7 Powerhouse PowerPoint Tools (Your Secret Weapons For Creating Printables)

by Nov 2, 2020Creating Printables

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My mind was blown away when I first heard you could use PowerPoint to create printables. It never (not even once) occurred to me that it could do more than presentations. But I quickly learned that PowerPoint has some powerhouse tools that are perfect for creating opt-in freebies.

There are 7 unique tools or features that every single blogger needs to know about. And they are:

  1. Alignment
  2. SmartArt
  3. Table
  4. WordArt
  5. ColorDesign
  6. Insert (Text or Shape)
  7. Saving Elements either as a JPEG or PNG

Plus a bonus tool…that will make the design process so much easier. I use the bonus tool every time I use PowerPoint. But that’s because I love to create different kinds of freebies (all the time).

powerhouse powerpoint tools for printables

When it comes to creating printables, these tools will be your best friend. Whether you use all of them or only one, this list will in some form help you design that irresistible freebie to turn your readers into subscribers.

Even though this post is directed at making printables, it is good to know you can do so much more. For instance, PowerPoint can be used to make infographics, mockup images, images for your blog, and even images for social media (just to name a few).

Though I will state that while you can use PowerPoint for social media posts, I recommend sticking with a graphic design tool like Canva or PicMonkey. They are much better in my opinion.

How to Make Printables in PowerPoint?

To make a printable in PowerPoint, it is similar to the way you would in Canva. First, you need to know what freebie you want to make. That means deciding what type of freebie will help you solve your chosen pain point.

From there, I recommend doing a quick rough draft sketch or outline of what your freebie will look like an consist of.

The finally step is to start designing. To help you with that, I have created this amazing blog post (if I say so myself) that shows you incredible tools that can be used to create that one irresistible printable.

If you want to know how to create a blog freebie, then you need to read this blog post right here!

The 7 PowerPoint Powerhouse Tools You Need to Know About

Tool #1: Alignment

We are going to kick off this list with the tool that is the whole reason I started using PowerPoint and that is the alignment tool. The best part about this nifty tool is that it will happen automatically. 

You don’t need to do anything on your part. Simply add your elements and align them. For the spacing alignment feature, you will need more than two elements. Once each element is spaced perfectly, an alignment indicator will show up.

It is those indicators that will tell if you need to move the elements around. 

powerhouse powerpoint tools for printables

Tool #2: SmartArt

This is a unique tool that you can only use if you have PowerPoint. The best way to explain it is that it quickly creates a graphic design that organizes your information.

This makes it not only great for creating printables but infographics as well.

To use this tool click the Insert tab and then click SmartArt in the Illustrations section. From there a lovely menu will appear with all the different design options to choose from.

powerhouse powerpoint tools for printables

Related Post: How to Create an Opt-In Freebie Mockup

There are quite a few layouts available, which can make it difficult to choose the one you like best. One nifty trick that can be done with SmartArt, is getting a preview of the layouts in the SmartArt layouts menu in the SmartArt Design tab (that’s a lot of SmartArt in one sentence).

Simply drag your mouse over the designs and it will automatically change the layout right before your eyes. If you want it to be a permanent change, then click the layout design you want to use.

powerhouse powerpoint tools for printables

It is important to note though that you can only do the preview for the layouts within the selected categories. You can select the categories by choosing a layout.

For example, if you choose the Basic Block List then you can only preview other layouts within the List category.

Another great feature that is found in the SmartArt Design tab is the Change Colors. This is located in the SmartArt Styles section. When you open the Change Colors menu, it displays a variety of options of color (solid or variety) to change your design.

powerhouse powerpoint tools for printables

Creative Tip: Use Canva’s Color tool to help find the perfect brand colors for your blog business. The color generator tool will take a picture and select four colors from it or check out the color palette ideas for color combinations. 

Tool #3: Table

I bet you never considered using the table tool to make an incredible printable. In fact, the table is my favorite tool to use when it comes to making a calendar or planner in PowerPoint.

To insert a table, click the Insert tab. Then click Table (usually located on the left side of the menu). A drop-down menu opens and from there choose the size of your table.

powerhouse powerpoint tools for printables

Adjust the layout of the table to fit your needs. In the Table Styles section of the menu, you have the ability to change the color of the table (just like with SmartArt).

powerhouse powerpoint tools for printables

Tool #4: WordArt

Here is another tool that can instantly change your design but this one is limited to text. There are a whole variety of effects to try from reflection to 3-D rotation. 

To get to WordArt, click the text box and the Shape Format tab should appear instantly in the top menu. Sometimes it will automatically take you to the Shape Format tab.

powerhouse powerpoint tools for printables

Once there, go to the Word Styles section and have some fun with all the different styles to choose from. My favorite area is the Text Effects. That is where you can find Shadow, Reflection, Glow, Bevel, 3-D Rotation, and Transform.

Tool #5: Screen Recording

With this PowerPoint powerhouse tool, you are able to record what is happening on your screen. This is incredible if you want to walk your subscriber through how to use the freebie.

And the good news is that you are not limited to only recording on PowerPoint. It has the capability to record your computer screen as well. The only downside to the screen recording is that it does not do video. 

To use Screen Recording, click the Insert tab on the top menu.

powerhouse powerpoint tools for printables

Then select Screen Recording which is located on the right-side of the menu bar. 

powerhouse powerpoint tools for printables

From there you can choose a selected area, whether you want audio on or off, and if you want it to record the mouse pointer. Once you have your settings selected, click Record.

Tool #6: Insert

So this is more of an awesome feature but I am sticking it in this list of PowerPoint powerhouse tools. Seriously, the designs you are capable of doing with insert are amazing. 

You can insert an image into almost anything in PowerPoint. That includes text, SmartArt, shapes, and even tables. This ability lets you take your design to another level.

To insert a picture into text, select the text box, or highlight the text. Then click Text Fill (typically found in the WordArt Styles on the menu bar). Open the drop-down menu, select Picture, and choose the image you want to use.

To insert a picture into a shape, table, or SmartArt, select the element. Click Shape Fill to open the drop-down menu and choose Picture. Choose the image you want to use. Sometimes Shape Fill can be found in Format, Shape Format, and Table Format

powerhouse powerpoint tools for printables

Tool #7: Saving Selected Elements as an Image File (JPEG or PNG)

Here is a PowerPoint tool that I use all the time for different aspects of my blog (not just my blog freebies). Did you know that you can save elements as an image file without having to save the design as a whole?

Yep, and it is super easy! All you do is select the element(s) for the image file, right-click the mouse, and choose Save as picture. From there you give it a file name, choose what type of image file (PNG or JPEG), and the location to save it on the computer.

That means you don’t have to worry about extra space that isn’t being used which would happen if saving the file as a whole.

I use this PowerPoint tool the most to save images for my blog and create mockups. It saves me so much time being able to create the images I need instead of resizing my design constantly (whether by cropping the newly saved image or changing the layout of the graphic design tool). 

Related Post: How to Create an Opt-In Freebie Mockup

powerhouse powerpoint tools for printables

Bonus Tool: PowerPoint Shortcut Keys

Shortcut keys are an essential tool (no matter which graphic design tool you use) and come in handy when creating printables. I use shortcut keys so much that they are now second nature.

This powerhouse PowerPoint tool will save a good chunk of time when designing (more than you realize) and makes the creation process easier to. Instead of needing to move your mouse all over the place, simply press a few keys it’s done.

What Are Shortcut Keys?

They are a certain combination of keys or mouse of your keyboard that when put together create an action. You probably are using them without realizing it.

Some common ones are: copy (CTRL + C), paste (CTRL + V), cut (CTRL + X), and save (CTRL + S). 

My favorite shortcut key of all time is Duplicate (CTRL + D). It is a shortcut for the copy and paste shortcuts. Isn’t that awesome!

But there are a whole lot more to try out. They are different with every program, so make sure you learn what they are before using them. 

If you want or need a spiffy cheatsheet, then get access to my Printables Kickstart Toolkit. In it, I have created cheat sheets for my four favorite graphic design tools (Canva, PowerPoint, Google Slides, and PicMonkey).

Related Post: How to Create an Opt-In Freebie Mockup

Print them out or save them to your phone. Whichever is easier for you. Eventually, once you use them enough, you will have your favorite shortcut keys memorized. 

If you want this toolkit, click here to get it now!

printables kickstart toolkit

Is There a FREE Version of PowerPoint?

The short answer is YES! The good news is that you can use PowerPoint for free. The even better news is 5 out of the 7 PowerPoint powerhouse tools are available to use. 

The two that do not come with the free version are Screen Recording and saving selected elements as an image file. There is still the ability to save the design as a whole as a file image.

All that is needed to get access to the free PowerPoint, is by having (or creating) an Outlook email account. This is exactly like getting a Gmail email and being able to use all those awesome programs in Google Drive.

Except an Outlook email gives you access to One Drive and all the programs in Microsoft 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Skype, One Note, To Do, and Family Safety). 

powerhouse powerpoint tools for printables

Which is Better? The Free or Paid Version of PowerPoint?

Personally for me, I think the paid version is the better choice but you can definitely start out on the free version. 

The biggest reason I love the paid version is being able to create an image by simply selecting elements. I like that I don’t have to save the document as a whole. 

If you are tight on money, then I recommend holding off for the moment. Maybe put it on your gift list. But I definitely think it is a tool you should get at some point of your blogging career.

Final Thoughts on PowerPoint Powerhouse Printable Tools

When it comes to creating printables, PowerPoint is a must-have tool. Not only is it easy to learn but it has unique abilities compared to other programs like Canva or PicMonkey. 

As bloggers, we should use the different tools available to our advantage. I will sometimes try to create the same printable on both Canva and PowerPoint. This provides me the opportunity to see as many designs as possible.

Quick Recap:

  • There are 7 powerhouse tools to try
    • Alignment
    • SmartArt
    • Table
    • WordArt
    • Screen Recording
    • Insert
    • Saving Selected Elements as Image File
  • Plus I mentioned the awesome bonus tool of shortcut keys (don’t forget to download your FREE Printables Kickstart Toolkit to get your shortcut keys cheatsheets).
  • There is a free and paid version of PowerPoint. You can easily start with the free and upgrade for when you need to.
printables kickstart toolkit

Let Me Ask You Something Really Quick…

Are you excited to try making printables in PowerPoint? What do you love from the list above?

Do you have a secret powerhouse graphic design tool that you use to make your printables? 

Tell me about it in the comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Days –

the printables blog

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