How to Create with PowerPoint #01

This is the first in a series of blogs on “How to Create with PowerPoint”.

I’m often asked how I create my book covers using PowerPoint. I’d like to give a short, simple answer, but the answer is far from short and nowhere near simple if you’ve never used a photo manipulation program before.

PowerPoint is the ultimate tool for writers who self-publish their work, for bloggers and others who create websites and printed material. And it comes free with MS Word. Crop, enhance and edit images, create buttons and banners, design book covers and make headers for any webpage, including Facebook.

Take an image like this:

And turn it into this:

I’ll start with the basics because when I started, I didn’t even know I had PowerPoint on my computer let alone where to find it. I’ll assume there is one other person out there as ignorant as I was about the program.

To open PowerPoint, click the round START icon with the four colours in the bottom left-hand corner of your computer screen, choose ALL PROGRAMS, then find the Microsoft Office folder, and then choose PowerPoint. The screen below will open up. I’m told that MS Word 2007 is different than 2010. I have 2010, so you may not have all the features I have, or you may have them in a different drop-down menu.

When you look at the top menu board, you’ll see many of the things you’d see in an MS Word document: File, Home, Insert, Review, View. You’ll also see a few new drop-down menus: Design, Transitions, Animations, Slide Show. Only Design is needed for manipulating images.

A large portion of the screen is the work area. This is where you’ll see the images you’re working on. In the bottom right-hand corner are buttons to control the view of your work space. You can zoom in and zoom out by percentages and move to full screen. Use the escape key to return from full screen.

The left margin contains a thumbnail-size image of the picture you’re working on. This is a great reference when you’re zoomed in on a specific spot of the workspace and you want a quick glance at the overall image.

Next week: Setting Up the Workspace.

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