text or special effects) PowerPoint presentation quickly. PowerPoint is a powerful and easy-to-use application that allows you to be very creative in designing presentations. If you would like to take advantage of more of PowerPoint's capabilities, Information Technology at Boston College offers occasional workshops on PowerPoint, or you can explore the PowerPoint resources available on Microsoft's website.

A note on terminology: In PowerPoint parlance, a "slide" refers to the work/display area that the application provides on your computer desktop. A PowerPoint slide can display multiple images (in addition to text, video, etc.). In order to avoid confusion, in the following instructions I refer to the art images included on a PowerPoint slide as "pictures."

Creating a basic presentation in Powerpoint 2011

  1. Download (save) this template to your desktop.

  2. Double-click on the Powerpoint template icon on your desktop. Powerpoint will open and provide you with a blank black "canvas" (the first "slide" in your Powerpoint presentation).

  3. If necessary, click on the "Home" tab at the left near the top of the window, to display the "ribbon." The ribbon is a horizontally arranged group of icons that you will use to create your presentation. It starts at the left with an icon labeled "new slide."

  4. To add an image to your Powerpoint slide, click on the "Picture" icon (just to the right of center in the ribbon), and select "Picture from file."

  5. Use the dialog box to navigate to your computer desktop and the folder of images you assembled for this presentation. Within the dialog box, open the folder and double-click on the image you wish to add to the Powerpoint slide. Alternatively, you can drag-and-drop images onto your Powerpoint slide.

  6. You can reposition the image inserted on your Powerpoint slide by dragging it. You can re-size the image by clicking on the image once, then dragging one of the corner "handles" (the round dots that appear at the corners) inward or outward. I generally do not advise increasing the size of the image too much. If you increase it beyond its original size, the quality of the projected image will suffer. Please note: the pictures that the VRC provides with filenames ending in "p.jpg" are sized to fill a PowerPoint slide. You can make these pictures smaller, then bigger if you change your mind, without causing any problems. However, if you are inserting a digital picture from another source, you should check the size of the original digital image before attempting to enlarge it in PowerPoint. A small picture should not be enlarged beyond its original size. Doing so will result in a very poor-quality, grainy picture when projected. See How can I determine how big my image is? If you're creating your own digital image to use in PowerPoint, try to match the pixel dimensions of your image to the resolution of the highest-quality projector you're likely to display it on. In the VRC, the new images we create are 1600 pixels on their longest side, but newer projectors boast resolutions of 2000 pixels or more on their longer side.

  7. To add another image to the same Powerpoint slide, Click on the "Home" tab at the top of the window, make sure the ribbon is showing (if not, click again on the Home tab), and repeat from step 4, above.

  8. Save your presentation by selecting "save as" from the File menu at the top of your screen. Give your presentation a meaningful name, and save it to the location of your choice on your computer.

  9. To add the next slide to your Powerpoint presentation, make sure your "Home" tab is highlighted (click on it if it's not), and your ribbon displayed. Click "New slide" icon (just beneath the home tab).

  10. To add an image to your new Powerpoint slide, repeat from step 4, above.

Save your work periodically, and when you're finished with your editing session, by clicking on the floppy disk icon at the top left of your window.

Editing a basic presentation

Powerpoint provides three ways to view your presentation:

You can move from one view to another by clicking on the view icons at the bottom left of the Powerpoint window. The first icon is for the normal view, the second for the slide sorter view, and the third for the slide show view.

You will make most edits using the "normal" view, which includes a pane at the left of your window with representations of the Powerpoint slides in your presentation. To view these representations as thumbnails, be sure the "slides" button (the button with a rectangle) at the top of that pane is selected ("outline," the button with horizontal lines, will list the text contents of a slide instead). This pane facilitates navigating among the slides in your Powerpoint presentation. Clicking on a thumbnail in this left pane will bring that Powerpoint slide up in the larger pane on the right, where you can edit it.

Printing your presentation

You may find it helpful to print out a copy of your presentation to use as a reference in the classroom. PowerPoint offers many printing options. Here is one method, which prints out three PowerPoint slides per page, with room to write notes alongside them.

  1. With your presentation open, select "print" from the "File" menu.

  2. In the dialog box that appears, ensure that the third drop-down menu reads "Copies & pages."

  3. From the "Print What" drop-down menu, select "Handouts (3 slides per page)."

  4. From the "Output" drop-down box, select "grayscale" (unless you have a color printer and wish to print the presentation in color).

  5. Click on the "print" button.


Adding text to a PowerPoint presentation

Creating a PowerPoint presentation using the batch image importer

Viewing (presenting) or printing a PowerPoint presentation

Working with digital images

Other Useful Links

Microsoft provides useful videos and tutorials for Getting Started with Powerpoint (external website).

PowerPoint design tips

Introduction to Effective Image Usage in PowerPoint
This tutorial — itself a PowerPoint presentation — was created by Eileen Fry, the slide librarian at Indiana University. It covers the basics described in the steps above, but includes screen shots (of the PC version of PowerPoint, but Mac users who have worked through the steps above should have no trouble adapting the instructions to the Macintosh interface), as well as some more "advanced" techniques such as adding text to your PowerPoint slides.

Using Images in PowerPoint (and Microsoft Word) (external website). More information on inserting, positioning, cropping and re-sizing images in PowerPoint. Again, specifically geared towards users of PC versions, but with good notes for Mac users as well.

Boston College Information Technology Services training schedule

Ammannati: Ponte Santa Trinità

Bottom image courtesy of Saskia, Ltd.
Bartolomeo Ammannati, Ponte Santa Trinità, Florence (1567-69)