Projecting a PowerPoint presentation on a large conference room screen, making it available on an individual computer basis or placing it on the Internet for download are ways to get multitudes of information across. But sticking to the standard PowerPoint default colors and styles is also a way to quickly tire an audience's eyes. Instead of humdrum black text on white background, take advantage of some of PowerPoint's spotlighting effects to draw attention within the presentation.
To highlight a word -- or even a whole sentence or block of text -- PowerPoint offers a highlighting fill option. Whereas earlier versions of PowerPoint offered a highlighting tool, this tool was removed in PowerPoint 2010. Instead, click the text box holding the word or text to highlight. An orange "Drawing Tools" tab opens at the top of the work area. Click the "Shape Fill" button on the toolbar. Click one of the small colored squares to serve as the highlighting color. The box fills with the color and the word(s) is highlighted. If the text box is much larger than the word(s), click one of the box's corners and drag so that the box extends just past the edges of the words.
Add spotlighting that makes an object look as if it was lit from within or behind. Also found on the PowerPoint "Drawing Tools" tab, the "Shape Effects" button offers a small drop-down menu. Hover the cursor over the "Glow" option to get to the "Glow" fly-out menu. Choose a color and width for the spotlight from the available options, or click the "Glow Options" menu to make a completely custom spotlight including transparency levels, edge softness and colors.
Point the Way
Although not exactly the same as a blinking neon arrow found outside the likes of casinos and bars, adding eye-catching pointers to a PowerPoint slide can highlight the information on it. The "Insert" tab houses a "Shapes" button, where a collection of arrow tools are available. After selecting one, press and hold down the left mouse button and drag to draw the arrow on the slide. Although PowerPoint automatically fills in the arrow with the last-used or default color, you can quickly change a plain arrow to something spotlight worthy. The "Drawing Tools" tab opens again once the arrow is on the slide. Scroll through the "Shape Styles" options to pick one as bright as possible or create your own hue for the arrow border and fill.
Once audiences have gone through slide after slide of PowerPoint's black text on white background, mix things up a little and turn a slide into a spotlight slide by inverting it. Make white text on a black background or a hot neon color on a dark background using the "Design" tab at the top of the workspace. The tab's ribbon includes options to color a dark background, change text to a light or bright color and even add textures, patterns and designs to the slide background. After pressing "Page Down," scrolling or clicking "Next Slide," a spotlight slide may be just what viewers need to perk up.
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