Do you have to reproduce paper forms or software screens on PowerPoint slides? This is common for training. For example, one of my clients created a training session to help K-12 school administrators complete important forms for the state Department of Education.
The problem is that the forms have lots of small text on them and are virtually unreadable.
The same thing happens when you need to show software. Often people go directly into the software itself (out of PowerPoint) but there are a couple of reasons that trainers use PowerPoint:
- There may not be a reliable Internet connection
- They may want to repurpose the slides to a PDF document or some other format, perhaps for downloading or future reference
Insert a picture and then what?
If you have a paper form (or document), you’ll need to scan it and save it as a JPG or PNG image. This will give you a more accurate result than taking a photo of it with a camera. I recommend saving all images in the same folder as the presentation file itself. Then insert the image onto a slide by choosing Insert> Picture(s).
You can discuss the form in general with its image on the slide, but you now need to figure out a way to zoom into its sections so that the text is readable. For screenshots, zoom in with your browser or the software’s zoom feature to get a clearer screenshot.
Here are some possible techniques:
- You can open the image in your image editor and resize it. Then crop to just the section you need.
- You can open the image in your image editor and use PowerPoint’s screenshot feature, available since PowerPoint 2010. Choose Insert, Screenshot and choose one of the screens from open windows on your computer. Then resize the image and crop it to what you need.
- You can insert another copy of the image into PowerPoint, resize it and crop to just the section you need.
- You can insert another copy of the image into PowerPoint and use PowerPoint’s zoom (at the lower-right corner of the screen in all but PowerPoint 2003). Then take a screenshot using a 3rd-party tool (recent versions of Windows come with the Snipping tool that you can use.)
You’ll need to choose the option that gives you the clearest image of a section of the form. Repeat the process for each section of the form.
You can simply put these enlarged sections on separate slides.
Or, you can use animation to make the enlarge section appear on top of the entire form. I explain one way to do this in another tip, “Emphasize a section of text or an image.”
Use torn edges to show cropping
When you crop an image of a form or screen, you can use a torn edges effect to indicate where you’re cutting off the entire item. Another technique is to show the entire form or screen in the background and cover it with a semi-transparent rectangle to give a sense of the whole item.
When I take screenshots, I often use Techsmtih SnagIt’s torn edges feature, but you can create your own in PowerPoint. I explain how in “Create a torn edge effect.”
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