©1997 Will G Hopkins

How to Use PowerPoint 4
Will Hopkins

Use this outstanding Microsoft program to make slides, posters, and questionnaires. The documents are even Mac-PC interchangeable! This short article will get you started on Versions 4 to 7 much quicker than the manual or on-line help.

Last updated 26 April 1997


You wouldn't know from its name, but PowerPoint is for making slides and transparencies. You can also use it for posters and questionnaires.

Some conference venues now have equipment to allow you to show PowerPoint documents directly from a computer. Saves heaps on the cost of making 35-mm slides! You can also do clever transitions and builds, as well as last-minute changes, which aren't possible with real slides.

PowerPoint documents run on any platform (Mac or PC). But if you created the document on a Mac, take it to the conference on a PC-formatted disc (because PCs won't run Mac discs).

These instructions are for Mac and PC users. Everything is the same, except the control key on a PC is the command key on a Mac. These instructions will also get you started on PowerPoint 7, which is similar to PowerPoint 4.

If you're not an experienced computer user, run the Quick Preview program that comes bundled with PowerPoint. Otherwise double click the Microsoft PowerPoint icon and go for it. I suggest you keep switching between this document and PowerPoint.


1. Read Tip of the Day when you are more experienced. So just click OK for now.

2. In the next window, choose…

AutoContent Wizard if you want PowerPoint to help you with the content of each slide of your talk;

…Pick a Look Wizard if you know what you want to say on each slide but want help with the "look" of individual slides;

…Template if you want to make a slide look like a template;

…Blank Presentation if you want to start with a blank slide;

…Open an Existing Presentation if you want to modify an existing presentation or use it as a template for a new presentation.

Let's click AutoContent Wizard this time. Try the others later:

3. Let's make choices in the next few windows as if you're giving a talk on a paper you've read. On Step 2 of 4, put a sensible title for the talk, and your name.

4. On Step 3 of 4, choose General. Each bullet point on the left represents a slide that PowerPoint will create for you:

5. At this stage you'll have a window open called PowerPoint Cue Cards. Let's take a break to look at this and the other help you can get.


1. The first thing to notice is that when you hold the cursor over any item on the menu bars, you get a little yellow description of it. Great!

2. The Cue Cards can be a useful guide. You'll have to drag it out of the way sometimes, but BEWARE: if you close it, the only way to open it again is to create a new presentation using the AutoContent Wizard. (This seems to be a bug.)

3. You can get help directly on a topic as follows: click on the ? (i.e. help) button at the top right of the tool bar…

…then use the cursor (with a ?) to click on anything in the menus or on the windows:

4. To open the general help window, hit the help key on the keyboard.


1. Back to our presentation. Right now you're in Outline View. The words in this outline are actually already on our slides. In fact, you can add words here, and they'll be added to the slides. Try it, then look at your first (title) slide. You DON'T get there by clicking on Work in Slide view towards the bottom of the PowerPoint Cue Cards window. All that does is pace you through the cue cards. Silly, eh! You DO get to the slides EITHER by double clicking on the 1 on the left of the untitled (Outline) window…

…OR by clicking the little Slide View icon at the bottom left of the screen:

2. Play with the text on this slide. Change color, font size and so on using the font part of the tools bar:

Selecting a whole piece of text to change it is tricky: you have to click on it, then click again on the edge:

3. Unbelievably, the text isn't properly centered in the vertical direction in this slide! Select everything with control/command-A, then click on any item and drag upwards. If you press the shift key as well, you will be able to drag only vertically or horizontally. (This very useful tip applies to most drawing packages.)

4. I don't like the look of this slide (i.e. the template). Let's choose another. The Cue Cards tell you how. Go to the PowerPoint Cue Cards window and click on Choose another look for the presentation. The Presentation Template… under the Format menu is the better option, but Pick a Look Wizard… is OK too.

5. Bludiags (blue diagonals) is OK. Select it…

…but let's get rid of the silly diagonals. (You'll learn that less is more when you want to get your message across.) Under the View menu, choose Edit Master, and Slide Master.

6. You can alter fonts, colors, bullets etc. on the Master, and the changes will affect all slides. But how do we get rid of those silly diagonal lines? Select them only by clicking at the bottom-most part of the diagonals:

Now hit the delete key.

7. Play around with the Slide Background (under the Format menu). With the Master slide in view, any change here affect all slides. With any other slide in view, it affects only that slide.

8. Now click on Slide View again. Click your way through the slides with the double-diamond icons on the bottom right of the slide window:

9. Alter text, create new slides and so on. But note that all the icons between Insert Microsoft Word Table and Insert Clip Art do not work at the time or writing.

10. Better Save your presentation at this point! And don' t forget to keep saving it, just in case!


0. This is where we learn how to make cool transitions from one slide to the next, and how to build (add) bulleted main points on a slide.

1. Click on the Slide Sorter View icon at lower left.

2. In the window that opens, click on the icon of a slide to select it. To add a transition leading into (not out of) that slide, click on the transition button at the top left of the tool bar.

In the window that opens you can see what the different transitions look like. When you know what you are doing, you can select a transition directly from the long rectangle next to the transition button. Alas, that brilliant starry transition you saw in the Quick Preview is not available!

4. When you've added the transition, you get an extra little icon at the bottom left of each slide's icon in Slide Sorter View window. Clicking on it will show you the transition.

5. To add the Build effect to a slide, click on the slide again, then click on the Build button in the middle of the tool bar.

Make your choices in the window that opens:

6. Now click on the Slide Show icon at the bottom of the window:

Voila! Your title slide fills the screen. Move forward by clicking the mouse or hitting the down-arrow or right arrow on the keyboard. Move backward by hitting the left or up-arrow. When you get to the slides with build effects, each click of the mouse or arrow key adds the next point.

7. Click on the icon at the bottom right of the screen for a "pen" that allows you to draw on the screen: useful when you show the presentation to an audience.

8. To get out of the slide show before it finishes, hit the escape key.


1. Notes Pages View opens a window for a document consisting of one page per slide, with room to type notes under each. You're unlikely to use this.

2. You can Print the slides, the outline, the notes, or a handout consisting of several slides per page. Make sure you check Page Setup… under the File menu first.

3. For real slides, go to Slide Setup…under the File menu and select 35 mm Slides before you create them: if you do it after, everything gets distorted. Note that you cannot mix portrait and landscape formats. Most slides should be landscape, but if you want the occasional portrait, you'll have to create a new document.

4. There's heaps of other stuff. Best way to find out is to try it!

resources=AT=sportsci.org · webmaster=AT=sportsci.org · Homepage · Copyright ©1997
Last updated 25 April 97