Saturday, July 24, 2010

PowerPoint Fast Lane

Let me start by stating that I am far from a PowerPoint Guru. But even an old-school whiteboard warrior like me can learn to use PowerPoint presentations to improve instruction. PowerPoint presentations are built like an electronic slide show. I suspect that if you are younger than 30 years old you might not have ever seen an ACTUAL slide show. Suffice it to say, making a PowerPoint presentation is SOO much easier than making an actual slide show. The slide show format displays pictures in a sequence while a presenter narrates or discusses the slides. PowerPoint presentations retain this overall organization, but they allow a great deal more flexibility. It is possible to add animation, audio, video, time the appearance of different elements, and use interactive responses just to name a few. However, the most common presentation is still a series of pictures. It can take quite a while to select pictures individually, place them, and add titles. This can all be done quickly by inserting a photo album. To create a presentation quickly, follow the following steps.

  1. Take a bunch of cool pictures with your digital camera.
  2. Always take more than one picture of each item using different light levels and angles. It does not take much longer and will save you time in the end. You can’t always tell the quality of the picture using the small LCD screen on the camera.
  3. Import the pictures into a folder on your computer. Make sure the folder is located where you can find it and named something appropriate – “Way Cool Pictures”
  4. Start PowerPoint and click on “Insert” in the ribbon at the top.
  5. Click on “Photo Album” and then choose “New Photo Album”
  6. In the box that opens, click on the “File/Disk” button at the top left to open a file selector dialog.
  7. Navigate to the folder containing your pictures and select the pictures you want.
  8. You can select individually by holding down the “Ctrl” key down as you click each picture; or you can select a group by clicking on one picture, holding down the shift key, and then clicking on the last picture.
  9. After selecting your pictures, click “Insert” at the bottom right of the dialogue box.
  10. The next dialogue box shows a list of your pictures. You can rearrange their order or delete pictures you don’t like here.
  11. At the bottom of this dialogue box you can choose how many pictures per slide and whether or not you want a title.
  12. Next, choose the type of frame around the picture and any theme you want.
  13. Finally, click “Create” at the bottom and your new presentation will be created.
  14. You can now go back and fill in the titles for each slide. Just click where it says “Click to add title” on the slide and type in the title for that slide.

If you are using Fundamentals of HVAC/R, you can download all the supporting PowerPoint presentations at Download. As I said at the outset, what I don’t know about PowerPoint presentations would fill a book. Fortunately I have friends in the know. Gary Reecher sent me this link to Microsoft’s site Twelve Tips to Better PowerPoint Presentations. It is well worth your time. If you would like to have someone do the heavy lifting for you, you can’t do better than the presentations the Dick Wirz puts together. You can find out more about his material at

Dick & Irene Wirz

Refrigeration Training Services, LLC

6609 Briarcroft Street

Clifton, VA 20124


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