PowerPoint's Desktop

PowerPoint's Desktop
When you first open PowerPoint XP (2002) and PowerPoint 2003, there are 4 window panes visible on the PowerPoint desktop.

• Left Hand Panel is the Outline Pane
• Top Middle Panel is the Slide Design Pane
• Bottom Middle Panel is the Speaker's Note Pane
• Right Hand Panel is the Task Pane.

In the Outline Pane you can choose to have the outline of your slides showing by using the Outline tab or the thumbnail version of the slides by using the Slides tab.

The Slide Design Pane is where you design each of your slides. Think of this as your drawing board. Just beneath your drawing board is where you can type in any speaker notes for each slide.

The Task pane on the right hand side of the screen is used for a variety of purposes. The drop down menu lets you select various design elements for your slides.

• Slide Layout – choose text and content layout for each of your slides
• Slide Design – Design Templates – Choose the design of your slide from a variety of pre-established looks. A design template not only has a predefined background but also Font Style, Font Color, Font Size, and Bullet Style and Color. The design elements are intended to be coordinated to create a professional outcome.
• Slide Design – Color Scheme – generally you can select from 4 or more color schemes that match the design template you selected.
• Slide Design – Animation – Choose the way in which you would like each of the design elements on your slide to appear on the screen during the slide presentation. Use animation judiciously.
• Custom Animation – allows you to apply different animation to each of the slide elements such as graphics or bullet points on the individual slide.
• Slide Transition – Chose the way in which you would like each slide to appear on the screen during the slide presentation.

The Task pane also allows you to start a new presentation, navigate to the clip board for easy copying and pasting, navigate to the clip art to select graphics for your slides, and navigate to the search feature.

At the top of your PowerPoint window, you have the traditional main menu and the standard and formatting tool bars. If you are proficient with MS Word or MS Excel, you will recognize many of the standard features on the toolbars along with some tools that are PowerPoint specific.

In the lower left hand corner, you will find 3 view buttons. The first is your normal view described above. The 2nd button is the slide sorter view which you would switch when you want to rearrange the order of your slides. The 3rd button is to launch the slide show. Keep in mind, launching the slide show using this button will start the slide show at the active slide visible in your normal view. Thus, if you want to start at the beginning using this button, make sure your first slide is showing on the desktop before you launch the slide show. The slide show menu selection will always activate the slide show at the 1st slide.

It you plan to use graphic elements in your slide presentation, it is useful to open the Draw Toolbar and place it on the bottom of your PowerPoint window. This gives you easy access to drawing elements used frequently in the PowerPoint slide design.

Take the time to explore how each of these panes work. Like all Microsoft Application programs, when you hover over the toolbar buttons, you will see a tool tip to help you learn the function that is carried out by that particular tool. You can also use the Help menu command "What's This?" to give you clarification on different features of the PowerPoint desktop. Simply select "What's This?" from the Help menu. Your mouse pointer will display a ?. Hover the question mark over a toolbar button or menu command or Task Panel commands, click to get a description of the feature.

Be like a kid and don't be afraid to click on things to see what they do. You can always close without saving and start with a clean slate … sort of like an etch-a-scetch.

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You Should Also Read:
What is PowerPoint?
Designing Effective PowerPoint Slides
PowerPoint - Borrowing an Existing Slide from Another Presentation

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