PowerPoint Software/Add-Ins

Windows Emoji Keyboard

Microsoft Windows added a very cool emoji keyboard, or at least a dialog to point and select emoji’s. To open, click the Windows Key and the period key.

Click any emoji and it will be added to virtually any app text box selected (😎🤷‍♂️👍, see I just added three emoji’s to this blog post – but being over the age of 35 I have no idea what I just said…). 

There are 3 tabs; Emoji (full color), Kaomoji (traditional ASCII emoji’s), and Symbols (well, symbol characters)

Troy @ TLC

PowerPoint Software/Add-Ins

The PowerPoint Icon Library Adds a Search Feature (YAY!)

The included icon library in PowerPoint (and all Office apps; Word, Excel, Outlook) recently received an update. There are more icons, the meta tagging appears to have more refinement, and there is SEARCH BAR, so no longer a need to endlessly scroll looking for an icon.

Old insert icons dialog:

Updated insert icons dialog:

Troy @ TLC


The Microsoft Office Insider Newsletter – Get It.

The Microsoft Office Dev teams have been doing a good job of getting new release and Tips & Tricks posted on the Microsoft Office blogs. But it is a separate blog for every product and some products have more then one blog… I really like the Microsoft Office Insider (Email) Newsletter, which is a nice summary of the hottest news and announcements on the many Office blogs compiled into a nicely formatted HTML email. 

I find this a great resource for reading not only about PowerPoint and Excel features that are a part of my daily work life, but seeing info about other apps I generally do not subscribe to their blogs, such as Android and IOS releases, Dynamics, and others. You can sign up to have the free Microsoft Office Insider newsletter show up in your inbox here.

Troy @ TLC


The 7 Most Used Creative Commons Licenses

Creative Commons licensing is an important item to understand as “CC” licensed images are used often in presentations. I have found one of the large misunderstandings of many designers is that “Creative Commons” licensing does not always mean the image is free to use, free from attribution needs, and free to own. This is a very high level overview of Creative Commons and I am calling out the 7 most used Creative Commons licensing options.

Here are a few soundbytes of info, and as much detail into legal use, where to use, how to use I am including (eg. basically none): 

  • The best, short, definition of Creative Commons I found and like to use is: “Creative Commons (CC) is an American non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share.
  • Copyright is the exclusive legal right, given to the legal owner of the art piece to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, AND to authorize others to do the same.
  • Copyleft is approval to use, modify and distribute an art piece freely on condition that anything derived from it is has the same rights (eg. anything created from a Copyleft art piece is also Copyleft).
  • Share-alike is used by Creative Commons and virtually the same as Copyleft; approval to use, modify and distribute an art piece freely on condition that anything derived from it is has the same rights.
  • The official website for Creative Commons is
  • The Creative Commons Wikipedia page is a great resource on the topic.

Creative Common licensing is visually represented by rectangle logos like these. Inside the rectangle, each circle icon has an exact meaning and logos can have 1 or several of the Creative Commons attributes, or clauses, assigned to it.

The icon tells us a lot about that image. The Creative Commons “CC” logo is on left of every logo. To the right are icons representing the clauses, or rules, that apply to that image.

Here is a quick primer on the 4 most common licensing clauses:

ATTRIBUTION (BY). You can copy, distribute, display and perform the work and make derivative works if they give the author or licensor attribution.

SHARE ALIKE (SA). You can distribute derivative works only under a license identical (“not more restrictive”) to the license that governs the original work (Share Alike and Copyleft are similar concepts).

NON-COMMERCIAL (NC). You can copy, distribute, display, perform the work, and make derivative works only for non-commercial purposes.

NO DERIVATIVE WORKS (ND). You can copy, distribute, display and perform only using the original image (eg. “verbatim copies of the work”). 

Here are the 7 most common Creative Commons licenses we encounter:

CC0, Free content with no restrictions, globally (note: it is C-C-Zero)

BY, Needs attribution

BY-SA, Needs attribution and ShareAlike

BY-NC, Needs attribution and only for non-commercial use

BY-NC-SA, Needs attribution, ShareAlike, and only for non-commercial use

BY-ND, Needs attribution and only original art (no derivatives)

BY-NC-ND, Needs attribution, only for non-commercial, and only original art (no derivatives)


Stylized WordCloud Generator by is an online app that creates unique stylized word art.

Think of a word cloud, a common presentation request, but created in the shape of an image. The site offers a variety of customization tools ranging from custom fonts and specific colors to a wide range of art images to create the word cloud in.

This is not an entirely no cost site, but PNG and JPEG files are free to download. PDFs and scalable SVGs are available as part of the $4 to  $299.99 plans.

For our presentation needs, the sites free options are perfect. You do need to create an account to access. 

1. After logging in click the “create” button.
2. The next window is the workspace. On the left is the customizing area to add text and styling. The first tab “words”, is where to Add, remove, reorder and import words.

3. At any point to review the art, simply click the “Visualize” tab to generate the finished work.

4. The shapes tab is where you can pick any shape provided as well as upload your own
(.png and .jpg, not vector formats).

5. A variety of fonts are readily available to use, as well as the option to add a custom font under the “Add font” button.

6. Under the layout tab, are different text orientations

7. The Style tab is where you can customize the colors of the text and the background colors. NOTE it is especially important to remember to click the “Make Transparent” button before saving the art as a PNG, otherwise when exporting as a PNG it will retain the white background.

8. After all customization, click the “Visualize” button to generate the word cloud. You can click the button several times to get a different result.

9. Under the download tab are several options. 2 free standard PNG and JPEG options. The HQ options have payment options.

Troy @ TLC


The Presentation Podcast Episode 82 – What We Actually Use (Hardware, Software, Business Tools)

A new episode of The Presentation Podcast with Troy, Nolan, and Sandy is available today! Episode, 82 – What We actually use (Hardware, Software, Business Tools). Listen in on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify and Soundcloud – just search for “The Presentation Podcast” – or go direct to the episode page here:


Lorem Ipsum Generator (by Websiteplanet)

The Websiteplanet Lorem Ipsum generator is easy to use and quickly creates standard Lorum Ipsum text.

Lorem Ipsum text is a long standing print layout tool and is a good tool to use for any PowerPoint designer. As example: when creating a template, we generally supply sample slides with lorem ipsum text filling text placeholders so slides can be viewed with a quick simulation of real-world content.

The options can create any number of words, sentences, paragraphs or lines. Set the parameters and click GENERATE. The website instantly creates the text, which can be copy/pasted directly into slide text placeholders.  

Troy @ TLC


Mixkit – FREE and Professional Videos for Your Next Presentation

Mikkit a site by Envato has video footage that is free to download. No account or other log in is required, just search and download.

We found the collection is fairly small. Categories range from abstract and animation to transport and lifestyle.

All content is under the MixKit license. Our take on the licensing is it permits you to download, copy, modify, distribute, publicly perform and broadcast the Items. Rights are non-exclusive, worldwide, sub-licensable and attribution is not required (complete user terms are here).

Video files are: 1920×1080, .mp4 file format. 

Troy @ TLC


The Presentation Summit is This October!

This October is the best opportunity for presentation experts to meet with Program Managers from Microsoft, be with the largest gathering of The Presentation Guild members, hear from leading presentation design and talk experts – and give me the opportunity to meet you!

Both Lori and Troy of TLC Creative Services will be presenting at the San Antonio for the 2019 Presentation Summit. I will also be recording several episodes of The Presentation Podcast throughout the week.

Presentation Summit website.

Troy @ TLC


How Long Will It Take to Say That?

When developing a presentation, factoring in the talk time is essential. Many of our presentation design projects are based on a talk script. We will run the script through an app that gives us an estimate of how long it will take for that amount of text to be spoken.

One free online tool for this is “Words to Time“. It has some great features to get a better talk time estimate;  number of words and reading speed.

It is very fast and easy to convert words to an estimated time. They offer a simple conversion chart for quick reference as well.

As an example, we converted Abraham Lincoln’ Getty Berg Address.

Lincoln’s speech was a small 267 words in total. Using the average reading speed (approx. 130 WMP) Words to Time estimated Lincoln’s speech to be about 2 minutes. According to the history, this is completely accurate! (Source:

Troy @ TLC