Look, if you’re a graphic designer or even someone that knows their way around Photoshop, today’s post may appall, but that won’t stop me from sharing what I think is a pretty useful little tip.
Powerpoint is a software tool that is much maligned – mostly because of the scary ways we’ve either employed it or seen it employed in its primary use – making presentations.
Over the last few versions, however, Powerpoint has become a pretty powerful graphics generator and I use it all of the time to quickly create charts, buttons and headers for websites and blog posts.
In order to take full advantage of Powerpoint features like SmartArt tools, shapes creation, text formatting and image editing features in the creation of graphics, there are two little concepts that you need to understand.
1) You can create a Powerpoint slide in any size and orientation by clicking File > Page Setup – there’s even a banner choice that creates a 720 by 90 IAB ad unit from the drop down, but you have full custom size settings too.
2) You can save a Powerpoint slide as a JPG, GIF or PNG (all the standard web image formats) by clicking File > Save as pictures . . . and choosing the appropriate options. You can adjust the file size (dpi resolution) to make a web optimized file as the default is 300 dpi and 72-96 is more appropriate for web graphics.
With this two little bits of information you can start to appreciate the fact that you have about 200 shapes, including stars and rounded corner rectangles, and about 40 preset styles, including gradients, bevels and drop shadows to very quickly create things like blog headers, Facebook banners, display ads, and buy now buttons on the fly.
Note that depending upon your version of Powerpoint, ranging from 2003 on a PC to 2011 on a Mac, your graphics choices will vary widely.
Here are two graphics that I created just yesterday in Powerpoint. I’m not holding these up as graphic design wonders, but the total time from realizing I needed a graphic to seeing it on the page was about 90 seconds.(about how long it takes for Photoshop to load) In that regard, Powerpoint is much underappreciated as a small business graphics tool.
Now, if this post has really got you thinking about the design uses of Powerpoint make sure you read this little tutorial – Use Powerpoint to Create Vector Graphics.