You Can Do THAT with PowerPoint?!

 

I’ll be the first to admit it.  After almost two years of creating original products for my TpT store, my digital savviness has grown tremendously!  Some techy tips I’ve learned through other sellers, others by trial and error, and others by complete accident.  I recently redesigned quite a few of my older product covers because I started to cringe a little when I would scroll past them.  I would say to myself, “Why did I think that even looked good?!”  This is actually the face I would make…
Microsoft PowerPoint has very quickly become my FAVORITE tool for creating products, previews, and covers!  Gone are the days that PowerPoint was exclusively used for boring, bulleted PD presentations.  In the past, I favored Microsoft Publisher, mainly because I used to be more familiar with it, but I’ve recently discovered that PowerPoint has more options readily at my fingertips to make products truly “pop.”

First things first, you need to invest in quality fonts, clip art, and digital papers.  I vouched for this even before I became a seller on TpT. I’m not saying you have to invest a lot! But I promise you will notice a significant bump in the appearance of your products if you do.  Many of these sellers also offer generous freebies.  Quality digital elements make all the difference in showcasing products!  I am ADDICTED to the following sellers/TpT stores for all things digital:
For fonts…..DJ Inkers and KG Fonts
For digital papers…Teaching Super Powers and Lovin Lit
For clip art…DJ Inkers and Melonheadz

Before you begin creating in PowerPoint, all you have to do it change your slide size to suit your needs, and then a blank canvas is yours for the painting!

To change your slide to be a standard sized piece of paper, simply click on “Design”, then “Slide Size,” “Custom Slide Size,” and then change the dimensions – 8.5 x 11 for portrait or 11 x 8.5 for landscape.  If you’re creating a product preview, I recommend sticking with the “Standard” slide size as opposed to the Widescreen.  Sounds pretty simple…But an appropriate slide size can make a big difference!

 

 

So now that you have your beautiful blank canvas…

 

Here are my TOP 3 favorite SIMPLE tips that make a BIG difference in PowerPoint presentations and products!

 

1) TEXT EFFECTS AND PICTURE EFFECTS

This one is HUGE and can make the difference between your covers and previews looking more “amateur” or more “professional” and polished.  A simple background frame, glow, or shadow can truly make your text and pictures POP and silhouettes beautifully against a background.

To start, highlight the text you’d like to edit, right click, and click “Format Text Effects.”  A menu will pop up on the right side of your screen with all sorts of exciting options.    You can change the colors, widths, and directions for all text effects.  Play around with different options and you’ll find your favorites!

My personal favorite is the “Glow” because it looks beautiful in all colors behind a bold black text.

 

 

Picture Effects are very similar to Text Effects, but have a larger variety of options.  To start, double-click on the picture you’d like to edit.  TWO menus will pop up, one on the top and one on the right side. To add a quick bold frame or shadow in any color, click through the options on the top.  You can also recolor pictures, flip them different directions, or add filters using the top menu.
The right side menu is almost identical to the Text Effects – shadows and glows in all sizes and colors

 

 

 Don’t forget about those PDF screenshots!  Screenshots can get “lost” against backgrounds without a polished frame.  Black or colored both work great, and I use the “Glow” feature for screenshots all the time as well.
QUICK TIP – Instead of editing each screenshot or graphic One.At.A.Time, select them all with your Control key or Select All.  Then right click and add the same picture effect to all your graphics.  Huge time saver!

 

 

2) CROPPING SHAPES
 
Okay, this one was a game changer for me, y’all.  And I just discovered it TODAY! (Remember I told you I often find tools by accident?!)  I always knew that the cropping tool was helpful for trimming photographs and cutting off excess edges, BUT did you know that you can use the cropping tool to cut digital paper into ANY shape you’d like?!  Pennants, stars, arrows…you name it!! It’s like a magical digital die-cut machine, and it’s so simple!
Copy and paste your digital paper to a PowerPoint slide, then stretch it to fit the size of the slide.  Double-click the picture, then select the “Crop” tool on the top right of the screen.  Click “Crop to Shape” and choose whatever shape you wish! Voila! You now have darling decorative elements in every size AND shape!

 

3) LAYERING AND GROUPING
 
This last tip is the most simple, but can make navigating PowerPoint much less frustrating.  When you’re playing around with lots of text and graphics, the order of elements is important.  You want the most valuable objects up front and center, and you don’t want anything important covered up with a text box or a graphic.  This is is where layering comes in very handy!  To change the order of an object, right click on it and you can select either “Bring to Front,” “Bring Forward,” “Send to Back,” or “Send Backward.”  You can move objects and text around as much as you need to get the layering just right!

 

 

Finally, you will sometimes find it helpful to group text and graphics as one, either so you can copy and paste everything together to a different page or so you can move them to a different spot on your page.  To group objects/text, use the Control key or Select All (or use your mouse to draw an imaginary box around the objects) to highlight the elements you’d like to group.  Then right click and click “Group.”  Easy peasy! You can move your group or copy it somewhere else as you wish!  You can also follow the same process to “Ungroup” as necessary.

 

I hope you found these PowerPoint tips helpful! I used all 3 just to create the photos to use in this blog post! 😉  Please add your favorite PowerPoint tips and tools in the comments!

 

Comments

  1. Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing these tips.

  2. Thank you, Kellye! 🙂 So glad you find it useful!

  3. These were all great! Thanks! : )

  4. Thank you, Lidia! Just became your newest follower on your blog. 🙂

  5. Thanks for all the tips! Most of these were new for me and will help a lot! So glad I discovered your blog. You have great content.
    Marie
    Once Upon a Classroom: A Teacher's Tales

  6. Thank you so much, Marie! I'm so glad you found it helpful. I'm your newest follower on your blog! I noticed that you're from Chicago? My husband and me just took a kid-free trip there and absolutely loved it! Can't wait to go back! 🙂

  7. Thank you for these tips! I'm having so much fun playing around with them and can't wait to use them for some of my TpT projects. Sue

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Hi Sue,
    Thanks so much for your kind comment and for visiting my blog! Hope you're having fun creating products! 🙂
    -Brooke

  10. Thank you for this tutorial, Brooke! I found it through your Periscope while looking for creating products using Adobe Pro. I took a quick detour to read this post first…but am on to the next one now. Yay for Periscope & tutorials!! Thank you again for sharing.
    Patty

  11. Hi. I’m new to TpT and creating products using Powerpoint. What version of Powerpoint is this? I have Powerepoint 2008 version for Mac. I can’t do some of those things above, or can’t find them on this version I have.

    Help if you can. Thanks.

    • Brooke Brown says:

      Hi Jen! I actually run Windows on my Mac to use PowerPoint, so it might be a different version. Which tool are you looking for?

  12. I’m going to try the crop feature today. I’ve stumbled through PowerPoint for a year and have learned so much, but didn’t know about using the crop tool in this way. Excellent article.

  13. Julie Fiedler says:

    These are amazing tips! Thank you so much for the excellent directions. I love that you put a visual for everything!

  14. Rasha Bsat says:

    I have been wanting to create my own stuff for a very long time now, even if I just start for me and then maybe a tpt seller in the future BUT I always wondered how wonderful and creative teachers like you do it. What program and just how how how? So I did a Pinterest search right now and this post came up. I’m so thankful that it did even though it was created a while ago because it gave me a starting point and a direction! Plus cool stuff! Thank you so much for sharing. Do you have any similar posts that you’ve done recently on the same topic? I bet you yourself have learned new cool things since. Would love to hear back from you. I teach 2nd and I’m one of your biggest fans! I have purchased many of your STEM challenges on TPT and my kids LOVE them! I posted a few on my Instagram teacher page. I’m love2teach_2nd ? Thanks again for your amazing work!

    • Brooke Brown says:

      Hi Rasha! I’m so glad this post was helpful! I have one other post on creating editable PDFs, but that’s it. The TpT University and Sellers Forum on TpT are both excellent resources for new sellers that I used a lot when I first got started. Just like any new craft, it takes time and practice. 🙂 Thank you so much for your support of my work! I’m so happy my products are working well for you and your students! Take care, Brooke