I received a free copy of PowerPoint 2010 Bible by Faithe Wempen. It’s published by Wiley and is almost 800 pages. You think that’s a lot? I write the AutoCAD & AutoCAD LT Bible, and it’s almost 1300 pages! The point is, Wiley’s Bible series is meant to be very complete and the books are long. Generally, they’re reference books, not tutorials.
PowerPoint 2010 Bible is indeed very complete. It will make a great reference for anyone who used PowerPoint a lot and wants an easy way to look up how to do a certain task. Everything is here.
While most of the book is about PowerPoint proper, there’s a good Chapter 2 on “What makes a great presentation?” I would have added something about slide design, but the chapter will help readers get an overview of the process of planning for a successful presentation.
Now, about slide design. Faithe is a confessed geek. (See her confession on p. 604!) But I still would have liked seeing more examples of well-designed slides.
Another omission, in my opinion, is the lack of New Feature icons. In my AutoCAD Bible, I flag new features with an icon. For people who are upgrading (almost everyone, right?), it’s really helpful to be able to skim through such a big book looking for New Feature icons.
The book ends with 4 labs, which are multi-part tutorials:
- Lab 1: Presenting Content without Bulleted Lists
- Lab 2: Adding Sound and Movement to a Presentation
- Lab 3: Creating a Menu-Based Navigation System
- Lab 4: Creating a Classroom Game
These topics explain skills that presenters should know and are well-written. However, they don’t result in presentations that I would recommend using. It’s the design issue again.
There are some gems. I want to end with one that was new to me. In Chapter 10, the author discusses drawing and formatting objects. In the section on 3-D formatting, Faith includes some tips for creating a sphere and a pyramid. Here are the steps to create a sphere (and you can do this in PowerPoint 2007):
1. Draw an oval
2. Select the oval and use the Size boxes on the Format tab to set the height and width to the same value (making it a circle) and whole numbers. I made my circle 2 x 2.
3. Right-click the circle and choose Format Shape.
4. In the 3-D Format category, set the top and bottom bevel, both Height and Width, to 36 points for every 1″ of diameter. So, I set mine to 72 points. (72 = 1 inch, but you need half the diameter on the top and half on the bottom to create the sphere.)
Those are the steps that Faithe provides. Here are a couple of additions that I’d like to add:
- You don’t usually want a border around a sphere, so go to the Line Color category and choose No Line.
- For a dramatic flair, add a perspective shadow. Choose the Shadow category, click the Presets drop-down list, and choose Below in the Perspective section.
(If you want, you can go into the 3-D Rotation category and try rotating the sphere just to check that your object looks like a sphere from any angle.)
Here’s the slide I created using this technique. Cool!