In my last post, I mentioned I was working on a Jeopardy game in PowerPoint. In this game I want to present a series of visual clues before the answer is revealed. The audience is presented with the foreign cover for a popular book and has to guess the name of the book.
I want to slowly reveal the English book cover, by gradually making the foreign cover more transparent. With this particular cover, I also wanted to crop the foreign cover image to reveal additional clues. Each clue will be revealed by a click of the mouse.
Hmm is this a problem? I can not control image transparency in PowerPoint, there is no option for this in the Picture Toolsmenu.
Nope, no problem at all. You can control image transparency by:
Create a shape the same dimensions as your picture.
Remove the outline for the shape.
Change the fill option to Picture or Texture Fill and insert the picture file.
Transparency will now be available
Its’ interesting that placing a picture inside a shape allows you to manipulate that picture as if it was a shape. This concept allows me to play with things like irregularly shaped (non-rectangular) images as well.
This post is originally from 2018, looking at PowerPoint 2016. Our options for pictures and transparency have improved since then.
If you want help with the newest and classic features in PowerPoint drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve just been working on a PowerPoint template for a Jeopardy style game. I inherited this template, and as frequently happens a little cleanup is necessary to ensure the PowerPoint template works as desired.
To help you visualize the problem – a picture of the game board
Each square hyperlinks to a separate slide with the question (and answer).
I felt there were a number of improvements I could do to make the presentation easier to use and maintain. I won’t go into every change today, but a couple of changes involved hyperlinks
(shortcut key Ctrl + K, if you are editing 25 hyperlinks, then the reason for using a shortcut key becomes obvious).
The first maintenance problem I ran into was that the previous designer had applied the hyperlink to both the shape ANDthe text on the shape (now there are 50 hyperlinks – if you are counting).
They did this for a very good reason; that the text on a hyperlinked shape does not change state like normal hyperlink does (the state change shows if the link has been visited or not).
So if the slides the shapes are linked to are reordered or edited, the links have to be painstakingly tracked down and edited and since essentially the links are layered one on top of each other it is a real pain.
I had a better plan. Move the button shapes to the Slide Master (after creating a layout designed for the Game Board slide). Then insert text placeholders (yes, 25 of them) for the dollar values. Position the placeholders over each button. No hyperlinks here.
Now moving back to the Game Board slide in Normal View, I can hyperlink the text box. Text boxes behave differently from shapes, and do change state to show the link has been visited.
Another advantage of the text placeholder is that if the user inadvertently moves the text boxes, the Reset command will snap them back into position. (A definitely plus when editing 25 text boxes).
The other visual difficulty I had, was with the colours of the hyperlinks themselves. They didn’t have a strong contrast with my (new) button colour, and the visited colour was still (kinda) visible. I wanted a strong link colour and once visited I wanted the link to disappear. I could add animations, but why bother when I could solve both problems easily by changing the link colours in the Color Theme.
Here is the theme colour panel after I adjusted the Hyperlink and Followed Hyperlink Colours.
The colours in the theme were picked after playing with the free https://coolors.co/ app I also got some good advice from this article. The image at the top of the article is the colour palette created by the Coolors.co app – translated into RGB. I usually add this information as a layout in the slide master.
This post is originally from 2018 If you want help with the newest and classic features in PowerPoint drop me a line at email@example.com
Excel has been around for decades, so it isn’t surprising that there are many features tucked away under the hood. What is surprising is when a useful feature is lost and only careful archeology can bring it back to life.
Excel 4.0 had a rudimentary macro language, mostly using excel formula approaches to building functionality. This was replaced by the VBA programming language. But there are still useful little items tucked away in this early language that haven’t been replaced.
One of these is Get.Cell.
Get.Cell had a boatload of switches that allowed the user to pull information about the cell formatting and contents and most of these have been replaced by the Cell and Type functions in Excel.
But one piece of information that Cell and Type can’t tell you is whether your cell or cells contain formulas vs values and sometimes this is a very handy thing to know at a glance. For example, if you build a spreadsheet using formulas to estimate amounts; but then start to drop in values as more concrete information becomes available.
In this situation I like to format cells containing formulas differently from the cells containing values, so that I can see at a glance where my estimates are. Its’ handy to have the formatting change automatically, so I don’t have to remember what my rules are weeks or months later.
This is where Get.Cell shines. The syntax I’m going to use is
=GET.CELL(48,A1) – where A1 is the cell I’m going to reference.
The trick here is that Get.Cell is NOT entered in a cell, but instead as a named formula. After creating the named formula, I can reference it while applying conditional formatting. In this way, when the type of content in the cell changes the conditional formatting automatically updates.
Where does one find information about the Get.Cell function? Not from Microsoft or at least not easily from Microsoft.
First published in 2017, the Get.Cell function remains useful today. I remain hopeful that MS will incorporate its’ functionality in newer versions of Excel. If you want expertise in Excel, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org