Why Use PowerPoint?

PowerPoint is designed to be used for on-screen presentations. Whilst it can be printed off (and actually has some good formatting tools for worksheets), if the work is going to be marked printed off (hard copy), you would be better off doing the work in Word or PowerPoint.

By year 8, the LNF expects that pupils should be able to choose the best way of presenting their work using ICT and specifically mentions hyperlinked pages for different information on a topic and moving graphics to show processes.

Here are 3 ideas for using PowerPoint (or any other presentation software) rather than just “making a PowerPoint”. You can create a Digital Poster, an Information Point or a simple Presentation.

Hyperlinked pages are useful in Information Points. Moving graphics (animations) are used in all types of file.

If work is printed, the teacher will not be able to see either the animations or the hyperlinks.

Create a Digital Poster

This is designed to run on a screen (such as the one in reception) and requires no user interaction. Animations and transitions are automatic and it runs in a loop. Here are a couple of examples. The first was created for the DiDA Graphics unit by Callum Wareham to advertise a takeaway shop.



Create the slides as normal. It’s easier if you have several slides rather than just one. If you want a consistent look to the slides then use a master slide.

The slide transitions should be set to go automatically – not on mouse click. Click theTransitions tab to get to this. Untick “On Mouse Click” under Advance Slide and tick “After”. You can just click “Apply To All” at this point but it’s often best to select a time to apply to each slide. You may need to go back and edit this later as well.


Digital posters work best when you have lots of well thought out animation on each slide. Click the Animations tab and click to open up the “Animation Pane”. The animation for every object must either be Start With Previous or Start After Previous. The default is Start On Click. Most animation effects allow you to try out different Effect Options or Timings. It’s worth experimenting so you create something effective.


Finally the Digital Poster must loop automatically. Click on the Slide Show tab and select “Set Up Slide Show”. Under “Show options” select “Loop continously until ‘Esc'”.


Now press F5 to test your Digital Poster and DO NOT touch the keyboard or mouse! If you have to wait too long for something to happen, adjust the timing.

Information Point

This would be used by an individual and should have links to the various screens. Animations (if used) should be automatic (with/after previous) so the user knows when they have seen everything on that slide.



A good information point has some sort of contents page. You can create hyperlinks (Insert – Hyperlink) from all sorts of objects including text, images, shapes etc. To create a hyperlink to another slide, click “Place in This Document” (see below) and select the slide.


To make navigation simple, it’s also a good idea to have a Home button on every slide. This can be done easily in a Master Slide – here using an Action button (from the Shapes drop-down list). To hyperlink to a specific slide from an Action button select Slide…from the “Hyperlink to” selection box.



A presentation is delivered by one person to an audience. Usually with a presentation you know the length of time that the presentation should last and who the audience is. You may not know them all individually but you should know roughly how many people there will be, how old they are and how much they know about the topic already.



A presentation has different rules to a digital poster or information point. You need to keep the amount of text on the screen to a minimum.


When you deliver the presentation, don’t read your slides to the audience. It’s very boring when people do this. Instead you should write detailed speaker notes as part of the presentation file. These can either be written as a speech and read word-for-word or as notes which the speaker can use as a prompt.


It’s fine to use transitions and animation in a presentation but think carefully about which objects you want appearing automatically and which you want to control. Many people use a remote control clicker to deliver a presentation. If you don’t have one it’s useful to ask someone else to control the flow of the presentation at the computer so you can deliver from the front of the room rather than behind the computer.


Avoid using animations that distract the audience from what you are taking about. Use them instead to hide things on your slides before you discuss them.

Finally you can print your presentation out with speaker notes as a prompt when giving the presentation.


PowerPoint Design Tips

These tips will help you create digital posters, information points and presentations with a professional look to them.

1. Use a Master Slide

This controls what ALL the slides in a PowerPoint file look like. Go to the View tab and click “Slide Master”.


On the left hand side of the screen you’ll see the master slide navigation pane. Click on the top slide (it’s slightly bigger than the rest) as it applies to all slides.


Don’t be worried that you have lost everything from your slide now – you haven’t!

On the Master slide you can change the design (see below) and add elements (such as a home button or a logo). You should not delete text or text boxes. You also should not write anything on this unless you want to see it on ALL slides.

Once you have finished making changes to your master slide click “Close Master View” and you’ll see your work again.


2. Use the Built-In Design Features in PowerPoint

Note – some of these apply in Word, Excel, Publisher and Access too.

On the Design tab you’ll see some template themes. These are professionally designed and have built-in fonts and colours. Generally these are much better than creating a background colour yourself. Pick one appropriate for the subject of your presentation – not just because you like it.


Whether you pick a theme or not, you can also separately choose the font scheme and colour scheme. You can also pick your own.

The colour scheme you pick will apply to many elements you add to the file.


3. Use Slide Layouts

Many people, when they create a new slide in PowerPoint immediately delete the layout objects. They are there to help you! Pick the layout most appropriate to your content.



4. Use SmartArt, tables and charts

Text or bullet points is rarely the best way to present data or ideas.

Tables are consistent in Word and PowerPoint. There are several features which can be customised including the colour, layout and text orientation.



SmartArt is an excellent way to display data or ideas. There are lots of layouts to choose from (e.g. relationships, lists, processes, heirarchy, cycles) and some can include pictures. Create SmartArt from the Insert tab and selecting “SmartArt”.



You can also insert charts into PowerPoint without having to enter the data in a spreadsheet first. PowerPoint will save the spreadsheet file for you within the PowerPoint file.

Just click Chart in the Insert tab and edit the data in the chart already there. The chart can be edited in PowerPoint using the features in the Chart Tools tab.


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