Using Screenshots Effectively In Presentations

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In this article, we will discuss 3 good practices in using Screenshots tool to make effective presentations.

PowerPoint allows you to take the image of your computer screen. The image is called as screenshot.

Taking Screenshots in PowerPoint:

In PowerPoint 2007, if you want to take a screenshot of this page, press Print screen button on your keyboard, open a blank slide in PowerPoint and ‘Paste’. PowerPoint sticks a large image of the computer screen on your slide. You resize the image to suit your need.

If you use PowerPoint 2010 you can direclty use Insert -> Screenshot option to capture a screen image instantly. A menu appears showing the available screens which are open at the background. When you click on any of them, the screen gets pasted on your slide. The image is automatically resized to fit your slide end to end.

There are many ways of using this useful feature in PowerPoint. In this article, we will discuss some good practices in using the tool to make effective presentations.

1.    Ensure visibility of the image on your projector screen:

When you paste a screenshot on a slide, the details are not always clearly visible to the audience in the last row. There are two ways to overcome this.

The first way is to take a print out of the slide and distribute the handout to your audience before you explain the screen.  This not only helps your audience follow your instructions easily, but also helps them take notes on the sheet for future use.

The method is quite useful when you teach a software or computer based program to your audience. Of course, you need to follow your presentation with hands on session for practice.

The second way is to crop unnecessary details and show only the portion that matters. This is useful when you want to explain a concept.

For example, if you want to show where ‘New slide’ button is on the PowerPoint ribbon, you can take a screen shot of the ribbon and crop the image to show only the portion that matters. You can add a relevant call out to add more clarity.

Crop Screenshot

2.    Use multiple images to explain a procedure:

You can show cropped images of a screenshot, to show sequence of actions.  For example, if you want to explain the steps to insert ‘Alternating hexagon graphic’ in SmartArt tool, you can use the following screenshots:

insert Smartart steps

 This is much easier to follow than using three separate screenshots on different slides.

3. Using custom animation to make your screenshot come to life

The best way to use print screen images is to add custom animation to zoom in on the relevant portions, while fading out the unnecessary portions simultaneously. Here are the steps to do it.

Let us try to explain the location of ‘New slide’ button in PowerPoint.

Take a screenshot of the relevant screen using Print screen button and Paste the image on the slide. Resize the image to occupy the entire screen end to end.

Screenshot of adding slide

 Crop the portion you want to highlight and stick it back on the exact position of the earlier image. You should not be able to distinguish the cropped image from the screenshot at the background.

Adding Slide Image Final
  1. Select the cropped portion and use ‘Grow/Shrink’ custom animation to grow it to 150% on click. You can use ‘motion path’ animation to make the image grow towards the center – with previous animation effect. This combination makes the various parts of your screenshot come to life.

As you can see, when used well, screenshots are a powerful tool in the arsenal of a business presenter.

Related: Top 5 Irritating Ways to Use PowerPoint Animation

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