If your client hands you a .PPT from MS PowerPoint or and .DOC Word and says: “The presentation/print deadline is tomorrow, make this look nice”, what are you going to do?
The answer is to use other programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Quark, Premiere or Keynote and get creative!
Here are a few tips I’ve picked up over the years of doing this.
Make sure you import your client’s text into InDesign and Quark rather than copy and paste it
Why? Because it keeps the formatting (bolds, italics, heads, subheads, notes, etc). If your client has gone through the document and done this there’s no need for you to do it again. OK, you may not like your client’s choice of formatting or font, you can change that globally over the whole document in seconds. Use the Style Sheets or Utilities > Font Usage in Quark and Paragraph Styles or Type > Find Font in InDesign to turn the sow’s ear into a silk purse.
If you want a presentation to look good don’t do it in PowerPoint
I know this isn’t always an option as all the world and his wife seem to want to use PowerPoint for any purpose but, if you can’t persuade the client to go for Premiere or Keynote, there’s always the PDF. The good old PDF will give you an excellent presentation with vectors supported, movies played and excellent interactivity.
You’ve got to do it PowerPoint, now what do you do?
In PowerPoint go File > Page Setup and that’ll give you the size of the slide. Then go to Photoshop go File > New and type in the same height and width values from PowerPoint, create your attention-grabbing masterpiece, save it as a PNG (transparency is supported) and then back in PowerPoint go Insert > Picture > From File… and select your PNG.
OK, so you can do that for every page of a 40 slide deck if your client wants to edit the text, but it’ll add a bit of extra fizz to the proceedings.
Get your client to provide you with the source files
If there’s a blurry bitmap graph or chart that you need to beautify, ask if it exists as a PDF or ask for the source files. Even if it was the ugly result of a PowerPoint-Excel partnership the chances are it can be copied and pasted into Illustrator and the type can be changed and the excess crud can be deleted.
Similarly a PDF can be opened from within Illustrator with the type and the vectors editable, if the wind is blowing in the right direction, if you’re lucky!
For both of these routes you may find all the elements refusing to be ungrouped. If this is the case go Object > Clipping Mask > Release and Object > Compound Path > Release and then ungroup and see where that gets you.