PowerPoint 101 – Tips For Creating The Perfect Powerpoint Presentation

PowerPoint presentations are now a pretty standard part of work and student life.  Whether it’s at school, college, university, or even when you’re applying for a job (that’s right, a lot of interviews now include a presentation element!), knowing how to put together a few slides on PowerPoint* is something we all have to master.
Most of us are now taught the basics at school – how to add and delete slides, insert text or a picture and play the slideshow.  However, if you want your presentation to really pack a punch, and stand out from your classmates, I thought I’d give you a couple of tips that I’ve picked up,  to help you achieve just that!
*These screenshots were taken on PowerPoint 2010 – the setup may vary in different versions e.g. 2007, 2013.

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Inserting a Custom Background:

To insert a custom background on to your slides, you can do it the old fashioned way – inserting a picture and stretching it to fit the slide – but then you run the risk of it moving during your presentation! To set an image as the fixed background of your slide:
Step 1: Open up your presentation, and click the “Design” tab along the top of the screen.
Step 2: Click on “Background styles” at the right hand side of the screen.
Step 3: Select “Format Background”.
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Step 4: Select “Picture or texture fill” on the Fill tab.
Step 5: Select “Insert from File” and choose your image.

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Ta Da! Custom background!
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However, depending on the photo you upload (in this example I’m using one of my  Instagram photos of some makeup – let’s say I’m doing a presentation on the beauty industry!), you might find that when you try to insert your text, it becomes difficult to read.  Fear not, there is a quick and easy way to fix this!
Step 6: Jump back on to the format background tab you clicked on in step 3. At the bottom of this box, you’ll find a “Transparency” bar. Adjust this as much or as little as you need depending on how busy/dark your chosen image is!

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Now you can type as much text as you like and it should show up nice and clearly!

Editing A Text Box:

If you want to take it one step further, however, you can add an additional layer by editing the text box itself!
Step 7: When you click on your text box, the “Drawing Tools” bar should appear at the top of your screen. Click it.
Step 8: Click on the “Shape Fill” dropdown box and select “More Fill Colours”.
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Step 9: Choose from the standard colour tab (which provides all the standard set colour options on PowerPoint) or Custom. By choosing custom, you can change the RGB colour if you have a specific colour scheme in mind.
Step 10: This step only applies if you have chosen the custom colour option! Type in your RGB codes, or play around with the colour by clicking on the rainbow box on the tab!
Step 11: After all that effort getting your custom background uploaded, you might not want part of the image to be totally blocked out by your textbox.  Again, PowerPoint has a handy little Transparency bar for you to adjust, so that your image can shine through as much or as little as you’d like.

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And here’s another little tip… to repeat this background on every slide, if you make a design you are really happy with, just right click on the slide in the sidebar and hit “duplicate slide”!

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Transitions:

Finally for today, a quick word on transitions between slides! There is nothing wrong with the set transition, which just relies on you clicking the arrow on your keyboard to move to the next slide.  In fact, sometimes the simpler the better is a good rule to go by! However, if you are after something a bit fancier, PowerPoint has a few options!
Click on the “Transitions” tab along the top of the page.  Here you’ll find a number of options, from fading out of one slide and into another, to a checkerboard effect – just click the little arrow at the side of the bar to see more than the first few options!
Then, if you’d like to change the effect (from sliding left to right, to right to left etc), click on the “Effect Options” dropdown box.

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So that’s it for my PowerPoint 101 – just a few tips to help make your next presentation stand out from the crowd!
I have lots more of these (I spent A LOT of time using PowerPoint during my Masters), so if you’d like to see more of this sort of post, let me know in the comments! I might do a version on Prezi, which is a different presentation program online, so let me know if that would be of interest!
Hope you’re having a lovely week! What are some of your tips for creating a powerful presentation?
Lynsey x
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Study Playlist #1

Afternoon everyone! Hope your Monday has been going well so far!
During my Masters, I spent a lot of time seeking out the perfect study soundtrack, and I thought that I’d share some of the hidden gems I discovered along the way with you this afternoon!
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Some people study best in complete silence – I am not one of them.  Others find it comforting to have the television on for background noise, but that can become distracting if an episode of [insert-the-name-of-your-favourite-show-here] comes on! Music, then, is usually a happy medium! Different styles of music will work for different people, but for me, upbeat music with no words worked best.  I love piano music, but sometimes that just wasn’t energetic enough, and anything with words (hello Taylor Swift) just tempted me to sing along in my head.
So here, for your listening pleasure, are three of the albums that got me through my crazy assessment period last April…
1. Tycho – Dive

I’m listening to this as I type this post and I genuinely feel so relaxed and focused.  I love this album.  Wikipedia describes Tycho as an “American ambient music artist and producer”, and the tracks on this album are all soothing but upbeat enough that there’s zero chance it’s going to lull you to sleep over that jargon-filled journal article you’ve been trying to get through all day.
2. God Is An Astronaut – Origins

I found God Is An Astronaut through Tycho – this album appeared in the recommendations in the YouTube sidebar! They are known as a post-rock group, so their sound (particularly on this album) is a bit heavier than Tycho, but I found that it really motivated me.  Again, there are no words, so there’s no danger of finding yourself having a sing-along – check out track 11, “Red Moon Lagoon”, it’s my favourite!
3. Prince Avalanche – Full Soundtrack by Explosions in the Sky & David Wingo

I’m not sure I can put into words how much I adore this album.  I have to be honest – I haven’t watched the whole film (I watched half of it on Netflix late one night, but I will watch the whole thing at some point!), but the soundtrack is just incredible.  I’m a fan of Explosions in the Sky at the best of times, but this? Beautiful, soothing music, and the perfect backdrop to your next essay.  You’re welcome.
That concludes my first Study Playlist post, but I’m definitely planning more of these in the future. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope these lovely albums help you concentrate on the next task you have to tackle!
What songs have been on repeat on your study playlist lately?
Lynsey x
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5 Reasons To Start A Blog | Student Life

Hello everyone, and happy Friday! Can you believe it’s the end of another week already?!
For my first proper post on this blog, I thought I’d talk about blogging itself! Blogging and YouTube came into my life while I was a student – even though I adored my course, I loved being able to escape from essays and textbooks into the world of beauty and lifestyle blogging. I started watching Fleur de Force, and Louise from Sprinkle of Glitter, and soon made the decision to start my own blog and channel.  I never looked back.
Juggling a blog while you are a student can be tricky time-wise, but it’s so worth it – as well as being a fun hobby, it can be an unbelievably positive addition to your CV! So if you already run a blog and are feeling a little overwhelmed, or are thinking of starting one now, here are 5 benefits of having a blog and/or a YouTube channel.

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1. It Shows Commitment

Running a blog or channel requires real commitment.  Friends outside of the blogging bubble might think you sit down for half an hour every now and then, type a few paragraphs and hit publish, but an incredible amount of work goes into maintaining a blog or making videos. From taking photos when the lighting is just right, to finding time to film, edit and upload a video, making a real go of a blog requires effort.  In my experience, employers have been really impressed to see that level of commitment to something.

2. It Helps Showcase Your Talents

Whether you write about beauty, baking or books, blogging is a really great way to show off your talents.  Whatever area your skills lie in, creating a blog means you have a dedicated space to share your knowledge, and, if you post regularly enough, become a bit of an internet expert in your field. What’s more, having the confidence in your abilities to put yourself out there on a blog or YouTube channel gives you a ready made portfolio of work to show to potential employers.

3. It Forces You To Learn New Skills

From photo or video editing, to basic HTML, blogging is a brilliant way to learn some new skills to add to your CV.  I can now confidently list video editing on my CV, something I could never have imagined just a couple of years ago! Not only does blogging up your social media game, from making sure you are getting your links out there across social platforms to using scheduling tools like Hootsuite, but it can help you discover a talent you never knew you had! You might discover you are a genius with Photoshop, which could open up a whole new career path for you!

4. It Builds A Network of Contacts

From the fellow bloggers you chat to every Sunday night during the #lbloggers of #bbloggers Twitter chats, to the PR manager you have been emailing back and forth about a collaborative post, blogging is an amazing networking opportunity.  Without even thinking about, you can find yourself with a whole address book’s-worth of contacts, which can be an extremely useful thing when looking for a new job!

5. It’s A Space Just For You

Although it’s more public, much like journaling, blogging or talking to a camera can be really therapeutic. When you’re studying (or working!), sometimes you need somewhere to escape to, and the blogging community can provide just that! If you need a break from thinking about your next assignment or exam, popping on to Twitter for a chat with some fellow bloggers, or writing your next post can be a lovely way to relax and clear your head.  It boosts your creativity, creates opportunities to develop friendships and can be an amazing way of building your confidence.
So if you’re thinking about starting a blog, but haven’t quite found the confidence to go for it yet, I hope this post inspires you to give it a shot!
Or, if you already have one, what ways has blogging started to make positive changes in your life?
Have a fantastic weekend! Lynsey x
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Introducing The Student Switchboard!

Hello everyone, and welcome to The Student Switchboard!

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For those of you who don’t know me already from my original blog Allsorts and Anecdotes, and YouTube channel, my name is Lynsey! I’m a twenty something year old social media and YouTube addict from Scotland, who loves to talk, tweet, drink tea and wear a lot of winged eyeliner.

Last month I decided to embark on a new little online project called The Student Switchboard.  I’ll just put it out there right away – I LOVED being a student. And not just in a “the student lifestyle suits me” kind of a way; I genuinely love learning, and studying is something I got so much out of.  I left high school and went off to Glasgow University to start what was the amazing next chapter of my life!  I graduated with an MA Honours Degree in Film and Television Studies in 2011, having had four of the best years of my life to date.  I made some incredible friends, wrote about some amazing films and shows, read some amazing books and gained confidence in leaps and bounds.  I was a shy teenager, and University made the biggest difference to my self-belief and brought me out of my shell.

Then I graduated and things all got a bit more complicated.  I managed to graduate in the midst of the recession, at the toughest time to be in the market for a job, and getting an interview never mind an actual job was proving to be near impossible.  It was made harder by the fact I wasn’t entirely sure what it was that I wanted to do – all I knew was that I really loved social media.  So I did the only thing there was to do – I got myself some work experience, working unpaid internships and doing freelance bits and pieces (that’s where my love of blogging and YouTube really came in handy!).  Then, at the beginning of March 2013, I took the plunge and jetted off to Australia for two months, travelling via Hong Kong, and exploring Sydney, Melbourne and Port Douglas.  It was one of the scariest, best things I’ve ever done. I vlogged the trip, which you can see on my original YouTube channel here!

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Chilling with my kangaroo friend in Port Douglas, Queensland!

When I arrived home, I was once again looking for a job, and it was an exhausting process.  I managed to land a part time job with a magazine, but what I really craved was the routine I had had when I was at University.  I wanted to work in social media, but every interview I went to ended the same way – “Your CV is really interesting, and you’ve got great experience – but you don’t have a marketing qualification.”

So, in August 2013, I applied to Glasgow Caledonian University to study my Masters Degree in International Marketing, and I never looked back.  Last year was one of the busiest, and most intense years of my life, and I learnt so much, so quickly.  I loved being back at University, wrote a dissertation I was extremely passionate about, and I graduated last November with Distinction. It was an amazing day.

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Obligatory pose on graduation day!

Fast forward to last month – January 2015.  I was thinking about how much I loved being a student, and all the tips and tricks I learnt along the way, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t ever seen a dedicated YouTube channel, solely set up to chat about all things college, university, and student life.  Being a student comes with a lot of practical and emotional ups and downs – from the costs of buying books, to finding productive ways of studying, to settling in after the transition from high school.  Having been through it all twice, and having the passion for YouTube I already have, I decided I was going to start a YouTube channel to do just that – to discuss any possible topic that could apply to student life.  And I’m really, really excited about it!!

So, a month later, here we are! The Student Switchboard is live, with two videos for you to check out, and all social platforms ready and raring to go! I’ll link them all at the end of this post for you to check out.

Thank you so much for stopping by, and please leave me a comment letting me know what you’re studying, or if you can think of any topics that might be useful for me to cover – I’m all ears! And if you’re interested, you can follow this blog at the link below, or subscribe to my channel so you never miss a video!

Hope you all have an amazing day!

Lynsey x

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