You can find detailed instructions on how to use all of PowerPointLabs' features here. If you'd like to jump right in and learn on the go, though, you can also download our Quick Start Tutorial and follow the steps there.

What versions of PowerPoint does PowerPointLabs work with?
PowerPointLabs supports PowerPoint 2010, 2013 and 2016 on Windows.

Does PowerPointLabs support Mac Office?
It does not work for Mac Office at the moment.

Do I need PowerPointLabs installed when I present?
Nope! The presentations created with PowerPointLabs can be opened and presented even without the plugin installed - you can display them on other computers without needing to install the plugin on them.

How do I get new versions of PowerPointLabs?
You don't need to do a thing; PowerPointLabs will update itself automatically.

Will PowerPointLabs work with my templates?
Definitely! PowerPointLabs works fine with any PowerPoint template.

When I install PowerPointLabs, This message box shows up:

“A corrupted system file is detected. In order to install our add-in, you may need to rename the file [VSTOInstaller.exe.Config] in the folder ... to the new filename [VSTOInstaller.exe.Config.backup]. However, in some PCs, the corrupted system file won't affect the installation. Click OK button to continue.”.

What should I do?
You can click the OK button to proceed. If installation fails and installer shows any error message, you will need to install again, follow the instruction in the message box to rename the file [VSTOInstaller.exe.Config], and then continue installation.

After install, no PowerPointLabs ribbon appears?
Restart PowerPoint, see if it appears. If not, follow these steps to re-activate PowerPointLabs:
1. In the PowerPoint application, click the File tab at the top left corner.
2. Click the Options button.
3. In the categories pane, click Add-ins.
4. In the Manage box, click Go.
5. Tick the checkbox for PowerPointLabs to enable it, click OK and restart PowerPoint.

If it still does not work, follow these steps:
6. Open PowerPoint Options.
7. Click Trust Center (the last tab).
8. Click Trust Center Settings... button in the Trust Center tab. A Trust Center window will be open.
9. Click Add-ins tab in the Trust Center window
10. Uncheck all checkboxes in it.
11. After that, repeat step 1~5 to enable PowerPointLabs

Highlight Bullets can be used to easily emphasise individual bullet points or segments of text on a slide, allowing points to stand out in turn as you present them. This can be done in three different ways: Highlight Points, Highlight Background, and Highlight Text,

Highlight Points

Highlight Points can be used when a more subtle approach is desired, and adjusts only the color of each bullet point.

To apply the effect to a slide, select the points to be highlighted, then click the Highlight Points button on the PowerPointLabs ribbon.

During the presentation, each bullet point will then be highlighted after a corresponding click, allowing you to go through them point-by-point.

Note: if there are multiple text boxes on the slide with bullet points in them, the order in which the text boxes appear in PowerPoint's selection pane will be the order in which they will be highlighted.

If you'd like to specify a different ordering, simply Ctrl+click the text boxes in the desired order, then click Highlight Text.

Highlight Background

Highlight Background can be used when you want a flashier way of emphasis, and provides an effect similar to that of a real highlighter on paper.

To apply this effect to a slide with bullet points on it, select the points to be highlighted, then click Highlight Background on the PowerPointLabs ribbon.

When the presentation is running, each bullet point will be highlighted after a corresponding click.

Note: just as with Highlight Points, multiple text boxes will be highlighted in the order in which they appear in the selection pane.

To override this ordering, just Ctrl+click the text boxes in the order they should be highlighted in, then click Highlight Background.

Highlight Text

Highlight Text can be used if you'd like to emphasize a smaller section of text anywhere on the slide.

To apply this effect, select the text to highlight, then click Highlight Text on the PowerPointLabs ribbon.

During the presentation, each text fragment will be highlighted after a corresponding click.

Custom Colors

The colors used by Highlight Bullets can be customized by opening the settings dialog from the ribbon:

The Text Highlight Color is the color used by Highlight Text to emphasise the current point. After the highlight moves on to the next point, the Text Default Color is applied to the previously-highlighted point.

The Background Highlight Color is the color used by Highlight Background when applying the "highlighter effect" to a point.

Tip: though the Text Default Color is usually the "normal" color used for text on the slide, changing it to a more subtle shade can be used to further emphasise that focus has moved on.

Picture Slides Lab (PSL) helps you create better Picture Slides (Slides with a big picture and a bit of text) with much less effort. The following video demonstrates how PSL works.

Here is a sample deck of Picture Slides created using PSL.

[download the pptx file]

Let’s go through the typical steps of using PSL to create a Picture Slide deck from scratch. First, we can specify what text to include in each slide. The easiest way to specify that is to type it in the outline view, as shown below.

Next, click on the first slide you want to design using PSL. After that, launch the PSL by clicking its icon from the ribbon.

When loaded, PSL will show how the current slide will look when using various styles. As you have not specified any pictures to use yet, PSL will use a default image.

Click on the style you think you are going to use (you can change this later).

Next, let’s choose a suitable picture.

Click Customize. It will show you how the slide will look like with the various pictures you have on the Picture Collection area (i.e. the right half of the PSL window).

If this is the first time PSL being used, you’ll have the two default pictures only. To add more, do one of the following.

  1. Click + and choose more pictures from your computer hard disk.

  2. Use a Browser to search in Google Image Search (this method will not work with other search engines), and drag-and-drop the search result thumbnails (one at a time) onto PSL window or the quick drop icon.

    The quick drop icon looks like this appears when the PSL window is not in focus.

  3. Use a Browser to navigate to a Web page containing the picture you want to use, and drag-and-drop (or copy-paste) the picture onto PSL window or the quick drop icon.

    Switch back to PSL window to see how the images you selected compare with each other if used in the slide.

Click on the slide previews (in the Slide Preview area) that shows the picture you want to use to select it.

Tip: To change the picture used in any of slide previews, click on the slide preview in concern and then click on the picture you want to use.

If you want to tweak the design further, choose which aspect you want to tweak. PSL will show a preview of the slides with variations of that aspect. In the example below, PSL shows variations of the text position.

Select the variation you like by clicking on the corresponding slide preview. Repeat this process until you have tweaked all the aspects you wanted to tweak.

When you are happy with the slide design, click ‘apply’, which will apply the design to the slide.

In the confirmation dialog (an example shown above), click the slide you want to design next and click Select.

PSL will show a preview of that slide with different pictures in your picture collection, using the style you used (including all the tweaks you did) for the slide you designed immediately before .

Click one of the slide previews to select one of the previewed pictures. Alternatively, click a picture on the picture collection area to use that picture instead.

Tip: To remove pictures from the picture collection area, right-click on a picture thumbnail and select the appropriate menu option.

As before, click Apply to accept the current preview and move to the next slide.

Alternatively, you can tweak the style further, as before.

It is possible to switch to a completely different style too. Just click on the Change Style button to go back to the screen where you can select from different styles.

Repeat the above steps until you are done with all slides.

To tweak/redesign a slide previously designed by PSL

Select the slide you want to tweak/redesign in PowerPoint, and open PSL. PSL will load a preview of the previous design. You can tweak/redesign the slide using the features explained above.

Tip: If PSL is already open, you can use the Go To Slide’ button to select a different slide to design.

To copy the style/picture from one slide to another

Use the Go To Slide to load the destination slide.

Click the Load... button. In the next dialog (example shown below) choose which slide to copy from and click Load Picture or Load Style button to load the picture or the style. PSL will show a preview of the current slide with the loaded picture. You can tweak the design further if necessary, before applying it to the current slide.

To adjust which part of the picture is shown on the slide

Right-click on a slide preview and choose Adjust Picture Dimensions.

In the next window, use the buttons or the corner handles to adjust which part of the picture is shown in the slide. Click Save to apply the changes.

To cite the source of pictures

PSL automatically inserts the picture source (i.e. where the picture came from) into the slide notes. For pictures copied from a Web Browser, PSL records the source automatically:

Note that you can right-click a slide preview and select Edit picture source to edit the picture source.

If you would like PSL to insert the picture source to the bottom of the slide itself, go the the Settings and set the appropriate options.

And here is the effect:

You can use the Add Source Slide to insert a slide containing a list of picture sources:

If you changed any of the pictures after adding the citation slide, remember to click the Add Source Slide button again to update the list of sources in that slide.

Spotlight darkens all but a specified region on the slide, allowing you to easily focus your audience's attention on a particular aspect.

(Original Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Using Spotlight is easy. First, draw a shape to indicate the area which should be lit up - you can use any of PowerPoint's included shapes, or even draw a freeform shape.

To produce the example shown above, we drew a shape like so:

With the shape selected (by clicking once on it), go to the PowerPointLabs tab on the Office Ribbon and click Create Spotlight.

And that's it! PowerPointLabs will create a new slide with the spotlight effect on it.

If you'd like, you can adjust the transparency of the darkened area and the softness of the spotlight's edges from the same tab. Just click the options button here:

If you're not quite happy with the way things turned out, simply adjust the settings from the dialog (shown above), delete the slide with the spotlight effect, and click Create Spotlight again.

You can download the slides used in this example here.

Auto Animate makes creating slick animations as easy as specifying the start and end positions. The animation in the following video was created using Auto Animate.


First, create a slide that will serve as the starting position of the animation: the start slide.

For the animation above, our start slide looks like this. Each of the items here is a separate shape, created using PowerPoint's shape tools.


Next, create the slide that will serve as the ending position of the animation - our end slide - by duplicating the start slide. This can be done either by right-clicking the slide in the slide list and selecting Duplicate Slide, or by clicking on it and pressing Ctrl+D on the keyboard.

Once the end slide has been created, modify the shapes on it so they resemble the state they should be in at the end of the animation.

In our example, the end slide looks like this (with the changes magnified in detail on the right):


To create the actual animation, select the start slide, go to the PowerPointLabs tab in the Office Ribbon, and click Add Animation Slide.

PowerPointLabs will create a new slide in between the start and end slides: the animation slide. These slides contain the actual animation effects, and can be identified by the PowerPointLabs logo in the top right corner.

Don't worry: the PowerPointLabs logo is invisible during the actual slide show.

That's all there is to it! You can play the slides to see how the animation turned out.

You can download the slides used in this example here.

Adjusting Animations

The easiest way to tweak the animations is to adjust the shapes in the start and/or end slides, then remove the animation slide, select the start slide and click Add Animation Slide in the PowerPointLabs tab in the Office Ribbon.

You can also adjust the length of the animation, or enable a smoother (but slightly more resource-intensive) animation method from the settings dialog:

If you'd like a more hands-on approach, you can manually tweak the animations using the PowerPoint animations pane.

Animation Tips and Tricks

Wrong Shapes being Animated?

This can happen when PowerPointLabs can't figure out which shapes in the end slide correspond to those in the start slide. You can fix this by ensuring matching shapes have the same name on both slides, using the selection pane.

For example, notice how we have named the four green circles here c1, c2, c3, and c4 on both the start and end slides.

To rename a shape, either right-click on it and select Edit name in the submenu PowerPointLabs, or click on it in the selection pane.

Note: if multiple shapes on the same slide share a single name, the wrong shapes may be animated.

Moving Shapes Together

The easiest way to have many shapes moving together as one is to group them first. This can be done by selecting the shapes (either through the selection pane or by Ctrl+clicking them), right-clicking, and selecting Group.

Animate In Slide

Animate In Slide can be used to create slick animations within a slide, just like those shown below:

To use Animate In Slide, place a copy of the shape to be animated at each "stop" along the desired animation path. Next, select the shapes in the order to be animated (by Ctrl+clicking them), then click the Animate In Slide button.

To modify the animation, just move the shapes as necessary, select them, and click the Animate In Slide button again.

Auto Narrate creates synthesized audio from your speaker notes, and embeds it on each slide. It's great for figuring out exactly what your speech will sound like, or creating pre-packaged presentations that can play automatically. If you'd like, you can go one step further and easily record your own replacements for the generated audio. In the following video, the audio narration was created by Auto Narrate.


Synthesizing Audio

Auto Narrate uses the text entered in the Speaker Notes pane below each slide to generate audio:

Simply type what you'd like to say for the slide in the Speaker Notes, then click the Add Audio button. You can remove audio easily by clicking Remove Audio.

To hear what a particular sentence or phrase will sound like without having to add audio for the entire slide, simply select it in the Speaker Notes pane, right-click, and choose Speak Selected Text.

Note: if you make changes to your speech, it isn't necessary to remove any audio that's already been embedded; PowerPointLabs will automatically take care of it when you click Add Audio again.

The settings dialog allows you to change the default voice used for narration, or to preview audio after it is added:

Older versions of PowerPointLabs offered an "All Slides" checkbox in the settings dialog. Starting with version 1.7, PowerPointLabs will add or remove audio from the slides selected in the lefthand slide selection pane.

To add or remove audio from all slides at once, simply click in the slide selection pane, press Ctrl+A to select all slides, then click the Add Audio or Remove Audio button. You can also select individual slides by Ctrl+Clicking on them.

Tags

For more fine-grained control over the generated audio, you can use a variety of tags to specify aspects such as speed, pronunciation, and even the type of voice to use.

Tags come in two types: paired and unpaired.

Paired Tags

A paired set of tags encloses a particular word or phrase, and is used to inform PowerPointLabs how to vocalise that particular section of text.

Speed

Speed tags are used to specify the pace at which the text they enclose should be read.

Syntax: [Speed: <fast/medium/slow/extra fast/extra slow>]<Text to say>[EndSpeed]

Example: [Speed: slow] This point is very important. [EndSpeed]

Voice

Voice tags can be used to change the synthesized voice for a particular section of text. You can see a list of all voices installed on your computer in the Default Voice dropdown:

Note: there's no need to type the entire name displayed in the dropdown; PowerPointLabs will choose the first voice that contains the portion that you enter.

The amount of voices you have installed may vary depending on Windows' language settings - installing additional languages may provide more voices. Voices may also be purchased from third-party vendors.

Syntax: [Voice: <voice name>]<Text to say>[EndVoice]

Example: [Voice: David] Hello there! [EndVoice]

Pronounce

Pronounce tags can be used to specify the way a word should be pronounced, using IPA notation. This can be useful in situations where the generated speech uses a particular pronunciation of a word which isn't correct in context.

Note: the Dictionary.com definition pages include IPA pronunciations that can be used with the Pronounce tag.

Syntax: [Pronounce: <IPA pronunciation>] <Word to pronounce> [EndPronounce]

Example: I [Pronounce: rɛd] read [EndPronounce] that book a while ago.

Unpaired Tags

An unpaired tag is used to specify information that doesn't relate to a particular word or phrase.

Pause

As its name implies, the Pause tag can be used to specify a pause in the narration. This is useful for creating short breaks between sentences or ideas.

Syntax: [Pause: <duration in seconds>]

Example: That's an important point. [Pause: 3] Let's move on to discuss...

AfterClick

The AfterClick tag is used to set portions of narration to be triggered only after the slide is clicked.

Note: this tag is especially useful if you have existing animations on the slide which are triggered by clicks. PowerPointLabs will set narration to play after all animations triggered by the corresponding click have completed.

Syntax: [AfterClick]

Recording Your Own Audio

PowerPointLabs also makes it easy to record your own audio narration, whether you're replacing synthesized narration or starting from scratch.

To bring up the recording pane, click on the Add Audio menu button, then click Record Audio Manually.

Replacing Synthesized Narration

Any synthesized pieces of narration will appear in the Audio panel of the recording pane. To replace a particular section of the narration, simply select it - the corresponding section of the script (from the speaker notes) will then be shown in the Current Script field.

Simply click the record button to begin recording, then click stop once you have finished.

Tip: you can also right-click on any of the audio segments listed in the Audio panel to play, remove, or replace it.

Double-clicking on anything within the Audio or Scripts panes will also play the corresponding piece of audio if it has been generated.

Recording from a Script

Even if you haven't used Auto Narrate to create synthesized narration, you can still record your own narration easily using the same process. Simply enter your speech into the speaker notes pane as if you were going to use Auto Narrate (including AfterClick tags to separate speech for animations), then bring up the recording pane.

Each "line" to record will be displayed in the Scripts panel of the recording pane. Just select the one you'd like to record, then use the recording controls to start!

In-Show Recording

Clicking Record During Slide Show will launch the slide show, with two buttons overlaid onto each slide:

This allows you to record narration for the slide or presentation in sequence, viewing animations and transitions in the process. Think of the presentation as being made of many segments, each separated by an animation or transition triggered by a mouse click; you can record narration for each of these segments.

Tip: try using Auto Captions to add captions before recording. You can then use them in the same way as a teleprompter, and remove them after you're done.

To record, just hit the Start Recording button.

When you're done, click Stop and Advance. If you want to go back and try again, just click Undo afterwards.

Auto Captions is a companion feature to Auto Narrate, and can be used to create movie-style captions for each slide's narration. Just like Auto Narrate, Auto Captions uses the text entered in the Speaker Notes pane.

Though captions are displayed alongside their corresponding narration, it isn't necessary to use Auto Narrate if you'd just like the captions without any audio.

Captions can be added to any slide by clicking the Add Captions button, and removed using the Remove Captions button. To remove captions from all slides, click on the Remove Captions label and select Remove All Notes:

Note: as with Auto Narrate, it isn't necessary to remove captions when you update the text in the Speaker Notes - just hit Add Captions again, and PowerPointLabs will update everything for you.

Similarly, to add or remove captions from multiple slides at once, simply select them by Ctrl+Clicking in the lefthand slide selection pane.

Auto Zoom includes two features to help you emphasise important details: Zoom to Area, and Drill Down.

Zoom to Area

Zoom to Area allows you to draw the audience's attention to a particular section of the slide by zooming in on it.

To use Zoom to Area, draw a rectangular shape to show the area you'd like to zoom in on. The larger the rectangle (relative to the entire slide), the less the "zoom factor" - conversely, a smaller rectangle allows you to zoom in more into a detailed area.

Next, select the rectangle, and click the Zoom to Area button. A single animation slide containing a series of animations will be created to zoom in on the area, as well as to zoom back out again.

Note: if you'd like, you can have the animations be inserted on separate slides instead. Just open the Auto Zoom settings dialog, and check the Put all zoom effects on separate slides option.


Zoom and Pan

Zoom to Area can also be used to emphasise multiple areas on the same slide. Simply draw a rectangular shape on each of the areas to zoom in on, then Ctrl+click on each of the shapes in the order they should be displayed in:

Next, click the Zoom to Area button. PowerPointLabs will create an animation slide with a series of animations on the current slide to zoom into and pan between the shapes, as well as provide an indication of the order in which they'll be displayed in:

Note: if Put all zoom effects on separate slides in the Auto Zoom settings dialog is checked, these animations will be inserted on separate slides as well.

Drill Down

Drill Down allows you to show your audience the bigger picture and progressively zoom into details without overwhelming them with information.

To use Drill Down, you first need to create two slides: one for the "bigger picture" view, and one with the content to drill down into. Leave an empty area on the "big picture" slide where you want the zoom effect to take place:

Next, on the "big picture" slide, draw a rectangle in the empty space - this will be where the content from the "drill down" slide will appear.

Select the rectangle, and click the Drill Down button.

PowerPointLabs will replace the rectangle with an image of the "drill down" slide, and add an animation slide with the zoom effect.

If you change the content of the "drill down" slide later, just select the picture and click Drill Down again to regenerate the zoom animation.

To create the effect of zooming back out to the "big picture" slide, simply duplicate the "big picture" slide and place it after the "drill down" slide. Next, select the picture of the "drill down" slide and click Step Back.

The Quick Tutorial file also contains a full walkthrough of this process, including both zooming in and out.

Auto Crop allows you to easily cut out a section of an image on a slide without needing any additional image editing software.

First, use the freeform shape tool to mark out the area you'd like to crop.

Select the shape, then click the Crop To Shape button on the ribbon.

PowerPoint's shadow and soft edges effects can be used to enhance the look of the cropped image - for instance, here's the same image above after soft edges were applied.

For more complex cut-outs, just draw multiple shapes, select all of them, then click Crop To Shape.

The result of the above crop, with the shadow effect applied:

Note: Auto Crop can also be used to cut an area from multiple images. Just draw the shape(s) over all the images, select them, and click the Crop To Shape button.

The Colors Lab allows you to easily apply colors to text and shapes in your presentation, as well as find sets of matching colors to use. To access it, just click the Colors Lab button on the ribbon:

To select a different color, click on the colored square near the top of the pane to open the color picker.

You can also fine-tune your choice by using the Brightness and Contrast sliders.

Alternatively, you can click and drag from the colored square to the color you wish to select. This is useful for selecting a color that is already part of the presentation.

Note: colors from outside the PowerPoint window itself can be chosen using this method as well. This can be used to copy a color from websites or other files.

Applying Colors

The Colors Lab allows you to apply colors to text and shapes on any of your slides. To do so, first select the element to change by clicking on it within the slide.

The Colors Lab can change the color of text, as well as the border outline color and background fill color of shapes. This can be done by clicking and dragging from the appropriate button to the color you wish to use:

Alternatively, clicking on the button will bring up the color picker to choose a different color.

Matching Colors

You can use the Colors Lab to create entire color schemes from just a single color. Five different schemes are generated and shown in the Matching Colors section.

You can drag and drop the colors you like to the Favorites palette, which can then be saved for later use.

Saving and Loading Favorite Colors

The four buttons below the Favorite Color palette can be used to save, load, restore, and clear it respectively.

To save colors to a file, click on the Save button. Similarly, the Load button allows colors to be loaded back from a previously-saved file.

To restore a previously loaded set of colors (after having changed the palette), click on the Restore button.

Finally, the entire palette can be cleared by clicking on the Clear button.

The Shapes Lab allows you to keep track of and save elements from presentations - shapes, text, images, and so on - that you may want to reuse throughout, or across different presentations. Unlike copying and pasting items to and from the clipboard, the Shapes Lab is persistent - shapes are stored even after PowerPoint has been closed, and any animations or effects applied to them are saved as well.

To open the Shapes Lab, click on its button on the ribbon:

Saving Shapes

To save a shape for later use, first select it on the slide, then right-click and select Add to Shapes Lab in the submenu PowerPointLabs.

The shape will then appear as an entry in the Shapes Lab pane.

Note: selecting a group of items, as in the example above, will save them as a single item in the Shapes Lab.

To change the location in which shapes are saved, right-click on the Shapes Lab pane and select Settings. By choosing a shared folder (like one in Dropbox or on a network drive), shapes can be shared between computers and users.

Note: the folder in which shapes should be saved must be empty when selected.

Managing Shapes

Once a shape has been saved in the Shapes Lab, it can be reused anywhere in the presentation (or even in other presentations). To add a shape to the current slide, either double-click on the entry in the Shapes Lab, or right-click and select Add to Slide.

Shapes can also be removed from the Shapes Lab by right-clicking on them and selecting Remove Shape. Similarly, a shape can be renamed by selecting Edit Name, or by clicking on it after it has been selected.

Tip: you can also click and drag or Ctrl+Click to select and manipulate multiple shapes at once.

Categories

The Shapes Lab also allows you to create multiple categories to help better organise your shapes - for instance, it may be useful to group shapes by subject or purpose.

To create a new category, right-click on an empty space in the Shapes Lab and select Add Category. A dialog box will appear, allowing you to enter a name for the category.

Once you have more than one category in the Shapes Lab, you can use the Category drop-down menu to switch between them. Shapes can be moved between categories by right-clicking on the shape and choosing the destination category from the context menu.

Categories can also be renamed or deleted by right-clicking on an empty space in the Shapes Lab and choosing the appropriate option. You can also set a category as the default category where new shapes will be saved to from the same menu.

Importing Shapes

The Shapes Lab can also import shapes from a file - this can be useful if you use multiple computers, or have a collection of shapes you'd like to share with others.

You can import single shapes, or import an entire library. To do so, right-click on an empty space in the Shapes Lab, then select Import Shapes or Import Library.

Select the library or shape you wish to import, and click Open. Note that individiual shapes have the extension .pptlabsshape, while shape libraries have the extension .pptlabsshapes.

Note: you can find some Shapes and Shape Libraries over on our gallery page. Feel free to submit your own, too!

Creating Shape Libraries

If you'd like to create your own shape libraries, first create a new empty PowerPoint presentation and insert a blank slide. Each slide in this presentation will correspondohohca to a single category; you can thus save multiple categories of shapes in a single library file.

To name each category, create a textbox on the slide containing "Category:" followed by the desired name:

After saving the file, change its file extension from .pptx to .pptlabsshapes - this doesn't change the file's contents or format, but makes it easier to select when importing into the Shapes Lab.

Creating Shapes

If you'd like to create your own shapes, first create a new empty PowerPoint presentation and insert a blank slide. Simply create your shape in the middle of the slide and save it.

After saving the file, change its file extension from .pptx to .pptlabsshape. As before, this does not change the file's contents or format.

The Effects Lab makes it easy to draw attention to portions of the slide through blur, color, or magnification effects, and also provides a convenient way to access several of PowerPoint's built-in image effects.

Make Transparent

As its name implies, Make Transparent turns the selected image or shape slightly transparent. This can be used to fade an image for use in the background of a slide - something which can't ordinarily be easily done in PowerPoint itself - or to use a shape as an overlay to draw attention to a part of the slide.

For example, we'd like to use this image as the background for the title slide; as is, though, there isn't enough contrast between it and the title.

To turn an image or shape transparent, select it, then click Make Transparent from the Effects Lab dropdown.

This turns the image slightly transparent, increasing the contrast between it and the slide's text.

Note: the transparency of the image or shape can be adjusted afterwards by right-clicking the image/shape and selecting Format Shape.

Magnifying Glass

The Magnifying Glass effect can be used to enlarge a small detail on the slide. To use it, first draw a shape over the area to be magnified.

Note: though the example shown here uses a circle, any type of shape can be used as the magnifier.

Select the shape, then click Magnifying Glass from the Effects Lab dropdown.

This magnifies the area covered by the shape:

Blur Remainder

Blur Remainder is best used to draw attention to a particular part of the slide by adding a blur effect to the surrounding areas - similar to adjusting the focus on a camera.

To use it, first draw a shape over the area to be kept in focus.

Select the shape, then click Blur Remainder from the Effects Lab dropdown.

PowerPointLabs will then insert a new slide containing the blur effect.

Recolor Remainder

Recolor Remainder works in a similar manner to Blur Remainder, but instead changes the color of the surrounding areas while leaving the focused area unchanged.

First draw a shape over the area which should be left unchanged.

Next, select the shape, select Recolor Remainder from the Effects Lab dropdown, then choose the scheme to use - in our example here, we chose Gray Scale.

PowerPointLabs will insert a new slide, with the surrounding areas recolored.

Blur / Recolor All Except Selected

If you want to draw attention to an individual shapes instead of a section of a slide, you can use Blur All Except Selected or Recolor All Except Selected instead.

Suppose that your wish to draw attention to the text box in this slide:

After selecting the text box, select Blur All Except Selected from the Effects Lab dropdown.

Notice that everything in the slide will be blurred except for the selected shapes.

The procedure and effect are similar for Recolor All Except Selected.

For content-heavy and long presentations, you can use agenda slides to mark important points in our presentation. You might do this by creating an Agenda, which you periodically return to to keep your audience aware of where you are in the presentation.

However, the process of creating agenda slides and updating it when there are changes is often long and tedious.

The Agenda Lab allows you to automatically generate agenda slides for your presentation. You can also easily customize the agenda and synchronize its format throughout the presentation in the click of a button. The following video demonstrates how Agenda Lab works.

Currently, there are three types of agenda that PowerPointLabs supports:

The Text Agenda, Visual Agenda, and Sidebar Agenda, which we will describe below.

Text Agenda [Sample]

A text agenda lists the topics of your presentation using bullet points. The current section of your presentation is highlighted in the text agenda slides.

Visual Agenda [Sample]

A visual agenda is a visual road map of the presentation rather than a list of textual agenda items.

Sidebar Agenda [Sample]

Instead of displaying the agenda in between topics, we can display the agenda on the slides themselves. A sidebar is placed at the top of the each slide, which displays the topics which comprise the presentation, with the current section highlighted.

Usage

The Agenda Lab identifies topics in your presentation using the sections you have defined in your presentation. Thus, to use the Agenda Lab, you have to first divide your presentation into sections.

To add a section, right-click on a point between two slides and select Add Section. Name the section according to how you would like it displayed in your agenda.

The first section in your presentation serves as an introduction, and thus is not included in the agenda.

For more information on sections, you can refer to here.

To generate the agenda slides using the Agenda Lab, click on its button on the ribbon and choose the type of agenda you want to generate.

More details about each agenda type are given in the following sections.

Text Agenda

Click Create Text Agenda from the Agenda Lab dropdown to generate a text agenda.

PowerPointLabs will then automatically insert agenda slides into your presentation. PowerPointLabs will also add an additional hidden slide, the Template Slide, at the front of your presentation.

If the initially generated text agenda format is not to your liking, you can configure the format of the generated agenda using the template slide.

As seen in the template slide, there are three types of bullet styles for you to modify - Unvisited, Highlighted and Visited, which correspond to the style of Unvisited, Highlighted and Visited sections in the actual agenda in your presentation.

You can also add items to or remove items from the template slide. These changes will be synchronized to the agenda throughout the presentation.

In the following example, we change the header and bullet points of the template slide.

After configuring your template slide, click Synchronize Agenda from the Agenda Lab dropdown to apply your changes to the rest of the agenda slides.

This causes the agenda slides in the presentation to be updated to match the template slide.

Synchronize Agenda can also be used if you have modified the sections in your presentation and would like the sections to be updated in the agenda.

Visual Agenda

To generate the visual agenda, click Create Visual Agenda under from the Agenda Lab dropdown.

The visual agenda uses snapshots of the slides in your presentation to generate a visual overview of your presentation. The Visual Agenda transitions between sections using zoom animations.

Similar to the text agenda, a template slide will be generated, which can be used to configure the format of the visual agenda. By default, the images are laid out in a grid. You can rearrange and resize the images as you like.

In the following example, we reposition the images and add additional shapes to the slide.

In the Visual Agenda, the displayed images are taken from the first slide of each section. After the section has passed, the displayed image is the final slide of the section. Thus, you can customize the displayed image for a section by inserting an additional slide at the front and/or back of your section.

As before, click Synchronize Agenda to synchronize the visual agenda throughout the presentation to follow the format of the template slide.

Sidebar Agenda

To generate the agenda, click on Create Sidebar Agenda under the Agenda Lab dropdown. By default, the agenda is generated on all slides other than the first section.

Alternatively, we can generate the sidebar on only specific slides. To do this, we select the slides we want individually before clicking the Agenda Sidebar button.

Note that other than the template slide, the sidebar agenda generates no additional slides.

You can also modify the sidebar on the template slide and click Synchronize Agenda as before to synchronize the sidebar format throughout the presentation. The format of each individual text box in the sidebar can be modified separately. Note that you have to keep the shapes in the sidebar grouped.

Notice that in the sidebar agenda, the current section being displayed in the presentation is highlighted. To configure the format of the text highlighting, edit the format of the text box containing the words "Highlighted" in the template slide. Note that moving this text box around does not affect the agenda.

Editing and Rearranging Sections

Even after the agenda has been generated, you can still make changes to the arrangement of the sections. After adding, removing, renaming or rearranging the sections in the presentation, simply click Synchronize Agenda again and the agenda will update itself to the new section arrangement.

Removing and Regenerating Agendas

To remove all traces of an existing agenda, click Remove Agenda in the Agenda Lab dropdown. Removing the agenda will not affect your other slides.

Generating another agenda on top of an existing agenda will remove the previous agenda before generating the new agenda, even if the new agenda is of the same type as the previous. Regenerate the agenda if you wish to reset the format of the generated agenda.

Advanced Tips

Customizing Individual Slides Further

In addition to modifying the template slide and synchronizing changes throughout the agenda, you can also customize individual slides in the presentation.

Recall that when you make a change to the template slide and synchronize the agenda, all changes to the template slide are passed down to the agenda slides throughout the presentation.

However, if you add additional shapes or transitions to the individual slides and not the to template slide, they will be preserved even after synchronization. This allows you to further customize the individual slides of the agenda, like shown below:

Replacing a Template Slide

If you have a generated agenda, you can copy over a template slide from another presentation into the current presentation. Place the new template slide as the first slide of the presentation, delete the previous template slide, and press Synchronize Agenda to use the new template slide in your agenda.

Note that for this to work, the agenda types for both presentations must be the same.

Resetting the Visual Agenda image layout

When the Visual Agenda is initially generated, the images corresponding to each section are laid out in a grid, which can then be rearranged to your liking.

However, if you wish to reset the layout of the images, a simple trick is to delete the images corresponding to each section in the template slide and clicking Synchronize Agenda. This causes the images to be regenerated in a grid layout.

A similar effect can be achieved by regenerating the Visual Agenda. However, this causes the agenda to lose all of your other previous formatting as well.

Adding and Removing the Sidebar Agenda from individual slides

The Sidebar Agenda is slightly different from the other two agendas in a way - instead of generating it for the whole presentation, you can also select individual slides and generate the sidebar on them.

Agenda Lab also offers a way to add the sidebar agenda to slides you had missed out on before without regenerating the entire agenda. To do this, select the slides you wish to add the sidebar to and click Synchronize Agenda. If the selected slides do not already have the sidebar, the sidebar will be added to those slides. After which, the rest of the agenda will also be synchronized.

If you want to remove the sidebar from specific slides, simply delete the sidebar object manually from the slide.

PowerPointLabs also introduces several useful shortcuts to make tasks easier. Here's an overview of what these are, and how to use them.

Edit Name

Right-click on any shape, and choose this option in the submenu PowerPointLabs to change its name easily. This is especially useful for giving shapes unique names for use with Auto Animate.

Fit to Height

Right-click on an image or a shape, and choose this option in the submenu PowerPointLabs to automatically resize it so it fits the height of the slide. This is great for using high-resolution images which are much larger than the slide.

Fit to Width

Just like Fit to Height, but for images which are a bit too wide. Right-click on an image or shape, and choose this option in the submenu PowerPointLabs to resize it so it fits the slide's width.

Quick Properties

Instead of the usual two-step process of having to right-click and choose Properties to bring up the Properties window, just double-click the item instead!

Convert to Picture

Right-click almost anything and choose this option in the submenu PowerPointLabs to convert it into an image on the slide. This is useful if you want to apply PowerPoint's artistic effects or color adjustments to an object, or resize an object containing text while maintaining the text's relative size.