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PowerPoint Basics

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Printing Slides from a Presentation

Generally, your objective in preparing a presentation is to show it to an audience as a slide show. But PowerPoint was originally designed as a means of creating and printing overhead transparencies. Indeed, printing is an often overlooked but useful PowerPoint feature. It's also one of the most abused and poorly used features. Let's talk about how first, and then you can watch me rant and rave at the end of this section.

With PowerPoint, you can print the following:

  • Copies of a slide or slides

  • Overhead transparencies, in black and white or in color

  • Handouts that contain from one to nine slides per page

  • Speaker notes

  • An outline of a slide show's text

Of course PowerPoint provides several options for printing all these things.

Selecting a Printing Method

PowerPoint offers several ways to print slides. To print a slide or slides, you follow these steps:

  1. Choose File, Print or press Ctrl+P. PowerPoint displays the Print dialog box (see Figure 3.15).

  2. Figure 3.15Figure 3.15 You use the Print dialog box to select print options, to preview a print job, or to print a slide show.

  3. Make sure the proper printer is selected.

  4. Select which slides you want to print: all, only the current slide, or specific slides (for example, see the sample page ranges given in the Print dialog box).

  5. Set the number of copies and how you want multiple copies stacked.

  6. By default, PowerPoint prints all the slides in the slide show, in their natural color if you have a color printer or in grayscale (that is, shades of gray) if you don't. You can force color slides to print in grayscale or pure black and white by choosing from the Color/Grayscale drop-down list box.

  7. Click OK to print your selection.

Another useful approach to printing is to preview the print job so you can see what it will look like before you waste paper and ink. Many of the printing options you normally use can also be accessed in the Print Preview screen. To preview before printing, follow these steps:

  1. Choose File, Print Preview, or click the Preview button in the Print dialog box (refer to Figure 3.15). PowerPoint displays the current slide in the Print Preview screen (see Figure 3.16).

  2. Figure 3.16Figure 3.16 Using Print Preview can save you time, paper, and ink.

  3. On the Print Preview toolbar, choose what you want to print, along with other options, such as color and grayscale.

  4. If you're ready to print the entire slide show, click the Print button. Or, to cancel Print Preview and return to the slide show, click Close. If you want to print only selected slides, you must use the Print dialog box, not Print Preview.

You can create attractive and useful handouts, outlines, or speaker notes by sending a slide show to Word. The trick here is to forget the word print and instead follow these steps:

  1. Choose File, Send To, Microsoft Word. PowerPoint displays the Send to Microsoft Word dialog box (see Figure 3.17).

  2. Figure 3.17Figure 3.17 The Send to Microsoft Word feature can help you create useful handouts.

  3. Choose the page layout you want. For example, you can specify small versions of slides with speaker's notes beside or below them or accompanied by blank lines. You can also choose to send the outline only.

  4. Click OK. PowerPoint sends the slide show to a Word document in the format you selected (see Figure 3.18).

Figure 3.18Figure 3.18 When you use the Send to Microsoft Word feature, your slides become images in a Microsoft Word document.

At this point you're in Word, and you can edit, save, or print the resulting Word document. To return to PowerPoint, you simply close Word or click the PowerPoint button on the Windows taskbar.

To Print or Not to Print?

I said I would rant and rave, but I really won't. However, I do hope you'll learn something that will help you be more effective and save a tree or two.

First, consider why you want to print a slide show. There are good reasons to do so, but they rarely involve providing the audience with handouts. If you've ever attended a presentation and been given the complete slide show, one slide per page, you understand that this is usually a waste of paper. Some presenters even hand out the pages prior to the slide show. In that case, why present the slide show at all? Turn off the lights and let me take a nap!

If you want to provide handouts, choose one of the options of printing several slides per page. Or even better, use the Send to Microsoft Word feature and then add your own comments to the thumbnail versions of the slides or provide a place for the audience members to add their own comments.

An even better, more environmentally friendly method for providing handouts is to post the slide show on the Web as a Web-based presentation (see Figure 3.19).

Figure 3.19Figure 3.19 Publishing a slide show to a Web page can make a presentation readily accessible without wasting paper.

Second, consider the ways printing might be of value beyond providing handouts. The primary use, in my book, is to prepare overhead transparencies of key slides so that in case your equipment fails, you can at least use an overhead projector to show them. And if you don't have an overhead projector, or if the power fails, you can hold up the printed overheads for all to see. That's not ideal, but it's much better than trying to fill your time with a soft shoe routine!

Another use for printing is to create and print single-slide posters, signs, or flyers.

In short, designing and presenting a slide show is only part of the total presentation. Learning to create useful printed materials is another important part.

The Absolute Minimum

Understanding the basic elements of the PowerPoint program and its procedures can make using the program much easier. In this chapter, you did the following:

  • You learned how to find your way around the PowerPoint screen.

  • You explored the use of templates to automate the creation of a PowerPoint slide show.

  • You learned how to save and how to find and open a PowerPoint presentation.

  • You learned why, when, and how to print a presentation.

In Chapter 4, "Organizing a Presentation," you'll learn how to plan and organize a presentation, including how to use the outline feature.

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