Monthly Archives: October 2013

Highlight Text In PowerPoint 2013

There are two scenarios in which you might want to highlight text in PowerPoint. The first is as you are creating your PowerPoint presentation, so that when you run the presentation the text is already highlighted. The second is as you are delivering your presentation to the audience, perhaps as part of some ad hoc interaction with your viewers.

Highlighting Text As You Create A Presentation

The ability to highlight text in your presentation with colour is not available in Microsoft PowerPoint 2013. However, you can simulate a highlight by applying a background colour to a textbox.

To insert a text box, go to the Insert tab and click Text Box (in the Text group).

Insert Text Box

When the cursor changes to what looks like an inverted cross, drag out a rectangle on your slide. This is a text box, and what you type next will appear inside it. Once you have typed your text, and with the text box still selected, go to the Format tab (within Drawing Tools) and then click Shape Fill.

Shape Fill

Highlights are usually light and bright colours like yellow, but choose whichever colour you want to highlight your text with. For example:

Highlighted Text In PowerPoint

Highlighting Text As You Deliver A Presentation

Presenter View in PowerPoint 2013 allows you to see your notes on your monitor while your audience sees only the slide. If you want to highlight some text while you are delivering a presentation to an audience you can use one of the controls available in Presenter View. Click on the pen and laser pointer tools control and select Highlighter.

Pen Tool Highlighter

With the highlighter active, click and drag over the text on your slide that you want to highlight.

This Is Rong

The default highlighter colour is bright yellow, but you can change the colour by clicking on the pen tool > Ink Colour, and then select a colour from the (albeit small) gallery.

Ink Colour

If you have highlighted some text, PowerPoint asks you whether you want to keep your annotations when you exit the presentation.

Keep Ink Annotations

If you select Keep, then whatever highlighting you added will become a part of the presentation and will be viewable next time you deliver it. The highlighting actually becomes an element separate from the text and can be moved around, edited, etc. on the slide.

Get An Image From PowerPoint

Suppose someone sends you a PowerPoint presentation that has an image in it that you want to use for your own purposes. How do you get at that image? Ignoring the obvious copyright concerns for now (always make sure you have permission to use such an image), there is a way to save the image to your computer.

Open up the presentation in PowerPoint and select the image by clicking on it. Right click on the image and select Save as Picture.

Save As Picture

Notice that the Save As window tells you what kind of image you are saving. Here, I am saving a .jpg image:

Image Type

Click to enlarge

Other common image types are .gif and .png.

Notice, also, that PowerPoint assigns the name Picture1 to the image. This name will get incremented with every image you save. If I were you I would rename the image to something meaningful so you’ll be able to identify it more easily in the future. Navigate to a location on your hard drive where you want the image to go and then click Save.

Slide Master

You have to be able to select an image on a slide to be able to save it. However, you may encounter some images that simply refuse to be selected. If you have an image that you can’t select, regardless of where you click on it, the image may have been inserted on a slide master.

To view the slide master, click on the View tab and then in the Master Views group click Slide Master.

Slide Master Command

This opens up a whole new tab and selection of slides running down the left of the workspace. Each slide represents a different layout that you can insert in the Normal view in PowerPoint. They act like templates for a slide, and any images inserted on a slide master will appear in the background of a slide in Normal view.

Locate the slide master that has the image, select it and then right click > Save As Picture. From there save it in a location of your choosing. Once you have finished with the Slide Master view, click on the Close Master View button to the right of the ribbon.

Close Master View

Lighten A Picture In PowerPoint

Sometimes the picture you insert into your presentation may look a little too dark. Fortunately, there are some rudimentary controls you can use to lighten the image. We are not talking Photoshop features here, but you can make considerable adjustments to an image’s brightness.

When you select an image in PowerPoint, you should see the Format tab within the Picture Tools tab appear. This is a “context sensitive” tab and only appears when a picture is selected.

Picture Tools Tab

On the Format tab, you will see the Corrections command, and this is a good place to start on your quest to lighten up that image.

Picture Corrections

Clicking the Corrections command opens up the Corrections gallery of presets. Hover over each option to see a live preview on your image. You can preview several options before finally clicking on one to select it.

Picture Corrections Gallery

You can see that the lower options are all in the brightness/contrast category, which makes them ideal. However, they are simply presets. You can get greater control over the lightness (or brightness) of your picture by clicking on Picture Correction Options, at the bottom. When you do so, the Format Picture panel opens up on the right of the workspace, with the Picture Corrections tab open.

Format Picture Panel

There are several controls in this panel that allow you to increase or decrease:

  • sharpness
  • brightness
  • contrast

You can also choose some presets for sharpen/soften and brightness contrast. At this point your best bet is to start playing around with the sliders for sharpness, brightness and contrast. Dragging a slider to the left will decrease its value whilst dragging the slider to the right will increase it. You can also enter a specific number into the corresponding input box, which represents a percentage.

Often, you will find it necessary to increase the contrast a little when increasing the brightness of an image.

A good idea to get a feel for how the different properties work is to choose a preset that is nearly what you want and then look at the individual settings. For example, I’ve just chosen this option from the brightness/contrast category:

Select Picture Corrections

… and the individual settings it gave me were:

  • brightness = 20%
  • contrast = 40%


Formatting Pictures In PowerPoint

In addition to changing the size and location of a picture on a slide in your PowerPoint presentation, you can change a lot of other characteristics too. To open up the Format Picture window, right click on a picture and select Format Picture.

Format Picture

The Format Picture window will appear on the right of the workspace.

Format Picture Window

In the window are listed seven different categories of properties you can change. Just click on a formatting category to open up its options. Let’s go through them one by one.


Shadow Options

If you click the presets button, you will see a gallery of ready made shadows to apply to the image. In most cases, one of the shadow presets will be good enough and you can select one and then move on. If, however, you require more control over the shadow, you can explore the other shadow options:

  • Colour – the shadow doesn’t have to be black or grey. You can use the colour picker to select a different colour for the shadow.
  • Transparency – typically, a shadow is somewhat transparent. You can drag the transparency slider to increase or decrease the shadow’s transparency, or you can type in a precise percentage in the input box. The higher the percentage, the more see through the shadow becomes.
  • Size – use this control to change the size of the shadow.
  • Blur – sometimes you can give the shadow a softer look by adding a blur to it.
  • Angle – use this control to change the angle that the shadow makes with the image. The default is 90 degrees, which means the shadow falls directly below the image.
  • Distance – this relates to how far the shadow travels from the picture. Note that if you make the distance too great, the shadow won’t look realistic.

A good idea is to apply a shadow from the preset gallery and then amend it using the additional options described above. If you decide that you want to remove the shadow, click on the shadow presets button and select No Shadow (at the top).

Shadow Presets


Reflection Options

Use the presets button at the top to apply a pre-made reflection to your picture. Or/and use the following options to tweak the reflection:

  • Transparency – make the reflection more or less transparent by dragging the slider, or type in a precise percentage for the transparency in the input box.
  • Size – you can increase the size of the reflection using this control.
  • Blur – add realism to the reflection by setting a small amount of blur.
  • Distance – the distance relates to how far away from the picture the reflection starts.

To remove a reflection quickly, click on the presets button and select No Reflection (at the top).


Glow Options
As with all the other formatting options, use a preset and/or use the individual options that control the property.

  • Colour – the glow has a colour; set it here.
  • Size – make the glow bigger or smaller with this control.
  • Transparency – make the glow more see through or more solid using this control.

To remove a glow, click on the presets button and select No Glow at the top.

Soft Edges

Soft Edges Options
Use a preset using the preset button, or simply set the size of the soft edges using the slider/input box.

Giving a picture soft edges makes its boundaries merge with the surrounding slide. The edges become blurred and you can see what is behind the image through the blur.

3D Format

3D Format Options

Don’t feel intimidated by all the options available for 3D format; they are all concerned with adding a bevel to the picture.

  • Top bevel – adds a top bevel. Clicking this button displays a gallery of different kinds of top bevel to choose from.
  • Bottom bevel – adds a top bevel. Clicking this button displays a gallery of different kinds of bottom bevel to choose from.

3D Rotation

3D Rotation Options

3D rotation allows you to rotate your picture around different axes. Use a preset first of all to get an idea of what kinds of effects you can get.

  • X Rotation – type in a number of degrees that you want to rotate the image about the x-axis. There are also buttons to the right which, when clicked, rotate the picture by increments of 5 degrees.
  • Y Rotation – type in a number of degrees that you want to rotate the image about the y-axis. There are also buttons to the right which, when clicked, rotate the picture by increments of 5 degrees.
  • Z Rotation – type in a number of degrees that you want to rotate the image about the z-axis. There are also buttons to the right which, when clicked, rotate the picture by increments of 5 degrees.

Artistic Effects

Artistic Effects Options
Artistic effects are a whole host of special effects you can apply to your picture. Click on the Artistic Effects button to display the gallery:
Artistic Effects Gallery

Only when you select an artistic effect will additional options appear for you to tweak the settings. For example, when we select the Light Screen artistic effect, we will see the following additional options appear:
Light Screen Options