Showsite in Denver

It has been a great week here in Denver. Thanks to Paul for the great photos (I take no credit for any photos this time) and to my nephew Justin for stepping in as our last minute camera op!

– Troy @ TLC


Using PowerPoint’s Shape Merge (3)

Part 3 of the Shape Merge real-world, presentation design examples is a Key shape.

Goal is to create a single PowerPoint shape of a classic battery that can be stylized in any way using Point’s features.

Shape(s) 1 – two rounded corner rectangles to create the battery shape.

Shape 2 – the power/lighting shape is a standard shape in PowerPoint. Rotate, size a position on battery shape (color does not matter – we are going to delete it in the next step).

Shape 3 – select the battery shape, then the lightning bolt shape, use the Shape Merge SUBTRACT. Note: PowerPoint does some interesting things, in this example, the final shape is created visually in the correct orientation, but is actually rotated 326′.

– Troy @ TLC


Using PowerPoint’s Shape Merge (2)

Part of the Shape Merge real-world, presentation design examples is a Key shape.

Goal is to create a single PowerPoint shape that can be stylized with different fill colors for an analogy slide of the 3 corporate program “keys.”

Shape(s) 1 – design the key using a circle and set of rectangles.

Select all shapes and use the UNION tool to create a single shape.

Create a new circle, size and position over the handle part of the key.

Select the key 1st, then the circle and use the SUBTRACT tool to create the final, single shape Key (shadow added, fill changed).

– Troy @ TLC


Using PowerPoint’s Shape Merge (1)

Christie was tasked with creating a 3-part blog series of creative, real-world, presentation design examples using PowerPoint’s Shape Merge tools (see this post on the Shape Merge Tools).

Goal is to create a single PowerPoint shape with the concentric circles of a classic bullseye target. Note: With the Shape Merge tools, the first selected shape will make a difference in which item will be removed.

Shape 1

Shape styling – gradient fill:

Shape(s) 2: series of 4 circles with thick outlines (color does not matter).

Move Shape 1 (red circle) under Shape 2 and align all:

Select shapes (this is important – select Red circle 1st) and the Shape Merge COMBINE tool:

Final touches – bevel, gradient fill, shadow or any other effect styling can be applied to this new SINGLE SHAPE (I added the gradient fill in the original shape, but added a drop shadow after):

– Troy @ TLC

Software/Add-Ins Tutorial

Using Pic Resize to Optimize Images for PowerPoint

Pic Resize is a very useful tool to resize and edit images that are larger than needed. This website offers a quick and easy-to-use method to optimize a large image so that it fits your needs.

To get started, make sure you have selected From Computer to choose an image on your computer to resize. Click Browse to locate the image on your computer, select the image desired and click Open.

Once you have selected the image, click the Continue (Resize, Crop & Special Effects) button.

On the top portion of the next page, you can crop or rotate your image, if needed. Continue on to the second section to resize your image. The website defaults to resizing the image to 50% of the original size. If you need a different size, click on the drop down menu and select another preset percentage or resolution. You can also select Custom Size… to enter in the dimensions of your choice.

To optimize this image for use within PowerPoint, I will resize this image to 800 pixels wide. By leaving the Height field empty, Pic Resize will automatically keep the image proportionate by determining the correct height value. You can also select a custom percentage of the original image by selecting Percent from the drop down image next to the Width or Height fields. The new dimensions of the image can be found on the right next to Estimated Final, which will be highlighted in green.

In the next section, you can select one of many special effects to enhance the image, if desired. Some of these special effects include Oil Paint, Scorched, Grayscale, and Sharpen, which can be seen below.

In the last step, you will select the format, quality (if JPEG) and maximum file size (optional) to save your image as. The original format of the image will be automatically populated but JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP are all supported. PNG images with alpha transparency are supported, so transparency will be maintained if resized. If resizing to a JPG as the format, you can also select the quality of the image being saved.

Once you have selected the format and quality, click the I’m Done, Resize My Picture! button. When successfully resized, you can select View Image to preview, Resume Edit to continue editing, Save to Disk to save onto your computer, or Save to Web to upload the image onto a social media website of your choice. For this instance, we would save the image to the desired location by clicking Save to Disk.

Once saved, you now have an optimized version of your image that can be easily used within PowerPoint. Below, you can see the new, optimized image, which was resized from 5184 x 3456 pixels down to 800 x 533 pixels.

– Troy @ TLC


Shape Merge in PowerPoint

A very useful, and perhaps underutilized feature in PowerPoint is the Shape Merge. This may be due to the fact that pre-Office 2013, it was actually a very difficult to locate feature, remaining hidden to many users unaware of its existence.

Add the Shape Merge Tools to PowerPoint 2010
In PowerPoint 2010, you have to jump through a few hoops to make the feature accessible:

1. Right click on the ribbon and click customize.
2. In the right hand column, select Tools Tabs. Create a custom group in the “Drawing Tools” section titles “Shape Merge.”
3. In the left-hand column, select “Commands Not in the Ribbon.”
4. Scroll down until you see the Shape Tools: Combine, Intersect, Subtract, and Union. Click the add button between the two column to add them to the custom group we’ve just created.
5. Now when working with shapes, you should have the options depicted below in your Drawing Tools ribbon.
6. Enjoy easily creating complex shapes!

The Shape Merge Tools are Already in PowerPoint 2013
When working with shapes in PowerPoint 2013, you’ll find the Shape Merge tools are already available for use on the Drawing Tools ribbon.

Putting our New Tools to Work
Using these tools is fairly straight forward. You simple click on one shape, hold shift+click on a second shape. It’s worth noting that the first click is the primary shape, and the second click will be the subtraction shape.

– Troy @ TLC

Resource/Misc Tutorial

Search for Images on Google by Usage Rights

Legal use of images is something we at TLC are always concerned about. It is also something we see abused by many presentation designs (ie. using copyrighted images without permission). One of the largest image resources for someone putting together slides is web images searches, particularly Google Images.

But, Google does provide some good search options to use “legal” images, by searching by usage rights.

Begin by initiating a Google image search for what you are looking for (in our case, we searched for “picture”), and hit enter, or click search.

After the search results for “picture” have loaded, you’ll find you have some additional search tools available. What we are looking for in this case is “advanced search,” which you’ll find by selecting the gear icon at the top-left corner.

After selecting Advanced Search, you’ll find in the following options available to you under usage rights:

A cautionary note: Some of the images returned under “free to use or share, even commercially” still required attribution, so it’ll be important to double check the terms for each image.

– Troy @ TLC

Tutorial Online Video Conversion

Transcoding is the process of changing a video from one format to another. For example, converting a .wmv to .mp4, or .avi to .wmv. Transcoding is done with video editing software, which is typically installed on a computer. But there are a number of online apps starting to show up. is a free tool for easily converting videos online. It has a number of encoding options and makes things easy for presentation designers.

Go to and click SELECT FILE to get started.

Select the video you to convert and click Open.

With the video selected, click the drop-down menu next to Output Format and select the format you want to convert your video to. For this instance, we will select AVI as our output format.

Next, select the Conversion Quality from the next drop-down menu.

You can click on Show Advanced Options to enter specific formatting options, such as resolution, FPS, video or audio bitrate and more. Once all desired formatting options have been selected, click the green Start Free Encoding Now button.

Enter your email address on the next screen (or you can choose to login using Facebook) and click Encode Now to have Free Encoding email you a notification when your video has been converted. An uploading status bar will appear at the bottom of the screen.

For your first time uploading, the below screen will appear, instructing you to activate your account to access your completed encodings.

Visit your email, and click on the activation link to access your converted video. Once activation is complete, you will see your video under Your Encodings. There are many actions and options available at this point.

To simply see the File Information you can hover over the link under Original File Name or hover over the pen icon under Actions to see Encoding Information.

Under Actions, you can also delete the video with the trash icon or report an issue you experienced with the encoding using the exclamation point icon. Also, if you have a Dropbox account, you can choose Save to Dropbox under Options. Otherwise, you are ready to download your encoded video.

To do so, click on the arrow icon under Actions and save your file to the location of your choice.
Note: You can only download two videos before the oldest will be deleted. The remaining videos you can download appear when hovering over the arrow icon.

– Troy @ TLC


Video CoDecs Information in Windows 7

CoDecs are the information needed to play a video. CoDec stands for “compress – decompress.” When a video is played, the computer needs the “decompress” information that matches the way it was “compressed” to play it. Sometimes, in troubleshooting video playback issues, it is good to see a list of the CoDecs installed on a computer.

To locate a list of all Codecs installed on your Windows 7 system for playing audio and video, first begin by opening Windows Media Player.

CoDecs 1

If there is no menu bar, click on Organize > Layout > Show menu bar, in the upper left-hand corner.

CoDecs 2

In the menu bar, select Help > About Windows Media Player

CoDecs 3

If prompted with a warning dialog box to notify you the program is protected under copyright law and international treaties, click Technical Support Information in the lower left-hand corner.

CoDecs 4

A page will open in your default internet browser with details of the Codecs used along with other system information.

CoDecs 5

– Troy @ TLC


“PWN” to Download Youtube Videos

This is a very cool and fast download activator for YouTube videos. PWN originates from the “own,” which is an apt name for not having to rely on a web connection to play a video in a presentation. powers this quick, easy and extremely convenient way to download YouTube videos without having to copy and paste links or save videos to convert.
1. Go to YouTube and find the video you want.
2. In the URL bar type “pwn” to the URL.
3. Type inb “pwn” between www. and youtube.

pwn 1

4. The page is redirected to the the download page.
5. Select from the many download options from various sites.

pwn 2
pwn 3
pwn 4

6. Note: Some of these sites require Java to be installed and updated on your computer.
7. The bookmarklet option makes saving streaming videos in the basic formats very fast and simple. Save the bookmarklet to your Favorites Menu/Bar to easily download the video in the future. Select the link under Download Tools that says “Bookmarklet to directly download videos” OR a yellow bar will appear under the top menus with download options for the streaming video.

pwn 5
pwn 6
pwn 7
pwn 8

You now have the video saved to your computer without ever entering additional URLS or copying and pasting information.

– Troy @ TLC