Start by opening a "Blank presentation" in PowerPoint. When you first open PowerPoint you will have the options of using the AutoContent wizard, a Template, or a Blank presentation. At some point you should experiment with the first two options, but for now, simply select "Blank presentation," then click on the "OK" button.
Select the "Title Slide" option. We will be coming back to this window later to select other styles of slides from the palette. Since we are just beginning, click on the option in the top left corner. You will notice that the name for that particular slide layout appears in the box in the bottom right corner. Click "OK."
Type in your title and subtitle. Simply click in the box and start typing. If you don't have a subtitle, you can leave it blank.
Select a background for the entire presentation. Under the "Format" menu select "Background." Click on the bar under the sample slide, and select "Fill Effects." Play with the Gradients, Textures, and Patterns which can be accessed by clicking on the tabs at the top of that window. Once you have selected a background you like, click on "OK." Then click the "Apply To All" button. This will put the same background on all of your slides. (Consistency is important!)
Add new slides. Under the Insert menu, select "New Slide" or click on the icon on the button bar across the top of the screen. (Getting to know these buttons can save lots of time in using any program.) Once again you see the "New Slide" palette. You may try any of these slide templates. In fact, why not take a few minutes to click on each one to see what they are. Remember that the name of each template will show up at the bottom left corner of the window. If you use any of the slides with clip art, you will be prompted to click on an area in the slide to select the clip art that you want placed there. Create all of the slides you want in your presentation before going on to the next step.
Set the transitions for your slides. You will first want to select a slide. The best way to do this is from the slide sorter view. To get there, click on the icon in the bottom left corner of the screen. This will allow you to see all of your slides at once. Click once on the first slide to select it. (Double-clicking on a slide will open that slide.) From the Slide Show menu, select "Slide Transition." On this window you may select from the many transitions that show up directly under the picture. The words "No Transition" are part of a pop-up menu. Click on those words and slide the mouse to the transition you would like to try. A sample of that transition shows up on the sample picture. You may want to change the speed of the transitions. You can also select a sound for the transition here, but remember that sounds can be distracting if you are using this presentation to teach a lesson. If you are using this for a self-running presentation you can adjust the settings in the Advance box. (If you leave the "On mouse click" box checked, the presentation won't run by itself. When setting up a self-running presentation, be sure to leave enough time for viewers to read what is on the screens.) When you have the settings the way you want them, click on the "Apply to all" button. This will set the same transitions for all of the slides in your presentation. (You can set transitions for individual slides, but for consistency and time╣s sake, make them the same for now.)
Add some more pizzazz to your presentation with animation! From the slide sorter view, double click on any one of your slides to see it in large view. (You cannot set custom animations from the slide sorter view, however, you can set preset animations from there.) Once in the single slide mode, select "Custom Animation" from the Slide Show menu. (Note: Custom Animations does not have an Apply to All feature, so you will need to set Custom Animations one slide at a time.) From this window you are given the opportunity to "bring in" each object on your slide. Several steps are necessary for this process:
An excellent reference source for teachers learning PowerPoint is the book, PowerPoint Workshop for Teachers by Janet Caughlin. (ISBN 1-57809-808-4) It is available from Tom Snyder Productions - (1-800-342-0236 or www.tomsnyder.com)