An Introduction to PowerPoint
ISBN 0 7460 4812 2
Unfortunately out of print - try a library!
Reviewed by the Editor of 'Play for Life' April 2006
'Even if you’ve never used a
computer before, this book gives you the essential skills you need
to create a lively and professional presentation. Packed with handy
tips, it is written in simple, jargon-free language, with lots of
helpful step-by-step illustrations. You’ll learn how to plan, design
and put on presentations that will impress any audience.’ This is
the claim on the back cover. This well designed book does just what
it says in a style that is the antithesis of the typical software
manual and in my opinion superior even to the ‘Dummy’ series of
Why are PowerPoint skills important to a
Play Therapist? If you work for an agency or organisation, either directly
or as a sub contractor they are essential for two main reasons. Firstly to
ensure that resources, financial and others, are provided and maintained in
order that a play therapy service may be provided. Secondly to ensure that
everyone that is involved in the service is consulted and kept informed
about the objectives, the requirements, outcomes and boundaries. Achieving
these objectives involves giving presentations which must be professional if
they are to be effective. The days are gone when overhead projector ‘foils’
were acceptable. There have been many times when this reviewer has cringed
at the speaker’s overheads which were unreadable beyond the front row, were
shown upside down and out of order because they had cascaded to the floor.
There used to be the excuse that
data projectors, which project the image generated by the computer onto a
screen were expensive or not available. The overwhelming majority of primary
schools, social services units and primary care trusts are now equipped with
these so you will not normally have to invest in one. However the cost is
now well below a thousand pounds and you can also use it as a big screen
home television or you can rent one for the day if you need to. Almost as
bad are the presenters who start by apologising about their inability to
control PowerPoint and need someone by their side to push the buttons.
A recent poll showed that
speaking in public was amongst many people’s top fears, even ahead of dying.
Like many things the biggest source of fear is the unknown and the way to
overcome this is to build experience in giving public presentations. The
starting points are to really know your subject, know the objectives of your
presentation and match these to the audience. PowerPoint helps you in the
last two of these as well as producing the visual or audio/visual aids you
Many universities insist that all
students, whatever their course, acquire basic information technology skills
including PowerPoint. APAC have included the development of play therapy
presentations by students, using PowerPoint in the first year Certificate
course. Some students find this daunting to begin with as they have to build
self confidence and master the technical skills. ‘An Introduction to
PowerPoint’ will certainly provide all the technical skills needed and APAC
provides an outline presentation from which individualised versions may be
produced for their students.
The book is written in very
simple language, with each point illustrated by a colour picture usually a
screen shot. For example: ‘Your screen looks like this one. This is the
PowerPoint window, which is divided into three separate sections called
panes.’ (Each pane is then identified and explained in the picture).
Although the book has only 48
pages it is a tribute to the author, designers and illustrator that it is
very comprehensive, even though PowerPoint is probably the simplest of
Microsoft’s Office range of software. It covers all the PowerPoint
components used to construct a presentation, using words, pictures, charts
and special effects. It also includes giving the presentation in a number of
ways, installing the software and troubleshooting.
I have used PowerPoint for many
years but discovered some features and short cuts new to me. There are only
two significant topics that are missing. The most important is the use of a
master slide, to save time and ensure consistency where elements, such as
logos, are repeated on each slide. Secondly the creation of hyperlinks to
enable the presentation to be given non-sequentially in response to
questions from the audience – but this feature is quite advanced and
presenters need to build up their experience first before trying this.
A brilliant book. All computer
books for users should be produced like it. At a list price £9.99 it is a
bargain. Buy it if you are new to giving presentations or PowerPoint or want
to brush up your skills!
You may buy this book through
PTUK’s associate link to Amazon. Help us to keep membership fees down.