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Jan's Working with Presentations

   Before you start... How these lessons work

These lessons are part of a set of tutorials in Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101. The tutorials cover Windows, word processing, spreadsheets, the web, presentations (where you are now!), and databases.

Who is this for?

The whole course is designed for people who are new to computers, but even old pros need a refresher from time to time. You might even learn something new, or at least be reminded of tips and tricks that you have forgotten.

Clearly, if you are reading this page in a browser, you already have some computer skills, or else you have a handy helper or instructor close by.

What's covered?

The Working with Presentations lessons will start with how to open and close a presentation. Then you will learn to use the various views of your work in PowerPoint. Once you know how to get around in PowerPoint, you can start learning about creating your own presentation, creating your own slides, running a slide show, printing your presentation, modifying slides, formatting slides, inserting and formatting images, adding transitions and animations, and transporting your presentation to a different computer.

The lessons do build on one another, so if you skip one, you may get confused later. Documents you create may be used in later lessons. Fair warning!

Lesson Design

Each lesson has:

  • Topics -  info for you to read
  • Step-by-Step directions - for things to do at the computer.
  • Quiz - multiple choice questions
  • Exercises- to give you practice and to take you further.

Warning You must actually follow the directions while at the computer!! 
You cannot just read about a technique and expect to be able to do it yourself later. It is different when you are doing it yourself!

Tip Print directions: You might want to print the steps out if your monitor or resolution is small. It can be hard to read directions on the screen while you are trying to follow the directions!

Tip Printing a selection: You may can print just the parts you want. Select the part to print and either right click or go to the File menu and then the Print... command. There may be a choice in the dialog to print just the "Selection", depending on which browser and operating system you are using. This choice might be buried in Advanced settings.

Tip Switching between windows: If you want to work with directions on the screen, you can switch between the directions in the browser and the application window where you are working by clicking on the Taskbar icon or with the ALT + TAB key como or with the Windows key + TAB combo. Or if you are using a high resolution, perhaps you can size your windows so that you can see both at the same time.

(These techniques are taught in the Windows lessons.)

Tip Use a second device: Do your work on the largest screen you have (desktop monitor or lapatop) and display the directions on another screen - desktop monitor (if you have two!), laptop, tablet, or smart phone.

What you see may not match!

What you actually see on your computer may vary from what is shown and described here. Things change quickly in the world of computers. Don't let it fluster you!

  • New version or update - Each one makes changes, some minor and some quite noticeable. Your software may be older or more recent than mine. My illustrations may not all be from the same version either! When I revise, I usually use a screenshot from my current version but I do not change old images unless there is an important difference. Office 365 is pushing out updates with new features instead of holding them all for a whole new version. This makes it very difficult to keep the lessons up-to-date!
  • Different hardware or operating system - Some features and choices only appear when they can be used on the current computer. Your system may be able to do things that none of mine can do! 
  • Customized - Everyone likes to arrange things to suit themselves. So your computer may not have the default settings any more, and, therefore, not behave as the lessons describe. This, too, is part of the world of computers!

The Step-by-Step sections will explain how to set the features that will affect how your computer responds to the directions. If your computer still does not behave as you expected, look in the Help for the program or ask your instructor or network administrator (or an experienced friend). That's why they are there!
[Note: You may not be allowed to change some settings on classroom or network computers.]

If you don't find something that the directions refer to, it may not have been installed, for example, the design templates and clip art. Microsoft Office 2013 and 2016 do not install clip art at all! Other versions come with much less clip art than in years past. Clip art from Microsoft online can be there one day and be gone the next.

The templates and wizards will not be the same in a different brand of presentation software and sometimes change between versions of the same program. There are fewer wizards in Office 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016 than in previous versions. But the techniques of how to work with a template or a wizard are the same. 

Interrupted Work

You may need to stop before finishing all of the directions in a Step-by-Step section. Pay attention to what lesson page you are on when you quit. If you are sharing a computer, write down the page's address from the browser's address bar. If you are on your own computer, you can bookmark the page in the browser or Add it to Favorites. Bookmarks or Favorites on a classroom computer may not be there when you get back to it!

The Step-by-Step exercises will have a Start with: line that tells you what the situation should be when you start the exercise. This can help when you had to stop before finishing the presentation. The steps build on one another, so don't try to skip steps even if you know how to do the skill being illustrated. Perhaps you'll learn a different way to accomplish a task!

Icon: Class flash driveSaving

If you were creating a document, don't forget to save it, or you will have lots to redo when you return to the computer! The directions will tell you to save to your Class disk. You can save to your hard drive if you are working on your own computer or if your instructor has assigned you space on the classroom computer.

The Step-by-Step directions have you save your work each lesson's work with a new name. That is not what we do normally in the real world. It is a real help, however, if you find that you need to start the lesson over. You probably will want to delete the older copies from time to time as you go along.

WarningDo not delete the documents you create for the Exercises until you finish the course. A later project may use what you have already done.

Icon: Class flash driveWarningWARNING: Keep backup copies of ALL your work. The more, the better! Bad things happen to disks, to files, and even to hard drives. It doesn't take much to make a file unreadable. And, those USB drives slide around and out of sight far too easily sometimes.

How detailed

The amount of detail in the directions and illustrations will decrease as you gain more experience.