More design tricks

More than once I've seen a PowerPoint slide that made me say, "Wow, how did they do that?" And what I've discovered is that very often the "tricks" are pretty simple. Today, we're going to share a design idea that will help give your slides a wow factor.

In our last newsletter, we encouraged you to use gradients. The design tip we're going to share with you here is an extension of that idea. Most of you who use PowerPoint know that the gradients available within the program limit you to two colors, right? Unless you use some of the preset gradients. But those can look somewhat

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Don't you think? So here's an idea that allows you to use whatever colors you like for your gradient fills, even the exact colors that are a part of your presentation color scheme.

For example, here's a slide with graphics that use a nice multi-colored gradient.

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How was this done? We'll take the slide apart and show you how.

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We started with two different sizes of vertical yellow rectangles. Then over the top of those rectangles, we put three different horizontal rectangles with three different gradient fills (orange, pink and blue). It looks like this after we've moved things around a little:

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The three horizontal rectangles have transparent edges on the top and bottom, so that when they're stacked up they kind of blend together. The end result is that it looks like one fill effect was applied to the whole yellow rectangle.

That's one approach you can take. Another would be to take those gradients, turn them into a picture, then fill an object with the picture. We'll show you that next.

First we drew four squares on the slide and gave them gradient fills that started with the same color as what the square next to it ended with. (We've put black borders around each square so you can see where one stops and the next begins.)

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After taking the black line off each square, we grouped them together. Then we right-clicked on the group and got a dialog box that looks like this:

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Next choose Save as Picture and save this picture as a .jpg. The next time you have an object on your slide that needs a fill, instead of giving it a gradient fill, you'll give it a picture fill. Click on the object, then click on the drop down arrow by the Fill Bucket on your Drawing toolbar. Next click on Fill Effects, then click on the Pictures tab. Browse to where you saved the picture of the gradients, click on Insert, then click OK.

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Now you're set. All you need to do is add an interesting Shadow to your object to really finish it off. This trick can be applied to so many of the shapes you draw in PowerPoint, it can even be applied to the bars in your charts.

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