4 fun things to add to your next presentation

If you are anything like me, you probably spend a significant amount of your time stuck in meetings. You end up seeing the same boring PowerPoint presentations in the same boring format over and over again. It’s one of the reasons why I started this blog, to inspire better presentations. Sometimes however, inspiration isn’t enough; sometimes people need a more concrete approach. With that in mind, I thought as an early holiday gift, I’d give you 4 fun things to add to your next presentation!

Choose your own adventure

On the surface, PowerPoint is very linear. You create a deck and move from slide 1 to slide 2 to slide 3 etc. What if though, you gave your audience only the content they wanted to see, in the order they wanted to see it?

It’s actually very easy to accomplish. Simply add a title page with links to the different parts of your presentation. Then at the end of each section, you have a return link to the title page. During the presentation, ask your audience to vote on what they want to see. The voting will engage your audience, and the selection will ensure they want to watch what you show them.

You can of course, be as creative as you want with this format. It’s your presentation, so why not try taking your audience on an adventure? Get them to make choices and give input that changes your presentation before their eyes! Since it is the holiday season, I’ve created a mini-template to get you started. All of the images used are from unsplash.com and free to use for corporate / personal use. You can download the template here! https://alesandrab.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/choose-your-adventure.pptx

Embed a Functioning Excel Worksheet

Did you know you can have a totally functional Excel Worksheet embedded in a PowerPoint slide? This is super easy, just a couple of clicks. Click the Insert Menu, then choose Object from the menu ribbon. Then either click on Excel Worksheet under ‘Create new’ or click ‘Create from File’ and browse out to an Excel worksheet and select it. Obviously a large format worksheet isn’t going to work well here, but if you create or insert a small functional worksheet, it should be easy to navigate and use.

This can allow you to brainstorm new ideas, or to update a project or even to decide on dates etc., without ever leaving the presentation! I haven’t created a template for this one, but I think you get the idea.

Blankety Blank

Adding a quiz is another easy way to add interactivity. And a fill in the blanks quiz is even easier. To do it, simply insert a slide with words and phrases with blanks to fill.  You can either add this at the end of a section or at the end of a presentation. You’ll get some entertaining answers, and insight into what people remembered. Again, I’ve not created a template, but I think you’ll get the idea from the picture below… This one isn’t as visually stimulating as I would like, but you can make it as pretty or as visual as you want! You don’t even have to have the words on screen. You could simply have one slide with a picture saying quiz and read out the quiz questions. Then engage the audience to fill in the blanks!

Insert a live poll

Did you know you can have polls embedded in your presentation through PowerPoint add ins. My favorite is Poll Everywhere, which requires Windows 7 and office 2007 or later.

Poll Everywhere is a web-based audience response system. The audience responds on the web or via SMS texting on their phones and the chart in your presentation updates automatically with their responses. Check out the quick video below! It’s fun and easy to use and adds an element of interactivity that is unmatched!

And that’s it! 4 fun things to add to your next presentation. Hope this helps!

Alesandra Blakeston

Free Dynamic Navigation PowerPoint Template

While browsing for examples of dynamic navigation in PowerPoint over the weekend, I came across this amazing work on youpresent.co.uk.  Using vba they have created buttons on the top, bottom, left and right of the screen to allow the user to navigate.

youpresent example

Since it is a free download under the creative common licence, I wondered if it would work for an onboarding presentation I had been asked to do. All I would need to do was attribute the original file accordingly: “based on a project by http://www.gmark.co”.

Their version uses vba to create the animation and navigation between the slides.  While it is very elegant, I did have to wonder if it was overkill.  In addition, since the code is based on having the slide numbers on the buttons, it didn’t really do what I needed. Of course, I could have altered the code to get it to look for a slide title rather than a number, but I wanted custom text in the button each time.

In the end, I took the principle of having navigation at the top, bottom, left and right, removed the vba and added simple hyperlinks to each of the buttons.  I appreciate that my way is harder in the long run (you need to manually set up the hyperlink each time rather than having vba), but I like the end result.

Dynamic Navigation Example

Incidentally, the graphics are courtesy of a free new hire orientation PowerPoint template by Tom Kuhlman from the Articulate community. Feel free to download my example (as shown in the picture above) and to check out the original on youpresent.co.uk


+Alesandra Blakeston

WordPress Stats PowerPoint Template

Have you ever found yourself needing to show your WordPress statistics in a presentation?  Well the easiest option is of course simply to print screen the statistics page.  however, if you are looking for something along those lines, well here’s today’s Friday’s Freebie!

Wordpress stats

Feel free to use this dashboard for anything you wish.  The word cloud unfortunately isn’t editable, but you can easily make your own using your most popular tags and wordle.com.

Hope it’s useful!

+Alesandra Blakeston

Free PowerPoint template – Photo Jigsaw

Thank goodness it’s Friday!  To celebrate, I thought I would put together a Friday Freebie.  This week, it’s a PowerPoint template.  You can download it here.

Three slides in total and 3 different jigsaws for you to use:

  • 2 x 2
  • 3 x 3
  • 4 x 3

You can also reuse the pieces to make other sized jigsaws as well.

To change the jigsaw to show one of your own pictures, simply click on a jigsaw piece.  From the Home tab of the ribbon, click on the small down arrow of the drawing group.

down arrow

Then click on the “Fill” tab of the pop up menu box that appears.  Click on the “File” button and navigate to the picture you want to use. Double click the picture and the fill will change.

format pictureThen without pressing the close button, click on the next piece of the jigsaw and repeat the action.  Keep going until all the pieces have been changed and then press the close button.

And that is it!  You can download the freebie here.

+Alesandra Blakeston




Wheel of Discovery PowerPoint Template with vba

It’s time for another Friday Freebie!!!  This one is a quiz show template which you can use to ask questions in a fun interactive way during a presentation, or use it for eLearning purposes to let the learner dictate which questions they respond to.


Based on the TV show wheel of fortune – which is hopefully obvious from the picture, the dial rotates.  Each of the segments is then hyperlinked to a questions slide – I’ll let you add in your own questions!  If you have problems hyperlinking the shapes and / or text drop me a comment below and I’ll help you out.

There is a macro on the button on page 2 which  spins the dial when the reader presses the button.  IMPORTANT: In order to upload the presentation to WordPress, I have had to change the extension of the file as wordpress does not support PowerPoint 2010 macro enabled files.  I’ve saved it as PPT (old version) instead of PPTM.  You can download it here.  You should be able to open the file with PowerPoint 2010 and then save it as a *.pptm file.  I’ve also uploaded a *.pptx version here as well, just in case you run into problems.  You will simply need to add the macro to the button in the usual way.  The vba is posted below:

Private Sub Spin_Click()
Dim oshp As Shape
Dim adjRot As Integer
Dim i As Integer
adjRot = Int((Rnd * 360) + 1)
Set oshp = ActivePresentation.Slides(2).Shapes("myWheel")
With oshp
For i = 1 To adjRot
.IncrementRotation 1
Next i
End With
End Sub


+Alesandra Blakeston



Having thought about it some more, I’ve decided to upload the *.pptm version to my microsoft live drive.  You can access it here: Wheel of Discovery.pptm

You can view the preview here, but again the macro will not work.  You’ll need to download it to see the macro in action.

20 Excel charts for your dashboards

Effectively displaying data is always a challenge. Making sure that the right data is being displayed is one thing, but making sure that the way it is displayed visually matches the message you want to send is quite another. I’m not going to go into what charts you should use and when, instead I am simply going to give you 20 charts to choose from. You can download the Excel file here.  Visually appealing, these charts should be great to use in dashboards or even infographics.


+Alesandra Blakeston

Free PowerPoint Template: Grey Scale

Once again, I have uploaded a powerpoint template for you to use / edit / adapt as you wish.  This one started in tones of grey, but then I warmed it up with a little colour.  Hope you like it.  You can view the template using the plugin below, or you can download the pptx version here.  I’ll also upload the presentation to my Projekt space as well, since I am now addicted to this as well!


+Alesandra Blakeston

5 great free photo sites

One of the many questions I get about my blog is:

“Where do you get your images from?”

In actual fact I get them from a myriad of sources.  Depending on what I am wanting to do with the image will depend on where I get them from.  In terms of photos though, you can find my top 5 resources below:

1. Unsplash

One new site that I recently added to my list was Unsplash

Optimized-unsplashUnsplash sends you a weekly summary of new images that have been added to the site.  All photos on the site are CC0, and are free to use in any way you wish!  Very useful.  The authors of the images have completely signed their rights away, so the images can be used for corporate as well as personal use.  Made by Oomf it is a great site.

2. morgueFile

As mentioned a few times before on my site, I also use morgueFile. Again all of the images are completely free, and can be used for corporate or personal use.  morgueFile is by the same team that makes dreamstime (a paid image site).

Optimized-morguefile3. Photl

Another great one, especially for photos of people, is Photl. Unfortunately these photos are only for personal use, and not commercial, but there are still some great images here.  there is also a maximum in terms of downloads per day of 10MB.


4. SXC

I think everyone knows this site: SXC.  SXC was launched in February 2001 as an alternative for expensive stock photography. The idea was to create a site where creative people could exchange their photos for inspiration or work.  You have to be a member to download, but the library is huge.  It’s linked with iStockPhoto as well.

Optimized-stock5. Stockvault

Stockvault has over 44,000 photos for you to choose from.  Again these images are for personal and educational use, but the quality is outstanding.  The site also has a great blog that I have found useful.

Optimized-stockvaultWhat about you?  Where so you get your images from?

+Alesandra Blakeston


Creating a dark and bold PowerPoint template

Another week, another template…  One of my previous templates, Metro UI Style template was such a big hit, I was asked to create another in a similar flat style.  This time I was asked for something bright and bold.  When I asked for two words to describe the template, I was given bubblegum and dark.  So here it is.  I introduce to you, “Boxed”.

You can download the template here.

Enjoy!  Don’t hesitate to let me know what you think!
+Alesandra Blakeston