PowerPoint slide shows may be less popular than they were a few years ago, mainly due to overuse of this Microsoft presentation aid. However, the phrase ‘death by PowerPoint’ could be inspired more by the unimaginative use of this software than by its frequent use in corporate seminars.

So maybe the trick to keeping your audience engaged is to try something new. The following tricks may help make your presentations stand out for all the right reasons.

Create your own custom template

Did you know that if the stock PowerPoint templates just aren’t doing it for you, then you can create your own? PowerPoint has a master editor that allows you to design a custom slide that you can then use as a template:

  • Select the Themes tab.
  • Click Edit Master, and then Slide Master.
  • Edit the template to your own requirements.
  • Click Close Master. This will change all current and future slides to the one you just created.

Format your pictures

Since PowerPoint 2013, it has been a lot easier to format your pictures. You can add some nice effects and a little sheen to otherwise bland images.

  • Right click on an image and select Format Picture.
  • A bar will pop up with the formatting options that will allow you to experiment to your heart’s content.

Create custom animations

If the basic selection of animations is not to your liking, you can create your own. This one is a little tricky, so you’ll have to tinker around to get them exactly how you want them.

  • Go to the animation tab.
  • Click on the down arrow in the animations gallery box until you see Custom Path.
  • This is where it gets fiddly. Once you select Custom Path you’ll be able to draw your own animation. It may take a few tries to get the hang of how it works so don’t get frustrated!
  • Once you’re done, test your new creation!

Zoom in on the key points

Varying your presentation style can make for a more interesting session, so why not zoom in on the parts of the slide that require special attention – maybe a chart or a graph? A magnifying glass in the Presenter View allows you to do this.

  • In the Presenter View locate the magnifying glass at the bottom.
  • Once you click on that, drag to where you want to zoom in and click again.
  • After you’re zoomed in, you can use the hand tool to move around the slide.
  • Once you’re done, click the magnifying glass again to zoom back out.

Align your graphics

Your presentations will look neater if you line up the images you add. Rather than doing this by eye, you can align them using a built-in PowerPoint feature.

  • Select the objects you want by clicking on one, then hold shift and select the rest of them.
  • At the top, find and click Align. It also may be labelled Distribute.
  • Choose whatever type of alignment you’d like.
  • The images should line up nicely in a way that you just can’t achieve by eye alone.