Category Archives: how-to

Limited Design: Using Only Fonts and Icons

Here’s an example of a presentation I gave last Fall to colleagues within my library, updating them on various service and resource policy changes in effect for the semester. In place of images, I used various font sizes, colors and placements to add some visual interest to the primarily textual content I needed to present.

Feel free to adopt any of these techniques for your own presentations. One caveat – if you will be presenting on an unfamiliar computer, it is best to save your presentation as a PDF file. Fonts are not universal from computer to computer–exporting the presentation as a PDF preserves the original fonts. Adobe Acrobat also includes basic presentation show settings and controls and works great in most any presentation situation. Another advantage is that nearly all computers have some program that can view and display PDF files.




“How-To” Sequence Example Presentation

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How to Create a “Spotlight” in PowerPoint

I found instructions from Zara Lynn King this morning on how to create a “spotlight” in PowerPoint. This technique can be useful when you’re teaching your patrons how to use web-based resources and want to guide their attention to a particular feature or section (assuming you’re not conducting a live demo).




Spring 2010 Colors

Here are the Spring 2010 colors as forecast by PANTONE.

Click image for larger size, or get the PDF version.

For more information on the PANTONE color reports, see my earlier post, or visit PANTONE’s website (

I used Adobe’s web service, kuler, to convert the CMYK numbers to RGB (for PowerPoint). Garr Reynolds has a new post on his blog about using kuler to create color schemes.

You can take one of your favorites from the Spring 2010 list of colors and have kuler help you create lots of different color schemes. 

To learn how to customize colors, search “change color theme” in PowerPoint Help.

Peace and Good Presenting!


Build a Better Handout

Hi all,

Last month, I had the pleasure of presenting a workshop at the American Society for Engineering Education’s annual conference. My workshop was sponsored by the Engineering Libraries Division and I thank them for inviting me to present.

Rather than give them a deck of slides to upload to the conference site, I created a separate document, based on my slides, but including additional information and resources. I used the “Notes Pages” format in PowerPoint, then converted it to PDF for ease-of-use. (In addition to being an example of good handout practice, if you’ve never been to one of my workshops, this will give you a good introduction to the three rules for better presentations.)


This is the kind of handout you want to give to your audience or make available to them after your presentation. Something that your audience members can read and study and ponder at their own pace.

Now, go forth and make good handouts!


Freshen up your colors

Photo (c) sundstrom, ID849660,

You can keep your presentations fresh by updating the colors you use on a regular basis. While the use of color should always support the message of your presentation, there’s no requirement that you have to use the same set of colors year in and year out.

Blue can still mean “business” and green can still evoke images of growth and success, just in slightly more up-to-date shades and tints. To find those new colors, visit Pantone’s website for their seasonal color forecasts.

Pantone is a company that standardizes color specifications for a wide variety of industries and applications from printing to fashion. Several times a year they release color forecast reports for upcoming seasons. The latest one I’ve looked at is the Fashion Color Report for Fall 2009.

Ten to twelve new colors are described in these short reports, and each color’s Pantone number and CMYK equivalents are provided. Unfortunately, PowerPoint only deals with RGB and HSL color schemes, so a bit of conversion is required. I found a simple one on the web created by Peter Forret and converted the CMYK values to RGB values that PowerPoint can understand.

Here is the table of CMYK to RGB values for the color trends listed in the Fall 2009 report. Note that the colors in the PDF will vary depending on the monitor/projector used. If you don’t like a particular color, try adjusting it within PowerPoint, or use an online tool such as Adobe’s kuler to help you select another shade (kuler can handle CMYK values and can convert them to RGB for you).

I’ve created a sample presentation using some of the new colors. Take a look and feel free to adapt for your own needs.



Practical Tips for Using the Three Rules

Hi all,

Per a colleague’s suggestion (thanks, NB), I have combined into one document all of the practical tips I give during a live presentation.


I hope you find it helpful, and if you do, please share with your colleagues.