anyone who creates slideshow presentations on a regular basis knows it's one thing to present an electronic slide and entirely another to print that same slide. But because of the nature of presenting, there is usually a need to print the presentation for proofing or to use as a handout. Chances are you have noticed that these printed slides do not come out as you expect. Perhaps the logo is missing, some elements are overlapping or the background prints incorrectly.
There are ways to handle these issues, especially if you're using PowerPoint 2002. In this version you can take advantage of multiple slide masters to create custom "print masters" that control the look of the printed copies without affecting your presentation slides. Do you want the company name and slide number to print on every page — but not be visible during your presentation? Should the logo print as black, but still appear in full color during the show? Do you want the title portion of the slide to print in full color while the rest of the slide prints with a white background? You can do all this and much more by making changes to the print masters.
Print Preview explored
In each of the three sample slides in Example , the background is quite busy and the logo in the lower-left corner is white — elements that can create problems in a printout version. To get an idea of what to expect from the printer for any PowerPoint presentation, simply go to the file menu and select print preview. Now you can see exactly how the slides will look when printed.
While in Print Preview mode, under the options menu, choose color/grayscale and you will find three choices: Color (On Black and White Printer), Grayscale, and Pure Black and White. These allow you to customize the preview to give a better representation of the printed version. This is particularly helpful as slideshow presentations are almost always created in color and handouts are usually printed in grayscale.
When you choose to print, PowerPoint sets the colors in the presentation to match the selected printer's settings. Thus, if your printer is set for black and white, the color presentation will automatically print in grayscale. If you are printing to a color printer, the slides will look the same as they do on the computer monitor. (In this case, there is no need to explore the grayscale options in the Print Preview mode.)
Options in printing
The Print Preview mode allows you to select what you want to print, including slides, handouts, notes pages and the outline. It is also possible to select the number of slides you want printed per page — up to nine — and to add a frame around each slide. To do this, select Portrait or Landscape orientation and customize the Header and Footer options.
To see the flexibility of these options, consider Example and Example . This is the same presentation, but different options have been selected in Print Preview. Example shows the slides from Example in a handout-page setting with the Color (On Black and White Printer) option selected. Example shows the same handout page with the Grayscale mode selected and the background removed.
Creating a print master
Another option is to print just a portion of the slide's background. This is a technique that works well for color printouts, as it uses a lot less printer toner and makes the text more legible. In PowerPoint 2002, go to the Slide Master view and select insert duplicate slide master to copy the presentation's slide master and title master as a pair. This new slide "title master" will be customized for printing and in essence creates the "print master." On the new slide master, draw a white rectangle or polygon to cover the portion of the background you want to appear white during printing. Now move this white shape to the back of the slide so it will not cover any text or graphics (from the draw menu select order send to back). Next, copy the white shape (editing, if necessary) and paste it onto the corresponding title master to cover its background as well. Again, remember to send this shape to the back.
It's important to note that this is only one technique for simplifying the design. You can also create a custom background in another program, or simply delete elements from the design to clean it up for printing. While you're making these changes you can do other customizing for printing, such as adding slide numbers, company name, speaker name, date, etc.
When you're finished editing the new print masters, under the edit menu choose preserve master. This prevents the original slide and title masters from being deleted when you apply the print masters to the presentation. More importantly, this gives you flexibility. At any time you can convert the entire presentation back to the original full-color design, make necessary changes and save them, then repeat the process for printing. Thus by using multiple slide masters and the created print masters, it's not necessary to update two versions of the presentation.
When creating print masters you have the option to keep the printouts very simple. Example shows a duplicate slide master that has been stripped down to a white background, black lines, black text and a black logo. This version is a great toner saver, yet it still allows the company logo and a hint of the slide design to remain on the print output.
Applying the print master
Once the print masters have been created, they must be applied to the entire presentation. To do this, in the view menu choose normal to see slide thumbnails on the left side of the screen. Click anywhere in the thumbnail window and press ctrl + A to select all the slides. Next, go to the format menu and choose slide design to open the task pane. Near the top of the pane, under the heading Used in This Presentation, you will see the available slide designs for the presentation. These slide designs represent any slide master or title master pairs (or single slide masters) that have been created and preserved within the presentation. The Slide Design pane also lets you select a design from another presentation.
In the task pane, click on the new print master from the top row of Slide Design to automatically convert all selected slides to the simplified design (see Example ). Once you have converted the presentation for printing and printed the handouts in the format of your choice, you can switch back to the original master design by returning to the Slide Design area of the task pane.
By exploring and creating these custom print masters, printing handouts for your presentations will become a much easier and efficient process.
Software and system used: Microsoft PowerPoint 2002; Windows 2000.
Julie Terberg has more than 15 years of presentation-design and computer-graphic experience. She specializes in custom-designed presentations, including animation and multi-media applications. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www. terbergdesign.com.