Leverage Your Graphic Design Skills with PowerPoint
I use Microsoft PowerPoint all the time, but only about 10% of what I do with it is making presentations. Even though I’m decent with pro tools like Photoshop and InDesign, I often turn to PowerPoint for simpler jobs. If you’re a PowerPoint expert, you may be able to leverage skills you already have to help with graphic design. If you’re not a PowerPoint power user, PowerPoint could be a great place to try your hand at graphic design.
With Microsoft PowerPoint, in addition to presentation software, you also get a set of image composition tools that fill the gap between simple tools like Microsoft Paint, and sophisticated ones like Adobe Photoshop.
First of all, PowerPoint gives you the basic capabilities, including:
- Draw basic shapes and lines in multiple sizes and colors
- Add effects like shadows, reflections, bevels, and 3D rotation
- Quickly add text and play with fonts and colors and add effects
- Use transparencies and gradients in your design
- Export shapes, slides, and groups such as graphic files
I use these tools to create icons, UI mockups, flow charts, web banners, data visualizations, memes, and other graphical elements. These elements can be used in PowerPoint, or they can be exported to be used in web pages, documents, social media posts, and printed media. These graphics can also be edited further in other software applications.
The Recipe for Creating a Sophisticated Graphic in PowerPoint
Gather the pieces you need
First, pull together the graphical elements you need. This might mean images from your hard drive, stuff from the web, and native PowerPoint elements like text and shapes. In the example below, I’ve got a photo from the web, some text, and a gradient and color block I made in PowerPoint.
I won’t lie, graphic design experience and PowerPoint skills are useful here, but even a novice can learn how to do this. Put the elements together in PowerPoint and arrange them until you like the effect. PowerPoint has a bunch of tools for aligning, sizing, and layering elements that are useful for this. If you’re not sure how to use the tools, there are lots of great tutorials online.
Paste the whole thing as an image
The ability to convert a collection of objects into a single image is a great PowerPoint trick. First, drag a selection around the pieces that you’ve put together. Copy the whole thing. Then past it again as an image. The ‘Paste as Image’ option can be easy to miss. If you right-click the slide, you can find it in the ‘Paste Options’ section of the context menu. See the example below for an image of this menu.
You now have an image you can use in PowerPoint or somewhere else. To get your image out of PowerPoint, right-click it and then select ‘Save as Picture’.