MS-PowerPoint / Getting Started

Creating a New Presentation

When you start PowerPoint, the program creates a new, blank presentation just for you. You can make this bare-bones presentation the starting point for constructing your presentation, or you can get a more sophisticated, fully realized layout and design by starting with a template.

A template is a starter file for creating a presentation. Each presentation is founded on a template. Each presentation inherits its colors, designs, fonts, and slide layouts from the template on which it was founded (the blank presentation gets its design from a simple, bare-bones template). When you decide between creating a presentation from the blank presentation or a template, you are really deciding what your presentation will look like.

Deciding between the blank Presentation and a template

Templates are a mixed blessing. They are designed by artists and they look very good. Some templates come with boilerplate text - already written material that you can recycle into your presentation. However, presentations made from templates are harder to modify. Sometimes the design gets in the way. A loud or intricate background may overwhelm the diagram or chart you want to put on a slide. For example, the clip-art image on the blank presentation slide place on the template slide because the image and the template background are incompatible.

Starting from the blank presentation means doing the design work on your own, designing presentations is not as hard as most people think because you can choose ready-made themes and background styles for a blank presentation. Sometimes simpler is better. By starting from a blank presentation, you are not locked into someone else's design choices, and you have more creative opportunities.

The difference between a template and the blank presentation is similar to the difference between a tract house and a house you build on your own.

Buying the tract house is less work. You can move right in. But if you build a custom house, you can build it to your taste and specifications, and it is unique. No one has a house quite like yours. Your house looks different from the neighbors houses.

Creating a blank presentation

PowerPoint shows you a blank presentation each time you open the program. You can save this presentation and start to work or, if you are working on another presentation already and you want to create a new, blank presentation, you can follow these steps to create it:

  1. Click the Office button and then choose New on the drop-down list. You see the New Presentation dialog box appears.
  2. Double-click Blank Presentation. A new presentation appears. You can also create a new blank presentation by pressing Ctrl+N. Try visiting the Design tab and choosing a theme or background style to get a taste of all the things you can do to redesign a presentation.

Creating a Presentation from a Template

The New Presentation dialog box offers many opportunities for finding a suitable template. To open this dialog box, click the Office button and choose New on the drop-down list.

As you employ the following techniques to find a template, remember that you can click the Back or Forward button in the dialog box to retreat and advance during your search. Here are all the ways to search for a template in the New Presentation dialog box:

Use a template on your Computer:
Click Installed Templates (you will find this button in the upper-left corner of the dialog box. Templates that you loaded on your computer when you installed PowerPoint appear in the dialog box. Double-click a template to create a presentation.

Search online at Microsoft:
Make sure your computer is connected to the Internet, enter a search term in the Search box, and click the Start Searching button. For example, enter "marketing" to search for templates suitable for presentations about marketing products. Templates appear in the dialog box. Click a template to examine it. Double-click a template to download and use it to create a presentation.

Use a template you created (or downloaded earlier from Microsoft):
Double-click the My Templates button. The New Presentation dialog box appears. Select a template and click ok.

The middle of the New Presentation dialog box lists templates and presentations you recently worked on. Double-click a template name in the middle of the dialog box if you want to use a template listed there to create your newest masterpiece.

Starting from another presentation

If you can use another presentation as the starting point for creating a new presentation, more power to you. With the New from Existing command, you can nab slides from another presentation and make them the foundation for a new one. Follow these steps to commandeer another presentation:

  1. Click the Office button and choose New on the drop-down list. You see the New Presentation dialog box and then click the New from Existing button. The New from Existing Presentation dialog box appears.
  2. Locate and select the presentation whose slides and design you covet.
  3. Click the Create New button. We hope you shoplifted that presentation from yourself, not from a convenience store.
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