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 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




What are your presentation fears

Do you create great PowerPoint or Keynote slides?  If not, why not?  This SlideShare by Esprezo looks at 5 of the main fears people have when making presentations that lead them to creating just awful slides.  What’s your greatest presentation fear?

  1. Fear of short content
  2. Fear of simplistic design and whitespace
  3. Fear of experimenting
  4. Fear of stealing from others
  5. Fear of feedback

Hope it helps!

+Alesandra Blakeston

Hover over events in PowerPoint

I’m not a big fan of animations and transitions in PowerPoint.  That being said, I do like interactivity!  So I thought I would post a quick tip on adding Mouse Hover Over Events / Actions in PowerPoint.  You can download a finished version here

Step 1: Create your content

Note: I’m using an older template Green Theme, which I uploaded a while back.  You can use any template you wish!

Let’s imagine that you want to create 4 interactions.  This means 4 objects on one slide that you want the user to interact with.  I’ve created four hexagons, but you can use text fields as well. Don’t forget to add some text explaining how the user should interact with the slides

4 interactions

Then create one slide each for each of your user interactions.  Add a back button onto slide 2: Insert > Shapes > Action Buttons > Back

Slide2Once you’ve got your presentation ready, it’s time to add the interaction

Step 2: Remove the navigation

Go back to your first slide.  Click on Transitions on the ribbon and deselect both options to advance the slide.  Repeat for slides 2 – 5

advance slide

Then in normal view, select slides 2 – 4 and hide them.  This will ensure that the user cannot accidentally use the navigation

 Step 3: Add the interaction on slide 1

Click on the first shape you wish to add the interaction to.  As mentioned earlier, I have used the four hexagons on slide 1

With the shape selected (note, you cannot do this to groups!), click on Insert >Action

insert action

In the menu box that appears, click on the “Mouse Over” tab.  Select “Hyperlink to:”

mouse overClick on the drop down menu box, and choose “Slide” and then in the menu pop-up menu that appears choose the slide you wish to navigate to. Then press the OK button on both menu boxes

slideRepeat this for each interaction

Step 4: Add the return interaction

Go to slide 2 and click on the Action button you added.  Insert an action as before, only this time make sure that “Mouse Click” is chosen rather than “Mouse Over”.  Again, choose slide and this time pick the first slide.  To save time, you can then copy and paste this button onto slides 3 – 5

Put your presentation into slideshow mode and test!

And that’s it!  Hope you find it useful!

+Alesandra Blakeston



Create Awesome Slides with Free Pictures

As a visual person I am always looking for new places to find “free” pictures for my presentations and blogs.  I came across this slideshare by Pauline van Goethem with tips on making the best out of the pictures you use and thought I’d pass along the message.  Incidentally, you can do most of the tips mentioned inside PowerPoint.  Write a comment below if you don’t know how.

Hope it helps!

+Alesandra Blakeston

Better PowerPoint – quick and dirty tips

Found this in my SlideShare feed this morning and loved it so much I had to share it!  Which is your favourite tip?

Personally – I always tweak existing decks to make new ones.  Why start from scratch if you don’t have to?

Great presentation deck!

+Alesandra Blakeston

Embedding YouTube videos in PowerPoint 2010

If you’ve ever tried to embed a YouTube video in PowerPoint 2010, you’ve probably come across a snag or two.  Depending on which update you’ve had, the embed procedure directly from microsoft may or may not work.  If it doesn’t here is my step by step method on how to do it!

Find your video on You Tube

For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8npy2oAmyU

Go to the video and then click on the Share tab


Then click on the Embed Tab


Make sure that “Use old embed code” is highlighted.  You can also uncheck the “Show suggested videos when the video finishes” – it looks more professional at the end of the video.  Change the video size etc and then use Ctrl+C to copy the embed code highlighted in blue in the picture above.

Open PowerPoint

Open PowerPoint and go to the slide where you want to embed the video.

Click on the “Insert” tab of the ribbon and then click on the small down arrow beneath “Video”.

insert video

Choose the option “Video from Web Site.”  A new menu box will appear.

paste code

Click inside the menu box and press Ctrl+V to paste the embed code.  The code will look similar to the following:code

You’ll see in the picture above that I have highlighted in blue some parts of the code.  This is because for PowerPoint to embed the video, these parts need to be changed.

  • The quote marks before the address need to be changed to http:
  • The version number 3 needs to be changed to 2

Once you’ve pasted the code and made the amendments, you can press the Insert button.

Check the video

This version of the player doesn’t automatically show a play bar, so press F5 to view the slide, then wait for PowerPoint to contact YouTube and set up the player.  A play button should eventually appear.  When it does, press the button to check the video plays correctly.  Note: You can also click on the video, and go to the Playback tab in the Video Tools menu and press play.  This will add the bar so you can test it outside of slideshow mode.

And that’s it.  Hope it helps!

+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.

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