Question: I have a pie chart that is plotting correctly, but the labels of the legends are incorrect. My chart data is not in simple columns and rows, but rather selected cells within the data. I have tried changing many options but can’t seem to get the labels to display correctly. I would like to create the chart from this spreadsheet so I don’t have to re-enter my data in contiguous columns and rows.
Answer: In looking at the spreadsheet, I first looked at the chart data (Chart Design tab and Select Data) and tried changing the Legend Entries (series), by clicking on the cells in the data. When I changed it, the chart label changed on just one label. I tried switching Row/Column, which did not work either. So I created another table referencing the cells used in the chart so that it was in contiguous rows and columns. I added data labels (from the Layout tab) selecting best fit. Doing this, the chart labels were correct and the legend was correct. Even though this solved the problem, we were still puzzled how to do this with non-contiguous data. So in looking at the contiguous chart data that was plotted correctly, we discovered that we needed to delete the series 2, 3 and 4 from the Legend Entries, leaving only series 1, and edit the” horizontal category axis labels” section from the Select Data options for that remaining series, by selecting the non-contiguous cells (holding down the Ctrl key).
So many times we spend a lot of time struggling with a problem but could be more productive by taking a break from the problem by taking a short walk, or trying an easier (workaround), or getting another point of view. I often find solutions or clues by “googling” my questions.
Question: I received a Word document with a table consisting of many small columns. The text in the columns does not seem to wrap correctly. Is there anything I can do?
Answer: In this example, we used the Autofit Window option rather than Autofit Contents to which seemed to correct the issue. This is found on the Layout tab under Table Tools.
Question: Can you tell me how to upload a PowerPoint handout, 2 slides per page, onto Blackboard.
Answer: In order to save a PowerPoint handout with two or more slides per page you must save it to a file as a handout. If you have Adobe Acrobat Pro (or a Mac)
- From File > Print, select Settings and change the slide options to handouts and select the number desired.
- Change the printer to Adobe PDF. This will create a file you can upload to Blackboard.
If you don’t have Adobe PDF or a Mac, you can create handouts in Word, Go to File > Save and Send > Create Handouts (File > Export in PowerPoint 2013), and select a style and click OK. Word will open in a table format with your slides and any other formatting you selected. You now have a Word document which you can upload to Blackboard.
I would highly recommend creating handouts in Word, especially if you have used the Notes feature, as you can include those with your slides. From Word you can convert documents to PDF format from File > Save and Send > Create PDF or XPS file. Converting to PDF will reduce the file size considerably.
Before uploading to Blackboard, you should “zip” your file. From Windows Explorer, right click on the file you wish to zip and select Send To > Compressed Zip Folder.
To upload in Blackboard, follow the instructions described here or create content in a course including zipped files. For other Blackboard help resources, click here.
Question: I am working on an organizational (hierarchy) chart from SmartArt in Word. I would like to merge two of the boxes into one but keep the two lines above it. However, I am not able to do that in the SmartArt features. Any ideas?
Answer: If you copy and paste the org chart into PowerPoint, you’ll have a few more features in SmartArt. One of those is the ability to convert the SmartArt into shapes. Once you do that, however, you will not be able to add more levels to your org chart through the SmartArt features. So before doing this, I would make a duplicate of that slide in case you need to refer back to the SmartArt and add more levels (or at least finalize the remainder of the org chart first).
On the duplicated slide click on the SmartArt and from the Design tab on the ribbon click to the far right Convert > Convert to Shapes. After converting to shapes you can delete one of the shapes that you wanted to merge and just stretch out the other one and add any additional text you need. Converting to shapes will allow you a little more flexibility in dealing with the individual elements of the chart.
Question: I am desperate to keep my students from falling asleep watching my PowerPoint slides. I’m not a creative person and I find our templates are boring. What can I do to make them more interesting?
Answer: There are three basics ideas I suggest to improve your PowerPoint presentations.
- Brainstorm – First of all, make sure it flows well with good organization. I suggest brainstorming and identify the who, what, why, when, where and how of your presentation. Knowing what you want to convey and who needs the information and why and how they are going to understand it best, when and where you will be giving the session should be taken into consideration. Brainstorm what the audience needs to know and using “mind mapping” techniques to identify a few major topics and then list subtopics below those.Get ideas from others and see sample presentations available from Microsoft online. They have some creative slide ideas which you can copy into your presentation.Think of ways to add humor (self-deprecating stories), funny images, etc.
- Use less text – Think of images you want to convey and start finding photos, charts, illustrations, etc.Instead of using bullet slides, try converting those bullets to SmartArt. Try developing a presentation with pictures only. If you need to provide text, place it in the Notes section which can be used for printing handouts in Word. Using less text on slides will require that you know your material really well and more rehearsal time may be required.
- Take advantage of new PowerPoint features – PowerPoint 2010 has more SmartArt, transitions, animations, and more video tools. One feature that is very helpful when organizing your presentation is using Sections. Just be care not to overdo it when using animation. It is easy to want to animate every page or element, which can distract from your presenting the content. You can also embed videos and do some simple editing in 2010, which results in few problems with videos not playing when presenting at another computer.
Learn more about these tips and PowerPoint features in ITS’ session ”PowerPoint Makeover Tips” on August 7, 2013 in Wittson Hall Auditorium rm 3034 from 9-10 a.m. This session will be recorded and available here.