9 tips for Microsoft PowerPoint for CPAs

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by ICAS in the Feb. 26, 2016, issue of CA Today.

1. Easily insert screenshots. If your presentation is all about demonstrating a process that is usually on your computer screen, PowerPoint includes a timesaving feature that makes it easy to add screenshots into your slides.

2. Always keep the selection pane handy. If you have ever built a complex presentation in PowerPoint, you will have undoubtedly experienced the frustration of trying to select/edit multiple text boxes, charts, or images on a slide. PowerPoint has a handy feature called the Selection Pane, which helps alleviate this challenge and make it easier for you to make any changes you need.

3. Adding grids and rulers. Lining things up in PowerPoint is a lot easier than it used to be, but if you want to do it visually, use gridlines and rulers. They’re not visible by default, but they’re easy enough to switch on.

4. Animating charts. Putting in an Excel-esque chart is about as simple as it gets in PowerPoint. Go to theĀ InsertĀ tab, click Chart, and it’ll stick one in with sample info you can easily replace. What makes it more interesting is animating the chart one element at a time.

Now when the chart is shown on screen, it’ll appear one element at a time as you click, with bars or pieces of pie arriving one after the other, as if each were its own slide.

5. Don’t copy and paste; duplicate instead. You can hit Ctrl+C to copy and Ctrl+V to paste constantly if you have to reuse an element on a slide over and over. However, using Duplication is much quicker and easier.

Editor’s note: You may need to move the copies into place manually.

6. Quickly blank the screen. Sometimes, you may want the image on the screen to disappear so that the audience is focused solely on you, the presenter.

7. Turn the pointer off. During a presentation, it can be very annoying to have the pointer come on the screen while the presenter is speaking. It causes movement on the screen and draws the audience attention from the presenter to the screen.

8. Quickly jump to any slide. PowerPoint has a feature that allows you to be able to move quickly and seamlessly to any slide in your presentation. This technique is very useful for moving to a prepared Q&A slide or for skipping parts of your presentation if time becomes an issue.

9. Draw on the screen during a presentation. It can be valuable to be able to draw on the screen during your presentation to illustrate a particular point or item.

To comment on this article, contact Chris Baysden, senior manager of newsletters for the AICPA.

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