Tag Archives: rnr image exporter

Create a Twitter Background Using PowerPoint (with Video Instructions)

In a previous post, I explained how I use PowerPoint for all of my graphics projects. A designer will laugh at this because they probably use software such as PhotoShop to handle complex projects. Well, I don’t know PhotoShop well enough to whip out something fast, but I know just about everything that PowerPoint can do. And for the types of projects I have, I’ve figured out how to get them done fast using this software I already have.

My latest project consisted of changing my Twitter background for my main account, and another one here @ digitalbreaks. PowerPoint gives me total control of customization.

Here’s how I did it (links to YouTube videos included below).

UPDATE: All the videos on YouTube show you how to do this in PowerPoint versions 2003 and 2007.

Ready PowerPoint for Your Design

  1. Decide on your color scheme, matching your Website, blog, etc. (or not), and sketch out a rough design. (Here are some charts that show you Web colors that match.)
  2. In PowerPoint, resize a landscape slide to 20” Width and 12.5 inches Height (click the File menu, Page Setup). Depending on your monitor and resolution, you may have to reduce the Zoom level in order to see more of your slide. Both monitors are set at resolution 1280 by 720 pixels.
  3. Either from Slide Master view or directly on the slide, change the color of your background. Make it more interesting by using two colors and experimenting with Shading styles (click the Format menu, Background, down arrow to Fill Effects, Two colors (then click the down arrow and choose colors). Try the different Shading styles. My @peggyduncan Twitter background is a dark blue and white with the Shading style, From title.

Here’s a Video – Part 1

(Rate and Comment please. Subscribe to my channel for updates.)

Place Your Graphics and Customize Your Design

  1. Display the ruler (click the View menu, Ruler).
  2. To place graphics on your slide, first set your Zoom level at 50%. The zero (0) marks the center of your slide. Using the ruler as your guide, to the left, place your graphics between 0-8.5. On the right, place them between 4.5 and 6.5.
  3. Use guides and a grid to help you line everything up (View, Grids and Guides, Display drawing guides on screen, Display grid on screen.
  4. Create more guides by hovering your mouse over one and dragging while holding down the  Ctrl key. When you’re finished and don’t need as many guides, click and drag some of them off the screen.
  5. Add any other drawing elements and graphics you want (the higher the resolution the better). Add text using a text box so it will be easier to move around (located on the Drawing toolbar. Click the Tools menu, Toolbars, Drawing).
  6. Save the slide as a PNG (click the File menu and change Save as type to PNG Portable Network Graphics Format, Current Slide Only). The final filesize can not be larger than 800k for Twitter. If you need to resize any photos (but maintain the quality), read my previous post, Resize a Bunch of Photos by the Batch.

It’s important to note that when you save your slide as a graphic, it’ll only be 96dpi. This might be good enough for your design but if it’s not as sharp as you want, check out Image Exporter from the PPTools Website. This is the software I use when I need to save my PowerPoint slides in higher resolution (about $30.00 and worth every dime), especially when I need to print them.

Here’s a Video – Part 2
Here’s a Video – Part 2.5

Add Design to Twitter as Background

Once you’re satisfied with your PowerPoint design, sign into your Twitter account.

  1. Click Settings, Design tab.
  2. Under the default theme, click Change background image, Browse to find your graphic, double-click it.
  3. Untick the tile background box (so design won’t repeat itself when viewing using different monitor resolutions), Save changes.

Tweaking It Until It’s Right

You will probably have to tweak your PowerPoint design several times and resave until you get it just the way you want it. I use two monitors: one on my laptop and a second 22?, with both set at resolution 1280 by 720 pixels. The designs looked different on both so I tweaked it as much as I could so it would look great both ways. You have no control over other people’s monitor resolutions so just do this to your satisfaction. A huge advantage of doing this in PowerPoint is that tweaking is so easy.

Now change the default colors in Twitter such as the sidebar background color, text, and links.

  1. Go back into Settings, Design tab, Change design colors.
  2. You may want to change the text, links, sidebar, and sidebar border, keeping everything color-coordinated with your new design.
  3. Click the sidebar block to select it. Now use your mouse to click desired color in the box and use the sliding bar next to it to hone in on the exact color you want. When you’re satisfied, click Done.
  4. Repeat Step 3 for each color block until you’re satisfied and click Save Changes.

Here’s a Video – Part 3

After you’ve created your new background, leave a comment and link so I can check it out.

Save PowerPoint Slide as a High Resolution Picture

By default, PowerPoint will output a jpeg at 96dpi (click the File menu, Save As, and choose jpeg as the type). This is fine for the Web, but not for printing. In most cases, you’ll need at least 300dpi.

To create high resolution jpgs, you have two choices…fiddle with the registry and change it, or invest in some very inexpensive software that will do this for you. To complete a recent project, I chose the latter (I highly suggest you do the same).

The ImageExport on the PPTools Website is a fast, easy way to export graphics from PowerPoint as a GIF, JPG, PNG, or WMF at various resolutions. It’s $29.95, and you can try it for free.

For more tips in PowerPoint, buy my book, Just Show Me Which Button to Click! in PowerPoint 2007 and another one on PowerPoint 2003 or enroll in one of my PowerPoint workshops.

UPDATE: I’ve recorded three videos to show you how to use ImageExport.

 

PEACE.

Create Interesting Art Projects with PowerPoint

I just finished an interesting project using PowerPoint. In an earlier post, I talked about how to save PowerPoint slides as pictures. I do this a lot when I create the photo gallery for my Website. And I’m finding other uses for this tip.

I’m creating a DVD using some great video footage from a PBS special I did for the US Virgin Islands affiliate. I edited the video using Camtasia and put a 6-minute video sample together (see SUITETV tab above).

The only thing left to do was to create the DVD jacket covers and disc label.

I could have gotten a designer here in Atlanta to do this and pay hundreds of dollars. Or I could have bid this out on Elance.com and gotten someone in China or somewhere to do it cheaper. But I wanted to give it a try…mainly because I’m a computer nut and love creating in PowerPoint (I teach PowerPoint and have written a book about it…see links below). And also because I knew I could do it as long as I kept everything simple and clean. So I turned off the TV and went to work.

Here’s what I did.

I created a disc cover and DVD jacket (front, back) in PowerPoint. I measured a DVD jacket from one I’d purchased and resized a PowerPoint slide to the same dimensions. In a separate file, I resized another slide to fit the back cover dimensions (that also included the spine). Then I went to work on the design.

Once I designed the jacket cover, I saved it as a high resolution jpeg right from PowerPoint.

By default, PowerPoint will output a jpeg at 96dpi. This is fine for the Web, but not for printing…you need at least 300dpi. I had two choices…fiddle with the registry and change it, or invest in some very inexpensive software that would do this for me. I chose the latter (I highly suggest you do the same). The ImageExport is a fast, easy way to export graphics from PowerPoint as a GIF, JPG, PNG, or WMF at various resolutions. It’s $29.95, and you can try it for free. Saving the file in the PNG format is giving me the best quality.

Then I went to work on the DVD label, using the same design (the picture above). I used a free Word template designed specifically to fit DVD/CD labels at NEATO. I had to tweak the PowerPoint design until I had a perfect fit, but this was quick. Next, I saved this slide as a high resolution jpg. Then in Word, I inserted my PowerPoint jpg as a fill effect/picture inside the drawing object on the NEATO template.

I saved both of these documents on a Flash Drive (I saved the DVD label as a PDF) so I can use a friend’s high resolution color laser printer for the best quality (or you could use Kinko’s, Office Depot, Staples, etc.). The disc cover will print directly on NEATO CD/DVD labels, 2up (two per page). I’ll print the jackets using high quality photo paper.

I’m very pleased with the results (click here to see the rest of it), and I learned some new things along the way. If you want to learn how to do projects like this, sign up for my class “Create Marketing Collateral with PowerPoint.” Or buy my book, Just Show Me Which Button to Click! in PowerPoint 2003 (Update: 2007 version now available).

Let me know what you think.

P.S. I need to add that the only stumbling block in all of this was removing the white box behind my photo when I inserted it into PowerPoint. I used the transparency tool on the PowerPoint Picture toolbar, and it was almost perfect. Almost isn’t good enough for me.

I had to go to PhotoShop Elements and learn how to get rid of the background. I’ve paid people in the past when I’ve needed this done, but I was determined to learn how to do it myself. I went to Help, and could have kicked myself once I saw how easy it was to do this…took me 2 minutes!, if that long. Now I know.

I use two monitors so after I finished in PhotoShop, I dragged the picture over to the slide in PowerPoint. This time when I used the transparency tool, I was more pleased with the finish.

PEACE.

Peggy Duncan, Personal Productivity Expert