Powerpoint Tutorial for Macs

By Katelyn Kelley
Microsoft PowerPoint

With Microsoft PowerPoint for Macintosh you can design and build slide presentations with text, graphics, animation and video. Pre-designed slide backgrounds offer an array of colorful choices to get you started, but a collection of design tools also give you the ability to customize the slide design. The presentations can be set to run independently of PowerPoint as Quicktime movies or exported to HTML files for uploading to a web server.

Choose Slide Design

PowerPoint Work Area

Consider your audience, the presentation topic and decide how you want your presentation to look. PowerPoint comes with a wide range of color themes and slide background designs pre-installed, or you can start with a blank white slide and customize your own theme. Click the "Slide Themes" button at the top of the screen, below the toolbar, to view the pre-designed slide options. They come complete with graphics, color and text formatting. Use the "Document Theme" section of the Formatting palette on the right side of the screen to choose from pre-existing color combinations instead of full slide designs. Click the "Format Background" button on the Formatting Palette to choose your own colors and use the font type and size commands on the palette to specify text format, if you don't want to use a pre-designed theme.

Add Content

PowerPoint Slide Layout Options

Add content either by clicking directly onto a slide and typing text into the text box placeholders, or click the "Outline Mode" button at the top of the left column (above the slide thumbnails) and type your slide text like a general outline first. If you have the outline in a Microsoft Word document, you could import that using the Insert menu and the command "Slides From Outline File." This will automatically create new slides to match the outline headings. New slides can also be added manually with the Insert menu, the "New Slide" button on the top toolbar, or by pressing the Shift+Command (Apple) and N keys together. Use the Insert menu to add objects such as pictures, clipart, movies, WordArt®, SmartArt®, charts and additional text boxes to the current slide. To navigate to different slides, click the thumbnails in the column on the left side of the screen. Drag and drop thumbnails to rearrange the order of slides.

Animation and Transitions

Custom Animation Palette

Animations are objects (text or graphics) that move on the slide. Transitions are the movement between slides. Both of these can be customized in PowerPoint. To animate an object, click it once to select it, then choose "Custom Animation" from the Slideshow menu. The animation palette will open on the right side of the screen, allowing you to set how the object moves. Set transitions with the "Transitions" command under the Slideshow menu. A selection of transition types will appear at the top of the screen for you to choose from, such as fades, dissolves and checkerboards.

Test the Presentation

Slide Sort View

Click the "Slideshow" button at the bottom of the screen in the lower left to preview your presentation on a full screen. Test the transitions between the slides by pressing the arrow keys, and check the timing of any animations to see if everything is moving at the speed you wanted. If you need to tweak anything, press the escape (ESC) key to exit the slideshow preview mode, and click the thumbnail for the slide you need to edit. Save changes as you go, so you don't accidentally lose any work.

Export Presentation in Other Formats

File menu save options

Use the "Save As Pictures, Movie or Web Page " commands under the File menu to export the presentation as graphic files (JPG, GIF, PNG, TIF or BMP), a Quicktime movie (.mov) file or a series of HTML pages to upload to a website. If you'd like to create more presentations based on the design of this presentation, use the general "Save As" command under the File menu and select the "Power Point Template"file type to create a template file.

About the Author

Katelyn Kelley worked in information technology as a computing and communications consultant and web manager for 15 years before becoming a freelance writer in 2003. She specializes in instructional and technical writing in the areas of computers, gaming and crafts. Kelley holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and computer science from Boston College.