Category Archives: Office Skills Tutorials

Office Skills Tutorials

How to add Audio to your Presentations

You can add audio to your presentations such as music, narration or sound bites.  Only audio files with a file type supported by PowerPoint can be added to a presentation.  Audio files are inserted using the Insert Tab on the Ribbon in much the same way you would insert other items. Like video, once audio files are inserted, you can trim them, fade them and style them the same as you would style any other objects.

Audio files can be embedded or linked and it’s important to understand the difference as how you insert the audio will impact your PowerPoint file size.  For instance, embedded files are absorbed by the presentation, increasing the size of the presentation file whereas linked files remain separate so they do not affect the size of the presentation.

You can also record your own audio as long as your computer is equipped with a sound card, microphone and speakers.

Supported audio file formats

PowerPoint supports the following file formats and extensions.

  • AIFF Audio file (.aiff)
  • AU Audio file (.au)
  • MIDI file (.mid or .midi)
  • MP3 Audio file (.mp3)
  • Advanced Audio Coding – MPEG-4 Audio file* (.m4a, .mp4)
  • Windows Audio file (.wav)
  • Windows Media Audio file (.wma)

Requirements: PowerPoint 2013 or 2016. To follow this tutorial, open up the waterfalls-start PowerPoint presentation, download the Audio Clip from xxxx and follow the directions below:

Insert An Audio file from your computer

Insert audio and embed it into the presentation.

  1. Click the Slide you want to add audio to
  2. Click the Insert tab > Media Group > Audio > Audio on my PC
    Insert Audio in PowerPoint 2016
  3. In the Insert Audio Dialog Box, navigate to the folder where the audio clip resides, click on the file to select it and then click the Insert button.   The audio icon and controls will appear on the slide

Preview the Audio

  1. If necessary, click on the audio icon to select it and then click the Play/Pause button located beneath the audio icon.  You can stop the recording by clicking the same button.
    Play audio in PowerPoint 2016

Setting Audio Options

There are many options that you can set that will determine how your audio will be played in your presentation.  If you click the Play in the Background button on the Audio tools Playback tab, your sound will be treated as a background track and all the buttons to Start Automatically, Play Across Slides, Loop until Stopped and Hide during Show will all be activated.  Alternatively, you can set only the options you desire  as shown below.

  1. Select the audio clip icon Audio clip icon .
  2. Click the Audio Tools > Playback tab > Audio Options group
  3. In the Start list, click Automatically.  This will start the audio clip automatically when you run the slide show.  Alternately, if you want to manually start the audio clip when you click it on the slide, choose When Clicked.
    Setting audio options in PowerPoint 2016
  4. Still in the Audio Tools > Playback tab > Audio Options group, select Play Across Slides and Loop until Stopped. This will play the audio clip as you click through the slides  and play the audio clip play continuously until you stop it.
    Apply audio options in PowerPoint 2016
  5. Preview the presentation by clicking the Slide Show tab > Start Slide Show group > From Current Slide.  Your audio should be playing.  Adjust your audio options as desired.

Managing Audio in your presentations

There may be occasions where you may choose to link to audio clips instead of embed them. While this can decrease the file size of your presentation, it may cause problems if the linked file gets moved to another folder or deleted from your computer.  Also, if you give your presentation from another computer, are sharing your presentation with others or collaborating with others who do not have the audio located on their computer, you may wish to break the link and just embed the file instead.

  1. To link audio instead of embed it, just select “Link to File” instead of insert when adding audio to your presentation.
    link to an audio file in PowerPoint 2016
  2. To check whether a presentation has any embedded files, click the File tab and under Info, view Optimize Media Compatibility and you will see how many media files are embedded.  In our example, we have one Media file embedded.
  3. To remove a link, under the same info screen in the Related Documents section, click Edit Links to Files.
  4. In the Links dialog box, click on Break Link and then click Close.

Remove an audio link in PowerPoint 2016

How to add Online Pictures to your PowerPoint Presentations

In this tutorial, you will be creating a new PowerPoint presentation where you’ll learn how to insert online pictures from online sources such as the Bing Search Engine and OneDrive.  You’ll also learn how to resize the picture after it has been inserted.

  1.  Start PowerPoint 2016 and then create a new presentation using the Ion Boardroom Template as shown below.
    New template in PowerPoint 2016
  2. Click the Design Tab > Variants Group and select the Green Variant.
    Change variant color in PowerPoint 2016
  3. In the title placeholder type Hiking Adventures and then in the subtitle placeholder, type Half and Full Day Hikes as shown below.
    Add title and subtitle in PowerPoint 2016
  4. Click the Home Tab > Slides Group and click the New Slide arrow and choose the Two Content layout from the layout gallery.  In the title placeholder, type Come Prepared.
  5. In the left placeholder, type List of Items to Bring and then press ENTER.  Press the Tab key on your keyboard to increase the list level and type the 4 bullet item list as shown below pressing ENTER after each line.
  6. Click the Home Tab > Paragraph Group and click the Decrease List Level button and type Food and Water and then press ENTER.  Press the Tab key on your keyboard to increase the list level again and type the 4 bullet list items as shown below pressing ENTER after each line.

Two level bulleted list

Working with Online Pictures

You can search for Online Images in PowerPoint to use in your presentations.  PowerPoint uses the Bing Search Engine but you can also search for images on your Facebook, Flickr or OneDrive if you are logged into your Microsoft account.

When using the Bing Search engine, you can search for all available images, ClipArt, Photographs, Line Drawings or transparent images under the “Type” heading.  By default, PowerPoint will display all images available with the Creative Commons Only option which means that you can use these pictures under the Creative Commons License in your presentations. While most of these images are royalty free, it’s worthwhile to check the website link shown with the image to check if there any particular Creative Commons license requirements you need to abide by.

PowerPoint no longer provides the option to insert ClipArt directly into your presentations, but you can still find thousands of ClipArt images under the Online Pictures option.  Just select ClipArt under the Type menu as shown below.  Note:  If you want to search all of the Bing images, you can select the “All” option under Type.  Keep in mind that you will need to obey copyright law for all of the copyrighted images displayed.

After you insert a picture, you can resize it and position it anywhere on your slide.  Once you insert the picture, the Format Tool tab will appear.  On the Format Tool tab, you can also change the appearance and style of the picture.

Insert ClipArt in PowerPoint 2016

Insert and Resize an Online Image

  1. With slide 2 still selected, click the Online Pictures icon to display the insert pictures search window or alternatively click the Insert tab  > Online Pictures on the Ribbon.
    Insert online pictures in PowerPoint 2016
  2. In the Insert Pictures window, next to the Bing Image search box, type hiking and then press ENTER.  The search results will appear.
    Search for online images in PowerPoint
  3. Scroll the search results to to find a picture you like then click the chosen picture to select it and then click the Insert button to insert the image.  The image is inserted into the right content placeholder.Scroll online images in PowerPoint 2016
  4. With the image still selected, click the Picture ToolsFormat Contextual Tab > Size Group and in the Height box, type 2.5 and then press ENTER.  Note:  You can also resize the image using the re-sizing handles.  If you do this, hold down the Shift key to keep the image in perspective.
    Adjust image height in PowerPoint

Insert Pictures from OneDrive in PowerPoint 2016

OneDrive is Microsoft’s free cloud-based storage solution whose purpose is to provide a single place for you to store and access your files.  OneDrive is particularly useful for individuals and businesses that use PowerPoint or other Office products as you can store and access your Office files, pictures, and other files all from one central location. This allows you the ability to insert images directly from your OneDrive account into your PowerPoint presentations.

If you’re using OneDrive for storage and already have some pictures uploaded, you can insert them directly from your OneDrive Account.  You will need to be signed in to your OneDrive account insert pictures from OneDrive.  Here are instructions on how to get a OneDrive account.

  1. Add a New Slide and choose the Title with Content layout.  Click the Online Pictures icon as explained above to display the insert pictures search window or alternatively click the Insert tab  > Online Pictures on the Ribbon.  The Insert Pictures dialog box will appear. Choose OneDrive as shown in the example below.
  2. Choose Pictures and the screen where you can see your uploaded pictures will appear.  Select the picture of your choice and click Insert.

Insert a picture from OneDrive in PowerPoint 2016

Save your presentation to your computer or OneDrive account for use in the next tutorial where we will import slides from another presentation and edit and format pictures.

How to add a Video to Spice up your Presentations

Including videos into your presentations is a great way to garner the attention of your audience and get your message across clearly and effectively.  The features of PowerPoint make it easy for you to add videos to your presentations,  not only from your computer, but also from online sources such as the Cloud, your Facebook account, YouTube or from any website that provides the embedded code.

Once inserted, you can format your video in much the same way that you would format a regular graphic.  For example, you can resize the video, adjust the brightness and color contrast, add a picture frame and more.  PowerPoint even allows you to trim your videos so only a specific portion of the video will play.

Insert a Video Clip From a File

  1. Click the Home Tab > Slides Group > New Slide and Select the Content with Caption Layout
    insert slide in PowerPoint 2016
  2. Add the Title “Deer Grazing“.
  3. Click the Insert Video button in the content placeholder to open the Insert Video dialog box
    Insert a video in PowerPoint
  4. From the Insert Video dialog box, choose From a File
    Insert a video from a file in PowerPoint 2016
  5. Click the Browse button to navigate to the folder where your video resides and select the video file you want to insert and then click the insert button
  6. The video will be added to the slide and should look something like the example below.  Notice the playback and volume controls are displayed in the control panel below the video.

Video inserted in PowerPoint

Insert an Online Video

it’s possible to insert an embedded video from an online source such as YouTube or Facebook by using the Insert Tab > Media Group > Video and choosing Online Video.

Insert a video from an online website in PowerPoint 2016

In the Insert Video dialog box, choose the source of the video that you want to insert.  If you have a personal Microsoft OneDrive account, you can navigate to your OneDrive account from here.  You can also search on YouTube for videos or paste the embedded code from a website of your choice.  Keep in mind that you will need to be connected to the internet when you are giving your presentation for your online video to work.

Formatting your Video

After you insert your video, you’re ready to start formatting it.  Note:  Most of the formatting available on the Playback toolbar on the Ribbon can only be used on videos inserted from a PC on your local computer.  They will not work on embedded videos.

  1. Click on the video to select it .  Notice the selection handles appear around the video.  The Video Tools contextual toolbar will appear on the Ribbon with all your formatting options and the playback toolbar will appear below the video.
  2. To preview your video, click the Play button on the Video Toolbar or click the Play/Pause button on the Playback toolbar right below your video.

video playback toolbar in PowerPoint

Trim a Video

After previewing your video clip, you may want to remove certain parts of it.  You can trim from the beginning or the end of your video clip by adjusting the Start Time (green marker)  or End Time (red marker).

  1. Select the video frame.  The Video Tools contextual Playback tab will appear
  2. Under the Video Tools Playback tab  > Editing group, click Trim Video.  The Trim Video dialog box will appear
  3. Press Play to determine where you want to trim the video.  In our example below, we are trimming from the end
  4. Click the red marker and when you see the two headed arrow, drag to the desired ending position.  In our example, it is an end time of approximately 00:06.957. Replay the video to make sure you have trimmed your video as desired.
  5. Click OK and your video will be trimmed.

Trim a video in PowerPoint

Resize a Video

  1. Click the Format tab > Size Group
  2. Click in the Height box and type “5” or your desired width and press enter.  The video width will adjust proportionately.

Resize a video in PowerPoint

There are several other options that you can set for your videos such as fade in and fade out timings, restricting the playback to certain segments, looping a video clip and manually or automatically starting the video playback. It’s a good idea to experiment with these options to customize your presentation as needed.

  1. Click the Slide Show button on the Status Bar to display the slide with the video in Slide Show mode.
    playing a slide show in PowerPoint
  2. When you see the mouse pointer, click the mouse button to view your video.  When the video is finished, press the ESC key on your keyboard to exit the slide show.

Slide show mode in PowerPoint

Apply a Style to your Video

After you view your presentation, you may want to do some finishing touches to your video. You can apply styles and effects to your videos just the same as you can to images.  You can also change the video shape and add a border if desired.  Below we’ll add a Video style to our video.

  1. First select the video and then on the Format tab> Video Styles Group click the More button to to display the Video Styles Gallery.
    More button in PowerPoint
  2. Under the Moderate section, click Compound Frame, Black to add a subtle frame. The style will be applied to your video.

style video

Preview your slide show again and practice with the different styles such as borders, brightness and contrast and color themes as desired.

Practice: – Insert a Video in PowerPoint

Open the wildlife presentation provided for you here and download and insert the deer-movie.

  1. Following the instructions in the above tutorial, click on slide 5 and insert a new slide.
  2. Insert a title and the deer movie
  3. Trim your movie from the end to approximately 00:06.957.
  4. Resize the movie to a height of 5″.  The width should adjust accordingly.
  5. Apply a style of your choice to the video
  6. Preview your presentation and verify your movie plays as desired.

How to make the most of themes in PowerPoint

PowerPoint 2016 is loaded with features and themes that you can apply to your visuals to give your presentations clarity and make them interesting. Your goal is to gain the attention of your audience and to make sure your audience grasps what they see and hear.

The presentation theme is a set of design elements that include colors, fonts and effects that give your presentations a unique look.  Since, the advent of themes in PowerPoint, you no longer have to worry about setting a particular font size or keeping your format consistent as themes will do all that work for you.

All of the PowerPoint themes have a set of colors, fonts and effects built in.  By selecting a  specific theme, your presentation will be formatted with the predefined combination of colors, fonts, and effects of that theme.  Even the blank presentation has a theme, known as the Office theme, which comes with a white slide background and a standard set of text and accent colors.  However, there are approximately 30 built-in Office themes for PowerPoint that you can choose from.

Themes in PowerPoint 2016

PowerPoint has many built-in themes to choose from.

It’s also easy to quickly change the look and feel of a theme or template by using variants in PowerPoint.  Each theme has variations where the fonts or colors have been changed that you can apply to your presentations with just the click of the mouse.  You can also customize your presentation by applying different theme colors, fonts or effects as desired.

Another nice feature of themes is that you can apply them to your entire presentation, to only one slide in the presentation or to a whole section of the presentation.  You can also create your own theme or use colors, fonts and effects from other themes if you wish.

Apply a standard theme to the entire presentation.

  1. From the backstage view, click on New
  2. Click the Blank Presentation thumbnail
    PowerPoint Blank Presentation
  3. Click on the Design Tab > Themes Group and click on the More button to launch the Themes Gallery. Hover your mouse over the different themes to preview the changes to your slides.
  4. Click on a theme of your choice. Below we select the Wisp theme. This theme will be applied to your presentation.

Applying a design theme in PowerPoint

Change the Color Scheme of the Presentation

If you like the design of the theme but would like a different color scheme, it’s very simple to change the look and feel of your slides using Variants.

  1. Click the Design tab > Variants group and click the More button.
  2. On the Variants menu, click Colors.  You will see the available color schemes gallery appear
  3. On the Colors menu, click a color scheme of your choice.  In our example, we chose the Blue Green color scheme

Change the color scheme in PowerPoint themes

Change the font Set of the Presentation

It’s also possible to change the font set of your presentation.  There may be times when you may want a more bolder font or perhaps your company requires a specific font type.  Changing the font set or the color scheme will not change the actual theme that is applied to the presentation, just it’s look and feel.

  1. Click the Design tab > Variants Group and click the More button to view the Variants menu.  Note:  The More button will disappear once you launch the Font gallery 
  2. On the Variants menu, click Fonts
  3. On the Fonts menu, click the font set of your choice.  In our example we selected Calibri.

Changing the font set in PowerPoint

Changing Theme Effects

Lastly, there may be times when you want to use theme effects.  These affect the preset shape styles that you can apply to your shapes or SmartArt graphics in PowerPoint. These effects can also be applied from the Format tab whenever you select a shape or SmartArt graphic.

applying theme effects

Practice: – Apply a Theme in PowerPoint

Open the wildlife presentation provided for you here.

  1. Apply the Facet theme which fits the theme of the subject of the presentation.  Make sure you preview all the other themes first
  2. Select a Color variant of your choice that matches the theme
  3. Choose a Font variant of your choice.
  4. Your presentation will look something like the following:

sample powerpoint presention

How to lookup information in a worksheet using VLOOKUP

The VLOOKUP function comes in very handy when you want to look up information in large worksheets that hold long lists of items such as customer information, product information, shipment details, etc.

The VLOOKUP function essentially finds a value in the leftmost column of a range of cells, such as a table, and then returns the found value to the cell where you placed the VLOOKUP formula.  At first glance, the VLOOKUP function can be very intimidating and just looking at it can scare people off from using it.  However, once you understand how it works, it’s actually quite easy to use.


Keep in mind that before you can use the VLOOKUP function, you need to identify a primary key column that contains a unique value for each row in your worksheet.  An example of a primary key would be a customer ID. The primary key is usually the first column in your table of data.

Next, decide what values you want to lookup.  In the example below, we want to lookup the Cost of Goods for a customer by entering a unique CustomerID.  Now, set up two cells in your spreadsheet as shown below, one to enter your search value (CustomerID) and the other to contain the result found (Cost of Goods).

For demonstration purposes, we are using the following spreadsheet that contains the CustomerID field as our primary key field.

An excel table for use with VLOOKUP

The VLOOKUP Formula

Now let’s look at the VLOOKUP formula itself.  VLOOKUP requires 4 pieces of information:

VLOOKUP( lookup_value, table_array, col_index_number, range_lookup).

  1. lookup value (this is the value you are looking up).  It is the cell number where you will be entering the lookup value
  2. table_array – This is the table or range of cells you want to lookup
  3. col_index_number (this is the column which contains the search result)  You have to count the number of columns from the left beginning with the first column in your table or range of cells and that will be the column index number
  4. range_lookup. This can be TRUE or FALSE.  If you want an exact match returned, the argument should be set to FALSE.   If you want an approximate value, the argument should be set to TRUE.


In our example of VLOOKUP, we want to look up the Cost of Goods in our worksheet by entering a unique CUSTOMERID.

If the =VLOOKUP(B3,B6:E14,4,FALSE) formula is used, when you enter CUS109 in cell B3 and press ENTER, the VLOOKUP function will search the first column of the table until it finds an exact match, and then it returns the value $155.36.

VLOOKUP values

VLOOKUP formula Explained

The VLOOKUP formula is explained below. Keep in mind that you have to enter the VLOOKUP formula in the cell where you want the result displayed.  In our example, it is cell C3 as shown below.

VLOOKUP formula explained

  1. B3 is the lookup_value which is the cell number where you will be entering your unique lookup value.  In our example, we will be entering a unique CUSTOMERID in cell B3
  2. B6 to E14 (highlighted in yellow in the table above) is the table_array, or the cell range where the lookup value is located.
  3. 4 is col_index_num, or the column number in table_array that contains the return value. In our example, the fourth column in the table array is where the Cost of Goods value we are looking for resides so the formula output will be a value returned from the Cost of Goods column.
  4. FALSE is the range_lookup we want to use as we want an exact match returned
  5. Output of the VLOOKUP formula is 155.36, the Cost of Goods for CUS109, the CUSTOMERID we entered in cell B3.

Practice: – Look up information in a worksheet

Open the CustLookupTable spreadsheet provided for you here or create your own with the data demonstrated above.  Note:  This spreadsheet was created with Excel 2016.

  1. Sort the values in the CUSTOMERID column in ascending order
  2. In the cell C3, the cell where you want the result to appear, enter the VLOOKUP formula explained above.  This formula contains the  unique arguments you need to display the result
  3. Make sure you enter FALSE to get an exact match returned
  4. Test your formula by entering a different CUSTOMERIDs as lookup values in the cell B3
  5. Edit the formula so that it finds the CustomerName value for different CUSTOMERIDs

Other useful resources to help you learn

Quick Reference Card – This is a handy VLOOKUP two-page reference card that explains what the arguments mean and how to use them from Microsoft.  The VLOOKUP reference card opens as a PDF file in Adobe Reader that you can download to your computer.

Troubleshooting Tips from Microsoft – This is a three-page reference card that offers basic troubleshooting tips for VLOOKUP.