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Going on the Road with Powerpoint

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Taking your show on the road? Lisa Jahred presents a few essential and road-tested tips for PowerPoint presentation preparation in off-site locations, both in country and abroad.
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In 1987, Microsoft purchased a company called Forethought, Inc., which was a developer of presentation software. Renamed and packaged as part of the Microsoft Office software suite, PowerPoint now boasts more than 30 million presentations created each day. Not bad for a once little-known presentation software!

The PowerPoint of today provides a vast array of powerful tools that enable you to create effective presentations. PowerPoint 2002 works especially well in a group environment, making it easy to work together as a team with online collaboration tools.

Even with all the great features that PowerPoint has to offer, there are other factors to consider if you find yourself polishing and preparing your presentations in an off-site location. Whether you're part of a production team creating the magic behind the scenes for a number of seminar speakers, or you're one of many presenters at a worldwide corporate conference, this article is for you.

I provide you with several essential and road-tested tips for PowerPoint presentation preparation in off-site locations, both in country and abroad.

Understand Your Paper Requirements

Printing PowerPoint slides is a must if your resulting media are overheads; or for proofing purposes, especially when a large group of both presenters and production staff is involved.

If your project keeps you in country, paper is not a huge problem, unless you find yourself in a small village on a country road. Most cities have office supply stores in which you can pick up every flavor of paper.

If your project takes you to international locations, the quest for paper takes on new meaning. Depending on where you end up, don't expect office supply stores to be readily available. It may take a little more effort to find reams of paper.

If all else fails in your quest, try a local Kinkos. You can find Kinkos in many international cities. Most of the time, the sales crew is happy to oblige your offer to purchase a ream or two of paper. Your hotel's business center is another good source for paper.

And let's not forget that almost every country in the world except ours uses A4 paper size, so the chances of your locating 81/2 x 11 paper are slim to none.

With that in mind, you'll want to keep these PowerPoint steps handy:

  1. Select File, Page Setup. The Page Setup window is displayed.

  2. Select A4 Paper from the Slides sized for pull-down list.

  3. Click OK. All slides in the current presentation are resized for A4. You must follow these steps for each PowerPoint presentation you plan to print to A4 paper size.

After each slide is resized, objects may move to accommodate new page sizing. Check each slide before going on a printing spree—contents may not scale uniformly, and imported graphics can appear stretched or squeezed.

To avoid these problems altogether, consider designing presentations from the onset with A4 size in mind before you take PowerPoint projects on the international road.

And don't forget, if you're printing black-and-white proofs, use PowerPoint's View, Black and White feature to show you ahead of time what a black-and-white hard copy of a color presentation will look like. For printing color slides to black-and-white hard copy, select File, Print and then click the check box next to Pure black and white.

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