Happy Halloween 2012 (created in PPT 2010)!

[youtube src=”″]

Just a little Halloween fun here at TLC Creative Services!

– Troy @ TLC


Pumpkins Everywhere!

We had a great group over to the house for our annual Pumpkin Carving party on Sunday! Lots of food, great conversations and a bit of competition… Over 40 pumpkins were judged in 5 categories. My family included Harry Potter-Ron-and spiders, a glowing camp fire with s’mores, The Avengers, a Ballerina and Larry & Bob from Veggie Tales.

Hope you have a great Halloween and start to fall!

– Troy @ TLC


QR Codes For Your Presentation

A “QR” Code is a “Quick Response” Code. Think of them as UPC, or SKU, codes on steroids.

The QR code is a great way to allow an audience to quickly capture your contact information, website, or your department’s page on the company intranet. And, using a QR code is free! Plus, virtually every online capable smartphone has free QR code reading applications. To use, just launch the app, take a picture of the QR code and it will automatically open a webpage.

At TLC Creative Services’ PowerPoint training programs, I open the session with a list of resources, one being a QR code to this blog. At the end of the training, my “Thank you” slide includes a QR code that goes to the contact page. Both are much quicker and easier than everyone scrambling for a pen to write down the info (and everyone has their phone out reading email, texting and probably checking the score of the game already).

There are many websites that let you create your own QR code for free. For this tutorial, I am using BeQRious.

What sets this site apart from many other free QR code generators is the numerous types of QR codes you can generate, but also the tracking and managing of your QR codes and data. Plus, generating a code is simple.

1. Select the type of code you want to generate: choose from web URL, email, phone, text, vCard, SMS, YouTube video, Facebook profile, Twitter profile, map, or graphical. Enter the information into the text box.

2. Customize the color of the code (QR codes do not need to be black and white, just high contrast).

3. Download the QR code as a JPG, PNG, GIF, or PDF. And this site lets you choose how large you want your file size to be. The PDF option is great because you get your code as a fully scale-able vector image that can be made as large or small as you’d like, without losing any quality. At TLC Creative Services, we open the PDF in Adobe Illustrator and export as a .emf to have a vector (ie. scalable) graphic for PowerPoint. Or export as a .png is another good option for use on PowerPoint slides.

4. You can then insert your new QR code into your presentations to make it easy for your audience to connect with you.

5. Within PowerPoint (using 2007 and above), use the Picture Color feature to change the QR Code to any of the template colors. As long as there is contrast between the QR code and the background, it will work.

– Troy @ TLC


PowerPoint’s Image Reset Tool

How do you remove styling (drop shadow, bevel, shape, cropping, etc.) that has been applied to an image? – IMAGE REST.

1. Insert image on slide.

2. Resize image to fit slide, format and crop.

3. With the image selected, under the Format tab on the ribbon, there is the Reset Picture button with 2 options: Reset Picture or Reset Picture and Size.

4. Reset picture will remove all formatting done to the image – but the size and cropping will be left.

5. Reset Picture and Size will remove all formatting, cropping, and sizing and revert the image back to the original.

– Troy @ TLC


Zebra on Wheel’s Add-in Review

The Zebra on Wheel’s Toolbar add-in is available for free for PPT 2007 and above.

When you download, you get a zipped folder with the add-in as well as a PDF that explains which folder on your computer to put it, and what to do in PowerPoint to add the add-in to your ribbon. Note: To download, you need to give your name, e-mail address, and agree to a disclaimer.

Zebra on Wheel’s adds a new Toolbar to the ribbon:

Tools added are:
Fix Title: Resets the title of the current slide to the template’s default position.
Template Bullets: Applies the template’s bullets to an existing text.
Select by Property: Selects objects using the same color, font and other properties.
Copy Property: Copy height, width, position, fill color, etc. from one object to others.
Graph Data: Extracts data table from unlinked/broken graphs.
Cell Colors: Copy/pastes table cell colors.
Merge Text: Merges the text content from different objects.
Hex Color: Uses web-style hex colors.
Explore: Opens the folder containing the current file in a Windows Explorer window.

Examples of some tools in use:

Graph Data: This add-in will pull data from charts and put it into a table. The description says it will work on unlinked and broken graphs, which could really come in handy! However, when I tried it on a broken graph an error popped up and no table was created. I inserted a new graph with the default values and the add-in produced a table with the data extracted. This is nice, but would have been nicer to have the data pulled from broken graphs as stated.

Merge Text: This add-in will take two text boxes and merge them into a single text box. I used the content placeholder and an inserted text box and hit the merge text add-in. It took the text and put them in a text box that wasn’t the placeholder, and completely disregarded the bullets and sub-bullets that were in place. (I tried merging by having the content placeholder selected first and the text box selected first, both yielded the same results. I would like this better if the bullets stayed intact.

Select by Property: This one is pretty cool and works as expected. I created a test shape on the slide with my chart and table. The only thing they had in common was the font. I selected my test shape and did select by line color, nothing happened as I thought. Then I selected by font name and all three objects on the slide were selected. This particular tools is very nice and has lots of time saving use.

– Amber @ TLC

PowerPoint Resource/Misc

Auto Scaling Charts and Font Issues

Sometimes features go missing in newer versions of software. In PowerPoint, the “AUTO SCALE” feature for chart text disappeared after PPT 2003.

Charts in PPT 2003 have an Auto Scale font feature for chart axis’ (checked on by default) that allows the font to scale to the chart when the chart is resized.

The font stays in scale to the chart when the chart is enlarged or reduced in size.

Charts in PPT 2010 do not have the auto scale font feature. When the charts are resized, the fonts stay the same size and get cut off or removed. You have to select the axis and increase or decrease the font manually.

In PPT 2003, however, when the lock aspect ratio for the chart is turned off, and the chart is stretched, the chart becomes distorted.

But in PPT 2010, when the charts are stretched horizontally or vertically, they do not distort.

AUTO SCALE, we miss you!

– Troy @ TLC


Color (RGB-CMYK-Pantone-Hex-etc.) Defined!

What is RGB – CMYK – Hex – and all the other names for colors. Aren’t colors, just colors?

Through the course of print design, web and flash design, and of course PowerPoint design, we have used all of these, and a few more. Here is a quick summary of each of the main color formats/models:

1. RGB – An additive color model in which red, green, and blue light are added together to reproduce colors. RGB Color is the color model used for all electronically displayed documents. RGB is a device dependent color model: different devices detect or reproduce a given RGB value differently.

2. CMYK – A subtractive color model used in color printing. CMYK refers to the four inks used in color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black). The CMYK model works by partially or entirely masking colors on a lighter, usually white, background. The ink reduces the light that would otherwise be reflective. Such a model is called subtractive because inks “subtract” brightness from white.

3. Pantone and Spot – The Pantone Color Matching System is largely a standardized color reproduction system. By standardizing the colors, different manufacturers in different locations can all refer to the Pantone system to make sure colors match without direct contact with one another. There is a special subset of Pantone colors that can be reproduced using CMYK. Those that are possible to simulate through the CMYK process are labeled as such within the company’s guides.

However, most of the Pantone system’s 1,114 spot colors cannot be simulated with CMYK but with 13 base pigments (15 including white and black) mixed in specified amounts. The Pantone system also allows for many special colors to be produced, such as metallics and fluorescents.

4. Hex – A hex triplet is a six-digit, three-byte hexadecimal number used in HTML, CSS, and other computing applications, to represent colors. The bytes represent the red, green and blue components of the color. One byte represents a number in the range 00 to FF (in hexadecimal notation), or 0 to 255 in decimal notation. This represents the least (0) to the most (255) intensity of each of the color components. Thus, web colors specify colors in the Truecolor (24-bit RGB) color scheme. The hex triplet is formed by concatenating three bytes in hexadecimal notation, in the following order:
• Byte 1: red value (color type red)
• Byte 2: green value (color type green)
• Byte 3: blue value (color type blue)

5. HSV and HSL – Recognizing that the geometry of the RGB model is poorly aligned with the color-making attributes recognized by human vision, computer graphics researchers developed two alternate representations of RGB, HSV and HSL (hue, saturation, value and hue, saturation, lightness). HSV and HSL improve on the color cube representation of RGB by arranging colors of each hue in a radial slice, around a central axis of neutral colors which ranges from black at the bottom to white at the top. The fully saturated colors of each hue then lie in a circle, a color wheel.

HSV models itself on paint mixture, with its saturation and value dimensions resembling mixtures of a brightly colored paint with, respectively, white and black. HSL places the fully saturated colors in a circle of lightness ½, so that lightness 1 always implies white, and lightness 0 always implies black.

HSV and HSL are both widely used in computer graphics, particularly as color pickers in image editing software.

Note: All definitions sourced from
– Troy @ TLC


Insert YouTube Video Into PowerPoint

PowerPoint 2010 added a new insert video feature that allows online YouTube videos to be added to presentations. I have not recommended this feature because it has the downside of needing to be online and also a high bandwidth connection to play the video. There are several easy ways to download and embed YouTube videos, which I would recommend to minimize playback issues.

But, the request comes up often enough on how to use it, so here is a step-by-step tutorial.

1. Find video you want to insert onto slide.

2. Click the “Share” button under the playback bar.

3. Check the “Use old embed code” box. (Uncheck the “Show suggested videos when video finishes” if you want just a black screen when playback is done.) Copy the code.

4. In PPT, go to the Insert tab, and under Media, click the carrot down on the Video button.

5. Select the “Video from Web Site” option.

6. Paste the code into the text box. Hit Insert.

7. You now have the YouTube video on your slide.

Note: As mentioned above, the computer must be connected to the internet for the video to play.

– Troy @ TLC

Personal Resource/Misc

MS Office 2013 Is Official (Release to RTM)

The irony is I spent this week at the largest gathering of PowerPoint professionals in the country at The Presentation Summit. The day after the Summit ends, Microsoft announces Office 2013 has reached RTM (Release To Manufacturing) – which means it is locked in and ready for distribution (no more development). Below is the official announcement, but look for Office 2013 at the beginning of the year.

(Presenting PPT 2013 Features at The 2012 Presentation Summit)

– Troy @ TLC

Office Reaches RTM!
By Kirk Koenigsbauer on October 11

Today we reached an important milestone in the development of the new Office.

Moments ago, the Office engineering team signed off on the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build. This milestone means the coding and testing phase of the project is complete and we are now focused on releasing the new Office via multiple distribution channels to our consumer and business customers.

This is the most ambitious release of Office we’ve ever done. It spans the full family of Office applications, servers and cloud services. The new Office has a fresh, touch friendly design that works beautifully on Windows 8 and unlocks modern scenarios in social, reading, note-taking, meetings and communications. We are proud to achieve this milestone and are eager to deliver this exciting release to our customers.

General availability is planned for the first quarter of 2013. Starting October 19, customers purchasing Office 2010 from local retailers or resellers will receive the new Office for free upon availability. Customers will also see a preview version of the new Office on Windows RT devices, beginning with the Windows 8 launch on October 26.

Additionally, we have a number of programs that provide business customers with early access so they can begin testing, piloting and adopting Office within their organizations:

We will begin rolling out new capabilities to Office 365 Enterprise customers in our next service update, starting in November through general availability. Volume Licensing customers with Software Assurance will be able to download the Office 2013 applications as well as other Office products including SharePoint 2013, Lync 2013 and Exchange 2013 through the Volume Licensing Service Center by mid-November. These products will be available on the Volume Licensing price list on December 1. IT professionals and developers will be able to download the final version via their TechNet or MSDN subscriptions by mid-November. Please stay tuned for more specifics on general availability dates and other Office launch news. In the meantime, if you’d like to give the pre-release version a try, you can visit

Thank you to the millions of people who have been testing early releases of the new Office. We are grateful for your support. Your invaluable feedback has helped us make the new Office the best Office ever.

Kirk Koenigsbauer
Corporate Vice President
Microsoft Office Division

Personal Resource/Misc

Presentation Summit Talk By Troy

For the 2012 Presentation Summit, I was asked to do a session on the upcoming PowerPoint 2013 from a presenter perspective.

The session went great (at least I thought so) and it was a lot of fun to be with a room full of presentation designers – and a handful of Microsoft Dev and Managers from the PowerPoint team.

With more topics than time, the session was setup with a grid of topics and audience members choose which topics to cover. It made for great interaction and fun.

Note: I am already working on a December blog post series that will cover many of the PPT 2013 topics from this talk (co-authoring, presenter view, widescreen evolution, etc.) – and some topics were already featured on the blog in last months PPT 2013 series.

– Troy @ TLC