migrating from powerpoint to keynote

Chandra Guntur and I co-presented for the first time this year at Oracle Code One. We gave a presentation on Java Versions and Strategy. Presenting with Chandra was great. I particularly liked the opportunity to exchange practices.

I learned:

  • Using XMind for mind mapping – I didn’t really like it. I’m still a paper brainstormer.
  • Using KeyNote for slides – this like

And Chandra got to experience:

  • Using GitHub Projects for tracking tasks
  • Using bigger fonts/less words on a slide/more visuals for information

I’m preparing my first solo public presentation since then and switching to KeyNote. The rest of this blog post is how it went.

Migrating my “template”

Getting my existing slides into Keynote was trivial:

  • File > Open
  • Open the PowerPoint
  • Save as
  • That’s it! Now I have a Keynote file that looks just like all the presentations I’ve ever given.

I also had to edit the slide matter to copy/paste my twitter handle. (The presentation I’m basing this one off of is 3 years old so I needed a more recent deck to get that part.) Still. All this was done in the space of five minutes. This approach didn’t import all the master slides. But recreating those with the background isn’t a big deal for my use cases. I mainly copy existing decks as a base anyway.

how to make a jigsaw puzzle in powerpoint

I wanted to have an image of Duke (the Java mascot) as a jigsaw puzzle image for a presentation. First I googled and couldn’t find an existing one.  I found one on a blog, but it doesn’t look good from the distance. Also, it isn’t labeled for reuse.

So rather than work on content for my presentation, I decided to learn how to make a jigsaw puzzle image. It wasn’t hard.

Step 1 – get an image

I decided to use this image of Duke as a stuffed animal that I found online. I was thinking about using a picture of me and Duke but the lighting was too dark to come out well on a slide.

Step 2 – get a jigsaw puzzle template

I found this template online.

Step 3 – combine

  1. Open the template in PowerPoint.
  2. Import/paste the image on the slide you want to use. for me, this was slide 5 – the blank template for a photo.
  3. Resize the photo/image to be the same size as the puzzle and overlay it.
  4. Right click your photo/image and choose “Arrange -> Send to Back”
  5. Select all 12 puzzle pieces (I had to do this manually rather than with command A)
  6. Right click -> format object
  7. Choose fill and select 100% for the transparency
  8. Choose line and select black
  9. Select all and choose arrange > group

Now you have a single image that you can use in your own deck.

The result

duke jigsaw

4 Lessons in PowerPoint and Impress

As I was preparing my presentation for The Server Side Java Symposium, I learned three valuable lessons about PowerPoint.

Note: If you are thinking about attending the conference, Coderanch has an extra discount.

Lesson 1 – Open Office goes crazy

As I have Open Office 3.0 on my machine, I just assumed I could create my slides in Open Office’s Impress.  I opened the template the conference organizers provided.  And Open Office went crazy.  I ran into two problems right off the bat:

  1. The template decided to use “random transition” between slides.  Which many people noticed when I asked for feedback on my slides.  I saw this in PowerPoint too so it might have been the template.  Or it might have been that my copy somehow got corrupted.
  2. The text sizes were different.  This did work correctly in PowerPoint.  In Open Office, indenting caused that row to be bigger than it’s parent.  Not a big deal as I don’t have two levels of bullets in my Presentation.  They were only there when I was gathering ideas, but annoying regardless.

I was able to recover from these quirks and go on to write my presentation in Impress.

Lesson 2 – Showing one row at a time

I asked some people for feedback on my slides.  Most people had a few comments. Norm Sutaria tore it apart provided by far the most feedback.  Thanks Norm!  I have two slides with comparison tables.  Norm correctly pointed out that I should set them to display one row at a time so the audience doesn’t read ahead.  Sounds easy to do, right?  Nope.

In Impress, I couldn’t find a way to do this.  I decided to move to PowerPoint where more help is available.  I learned that PowerPoint 2007 doesn’t make this easy because it was required to allow larger table sizes – 75 rows x 75 columns.  (Who puts so much data on a slide in a presentation?)  In any case the tip was helpful to copy paste as an enhanced metafile, ungroup twice and then regroup into rows creating a custom animation for each row.  Oh and text that spans two lines needs to be selected for each line.  Tedious.  I can’t believe this is the way to do something so common.

Then I ran the presentation through to check that it worked.  And I saw:

  1. Slide title, table header and first row – good
  2. Press enter a few times and see the next row appear until all are there – good
  3. Press enter to go to the next slide and see the original slide title, table header and first row – huh?

I couldn’t find anything on the internet about why this was happening.  I gave up and asked Norm.  Who couldn’t find anything either.  He solved it by deleting the animations and starting over.  I’m guessing it was a residual thing from the Impress/PowerPoint switching.  Thanks Norm! (again)

Lesson 3 – Highlighting text

While walking through the slides with Norm, I also realized I should highlight certain text.  Like when you take a yellow highlighter and run it over text to get a yellow background.  Another thing that sounds easy to do, right?  Of course not.

At first I blamed Impress for this.  After all, it is a free tool.  Surely real PowerPoint lets you use a highlighter.  Turns out not so much.  Both tools let you use a background color for the entire textbox, but not for part of it.  The “solution” is to create a box of the color you want and position it over the text and then adjust the transparency.

This isn’t important enough to waste time/patience on positioning boxes.  I decided to just change the color of the text itself.

Lesson 4 – The mysterious blocks when printing

I made a nice little graphic and put some text next to it.  I had underlines in three places in the text.  PowerPoint turned that into big black blocks that go down the rest of the page.  It’s not my printer, this happens in print preview mode.  I found out when I was walking through the slides with Norm.  Why would it do that?!  After all the time spent on previous lessons I used a “solution” of removing the underline and using indentation for emphasis.  The lesson is to look at your slides when printed and not just assume they look the same as on the screen.

Conclusion

Argh!  So much frustration to do simple things.  I have to wonder if (Mac) Keynote has these issues.  Anyone know?