Integrating Live Power BI Dashboards into PowerPoint


german-picture-2At we create professional PowerPoint Templates to help our subscribers save time creating professional presentation decks. An important segment of our customers is interested in presenting business data and require professional visualizations for this task. Dashboard templates include several charts, cards and visual representations of data in a way that is easy present. Our Dashboard templates are created with usability in mind, and they comply with design best practices. They are data driven, this means that the visualizations are created through Excel charts, allowing the user to use live data for those visualizations. Even more, if the user connects Microsoft Excel to external data sources (as a database or other files) the user can refresh the charts with you information dynamically. Having said that, create the report once and use it always.

Power BI

In the last months, has been receiving requests from their dashboard users in order to integrate their templates with the new tool of Self Service Business Intelligence from Microsoft, called Power BI. This new tool and service from Microsoft provides end users the ability to create local data stores, analyze the data, create stunning visualizations, and publish them into the web for sharing. The Power BI service has a free version, and the analysis tool (Power BI desktop) is also free to download. The tool is gaining tremendous traction and several corporations are adopting it as their self service BI option.

The main benefits of using Power BI for your presentation dashboards is:

  • Power BI is connected to live data. Build your reports and dashboard once, refresh and be able to show updated data.
  • Power BI provides new visualizations not available in Office 365 and is powered by a growing developers community that posts new visualizations regularly.
  • Power BI is a self service BI tool, harnessing the power of Power Query and DAX and making available already summarized visualizations.


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Add power to your message with better slide titles

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Add action verbs to your slide titles

When I work with clients, I sometimes find that their slide titles are boring and even meaningless. We work together to make the slide titles more powerful

Use verbs when writing slide titles

I recently worked with a client from a Fortune 100 company on a presentation. She needed to make several proposals about how to work with clients. This presentation was also part of a request for a promotion. Of course, I can’t show you the actual presentation, but I wanted to share with you something I discovered — using verbs in your slide titles makes your point much more clear and powerful.

Why is that?

When you add a verb (or even a gerund, a verb with “ing” at the end), you make the title more like a sentence. You go from a fairly meaningless combination of words to a phrase that actually says something. Audience members can read the title and understand immediately what you are trying to say. Adding action to your slide titles makes them speak to your audience and they become more powerful.

Here are some before and after slide titles (modified for privacy):

Field Reps Sales Transition Enhance, grow & refine field rep businesses
Barbara Doe — Proven Qualities of Responsibility, Relationship Building and Lasting Collaborations Barbara Doe — Connecting the needs of the sales reps with internal corporate partners
Authorized Sales Rep Status Upgrade authorized sales rep program
Regional Sales Rep Development Focus on regional sales rep strengths
Partner Segment A Partner Segment A is our fastest growing segment

State the point of the slide in the title

Think of your slide title as a newspaper headline. It makes a statement that entices you to read the article. Your audience doesn’t need to wait or scrutinize the slide to figure out your point. Instead, they get it instantly and then turn their attention to you for elaboration. Here are some before and after examples:

Evidence Based Research–Benefits The Transcendental Meditation program reduces blood pressure
Plasma Cortisol Plasma cortisol concentration reduced
Post-secondary compliance growth Our goal is 100% post-secondary compliance!
Outcome of low back pain in general practice Only 25% recovered from low back pain after 12 months

Write the way you speak

We often write differently than we speak. When we write, our language is more formal. When we speak, we’re more informal. A funny thing happens when people create slides for a presentation. They’re writing, so they use written language style. That ends up sounding stilted when we speak it. It’s also less direct, less clear.

That’s why I work 1-on-1 with my clients. I find that if they just hand over some slides with text on it, I don’t really understand what they are trying to say. But if they speak out a slide to me and we can have a discussion about it, then I can help them rewrite the text on the slide so that it’s more direct and therefore clearer.

It can be hard to write the way you speak, but that’s what you need to do when you’re preparing for a presentation. I recommend that you record yourself giving the presentation and listen to the recording. Then rewrite the text on the slide to be more like your speech and less like a newspaper article or report.

This rewrite should include:

  • Omitting unnecessary words
  • Using simple words (not overly complex words or jargon)
  • Being direct (not beating around the bush)
  • Stating the point clearly

Here’s an exercise for you. Go back over a past presentation and edit each slide title so that it actually makes a statement–the main point of your slide. I think you’ll find that the presentation is much clearer!

And by the way, my client got the promotion!

Check out my other blog post on slide titles, “How to design more effective slide titles with the Tell ‘n’ ShowSM method.”

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How do you write slide titles? Leave a comment!

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To work with me 1-on-1, check out my training here.

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Leveraging existing slides with TeamSlide, slide library software

kartik-sundar-teamslideThis post is an interview with Kartik Sundar, co-founder of TeamSlide, Slide Library/Management software. I asked him some questions so you can evaluate whether it might be useful to you.


Ellen: How does TeamSlide help its customers?

Kartik: When working on a new PowerPoint presentation, you typically want to leverage previously created slides, charts, images, and other collateral.  However, this wealth of information is often buried in a variety of presentations across different locations.  At best, you end up opening several presentations, flipping through dozens of slides, and emailing others to find the slide you want.  At worst, you end up recreating a slide or using an out-of-date version.

TeamSlide gracefully solves this problem by ensuring you can quickly find the specific slide you need without ever leaving PowerPoint.  This PowerPoint add-in lets you search, preview, insert, and share content with just a few clicks. Either in the cloud or on your premises, TeamSlide provides a secure repository or slide library to organize and manage all your PowerPoint content.

Ellen: What differentiates TeamSlide from other solutions?

Kartik: As former consultants, the TeamSlide founders know what it’s like to live and breathe PowerPoint.  Based on their experiences and on-going customer feedback, TeamSlide has numerous features to help PowerPoint users find and share content:

  • PowerPoint add-in:  You can search, preview, use, and share content directly from within PowerPoint
  • More than slides:  Sometimes it’s a specific chart, image, or text block that you need.  In addition to slides, TeamSlide works with any PowerPoint object, allowing users to get exactly what they need
  • Always up-to-date: With a click of a button you can quickly check that you have the latest slides.  If a slide has been updated by a colleague you’ll get a warning and can update your slide or insert a copy with a click

We are continually improving TeamSlide to ensure that users are maximizing their productivity, improving output, and sharing more knowledge.

Ellen: Is TeamSlide secure?

Kartik: TeamSlide allows for controlled content flow within the customer organization and offers cloud and on-premise versions to meet customer needs.

Within TeamSlide users can set specific access rights that define who exactly can view, download, upload, and edit content.  For example, you may want your junior employees to view and download content but not be able to edit any of it.  Or perhaps Marketing prefers that Sales doesn’t upload new content in their corporate-approved library.  These use-cases can quickly be configured through TeamSlide’s web portal.

The typical TeamSlide offering is a secure cloud hosted solution.  For organizations that prefer not to use a cloud solution, TeamSlide can also be installed on their premises.  In both cases, TeamSlide uses state of the art security measures like encrypted connections, CSRF countermeasures or parameterized database queries that have been confirmed in penetration testing.  In addition, TeamSlide can integrate with the customer’s authentication systems, enabling single sign-on.

Ellen: If we want to consider TeamSlide where do we start?

Kartik: Feel free to request a trial from our website.  We’d be happy to work with you to help you understand how TeamSlide can help your organization.

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Speaking to inspire

powerpoint-tips-speak-inspireLast Monday, I spoke to the Boca Raton Junior League. The topic was “From Death by PowerPoint to Life by PowerPoint: Speaking to Inspire.”

I started with the story of how I was strongly criticized by a reader of a magazine for a slide I had used as a figure in an article I wrote and how much that hurt. It led to a journey to figure out how to design clear, powerful slides—not initially easy for me, since I wasn’t a designer.

You’ll see in a minute why that story was important for the topic.

Isn’t inspiration only for non-profits and houses of worship?

NO! I believe that you can add some inspiration to almost any presentation. Let’s take something very business-like—a quarterly sales report. Are sales up? You can congratulate the people who made it happen  and give a vision of the implications for the next year.

Are sales down? If possible, you can talk about plans to turn things around. Maybe there are reasons to believe that the trend is temporary. Or you can inspire people to make the necessary changes to increase sales.

What’s the difference between inspiration and persuasion?


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2 reasons and 5 easy steps to convert a PowerPoint presentation to EXE

Brian_headshot-iSpring guest postThis is a guest post by Brian Tarr of iSpring. Before finding an outlet for his talents – both tech-savvy and creative – Brian Tarr worked as an iSpring tech support pro for two years. Now that his latent writing abilities have finally been discovered, iSpring website visitors enjoy reading his every single article. Always full of humor, his work is invariably built on a solid foundation of research and facts.

* * * *

powerpoint-tips-convert-pptx-to-exeA PowerPoint PPTX file is what you use most of the time for your presentations. But in certain circumstances, you may find that it doesn’t do the job. In these cases, you can convert the PPTX to and EXE (executable) file.

2 reasons why you might want to convert a PPTX file to an EXE file

1.   Compatibility issues: Your viewers might not have PowerPoint! Read more! →

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Create cool animation with Morph in Office 365

Earlier this year, Microsoft unveiled new new features for PowerPoint, Morph and Designer. Here, I want to discuss Morph and focus on effects that you can’t create with PowerPoint’s animation feature.

How you get access to Morph

Unfortunately, not everyone can get Morph. You need Office 365: If you are paying a monthly subscription for Office 2016 at a level that gives you PowerPoint, you have Office 365. If you or your company bought a permanent version with a one-time payment, you don’t.

How to use Morph in Office 365

Using Morph is very easy:

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Keep your audience riveted by adding anticipation to storytelling

powerpint-tips-storytelling-anticipation-loopFor months, I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about 2 new features in PowerPoint 2016 that are available if you have Office 365 (meaning that you pay a monthly subscription) and you belong to one of these free programs:

  • Office Insider: For consumer Office 365 customers (individuals)
  • First Release: for commercial Office 365 subscribers

But I couldn’t get access to it! It was very strange and I was the only PowerPoint MVP who didn’t have it — although others had difficulties earlier on. I got messages saying I didn’t have access to PowerPoint! Other messages said that my account didn’t exist. Read on and I’ll tell you what happened… Read more! →

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Import text from Word or Notepad

I recommend writing what you will say in Word first, because it’s easier to focus on your message. In another post, “Organize content with an outline,” I provide some more details.

Importing an outline

powerpoint-tips-import-outline-1You can import then text from Word or even Notepad (or any text editor) to create a new presentation. This is called importing an outline. Follow these steps to create the outline:

  1. Open a Word or Notepad document.
  2. Type the content if you haven’t already done so, following the guildines below.
  3. Make sure each line, whether for a slide title or bulleted text, is on its own line. There should be no blank lines, because these come in as blank slides!
  4. For each slide title, format the line as Heading 1 in Word or just type in Notepad.
  5. For each line of bulleted text, format the text as Heading 2 in Word or insert a tab in Notepad
  6. For each line of indented bulleted text, format the text as Heading 3 in Word or insert 2 tabs in Notepad
  7. Save the file as a .docx or .txt file.

Here’s an example done in Notepad. Notepad is the free text editor that comes with Windows.


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Getting the line spacing just right

I did a makeover of a slide that included a quotation from the man who discovered the circulatory system. I was SO pleased to get a public domain image of a portrait of him — considering the quote was from 1628!

But when I wrote his name and other information below the portrait, the line spacing was all wrong.


There was too much space between the lines. This is common when you copy and paste text from another source.

It’s common to need to made slight adjustments in line spacing and you can fix this in a couple of ways.


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Comparing webinar services-Google Hangouts on Air, GoToWebinar, and Zoom-and why I chose Zoom

online-business-zoom-google-hoa-gotowebinar-1More and more, presenters are presenting online, using webinar services. So I thought I’d share my experience and maybe comparing webinar services will help you make a choice.

I’ve switched to Zoom! I’ve used GoToWebinar for many years but a friend (thanks, Sheila Finkelstein!) introduced me to Zoom. I tested it for several months and a few months ago I took the plunge — I cancelled my GoToWebinar/Meeting account.


  • I was looking for ways to engage more with my audience. That meant more webcam/video
  • I wanted to reduce my cost (I was paying $99/month for GoToWebinar)
  • I wanted to be able to record the webcam portion of a webinar (GoToWebinar doesn’t)

I also considered Google+ Hangouts on Air along with Webinarjam, which is software that enhances Hangouts on Air to broadcasts give them more webinar-like features. Here’s my story of my experience with comparing webinar services–Google+ Hangouts on Air, GoToWebinar (including GoToMeeting), and Zoom.


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