Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Properties Finder

I have said before that I am not the most organised of people. Recently I introduced you to Google Desktop and judging by the feedback I have had this is a “must have” piece of software.

However, we shouldn’t rely on Google to do all our housekeeping! From time to time Google gives me back so many locations that I still waste time trying to locate the file that I want.

So I have taken to being a little more sophisticated when I create a document. Office provides us with a Properties option on the File Menu. If you select this and then choose the Summary tab you can type in a suitable description in the Comments box.

To be able to see the comments when you use Windows Explorer you will need to set up folder details and options.

Open Windows Explorer
Select a Drive or folder. I chose the “My Documents” folder on my main drive.
Click on View, Choose Details
Scroll down the list of options and tick the box next to Comments
Highlight the Comments option and move it up the list by clicking repeatedly on Move Up. I place it after Type and before Date Modified.
Click on OK

Now you need to set this up for all the sub folders. Stay with the folder that you have changed. Now click on Tools, Folder Options, and select the View tab.
Click on Apply to All folders

When you open up Explorer you will be able to see comments about your files as well as the other details. And if you are really good you will use the rest of the boxes in the Properties Summary tab, and display those as well. Don’t forget that you can sort each displayed column just by clicking on the header.

That’s all. Except that you have 10,000 files already created that you haven’t got any comments for. You won’t go back to each one, but if you open or create a file then always set the Properties. Gradually you will notice the difference.


Monday, February 07, 2005

Don't overdo the PowerPoint!

It's so easy, isn't it? PowerPoint offers a treasure trove of gizmos to wow your audience. From background templates that zing with colour, to a cacophony of sound that announces the latest arrival on the screen. You can flash, drizzle, slide, drop, fade, zoom, dissolve or even spin your events to make your PowerPoint look as if the entire production team of an epic film have been employed to create just this one slideshow.


Well perhaps not so wonderful. It's true that PowerPoint presentations that just contain text can be very dull and boring. But sitting through the 1812 Overture whilst trying to absorb information is not the way to do it.

So here are some tips for a successful presentation.

The templates that come with PowerPoint tend to be a bit over the top. Design your own template that you can use for all your presentations. It could be at an organisational or individual level, but choose colours carefully and dicreetly. It may just consist of your logo and little else.

Don't put too many words on the slide. Bullet points are better than sentences. That way you will make more effort to expand the point as you talk and not just read the slide out to your audience!

Use Clip Art sparingly. Don't just stick a picture on a slide because you can! Do it because it emphasises or extends your the point you are making. If the point you are making is boring, then reconsider how you present it, but don't just add a picture that will simply act as a distraction from an already boring slide!

And animations go the same way! Neat, crisp transitions are better than falling stars and zooming texts.

Using a hyperlink is a good way of developing a topic during a presentation. But if you are always going to follow the hyperlink then consider ditching it in favour of incorporating the material in the slide show. This keeps the story flow going.

Finally, don't get carried away with the length! If everyone has fallen asleep by the time you finish then ........................zzz zzz zzz zzz