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Seven Ways Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 Makes Your Life Easier

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Patrice-Anne Rutledge shows you how to use PowerPoint 2010's new features to save time and money, give your presentations the wow factor, and create better presentations, faster.

When you upgrade to the latest version of a software program you already own, you expect cool, new features that make your life easier. In this regard, PowerPoint 2010 doesn't disappoint. This new version of PowerPoint emphasizes visual creativity, usability, and collaboration. With PowerPoint 2010, you can

  • Edit and enhance your videos without expensive, third-party video-editing tools.
  • Create high-definition videos from your PowerPoint presentations.
  • Share your presentation with anyone on the web.
  • Capture and insert screenshots directly from PowerPoint.
  • Access PowerPoint on the go with PowerPoint Mobile 2010 and the PowerPoint 2010 Web App.
  • Collaborate with your colleagues in real-time through co-authoring.

In this article, I'll highlight the many ways these new features help you save time, save money, and create better presentations, faster.

Add the Wow Factor to Your Presentations with New Video-Editing Tools

If you use video in your presentations, PowerPoint 2010 has a lot to offer. It eliminates the need for external software programs for many common video-editing tasks, which saves you both time and money.

With PowerPoint 2010, you can embed and edit video right in your presentation. The video options on the Insert tab enable you to insert a video (such as .mov, .mp4, or .wmv files) from your computer or a network location, from Microsoft's clip collection, or from an external video-sharing site such as YouTube or Hulu. For example, you can copy a YouTube video's embed code and paste it into your presentation in less than a minute. From here, the Video Tools—Format and Video Tools—Playback tabs provide a vast array of options for customizing the appearance and functionality of your video clip.

Some of your video options include the capability to

  • Specify the appearance of the initial preview image, referred to as the poster frame. For example, you can display a static image from the video, a company logo, or even the photo of a speaker in the video.
  • Apply a video style to your video's preview image. Options include a variety of border styles, shapes, and colors; as well as special effects such as shadows, reflections, and 3-D rotations.
  • Adjust video color, brightness, and contrast.
  • Return to a specific place in your video clip by bookmarking it. The bookmark makes it easy to quickly jump to a video frame during your presentation. You can also use a bookmark to create your video's poster frame.
  • Trim your video clip by specifying exact start and stop times. You can also add fade in and fade out effects to your clip in increments of .25 a second.

Figure 1 shows an example of one of the many ways you can enhance your videos.

Figure 1 Apply varied styles to your videos to give them a new look.

These video options allow for a wide range of creativity, but don't go too wild. Your audience still needs to be able to see your video clearly. Yes, you can give your entire video a pink tint, apply dramatic 3-D effects, or display a rectangular video as a circle. The question is, do you really want to? Be sure to choose effects that enhance your video rather than take away from its message.

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