PowerPoint is now an indispensable tool for most of us. As one of 34 Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs in the world, I am fortunate to learn about new solutions that help us make better learning materials without leaving the software. New features and add-ins are making this a reality. An add-in works seamlessly within PowerPoint to improve functionality and streamline tasks. Great add-ins save loads of money and time and improve the quality of our work. Here are three of my favorites.
Build-a-Graphic (www.Build-a-Graphic.com) [$99/user/year]
If you want professional graphics quickly, this is the tool for you. This add-in helps you turn your words into visuals, no design skill needed. Build-a-Graphic automatically chunks text and suggests images that augment or replace key words and phrases. You pick the graphic you like and place it where you want it. Position your text and graphics to communicate or explain almost anything.
The thousands of images, infographics, maps, icons, and symbols are 100 percent editable. Your new visuals can be pasted into other software, such as Microsoft Word, as editable (and searchable) pictures. The library of graphics is growing. Users can also add their own graphics and elements to the searchable library. This is a PC-only add-in.
YOUtools (www.youpresent.co.uk/office-add-ins/youtools-for-powerpoint) [$29]
If you are a “PowerPoint Ranger,” this tool is for you. It speeds development time by automating involved activities. It turns multi-step tasks into one-click actions. Things like alignment, scale, positioning, and setting up color palettes are easily done with this add-in. Additionally, YOUtools converts text to outlines (making text malleable), makes PowerPoint styles (similar to Microsoft Word styles), and provides helpful export tools. You also have advanced table editing functions such as sorting and filtering as well as ability to use Format Painter with tables—a big time-saver.
YOUtools is constantly evolving and regularly releases updates. The add-in works on both PC and Mac.
Power-user (www.powerusersoftwares.com) [$226/user/year]
Like a Swiss Army knife for PowerPoint, Power-user includes a spectrum of functions and resources. Use the software’s more than 100 features to replace colors, add an agenda, apply specified styles from one object to another, make Mekko or Gantt charts and waterfall diagrams, and add sticky notes. With the advanced charting feature, Chart+, you can edit as many charts as you want simultaneously. You can change fonts, add or delete chart elements, change position, modify dimensions, and more. You also get a library of images and icons. Power-user adds new features over time that become available after reinstalling updated versions. This add-in is for PC only.
Unprofessional, text-heavy slides with overused clip art undermine your ability to communicate effectively. Learning and applying PowerPoint best practices is a key growth factor in our evolving industry.
There are so many more wonderful tools, tips, and tricks that make PowerPoint magical. To find out more, consider attending my ATD Certificate program, Designing Visuals for Learning. Geek out, have fun, and learn my favorite PowerPoint secrets. Enjoy!