Julie Terberg is the founder of Terberg Design, a creative studio focused on crafting presentations that better communicate with audiences.

With decades of experience in the presentation industry, Julie has trusted partnerships with other presentation professionals and valued clients around the world. 

Since 2005, she has been recognized as a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP for her contributions to the presentation community. Julie enjoys teaching others at industry conferences, including the Presentation Summit and the Present to Succeed conference. She served as a founding director of the Presentation Guild and cohost of the Inspired by Design webinar series, exclusively for Guild members. 

A Microsoft PowerPoint MVP since 2000, Echo Swinford began her PowerPoint career in 1997. She holds a master’s degree in new media from Indiana University and is the owner of Echosvoice, a PowerPoint consulting firm specializing in custom template development, presentation creation, makeovers and cleanup, and training for large and small corporate clients. 

Echo has written and co-written five PowerPoint books, developed a number of video publications, and has a string of tech editing credits to her name. With co-author Julie Terberg, she recently released the definitive guide to PowerPoint template development: Building PowerPoint Templates v2.

Echo is President Emerita of the Presentation Guild, a not-for-profit trade association for the presentation industry which she founded in 2015. Visit Echo’s Web site at www.echosvoice.com

Julie and Echo’s new book, Building PowerPoint Templates, version 2, is available on Amazon.

Episode Notes

Julie Terberg | Website | Twitter | LinkedIn

Echo Swinford | Website | Twitter | LinkedIn

A Guide to Cloud Fonts in Microsoft Office 365 (Updated April 2022)

Presentation Guild

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Welcome back to the PolicyViz podcast. I am your host, Jon Schwabish. On this week’s episode of the show, we’re going to learn how to create great effective templates in PowerPoint with my guest, Julie Terberg and Echo Swinford. I’ve known Julie and Echo for several years now, I first met them at the Presentation Summit, which is an annual conference held for folks who are working in the presentation field. Echo and Julie have the best, and let me say, it’s arguably, it is the best book on how to build better templates in PowerPoint; and the first edition of the book was really hard to get, and fortunately, I have a version of that book here somewhere buried in my office, but they now have a new edition of the book, which incorporates some of the new modules and features of the modern version of PowerPoint. So if you work for an organization where you and your colleagues are creating PowerPoint presentations, delivering PowerPoint presentations, maybe even creating documents or reports in PowerPoint, I really encourage you to listen to this episode, and I encourage you to check out their new book on PowerPoint templates. So here we go. Here’s my discussion with Julie and Echo about creating better PowerPoint templates.

Jon Schwabish: All right, we’re here, yet another podcast virtually, great. Echo, Julie, how are you both? Great to see you again. I haven’t seen you in like…

Julie Terberg: It’s been quite a few years.

Echo Swinford: Years.

JS: Since the before times. It might have been New Orleans in the last presentations.

JT: Yeah, that was a while. Good to see you, Jon.

JS: It’s good to see you. So congrats on the new book. Now, I don’t know how many people know this, but I want you to sort of lay out what the story is here, because the first book is like a rare jewel at this point, like, getting a copy of the first edition is like holding on to gold, and now, we have a new updated version. So tell me the story or tell listeners the story of how you went from the first book, and now getting to the second book. I don’t know, Julie, if you want to start.

JT: Oh sure. The first one, we worked with a publisher, and then we sold some books, but it is a very niche market, and so, we’re not going to sell thousands and thousands upon thousands for years. And so, the publisher decided they weren’t going to print anymore. So then the book became very expensive on the book market…

ES: Used market.

JS: On the presentation black market.

JT: Someone was trying to sell a copy of the book for $4000 on Amazon, and I don’t think they had any takers, but anyway, that was a long time ago. And so, Echo and I have been waiting for a few developments with the software and changes that impacted templates, and so, that was the catalyst for this updated version.

JS: So now we’ve got this updated version, and I want to ask about templates generally. So I’ve seen some people complain about templates that, you know, there’s lots of websites out there where you can download this template and this template, but your book focuses on building a custom, entire template for your individual or organization, and some people argue that they take away this idea of creativity. So can you talk a little bit about the advantages and disadvantages of having a, in this case, a PowerPoint template, and maybe, I don’t know, Echo, if you want to start, yeah?

ES: Yeah, I’ll start. So my opinion, and I think Julie will probably agree is that a template is there to provide an infrastructure for you, like, what you want to do, like, people in your organization, it lets them create their content without a whole lot of effort, because you’ve got the font thing built in, you’ve got the color theme built in, and so, things just work; but it also helps non designers create consistency throughout a deck, and that’s something that is difficult for them. Because when they look at a blank slide, like, most normal people like me, you look at a blank slide, and it’s intimidating; but to someone like Julie, a designer, they know what to do with that. So that’s what a template is for, it’s not there to take care of every situation or anything like that, it’s just really to give you the infrastructure, so you don’t have to do everything manually.

JT: But folks who say that a template curtails creativity, they really need to understand that even if you’re working on a blank template in PowerPoint, it’s still based on a template, it still has those ugly office colors and the Calibri fonts, and so anything you design on that blank template, we’ve seen them all, if we’ve seen them all before. I can recognize the Office theme orange and blue at a glance in HTML in [inaudible 00:05:00] but a template, if you’re creative and you’re working with a template, you can go beyond those basic layouts, and you can use the color theme and the font theme and the structure and design a new configuration that goes along with everything else, so everything is consistent, that’s all a template really is, is developing that structure for design consistency.

JS: Right. And the one thing I’ve learned from both of you many years ago was using not just the slide in PowerPoint, and we’re focused on PowerPoint, but this probably extends to most of these tools, not just the white slide itself, but using the notes pane and using the gray area around it. So when you build out these templates, or when a person builds out a template for their organization, can you talk a little bit about building in the instruction, into sort of how to use it within the template itself? Yeah, Echo, go ahead.

ES: Yeah, so what you’re doing there, when you’re building an instruction, well, like you said, you’re using all of the different places, but the thing is that PowerPoint doesn’t give us a really good way to build in instructions for the users, so what we’ve done throughout the years is, honestly, we’ve hacked PowerPoint, and we’ve just pushed it and used all the different features that we have available to add instructions wherever we can, like, one of the easiest things to do is to customize the prompt text, but people don’t realize that you can do that. And it does have limitations, but you can still get a lot of really good information in there for people, and it’s just anything that you can do that can help those users understand what kind of information to put in, yeah.

JT: A lot of folks at these big companies, hey, believe it or not, they don’t use PowerPoint every day.

JS: Right, yeah.

JT: Like the rest of us. So they may pull up this template after a few weeks or a month or a couple of months, and they need to re-familiarize themselves with the tools and how to use it, and anything that we can do in the template to make their job quicker and easier, that’s what we’re trying to do.

JS: Yeah. It just seem something, I think you’re both right, it seems to me that a lot of people, in whatever field it is, presentation, design, DataViz, whatever, they sort of forget that most people that we work with don’t really care all that much, like, they just want to look good. Right?

JT: Yeah.

JS: And, make it easy as possible for them.

JT: Well, you said something, Jon, in the beginning about there are all kinds of templates that you can download and things like that, and you’re right, people just want stuff to look good, so they look at those templates and they download them, those templates don’t necessarily help you make your stuff look good in your branding, because it’s all built off – at the slide level, it’s not got that infrastructure in there, and it drives me crazy.

ES: Hey, I’ve downloaded, I’ve purchased some I’ve downloaded some – most of them, you’re missing so many parts and pieces, a lot of them, they’ve stripped off the Slide Master, they don’t have any fonts programmed in, they’re not saving you any time or doing you [inaudible 00:08:14].

JS: It’s just a one-off, right? It’s like the one-off thing that I need.

ES: Yeah, it’s like a one-off thing, yeah.

JS: But doesn’t help you down the road, the way having it inside the organization.

ES: No, and then we have, you know, you’re the DataViz expert here, so then they have those charts that have like, what are they, what do we call them Julie?

JT: Data graphs.

ES: Like, that doesn’t work for anything, and, like, how do you do that with your data…

JT: Oh, [inaudible 00:08:37]

John: The trees, oh yeah, the trees, the 3D, bar charts that have no data, they’re just like, they’re just decorative.

ES: Yeah. So you can download a bunch of decorative stuff, but does it really help you in your day to day, and what you’re doing, you know, when you’re trying to create charts, yeah, anyway, enough.

JS: No, I think that’s right, I want to get back to that in a second, because I want to ask about – my sense is that a lot of people, at least, that I talk to, when they start thinking about their template, they think about font and color, and they sort of get that, and then they think about, okay, so how am I going to do, like, get to the next step or like, do the template for every type of slide, and they sort of get stuck there. So I want to ask, this is really a two-part question I think now, because of Echo, what you just said. So I guess, the first question is like, what’s your recommendation for those folks who maybe get stuck aside from reading the book, obviously, like that would be the first thing is read the book, but aside from, like, what’s the way that they can get over the hump. And then to this question of not doing this like downloading this one-off slide, how do you think when you’re working with clients on this, like, return on investment on you’re going to spend some time building the template and how much you’re going to get out of it at the end of the day. So that’s kind of a two parter. So I don’t know if Julie can start…

JT: Oh Echo, you reply first, please.

ES: Honestly, Jon, I would just be happy if they would get the fonts and the colors right, that’s all I need. It kills me.

JT: So a template isn’t going to fix all presentation problems, it’s not going to, and you can’t address every single potential slide configuration in your template. Have you ever seen a template, you open up the layouts gallery, and there’s about a 100 of them, and you have to scroll through and then, oh, and you’re also working with those 50, 60, 70 megabyte templates, and so, no one can email any files among the company. So that’s what happens when you try and address everybody’s issue, you just can’t, and you shouldn’t. In fact, our book addresses this, talking about a small template in a larger supplemental slide library. Right? But what a template should do is it should work for everyone who’s going to use it, so what we recommend is you take a look at a whole bunch of recent presentations that are done by your audience, and you surface those common slide types – what types of slides are the people who are going to be using your new template using, that’s what goes in your template. You need to do your homework first before you design, before you build anything, do your homework, and design the template for those people, not for you.

JS: And if you found, when you work with clients, that people, once they sort of see the value of the template, like the adoption just picks up pretty quickly.

JT: Yeah.

ES: Yeah, it definitely does. I have a client right now, who I was contacted to rebuild their template, because their design agency gave them basically a not workable template, and one of the issues is that they built it, and they did their designer-ish layouts is what I call them, so they’re really cool. They have really cool quotes, and they have stuff like this. This is an engineering firm, okay? So all the engineers have come to these people and said, where are our layouts, because they had a really good template to start with. Julie actually built the end design, and built the previous one that was from years and years ago, and they need to update it, while the agency took off with it and did crazy things, and the client has come back because the engineers are complaining because they don’t have any layouts that they can use.

JT: They didn’t take their audience in mind.

ES: They just did it dirty.

JS: Right.

ES: They did it dirty. I think that that’s one of the big drawbacks when people are creating templates, they forget about who’s going to be using them; they build a template for themselves, not for the end users and for the people who are [inaudible 00:12:48].

JT: And like you said, how many templates do we receive that are filled with that eye candy stuff. Seriously, Jon, how many quotes can you have in a presentation?

JS: Yeah-no, I think that’s right, and I think it comes back to what people see on a lot of these, not that these sites are bad where you can download, not that they’re bad, I’m just saying, you see these things are sort of eye catching, and then you say, well, I’m going to put that in my thing. But yeah, like you said, how many different ways you need to lay out a quote in a single deck.

JT: Yeah.

JS: I wanted to extend this conversation just a little bit, because I was talking to a student yesterday, and one of the big things that they have to do is they do slide decks at their work, but the slide decks are primarily intended to be shared as documents, not as a presentation, so that’s sort of the way they go. So how did the templates work for those folks, like, how do you think about that? To be honest, I don’t exactly know how this works, like, why you would use PowerPoint as like a document creator, but okay, fine, whatever works, yeah.

JT: Yeah, a lot of our clients will request multiple templates, one for presentations, and one for documents. Our clients will ask us to include a few custom layouts that are designed for that purpose – text heavy, they’re just going to take those slides and export to PDF and deliver that as a leave behind. And so, you can include them in the template, or if you need more looks, distribute a second template, that’s for documents. Some of our clients don’t do presentations, they only do proposals and documents and reports, and PowerPoint gives them way more flexibility than Word does.

JS: Well, you mean whole lines together is not useful?

JT: Yeah.

JS: Sorry, Echo, go ahead, sorry.

ES: Sorry, I didn’t mean that. But they don’t have access to InDesign necessarily, so they’re using PowerPoint as their page layout tool. They don’t have Publisher, I don’t even know if Microsoft makes Publisher anymore. But yeah, InDesign [inaudible 00:14:57] exist, I mean, InDesign is the only thing I can even think that’s a page layout tool anymore, and people don’t have access to it, and the learning curve is big for a typical person who would be using PowerPoint. So yeah, it’s the de facto page layout.

JS: Yeah.

ES: We do reporting templates like Julie was saying, we do those all the time for our consulting firm clients, and I’ve done newsletter templates for a couple of my clients and…

JT: Proposal templates.

ES: [inaudible 00:15:24]

JS: Right.

JT: The other thing I do is participant guides, and then you take it into Acrobat, and you add editable text fields for the audience, so they don’t have to print anything.

JS: Right. So this is a very specific question, but it’s something that comes up, I get this question a lot, so I’m going to tap into the PowerPoint knowledge before we get back to templates. So I have a lot of people, they want to do a document, so they lay out their slide 8.5 by 11, and then they’re going to burn it out as a PDF. So some people will come to me and say, well, I’ve built in my one-inch margins in the slide itself, before burning it out to a PDF. And some say, well, I don’t need to do that, because when I convert it, it’s going to add the margins in, or, when I print it, if they’re printing, it’s going to build that. So what’s your approach to that?

JT: I can tell you what I do. I set up the page size for 8.5 by 11, and I export a PDF, and it’s 100% 8.5 by 11.

JS: And you build in the margins, the one-inch margins in PowerPoint, or let the conversion…

JT: When you say one into margins, that sounds like it’s for a specific purpose. The margins that I use are specific to whatever document I’m creating, and they use guides. Using guides and placeholder positioning, don’t think about margins like Word. PowerPoint’s not going to push everything inside of a set margin like Word can, so you have to set up your elements in that, in those.

JS: Yeah, within the frame, yeah.

ES: What I would say is, so a couple of things with setting up margins and pages, when you set up your page in PowerPoint, if you choose letter, US letter, it already adds an inch, it makes your page size an inch smaller all the way around. So you have to use a custom size and set up 8.5 by 11, specifically to get that 8.5 by 11 file. So once you have that, then, like Julie said, put your guides in to set your margins, but honestly, I would recommend exporting a PDF and looking at it to see, because there are different settings that you can put in your print settings and your PDF settings, and depending on how you’re creating your PDF, it may add more margin than not. So run a test to see if it looks right to your eye.

JS: So that leads me to another question: when you’re working with a client and you’re building a template for them, or you’re teaching them how to make templates, do you encourage them, or do you test with multiple people in the organization – you encourage them to test it, and what does that look like? Are you like, here’s the template, go make a deck or what does that process look like?

ES: So generally speaking, we build in a couple of weeks for testing in the timeline. So Julie will do design, we get our feedback, whatever, we build a template; and then when I build it, the first draft, it’s solid, they could use it, they could roll it out, but I ask them to test with a small group. So they should pick five or 10 people, they should probably have some people who are really super savvy, and they should probably have some people who are not, and then have them test that template, build slides with that template, see what works for them, see what doesn’t, and then, we’ll sometimes give them a list of things to check specifically, like, make sure that when you add text here, like, do you want to shrink the text; if you want that to behave differently, let us know; does this color work for you on the background, that kind of thing.

JT: Usually, I’ve found it’s a little bit easier – folks really think they know a lot about PowerPoint, but they don’t. And so, the last few clients, I’ve distributed the how-to guide as a companion to the template and maybe a template system with a big library, and it has instructions in there for how to get this from here to here, but also how to uplevel older presentations by copying content into the new template. If you miss a few of those pieces during the testing phase, all your feedback is going to be, well, this doesn’t work with my old slides.

JS: Right.

JT: You have to teach them how to do it.

JS: So you both are doing this for a while. Are you still seeing people moving from four-three to 69 or if we’ve sort of finally gotten to the widescreen and we’re kind of there?

ES: I think we’re over the home.

JS: I saw one a couple of days ago, and I was like, really, we’re still doing…

ES: I do have a lot of clients who still do four-three, and they are the ones who are doing reporting, they are printing, they’re specifically still printing physically. Now, most of them are creating PDFs as well, but especially the financial firms, they are like, their heads are in that four by three space, and sometimes, I can’t get them out of it. But a lot of them are also asking for a 16 by 9 option as well, I think they’re going to find that moving back and forth really sucks. You’re eventually going to settle on widescreen would be my guess.

JS: Yeah.

ES: That’s my guess.

JS: It would be interesting without the pandemic, if that would have accelerated even faster, because it’s almost like when you’re on Zoom, it kind of almost doesn’t matter, because you can adjust your Zoom screen, you could still see it, but when you’re in the real world, and you’re presenting it’s not widescreen TV…

ES: Except you’ve got folks who are using their iPads more and more, and those are four by three.

JS: Yeah.

ES: Some laptop screens are four by three. So I think the pandemic revealed that we still have a need for both now and then, but I don’t see any – I think I’ve seen one four by three come across in the last year.

JS: That’s interesting about the iPad, I haven’t thought about that, yeah, that’s true, that’s really interesting.

ES: Because I can think of four or five clients I have right now who are doing [inaudible 00:21:24] in the last couple of months, but it’s a lot of financial and reporting.

JS: But it’s sort of a unique use case.

ES: Yeah.

JS: So specifically to templates, and I’m going to let you each answer, see if we get different answers, I should have had you write it down first, what’s your number one rule or recommendation when it comes to not using, but creating the template – so if I’m the head designer at my firm, I’m creating the template, what’s your number one rule? So Julie, you want to go first, what’s your number one rule?

JT: Do not add or remove placeholders from any of the default layouts in PowerPoint. So when you go to the slide master view, those nine layouts that show up first, don’t add or remove any placeholders from those. If you need something that has an additional placeholder, or maybe you wanted to delete one or whatever, always go in and insert a brand new custom layout, and add placeholders to that, you can have them match the look of your existing placeholders, but don’t add or remove any from those default ones, it breaks the connection between existing templates and your new templates.

JS: Yeah, that’s really good. All right, Echo, number one rule recommendation?

ES: So I have two, the first one is you should save as a template and actual true template, so by that we mean save as POTX at least once while you’re creating your template. That strips out those variants, so if you do change slide size, or if you click one of those by mistake, it won’t override all of your custom formatting, because I’ve seen people just lose everything that they’ve worked on, when you switch slide size. So you have to strip those variants and saving as POTX does that. After you save the file as POTX, you can save it as a PPTX later, and use the PPTX for distribution or whatever. But that same as POTX function breaks that connection, and you want to break that connection in that. So it’s an important thing that gets overlooked because it just came into fruition maybe and like [inaudible 00:23:31] I think.

JT: I think we put it in 36 point text in the book.

ES: We repeated it every three pages or something, save as POTX, just do it once, like, just trust me, just do it once. The other thing honestly is set up your font theme. People do not know how to set up the font theme. What you’re doing when you do that, like, they’ll apply a font to the placeholders, but they won’t set up the font theme, and what you’re doing is you’re setting up all of your users to create [inaudible 00:24:01] index at that point, because your placeholders, when you type text will use whatever you formatted there, but everything else uses the font theme. So when you create a chart or a smart art or a table, you use the font theme. And so, if they don’t match, like, people can’t see the difference between those fonts, if you have Calibri as your font theme, and you’ve put Arial on your placeholders, most people can’t see that difference. Julie can see it at a glance, but I don’t pay attention to it a lot of times. And so, you’ll get caught out with that, and you’ll end up with all these mismatched fonts, and…

JT: Well, and also as we’ve discovered recently, some of those fonts are nearly impossible to replace in charts. So you’re just doing everyone [inaudible 00:24:47] take a few minutes and set up the font thing.

JS: Yeah, that’s good. So now I want to ask about PowerPoint specifically, because the tool has evolved pretty dramatically over the last, what, five years, I’d say probably. So I want to get your sense of your least favorite part of PowerPoint and your most favorite part of PowerPoint. So maybe we’ll go backwards this time, so we’ll start with Echo, so your least and most favorite part of, I don’t know what I mean by part to be honest, I guess, specific tool, part, aspect, yeah.

ES: My least favorite thing about PowerPoint, I mean, okay, so I have to say, I love PowerPoint; there’s so much good about it, I got to throw that out there. But there are so many little things that just drives me bat shit, I can’t even, some things just make me crazy. But honestly, the biggest thing and the biggest time suck, I think are the charting and table tools, I think they suck, they suck really bad. I think the fact that we cannot create our own custom styles for charts and tables is just, yeah, I just, oh my god, they need love so bad. It’s just low hanging fruit, I don’t know why they haven’t done anything with them. The tables are embarrassing, they’re just embarrassing.

JS: They are embarrassing, yeah. That is the best word to describe them. It’s actually interesting now that you – I hadn’t really thought about this, but it’s the charting library in Illustrator is also like god awful. So I don’t know what to say about that, so just break that.

JT: When I have to work from PowerPoint to Illustrator and InDesign, every chart is manually manipulated so that it’s exacting, brought into Illustrator, converted for InDesign, and it’s a lot more work but I can take advantage of chart styles for some of that.

ES: We can’t create an actual chart style that would travel with a template, and we can’t, like, there’s no one click like add direct labeling, like, what the hell Microsoft, come on, low hanging fruit. I can’t even position those data labels properly. I mean, it’s just, oh, it’s so…

JS: It’s infuriating.

ES: It is infuriating. That is a good word for it.

JS: Yeah, it really is. I mean, I will say it’s gotten better, like, I was very much like…

ES: No.

JS: Well, no, up until maybe three years ago, I was like, I will never insert a chart directly in PowerPoint, I would always make it in Excel and then pipe it over, because the PowerPoint-Excel handoff was always so bad. It just seems to have gotten like the handoff is better now, but it’s still like all these other things you can’t control.

ES: No, honestly, but Jon, it doesn’t matter whether you’re doing it in PowerPoint or in Excel, because quite frankly, the only, the biggest difference, I would say, is that PowerPoint starts with dummy data, and that’s actually one of the tips that I give my students is if you don’t know how a chart is supposed to, how the data should be set up, do it in PowerPoint, because it gives you the dummy data. So for example, TreeMap, I have no idea what Excel is looking for, for a TreeMap. And so, if I create it in PowerPoint, I have dummy data, I’m like, oh, and then I can go to Excel and set it up that way if I need to. Or I can create it in PowerPoint using that dummy data, because you can click the button and open the full Excel thing, so you have all the Excel tools right there, just people don’t know to do that. So I don’t care if I’m charting in PowerPoint or Excel, to be honest, because, to me, it’s really the same, it’s just that I don’t have to add the data.

JS: Yeah, that’s a really good idea. Okay, Julie, least and most favorite parts of PowerPoint.

JT: The least favorite, the text formatting tools from hell…

JS: you don’t like that [inaudible 00:28:49].

JT: No, not that text formatting [inaudible 00:28:53] the ancient dialogue boxes for line and paragraph spacing and bullet characters and [inaudible 00:28:59] and all that. They’re so bad and so old, and they really don’t help us at all with presentation text. They didn’t even help in Word, they don’t help in PowerPoint. That’s my least favorite area of the program, and I have to use it every single day.

ES: I have to throw in one. So one other for me related to templates specifically is the whole template ecosystem is what I will call it. I think that things like font themes and color themes, they’re not real obvious to people, it’s not obvious what’s happening to them, but also, it’s really, really difficult to get to your custom template. If you don’t want to use a Microsoft stock theme, you got to jump through some hoops, and, I mean, IT can strip out all of that stuff, your IT staff can strip that out and can push yours and all of that, it’s really hard for them to do and they don’t know how to do it. And if you’re a very small firm, you may not have someone doing that kind of thing, so it shouldn’t be that hard. It should be so much more obvious and so much more easy.

JS: 100% agree with that. That is one of the biggest hiccups I have to getting people to even just to make a color palette in Excel and share it with their colleagues.

ES: I know.

JS: Like you have to go seven layers deep into your finder explorer window to find that XML file, it’s just, well, beyond my skill set to know whether it’s unnecessarily difficult, but it’s definitely difficult.

ES: It is difficult, yeah.

JT: So you asked also about our favorite part.

JS: Yeah, favorite.

JT: Recently, last couple of years, the cloud fonts, Microsoft Cloud fonts, as a designer, I mean, I’ve been waiting for this forever, and there’s hundreds of new fonts, and so many of them will make beautiful presentation theme fonts. But the coolest thing is more and more, I think all of my clients right now are in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, so they can use these Cloud fonts in their files, and no one needs to embed them or install them, they are automatically downloaded from the cloud whenever someone opens up a document with these fonts. So anyway, seeing more and more global uptick on M365 users, so Cloud fonts is probably my favorite new feature.

JS: Yeah, that’s a good one. And I think I just saw Nolan Haims posted a link to someone has a new…

JT: That’s mine, Jon.

JS: That’s your, okay.


JS: And it’s like what, like 300 pages?

JT: It has a visual example of all of the cloud fonts, and it’s constantly updated – as Microsoft adds new fonts to the service, I update the guide and post a new one, it’s also linked from Microsoft’s Cloud font page. So if you’re on their page, it links to my site so you can access the guide that way, but it’s designed to present on the publication’s page.

JS: Yeah, I have it right here on my desktop, I’ll link to that so people can grab it, because…

JT: If they don’t know what Cloud fonts are, the site has an article explaining what you need to know, and the caveats also, if you’re going to have folks using Office versions, you don’t – if you don’t know what Office version they’re on, you need to be aware of some of these issues.

JS: Right. Echo, I don’t think we got a chance of your favorite.

ES: Favorite, so I was thinking about this, and I kind of have a love-hate relationship with designer, but it’s another one of those non-obvious things, sometimes I really like being able to just, especially with my clients and stuff, they can just choose one of those designer things, and you can up-level your slide, and it’s really good for one-off. My issue with it is it has some issues, and so, it’s sometimes hard to get back to the design, and people don’t know how to use one of those designer options for the whole file. And if you insert it in a new slide, like, if you’re creating a title slide with a new deck, and you do a designer thing, you choose a designer look, it will apply to the whole deck, but it’s not obvious that it’s doing that. So I struggle with the obviousness and things like that, but on the positive side, if you construct your template correctly, it will work with designer and designer will push the layouts that you are using…

JT: In brand, in your templates.

ES: So the users can select those in brand.

JS: Yeah, that’s great.

ES: On brand layouts. So I kind of, you know, I got to give designers a shout out, they’ve done a nice job with it, I think.

JS: I mean, I feel the same way, I kind of like it, especially when it’s quick and dirty. I don’t like the fact that when you lay stuff out, like, the background part of the slide is fixed, it’ll give you the two photographs next to each other, and they’re nicely cropped and everything, and the background is great. It’s like, well, I want to be blue – well, you have to start over.

JT: I believe you can copy those elements to a new slide, and you could create your own background.

JS: Yeah…

JT: There are ways to get around it, but I really like this…

ES: You can select in the selection pane.

JT: Yeah. So the designer’s great for that quick down and dirty, you’ve got, like I was telling Echo, you’ve got a series of five photos, and you need to get them arranged in a grid on a slide, use designer, bring it back into your own deck.

JS: Yeah, absolutely, that’s what I use it for all the time, like, let it do the work for the cropping and layout arrangement work for you, and then throw that stuff away, and just use it on your own. So before we go, you are both setting up LinkedIn learning classes, is that right, for this year? So what are what are the classes on?

ES: Mine is basic techniques for data visualization, so toning down color, how to highlight certain data points, I can even talk, how to how to highlight certain data points, different chart types, I think I’m going to talk about some alternatives to pie charts, things like that.

JS: That’s great. Julie, what about yours?

JT: Slide design makeovers.

JS: Nice. Okay, so taking your…

JT: Boring common slide types and turning them into something that’s a little bit more visually appealing, and helping the non-designer get a little bit more creative with this.

JS: Yeah, that’s great. Well, I’ll link to both your sites, so people can check them out and look forward to the learning classes, and then, I want to make sure I mention the Presentation Guild that you were both founding members of, and Echo, I think you are still teaching the boot camps, right?

ES: Yeah, I’ve been working on certifications for the last couple of years, and Glenna Shaw was instrumental in getting our specialists level out there, and we launched that a couple of years ago. And then, I think just in the last couple of weeks, we’ve launched the expert level, so I’ve been working on that, we will teach a boot camp geared towards that in the next couple of weeks.

JS: That’s great. Well, thanks to you both for coming on the show. Thanks for another version of the book. I’ll see if I can sell my first edition for like five grand on Amazon now.

ES: If anybody has screenshots of that four-grand thing, I need that.

JS: Thanks to you both, really appreciate it.

ES: Thanks Jon. Always fun.

JT: Thanks Jon.

Thanks everyone for tuning in to this week’s episode of the show. I hope you enjoyed that, hope you learned a lot. One last thing before I let you go, check out my new Winno community. It’s a new app where I send about two or three text messages a week with a great data visualization or a great technique or tip or strategy. I’m also sending out coupon codes for conferences that I’m speaking at, that others are speaking at that I have been sent, and so, I’m sharing those with you. And you can get a free week to check it out, see if you want to receive those text messages, and then after that, it’s only five bucks a month, I send only two or three text messages, it goes right to your phone, you can get some great DataViz content delivered right into your hand. So I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of the show. Until next time, this has been the PolicyViz podcast. Thanks so much for listening.

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