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Fixing PowerPoint Annoyances by Echo Swinford

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Chapter 4. Importing

Although you can create new content in PowerPoint, it seems like we’re just importing existing material most of the time. Maybe you’re importing sales charts from market research reports, Word documents from product support catalogs, product manual PDFs, pictures of a new facility from the construction manager, or animated GIFs of a new process from the corporate web site—sometimes all in the same presentation.

Importing these disparate materials can be very straightforward or very painful, depending how you go about it. In this chapter, we’ll cover the difference between OLE-linked and OLE-embedded objects, the best way to insert graphics, various ways to import information from Excel, inserting PDF and Word content, and the various paste options PowerPoint offers.

GRAPHICS

Don’t Drag and Drop or Paste Graphics

THE ANNOYANCE: I dragged and dropped a picture into my PowerPoint file, and now my file is humongous. What happened?

THE FIX: When you paste or drag and drop an image onto a PowerPoint slide, it sometimes creates what is known as an embedded OLE object. It’s much better to save the image to your hard drive and then use Insert → Picture → From File to insert your images onto your slides.

OLE stands for Object Linking and Embedding, which is kind of a dumb name because you can’t link and embed at the same time. When you paste an image directly from Adobe Photoshop onto your PowerPoint slide, you’re pasting not only the image itself, but also a bunch of application overhead that lets you double-click the image on the slide to open up a Photoshop window and edit the photo from within PowerPoint. Although that can be handy, it comes at the price of increased file size.

To see this for yourself, insert a JPG into a new, blank presentation file using Insert → Picture → From File. Double-click the picture on the slide. You should see the Format Object dialog box (see Figure 4-1). Save the presentation to your desktop.

Now open a new, blank presentation file, as well as the .jpg file in Photoshop or another image-editing program. Select the photo and copy it. Then move over to PowerPoint and paste it onto a slide. Close the image-editing application, and then double-click the photo in PowerPoint. If your photo uses OLE embedding, the photograph will open in the default image-editing application you’ve assigned to .jpg files. Make a small change to the photo—maybe scribble on it with a pencil or brush tool—and then close it. It will update in your presentation file. Save this presentation to your desktop also.

If you double-click a photo in your presentation and see this dialog box, it means that your image does not use OLE embedding. OLE embedding can increase your file size tremendously.
Figure 4-1. If you double-click a photo in your presentation and see this dialog box, it means that your image does not use OLE embedding. OLE embedding can increase your file size tremendously.

Now go to your desktop, right-click the first presentation, and choose Properties. What does it say under Size? Look at the second presentation’s properties. Its size is probably substantially larger than the first presentation (see Table 4-1). That, my friend, is OLE in action.

Table 4-1. If you paste a graphic onto your slide from another application (in this case, Photoshop), you greatly increase the file size of your presentation
 

Original JPG

PowerPoint using Insert → Picture → From File

PowerPoint using Copy/Paste from Photoshop

File Size

97 KB

133 KB

2.48 MB

Interestingly enough, PowerPoint is very smart once the image has been inserted onto a slide. If you copy and paste the image from one slide to another within the presentation, PowerPoint recognizes that you’re using the same photo, inserts an internal reference to the original photo, and doesn’t increase the file size.

My Presentation Tries to Connect to the Internet

THE ANNOYANCE: When I open my presentation, PowerPoint tries to connect to the Internet. Is Microsoft trying to phone home or something?

THE FIX: Your presentation probably contains an image copied from the Internet and pasted directly onto a slide.

The problem is that the web site where you copied the image from really only contained a link to the image. The actual image was located on a different web site. If you paste a linked image onto your slide, you create an HTML object in your presentation, which sometimes causes PowerPoint to try to connect to the Internet. It won’t happen with every pasted image, and it won’t always happen even with the same presentation on different machines, so it may be difficult to pinpoint.

You can try making a copy of your presentation and deleting images one at a time, saving after each deletion until you can isolate the problem image.

If you must use graphics from a web site, right-click the graphic and choose Save Target As or Save Picture As to save it to your hard drive. Then use Insert → Picture → From File to insert the image into your presentation.

And make sure you have permission to use the images. Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean that copyrights don’t apply. See the “Mother, May I?” sidebar in Chapter 8 for links to sites with copyright assistance.

Inserted Pictures Are Really Big

THE ANNOYANCE: All right already. I started using Insert → Picture → From File to get images into my slides, but they’re too big when they come into PowerPoint. They hang off the edge of the slide.

THE FIX: There are a whole bunch of different reasons for this. One reason is some file types—GIFs, for example—don’t carry information about the file size or the dots per inch in the image. As a result, PowerPoint doesn’t have anything to use to determine the actual size of the picture when you import it. Another is you’ve scanned your image at a size way too large to fit onto the slide, or otherwise not optimized it for use in PowerPoint.

In all honesty, you probably don’t need to worry too much if your images appear slightly larger than desired. Just make sure you properly size your images before you insert them into your presentation (see the sidebar, “Image Size in a Nutshell”). If you have a lot of pictures to size, download the free RnR PPTools Starter Set add-in (http://www.rdpslides.com/pptools/starterset/index.html) and use the Place Exactly tool (the hammer icon) to quickly position images on your slides (see Figure 4-2).

The Pick Up Size/Position tool and Place Exactly tool let you quickly position and place objects on your slides.
Figure 4-2. The Pick Up Size/Position tool and Place Exactly tool let you quickly position and place objects on your slides.

To use the Place Exactly tool, you first need to set the parameters. Hold down the Ctrl button and click the Pick Up Size/Position tool (to the left of the Hammer icon). In the resulting dialog box, you can choose where to align pictures relative to the position of your first object. Don’t forget to select the Resize button if you want the tool to automatically size your pictures and make them the same size. Click OK to close the dialog box. Note that the Place Exactly tool will not strip pixels from your pictures and change their file sizes.

After you set the parameters, format one picture to your desired size and location. Select the picture and click the Pick Up Size/Position tool so the size and position of this picture become the basis for hammering other pictures into place. A dialog box explains the location of the object on the slide. Click OK to close the dialog box.

Next, select any picture you want to hammer into place on any slide, and click the Place Exactly tool to resize and position it. The settings will hold until you select another object and click the Pick Up Size/Position tool to establish a new baseline size and position.

Can’t Make Part of a Picture Transparent

THE ANNOYANCE: I tried unsuccessfully to use the Transparency Wand to make the background of my picture transparent. What’s the problem? Is the wand broken?

THE FIX: You’ll generally have better results editing your images in an image-editing program and then using Insert → Picture → From File to get them into PowerPoint.

However, in a pinch, you can use the Transparency Wand on your images (see Figure 4-4). This works better with some images than others because it sets exactly one color transparent. Some images may look as if they have only one color in the background, when they really have a blend of colors in the background. That white background on your .png might actually be composed of different colored pixels. Your eye can’t discern the different colors, but the Transparency Wand can.

The Transparency Wand lets you make one color transparent in an image. You can see how it affected one specific shade of blue in this image.
Figure 4-4. The Transparency Wand lets you make one color transparent in an image. You can see how it affected one specific shade of blue in this image.

There is a bug with the Transparency Wand in PowerPoint 2002. If you try to apply transparency to white pixels in an image, and nothing happens, you probably need to apply Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Office XP. Microsoft has information on downloading and installing SP2 (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=325671).

Too Much of the Picture Is Transparent

THE ANNOYANCE: I used the Transparency Wand, and more than my background ended up transparent.

THE FIX: The Transparency Wand makes all pixels of a specific color transparent throughout the entire image. You’ll need to edit your image in an image-editing application if you need more control over the transparent areas.

Transparent Parts Turn Black

THE ANNOYANCE: I created some .png files with transparent backgrounds, but when I insert them into PowerPoint, the transparent parts appear black. How can I make them transparent again?

THE FIX: See if using the Transparency Wand on the black parts will fix it. If not, you’ll need to go back and resave the original images.

Fortunately, you can prevent this annoyance from happening in the first place. If you’re creating your images in Photoshop, make sure you turn off color management. Select Edit → Color Settings, and in the Color Management Policies area choose Off from each of the drop-down menus when saving files. In some versions of Photoshop, you may need to choose “Discard embedded profiles” in the same area.

Rotate Images

THE ANNOYANCE: I want to rotate an image I inserted, but the rotation options appear grayed out in PowerPoint 2000. What’s the deal?

THE FIX: You can’t rotate images in PowerPoint 97 and 2000. You can, however, rotate the image in an image-editing program, save it, and then insert it into PowerPoint (Insert → Picture → From File).

Or upgrade. You can rotate pictures in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 (see Figure 4-5 and Figure 4-6).

You can use the rotation tools on the Drawing toolbar to rotate images in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003.
Figure 4-5. You can use the rotation tools on the Drawing toolbar to rotate images in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003.
Or you can use the green rotation handle to rotate a picture in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003.
Figure 4-6. Or you can use the green rotation handle to rotate a picture in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003.

Batch Import Images

THE ANNOYANCE: I have a whole bunch of photos from my vacation. Do I have to insert them all into PowerPoint individually, or is there an easier way?

THE FIX: You can batch import photographs into PowerPoint in quite a few ways. Here’s a rundown:

  • PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 include the Photo Album utility. Select Insert → Picture → New Photo Album to eliminate tedious labor by importing all your photos at once (see Figure 4-7). The Photo Album feature lets you choose to insert files from your hard drive or directly from your camera. You can also insert one, two, or four pictures on each slide, apply a shape to the photos, add empty text boxes for captions, rotate individual pictures, and do basic brightness and contrast adjustments.

    The Photo Album interface in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 helps you import multiple photos at once.
    Figure 4-7. The Photo Album interface in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 helps you import multiple photos at once.

    If you’re using PowerPoint 2000, you can download the free Photo Album add-in from Microsoft (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=55D24B47-C828-4141-A8DE-9A459C63DB1A&displaylang=en). Next, select File → New and choose the Photo Album Wizard on the General tab (see Figure 4-8). After that, the interface looks similar to the one in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003.

    To use Photo Album in PowerPoint 2000, you must go to File → New and choose the Photo Album Wizard from the General tab.
    Figure 4-8. To use Photo Album in PowerPoint 2000, you must go to File → New and choose the Photo Album Wizard from the General tab.

    PowerPoint 97 has no batch import capabilities. Fortunately, Microsoft MVP Shyam Pillai created the Image Importer Wizard add-in, which works with all versions of PowerPoint (see Figure 4-9). The Image Importer Wizard offers more functionality than PowerPoint’s native Photo Album utility, including the ability to import images into an existing presentation, resize images on the fly, search and import specific image formats from folders and subfolders, and format the captions before insertion. You can download a trial version from http://skp.mvps.org/iiw.htm, but once the trial expires, it will cost you $35.

    The Image Importer Wizard add-in has become an essential tool for many advanced users in all versions of PowerPoint.
    Figure 4-9. The Image Importer Wizard add-in has become an essential tool for many advanced users in all versions of PowerPoint.
  • Pixerter is a relative newcomer to the PowerPoint batch import arsenal. You can download a trial version from http://members.fortunecity.com/dreed/pixerter/. The full version costs $15 and lets you insert up to five images per slide with an option to import from an image list.

  • If you need batch importers for the Mac, check Microsoft Macintosh Office MVP Jim Gordon’s add-ins, which cost $15 for PowerPoint 2004 (http://www.agentjim.com/MVP/PowerPoint/ppt2004.htm) and $10 for PowerPoint X and PowerPoint 2001 (http://www.agentjim.com/MVP/PowerPoint/ppt.html).

Crop Images Before Insertion

THE ANNOYANCE: I inserted a bunch of images using Photo Album, but now I can’t crop them. Help!

THE FIX: You can’t crop images inserted using Photo Album in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003, as they’re actually inserted as fills to AutoShapes.

If you need to crop after insertion, you can save the file as an image, and then reinsert it: right-click the image on the slide (which is really an AutoShape) and choose Cut. Then select Edit → Paste Special and choose an appropriate image type, such as .png or .jpg. You should now be able to crop the image.

Alternatively, crop the image before you insert it into your slide with Photo Album, or purchase Image Importer Wizard (see Figure 4-9), a third-party add-in for PowerPoint.

Add Pictures to a Photo Album

THE ANNOYANCE: I made a Photo Album using Insert → Picture → New Photo Album in PowerPoint, and now I need to add some more pictures.

THE FIX: Forgot to include that picture of your Uncle Eddie? No problem. Open the Photo Album you want to change and select Format → Photo Album. In the Photo Album dialog box, click either File/Disk or Scanner/Camera button, locate the picture, and then click the Update button.

Flippin’ Graphics Flip

THE ANNOYANCE: I opened an old presentation in PowerPoint 2002, and about half the graphics appeared upside down. The presentation looked fine when I last saved it. What happened?

THE FIX: First, close the file and do not save it. Just close it for now. Then head to Microsoft PowerPoint MVP Shyam Pillai’s web site and download the free Un-flip add-in (http://skp.mvps.org/unflip.htm). Save it to a folder on your C drive, something like C:\unflip.

Double-click the unflip.zip file and extract Un-Flip.ppa and readme.txt to the folder C:\unflip. In PowerPoint, select Tools → Macro → Security and choose the Medium setting, if necessary. If your Macro Security is set to High or Very High, you will not be able to install any add-ins. You can restore this setting once you’ve installed the add-in.

Select Tools → Add-Ins → Add New. Navigate to C:\unflip and choose Un-Flip.ppa. You will see a security warning that says, “C:\unflip\Un-Flip.ppa includes macros. Macros may contain viruses. It is usually safe to disable macros, but if the macros are legitimate, you might lose some functionality.” Click the Enable Macros button and then click Close to exit the add-in dialog box.

Select Tools → Enable Corrective Flip. You will see a checkmark beside it on the menu when enabled. Open the PowerPoint file with the flipped images and save the file. Un-flip will unflip the images automatically.

In case you’re wondering, objects in PowerPoint have both FlipVertical and FlipHorizontal properties. PowerPoint 97 and 2000 ignore these properties, but PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 do not. Therefore, it was possible to inadvertently flip an object in earlier versions of PowerPoint without even knowing it. This issue can also happen with PowerPoint charts and linked or embedded OLE objects, such as Excel charts, Organization Charts, or Word Art.

EXCEL

Excel Data Cut Off

THE ANNOYANCE: I pasted cells from an Excel spreadsheet into my presentation, but a bunch of rows got cut off. How can I get the whole thing onto my slide?

THE FIX: The easiest way to fix this is to upgrade to PowerPoint 2002 or 2003, which fix the limitation PowerPoint and Excel seem to have when exchanging information on the clipboard.

There is a limit to the size of the PowerPoint 97 and 2000 clipboard—about 33x33 cm. Anything outside that area may be cut off. If you can, reformat your data to make it fit within this 33x33 cm area (for example, decrease the font size or the width of your columns). On a default spreadsheet, this would be about 72 rows long by 17 columns wide.

Depending on your operating system, you may also be able to copy more data if you change your display setting from, say, 800x600 to 1024x768 or 1280x1024. Right-click your desktop, choose Properties, click the Settings tab, and move the slider in the Screen resolution area (see Figure 4-11).

The only other solution is to paste pieces of your spreadsheet onto your slide and then realign the data once you get everything in PowerPoint.

Changing your display resolution may let you paste more data from Excel onto your slide.
Figure 4-11. Changing your display resolution may let you paste more data from Excel onto your slide.

Colored Text Turns Black

THE ANNOYANCE: I imported my spreadsheet okay, but the colored text turned black. It’s really bizarre.

THE FIX: Make sure your default printer is a color printer. Yeah, it’s weird, but that really is the fix!

To set your default printer, click Start → Control Panel → Printers and Faxes. Right-click the color printer in the list and choose “Set as Default Printer” (see Figure 4-12).

Make your default printer a color printer to force your Excel text to remain colored when you paste it into PowerPoint.
Figure 4-12. Make your default printer a color printer to force your Excel text to remain colored when you paste it into PowerPoint.

You don’t actually need a color printer connected to your computer. You can still install the printer drivers for a color printer and set it as the default while you work on the presentation. To install color printer drivers, click Start → Control Panel → Printers and Faxes. In the Printers and Faxes dialog box, select File → Add Printer. Follow the prompts to install a local printer to LPT1, and choose something like HP DeskJet 722C from the list.

Get Rid of Gridlines

THE ANNOYANCE: I pasted in a bunch of Excel data, but I can’t get the gridlines to go away. Help!

THE FIX: You have to remove the gridlines in Excel before you paste the data into PowerPoint. Open the file in Excel, choose Tools → Options, click the View tab, and uncheck the Gridlines box in the Window options area (see Figure 4-13).

To make gridlines disappear, uncheck the Gridlines box before you paste your data into PowerPoint.
Figure 4-13. To make gridlines disappear, uncheck the Gridlines box before you paste your data into PowerPoint.

Extract Data from an Embedded Excel Chart

THE ANNOYANCE: Some doofus embedded an Excel chart into the presentation, but we really only want it linked so the market research people can update the data without messing up our PowerPoint file. Is there a way to get this information out of PowerPoint, or do we have to start over and create a new workbook in Excel for the research folks?

THE FIX: Just right-click the chart and choose Chart Object → Open. Then select File → Save Copy As. This saves a copy of the chart and data in an Excel workbook you can let your market research people work on. Delete the original chart in the PowerPoint file and create a link to the chart in the new Excel workbook: copy the chart in Excel, select Edit → Paste Special in PowerPoint, and choose the “Paste link” option to link the chart to the presentation. As long as you don’t break the link to the Excel file by moving it to a different folder, the data will update each time you open the PowerPoint file. To change this behavior, select Edit → Links and choose the desired options.

Paste the Whole Workbook with the Chart

THE ANNOYANCE: I’ve copied Excel charts into PowerPoint for years, but I just realized that it pastes the entire workbook. Has PowerPoint always behaved this way?

THE FIX: By default, when you paste Excel charts into PowerPoint, it embeds the entire workbook. This can cause problems—large file sizes, data being inadvertently included in presentations, etc.

In PowerPoint 97 and 2000, if you do not want the entire workbook included in your presentation, you must select Edit → Paste Special and choose an image type from the list (see Figure 4-14). This pastes a simple image of the Excel chart, which is no longer connected to the data used to create it.

The Paste Special dialog box lets you specify what format you want to paste.
Figure 4-14. The Paste Special dialog box lets you specify what format you want to paste.

In PowerPoint 2002 and 2003, you can select Edit → Paste Special to choose an image, or you can simply click the Paste Options icon to paste a picture of the chart (see Figure 4-15). The Paste Options button appears when you paste an object onto a slide, and the available options depend on what type of object you’ve pasted. For example, pasting data cells from an Excel spreadsheet pastes a “PowerPoint-style table” by default. The Paste Options button lets you paste as an Excel Table (entire workbook), a Picture of Table (smaller file size), or Keep Text Only.

The Paste Options icon shows up immediately after you paste something on a slide. The options you see change with the type of object that you paste.
Figure 4-15. The Paste Options icon shows up immediately after you paste something on a slide. The options you see change with the type of object that you paste.

Font Size Goes Wacky When I Resize

THE ANNOYANCE: When I try to resize the data I pasted by dragging the edges and corners on the slide, the font size goes crazy and gets distorted. How can I make this stop?

THE FIX: Select Edit → Paste Special, choose the “Paste link” option, and then choose “Microsoft Office Excel Workbook Object” to link to the spreadsheet as opposed to embedding it in the slide. You can break the link later if necessary.

Create Separate Chartsheets

THE ANNOYANCE: I have a bunch of charts in a workbook, which I linked to my presentation. When I update the links, the different charts in the PowerPoint file all change to the same chart, so it looks like I just linked to the same chart over and over. This is not good.

THE FIX: Put the charts on separate chartsheets in Excel, and then link them to the PowerPoint slides. To change a graph from a chart object to a separate chartsheet, right-click the chart in Excel, choose Location, and select “Place chart as new sheet.” Then reinsert them into your presentation. If the charts continue to change when updating, save the separate chartsheets as separate Excel workbooks.

Fonts on Chart Not Visible

THE ANNOYANCE: My Excel chart uses black fonts, which makes it impossible to read when I paste it onto my slide with a black background. Do I have to reformat this stupid chart just so I can see what it says?

THE FIX: Relax, you don’t have to reformat your chart. Instead, recolor the chart to make it more readable.

Choose View → Toolbars → Picture to display the Picture toolbar. Select the chart and click the Recolor Excel Chart button (see the left side of Figure 4-16). Specify whether to recolor the entire chart, recolor only the text and background colors of the chart, or do nothing (see the right side of Figure 4-16).

The Recolor option on the Picture toolbar (left) lets you recolor portions of your Excel chart or the entire thing (right).
Figure 4-16. The Recolor option on the Picture toolbar (left) lets you recolor portions of your Excel chart or the entire thing (right).

Note

The Recolor tool on the Picture toolbar is also great for working with clip art. It lets you recolor clips without having to deconstruct them by ungrouping a million times, selecting individual pieces and changing the colors, and then regrouping.

PowerPoint also has a hidden feature that lets you recolor slide background images (see www.indezine.com/products/powerpoint/cool/recolorimages.html for specifics).

Excel Headers and Footers Don’t Transfer

THE ANNOYANCE: How do I import headers and footers from an Excel workbook onto a slide? I can get the Excel workbook onto the PowerPoint slide without any trouble.

THE FIX: Headers and footers don’t actually show up in Excel until you print the file. If you must transfer your headers and footers to the PowerPoint slide, add text boxes to the Excel worksheet, enter the appropriate header and footer text, and take a screenshot. You can hit the Print Screen button on your keyboard and Ctrl+V to paste the image onto the slide. Crop as desired using the Crop tool on the Picture toolbar in PowerPoint. Alternatively, you can add the headers and footers by adding text boxes to the PowerPoint slide itself.

Note

Print Screen will capture your entire monitor display. Holding the Alt key while you hit Print Screen will limit the capture to the active window.

CLIP ART

Clip Art Task Pane Doesn’t Show Clips

THE ANNOYANCE: All my clip art shows up as “dglxasset.” How can I see pictures of the clips?

THE FIX: Clear out your Temporary Internet Files folder, and the problem should resolve itself. Clip Gallery and Clip Organizer need space in the Temporary Internet Files folder to display clips.

Open Internet Explorer, choose Tools → Internet Options, click the General tab, and click the Delete Files button (see Figure 4-17).

Emptying your Temporary Internet Files folder can help with Clip Organizer issues.
Figure 4-17. Emptying your Temporary Internet Files folder can help with Clip Organizer issues.

Clips Take Forever to Load

THE ANNOYANCE: It takes too darned long to search online for clip art. How do I turn this off?

THE FIX: In the Clip Art task pane, uncheck the Web Collections box in the “Search in” drop-down menu (see Figure 4-18).

Deselecting Web Collections in the “Search in” section of the Clip Art task pane will restrict your search to your hard drive.
Figure 4-18. Deselecting Web Collections in the “Search in” section of the Clip Art task pane will restrict your search to your hard drive.

Newer versions of Microsoft Office don’t include a lot of clip art. Instead, you’ll find it on the Office web site (http://office.microsoft.com), which is why the Web Collections box is checked by default. You may want to uncheck it if you have a slow Internet connection. To turn it off permanently, select Tools → Options, click the General tab, click the Service Options button, click Online Content in the Category pane, and uncheck the “Show content and links from Microsoft Office Online” box.

Recolor a Clip

THE ANNOYANCE: I found a really cool piece of clip art I want to use. It perfectly suits my needs, except for the color. Can I recolor the clip easily?

THE FIX: Sure. Select the clip and click the Recolor Picture button on the Picture toolbar. In the Recolor Picture dialog box, change the colors of the clip by clicking the arrows to expand the drop-down boxes and choose new colors (see Figure 4-19).

Use the Recolor Picture tool to recolor clip art.
Figure 4-19. Use the Recolor Picture tool to recolor clip art.

Search Just Black and White Clips

THE ANNOYANCE: I used to be able to search for just black and white clip art. This was really handy when I created my organization’s newsletter because I could be sure the clips would print correctly with the black and white page. It seems that Microsoft removed this option from its clip gallery site. Will they bring it back?

THE FIX: Actually, the Black and White search option is still available on the site (http://office.microsoft.com/clipart/default.aspx?lc=en-us). In the “Browse Clip Art and Media Categories” section, click the “Black & White” link and type your keywords in the search box (see Figure 4-20).

Many users bemoaned the fact that Microsoft eliminated search options for black and white clip art when it revamped the Clip Art and Media web site. However, you can still find the black and white search option if you know where to look.
Figure 4-20. Many users bemoaned the fact that Microsoft eliminated search options for black and white clip art when it revamped the Clip Art and Media web site. However, you can still find the black and white search option if you know where to look.

Inserted Clips Look Fuzzy

THE ANNOYANCE: I inserted some clips onto my slide, but they look really nasty—they’re all fuzzy, not crisp at all. What happened? They looked fine on the Web.

THE FIX: Import the clip into your Clip Organizer or Clip Gallery instead of copying and pasting the clip’s thumbnail from the Web.

The fuzziness occurs because Microsoft uses small thumbnails for the clips so the Clip Art and Media site loads quickly, even for users without a fast Internet connection—they’re not meant to be used as the clip art on the slide. Use the options to download the clip from the Web instead of right-clicking the small thumbnail and selecting “Save Target As” or “Save Picture As.”

Usually, when you hover your cursor over any clip on the Clip Art and Media pages, you’ll see a drop-down arrow. Click the arrow and choose whether to copy the image to the clipboard, add the clip to your selection basket, or see the properties of the clip (see Figure 4-21).

Choose whether to copy the clip art, add the clip art to your selection basket, or see the properties of the clip.
Figure 4-21. Choose whether to copy the clip art, add the clip art to your selection basket, or see the properties of the clip.

Nothing Happens When I Click Properties in an basket, or see the properties of the clip. Online Clip

THE ANNOYANCE: I’m on the Microsoft Office Clip Art and Media pages, and I want to see more information about a particular piece of clip art. I clicked Properties in the drop-down box on the clip art, but nothing happened. Should a window or something open with the clip properties?

THE FIX: You probably have a pop-up blocker enabled. You’ll have to allow pop-ups on the Clip Art and Media pages to be able to view clip properties. The Help files for your pop-up blocker should explain how to do this, as each one is a little bit different.

WORD, PDFS, AND STUFF FROM THE WEB

Change the Default Paste Action

THE ANNOYANCE: I pasted some text from Word into PowerPoint 2002. I see the paste option to “keep source formatting,” but how can I make this the default behavior?

THE FIX: Unfortunately, you can’t change the default paste behavior, which formats the text based on the slide template.

In PowerPoint 97 and 2000, pasted text is formatted based on PowerPoint’s default AutoShape and font settings, or it conforms to the slide placeholder formatting if pasted into a placeholder. You don’t have a choice about how that works.

The default is the same in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003, but in those versions, you can at least choose from some paste actions. After you paste something onto your slide, a Paste Options button will appear (see Figure 4-22). Click the button to see the paste actions available for that particular object.

When you paste an object onto a slide in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003, a Paste Options button should appear. Click it to see the various paste options available for the object.
Figure 4-22. When you paste an object onto a slide in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003, a Paste Options button should appear. Click it to see the various paste options available for the object.

Use Animations from the Web

THE ANNOYANCE: I found this cool animation on the Web and pasted it into my presentation, but it doesn’t animate. Why?

THE FIX: You probably pasted in a Java applet. Not to mention that you probably violated every copyright law in the book. Anyway, PowerPoint doesn’t support Java applets, so it will be just a pretty picture on your slide.

As an alternative, you can use Microsoft PowerPoint MVP Shyam Pillai’s free LiveWeb add-in (http://skp.mvps.org/liveweb.htm) to run the web page in your PowerPoint file. LiveWeb lets you insert web pages into a PowerPoint slide and refreshes the pages in real time during the presentation. Just make sure you can access the web page during your presentation. Select Insert → Web Pages to insert a LiveWeb page onto your slide (see Figure 4-23). LiveWeb uses an ActiveX control, so it does not work in PowerPoint Viewer 97 or PowerPoint Viewer 2003.

The free LiveWeb add-in lets you place a web page on a slide and refreshes the page automatically throughout your presentation.
Figure 4-23. The free LiveWeb add-in lets you place a web page on a slide and refreshes the page automatically throughout your presentation.

What Does the Little Blue Circle with a Question Mark Mean?

THE ANNOYANCE: Sometimes when I paste an object into PowerPoint, I get a little blue circle with a question mark inside it.

THE FIX: This icon shows up when the Office clipboard hasn’t been activated or has lost its focus to another application. To activate the clipboard and maintain its focus, open PowerPoint before you copy whatever it is you’re copying, and after you’ve copied it, go directly to PowerPoint and paste. Don’t stop anywhere on the way.

Pasted Buttons Don’t Work

THE ANNOYANCE: I copied some buttons and drop-down boxes from a web page into PowerPoint, but they don’t work.

THE FIX: PowerPoint is not designed to use HTML in this manner. If you really need the buttons from the web site, consider using LiveWeb, a free add-in from Microsoft PowerPoint MVP Shyam Pillai (see “Use Animations from the Web”).

Use Animated GIFs

THE ANNOYANCE: I used Insert → Picture → From File to insert an animated GIF, but it doesn’t animate. What gives?

THE FIX: Well, if you’re using PowerPoint 97, you’re stuck because Microsoft added animated GIF functionality in PowerPoint 2000. However, the company still managed to get it wrong. PowerPoint 2000, 2002, and 2003 all play animated GIFs differently. Go figure.

You’ll have to edit the loop flag on the GIF so it plays correctly in your version of PowerPoint. A loop flag is a setting in the GIF header. When set to 0, it causes an animated GIF to animate indefinitely in most web browsers. However, in PowerPoint it can cause different behavior:

  • In PowerPoint 2000, all animated GIFs animate indefinitely, regardless of the loop setting.

  • In PowerPoint 2002, a loop flag setting of 0 causes the GIF to animate just once.

  • In PowerPoint 2003, a loop flag setting of 0 causes the GIF not to animate at all.

To change this setting, open the GIF in a utility such as the $24 GIF Construction Set (http://www.mindworkshop.com/alchemy/gifcon.html).

Double-click the 1:Header to edit it. Check the Loop box and set the number of iterations somewhere between 1 and 99 (see Figure 4-24).

Use a utility like GIF Construction Set from Alchemy Mindworks to correct GIF headers for playback in PowerPoint.
Figure 4-24. Use a utility like GIF Construction Set from Alchemy Mindworks to correct GIF headers for playback in PowerPoint.

Import a Word Outline

THE ANNOYANCE: When I use Insert → Slides → From Outline or simply open a Word document in PowerPoint, I get, like, one line of text per slide and it takes me forever to set it right. I even tried using File → Send to → PowerPoint in Word, but it does the same thing. How can I import a Word document more easily?

THE FIX: If you spend some time in Word applying styles to your text, it will import more easily into PowerPoint.

PowerPoint reads anything using Word Heading 1 style as a slide title. It reads anything using Word Heading 2 style as a primary bullet. It reads anything using Word Heading 3 style as a secondary bullet. And so on. Anything using Normal style in Word will not transfer to PowerPoint.

Insert a Gantt Chart from Microsoft Project

THE ANNOYANCE: I want to insert a Gantt chart from Project into PowerPoint, but I can’t figure out how to do it.

THE FIX: In Project, click the camera icon on the toolbar to take a snapshot of the open view in Project and save the image. In PowerPoint, select Insert → Picture → From File to insert the saved image.

Import PDFs into PowerPoint

THE ANNOYANCE: How in the world do I import PDF content into PowerPoint? When I use Alt+PrintScrn and paste into PowerPoint, everything just looks fuzzy.

THE FIX: In Adobe Acrobat or the Acrobat Reader, use the Snapshot tool on the Basic toolbar to drag a marquee around the area you want to copy (see Figure 4-25); this copies the selected area to the clipboard. Then press Ctrl+V to paste the content onto the PowerPoint slide.

Use the Snapshot tool in Acrobat to copy content in the PDF to the clipboard. From there, you can paste the content into PowerPoint.
Figure 4-25. Use the Snapshot tool in Acrobat to copy content in the PDF to the clipboard. From there, you can paste the content into PowerPoint.

If the text in the pasted screen grab is fuzzy, zooming in on your selection will sometimes help. Once you’ve used the Snapshot tool to select the area you want to copy, type in a larger zoom percentage in the zoom box on the Reader toolbar, which increases the resolution of the selected area. Right-click and choose Copy Selected Graphic to copy this new, larger image. Press Ctrl+V to paste it onto the PowerPoint slide. (Don’t go too crazy with that zoom percentage—if it’s too big, you can lock your computer! Start with 200% and move your way up in increments of 100% until you get what you want.)

Once it’s on the slide, you can drag the image of the text on the slide so it’s a bit smaller. This, in effect, increases the resolution of the image (pixels-per-inch), which makes it look a bit crisper on the slide.

Adobe added the Snapshot tool to Adobe Reader in Version 6.0. In older versions, you’ll have to use the Graphics Select tool. It works the same way as the Snapshot tool, except it doesn’t make the copy automatically—you’ll have to press Ctrl+C to copy the area to the clipboard.

If you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat, not just the free Reader, you can also export your PDF as a series of images, and then import those images into your slides using Insert → Picture → From File or one of the batch import tools (see “Batch Import Images”). In Acrobat, select File → Save As and choose an image type from the “Save as type” drop-down list (see Figure 4-26). The .png file type generally works well if your PDF includes text.

You can protect PDFs from opening and/or copying and editing and/or printing. If you’re working with a protected file, many of these techniques won’t work.

You can also use screen capture tools such as the $40 SnagIt (http://www.techsmith.com/) to take a snapshot of the content and create an image. Finally, use Insert → Picture → From File to insert it onto your slide. SnagIt has a handy “scrolling window” option for copying entire pages when you’re already zoomed in on them.

In the full version of Adobe Acrobat (but not in the free Adobe Reader), you can choose an image type to save the pages of the PDF as individual images.
Figure 4-26. In the full version of Adobe Acrobat (but not in the free Adobe Reader), you can choose an image type to save the pages of the PDF as individual images.

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