I have a love/hate relationship with Powerpoint. Personally, I can’t stand a presentation when someone reads the Powerpoint slides. It’s not engaging and I hate it. So, for a long time I had an aversion to Powerpoint and cringed at the thought of it. Now, I use it every. single. day. So, this question gets asked a lot. Why do TpT authors use Powerpoint?
If you’re just getting started on TpT and you use Microsoft Word, this tutorial is for YOU. There are a couple of other software choices out there, but this is by far the most popular one so that’s why this tutorial will be with Powerpoint. I am using a Mac, so if you have options that look a little different, that could be why.
This is by far one of my favorite Powerpoint capabilities. If you have a page that you know you want to use the same format with, go to Insert–>Duplicate Slide.
It copies the slide and all of the contents! This is easily the biggest time saver for every teacher author.
And if you’re creating a duplicate page and want it to be the black/white colored version of the other page, you can select all and change the colors quickly (IMPORTANT: before you get excited about not having to purchase black and white sets that are sold separately, check with whatever clipartist you’re using if it’s not explicitly stated in their TOU, and even if they are included, check anyway just to be safe).
Sometimes when you’re creating, you want to keep a group of objects together. For instance, let’s say you have a squirrel topper and an acorn and want them to look like they’re one single piece of clipart, and you want to resize or move them as a single piece. Click on all the pieces you want to keep together (this can also include any text boxes), and then click “Group.” If you ever want to ungroup them to make any changes, just click “Ungroup.”
Another thing you might want to do is rotate or flip text or clipart. For instance, if you have a set of counting finger clipart, you can insert the piece you want, select it, and then rotate it either vertically or horizontally, depending on what you’re trying to do. You can even move that little green dot to “turn” your clipart or text box if you want it to be angled!
Sometimes you will want to adjust what pieces show up in the front of your page. For instance, if you make a black rectangle like below and want to put it “behind” your white text, you’ll need to Arrange and reorder. There are 2 ways to do this. You can choose one of the options below (send the black box to the back),
or you can see each of your layers in a view like this by clicking “Reorder Objects” and pulling the pieces either forward or backward. This is especially handy when you have a lot of different layers and don’t want something to overlap another piece of clipart or text.
Here’s another example of how helpful this option is. If you have a piece of clipart that looks better in front of/on top of something, you’ll need to “Bring to Front” like I’ve done with this Apple clipart topper (found here).
Another fun thing to play with when you want text to stand out quickly is to use the Word Art option. Go to Insert–>WordArt.
And you can choose from any of the premade text style options. You can change the font to the style you want, as well as the color and size. This just applies different effects to it.
And you can use the Transform menu to make it curved (as well as lots of other shapes).
A trendy style right now for fonts is to make them “pop” a little bit by adding a couple of details. First, add the “Glow” effect to your text. Go to “Format” and then “Glow” and “Glow Options” if you prefer to use white (you can use any of the preset colors as well).
Then, select white from the options and feel free to play around with the size.
Now you can add the shadow to make it look like it’s popping off the page a bit. I use the Quick Styles menu and just choose where I want the shadow to be (I usually choose outer left).
And now you have a nice little pop out style!
And you can rotate text as well.
Another popular trend among teacher authors right now is the offset text look (most people think it’s a font, but it’s just a font trick!). First, select your text box and copy it.
And paste it (it will look funny like this but don’t worry!).
Select the text box and go to Format–>Font. Then find the Text Fill option like below. Change the color to NO FILL.
And go to Text Line and change the line color to black (or whatever color you want really).
You can play around with the weight on the other tab as well to make the line thicker (or dashed!).
And this is what you end up with.
You can move that text box around and see which option you like best.
And you can change the color of each letter for a fun look.
This tool is fun to play with and one of my favorites. Usually it is because you want to shapes to work together cohesively. I’ve added my diver suit to a blank Powerpoint page.
And I found a recent photo of my toddler that has him facing straight forward since I know I’ll only need his head.
And I cropped his photo into a circle. Then I select Crop.
Then you can move around the crop area to fit it how you want it.
And an extra step to get rid of that fence part is the “Remove background option.” Everything that’s purple will be deleted.
And now I have a head (I arranged it and send it to the back so the clipart portion is “on top” of the photo piece). I “Group” both together to resize as one piece so it fits on the page.
And voila! Perfect for a bulletin board or whatever project you’re looking for!
Another fun tool to play with is transparency. This is great for when you want to put the word “PREVIEW” on top of your preview pages. You can also use it for basic shapes if you have a photo or other graphic in your background and need your text to stand out a bit more. Go to the Shapes icon and choose a shape from the menu.
Fill it with the color of your choice (I went with white below) and then use the Transparency slider to make it more or less transparent.
So that’s it! These are just my favorite tips and I’m sure I missed some, so if you have any you want to share, list them below and I might add them!