How to Get More Out of PowerPoint (SmartArt, Presenter Coach & More)

How to Get More Out of PowerPoint (SmartArt, Presenter Coach & More)

Often, we get in a habit of using just the features we’re familiar with in our productivity applications. This means that you can often miss out on new enhancements that could cut your document work time down considerably.

If you’re a Microsoft 365 user, then it definitely pays to stay on top of new feature additions, because they usually come with productivity and time savings in mind.

One tool that a lot of people use for presentations is PowerPoint. It’s one of the most popular applications worldwide. But many people don’t take full advantage of the enhancements that Microsoft has added over the years to the platform.

If you work in PowerPoint regularly and would like to learn some time and cost-saving tricks and tips, read on to learn how to get more out of your PPT experience.

Get Free Coaching with Presenter Coach

PowerPoint has a handy feature called Presenter Coach. This feature is like having an automated helper inside PPT to give you advice on things like delivery pacing, use of repetitive phrases, and whether you said “umm” too many times.

If you use Presenter Coach with your video camera enabled, you can even get advice on things like eye contact with the audience and if you’re too far or too close to the camera.

To use Presenter Coach for honing your presentation skills, take the following steps:

  • Open your presentation in PowerPoint.
  • Click Slide Show in the top menu.
  • Click “Rehearse with Coach.”
  • Follow the prompts and start giving your presentation.
  • You’ll receive tips throughout and a report at the end with suggestions.

Make Charts & Graphics Quickly Using SmartArt

The SmartArt option is found in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel. It’s particularly helpful for making attractive and insightful charts without having to create them from scratch using shapes and text boxes.

To insert a SmartArt diagram into your presentation, do the following:

  • Click Insert from the top menu.
  • In the Illustrations section, choose SmartArt.
  • Choose the SmartArt graphic you’d like from the many choices, and click OK

To add some color, go to SmartArt Design in the top menu and choose a color scheme.

You can begin typing into the graphic where you see the text indicated. To add a new shape, choose SmartArt Design from the top menu, then at the far left of the options menu, choose Add Shape.

Quickly Record a Step-by-Step to Insert into Your PPT

If you need to show someone how to do something in a new application that you’re presenting to a client, you can do that right from PowerPoint.


From the Insert menu, look to the far right of the options and choose Screen Recording.

You’ll then be able to select the area of your screen that you’d like to record, choose to include or not include audio or the record pointer. 

Once you’ve completed your recording, it will be inserted into your presentation. This can save you quite a bit of time and keep you from having to struggle with another application or with embedding video from an outside source.

Access Images, Icons, Videos & 3D Models (Free!)

If you’re purchasing images elsewhere to use in your PPT presentations, then you may want to first explore all the free options you get within the Microsoft 365 platform. 

  • On your Insert menu go to Pictures > Stock Images.
  • Type in a keyword.
  • Choose the image you’d like to insert.

You’ll find thousands of high-quality images to use, as well as icons, illustrations, videos, and stickers. You’ll even find cutouts of people in various positions that are great to use to illustrate a particular point. These all come free with your Microsoft 365 subscription.

If you want to bring your presentations up a notch, then 3D models are available in PowerPoint that represent a wide variety of objects. These can even be animated!

You can access these from your Insert menu, under 3D models > Stock 3D Models.

Use Reading View to Present, But Not Be in Full Screen

One handy trick that a surprising number of users aren’t aware of is Reading Mode. 

Often you want to present a PPT during a virtual meeting, but you don’t want your presentation to be in full-screen mode. You also don’t want to be in regular editing mode either.

Using Reading View, found under the View menu, puts your screen in a similar mode as when presenting in full screen, but still gives you access to your bottom taskbar and doesn’t lock you into full-screen.

Get Help Making the Most of Your Microsoft 365 Experience

GKM2 can assist your Sydney area business with ensuring your users are taking advantage of all the time and cost-saving features inside Microsoft 365.

Contact us today to learn more. Call +61 2 9161 7171 or reach out online.