Browsing the MS PowerPoint category

PowerPoint not printing shapes correctly.

I had a shape (specifically, a “pyramid”), and it wasn’t printing correctly.  When I copied/pasted the individual slide, I could see that the shape was enlarged (causing it to not be correct when printing).

All I did was “ungroup” the objects… twice.  That solved it!

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powerpoint don’t show data label n/a

I have a PowerPoint graph that had some “zero” values that I didn’t want displayed on the data labels.

I blogged about this before – putting in =”NA()” but that didn’t work.  I ended up formatting the number to type “custom” and specifying the value: #,##0;-#,##0;;

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PowerPoint unable to view data in graph

A coworker had a PowerPoint with a graph in it. The file somehow became corrupt (or something?), because we couldn’t get to the data behind the graph. It wasn’t a picture, as we could change aspects of the graph (ex the graph type), but we couldn’t get the data behind it. I tried copying it into a new PPT file or into Excel; and a few other things, but none worked. And the file didn’t seem to be “locked” (in terms of security).

The only work-around we had, which still required manual typing, but at least we could get the data: Click on the graph, and then in the “Design” tab (under “Chart Tools”), under “Chart Layouts”, select “Layout 5”. It shows the tabular data below the graph.

I found out afterwards that the graph was made in Excel and it was put into PPT by “Paste Special >> Picture (Enhanced Metafile)” – so it turns out it wasn’t meant for users to get to the source data in the first place! So perhaps the real lesson was, find who made the file originally to see if they purposefully disabled viewing it.

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PowerPoint line graph don’t show zero

I had a PowerPoint line graph, where the end of the dataset had a value of 0 (it was a graph over a time frame, and there were future months in there). As such, the line graph started off okay, but then dipped down to zero. We were able to format the graph so that the “0” didn’t show up, however the data point from “something” to “nothing” was still there. We didn’t want to format the one data point or delete it.

The trick was, in the datasheet, to put “=NA()” as the value in place of the 0, for the future months

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PowerPoint Venn Diagram Intersection

A coworker was making a Venn Diagram in PowerPoint, and they were just drawing shapes to do so.  They wanted the intersection to stand out, and couldn’t figure out how.

I didn’t realize there was a built-in Venn Diagram feature: “Insert” Ribbon >> Illustrations section >> Smart Art button >> Relationship tab >> Basic Venn

That made drawing the shapes easier.  I was stumped on how to add a new entry; turns out I just had to press “Enter”.  To delete a circle, I right-clicked on it and hit “cut”.

This still didn’t answer the question of how to make the intersection stand-out.  I ended up going back to the original “shape” method.  In the “Quick Access Toolbar” (the thing above/below the ribbon), I clicked the arrow for “More Commands”.  This brings up the PowerPoint Options, with the “Quick Access Toolbar” section selected.  In the left drop-down, select “Commands Not In the Ribbon”, and find “Shape Intersection”.

My shapes were grouped together.  Make a copy of the set.  In the copy, make sure the shapes are ungrouped!  Then highlight the shapes and click the “Shape Intersection” button.  Now you can make that a different color, and line it up to overlap the original Venn Diagram.  Optionally re-group them back together.

There’s another trick where you can add in a shape in the intersection and manually modify it (after making it a “free form shape” by selecting “edit points”), but that seemed like more of an effort, and was more limited in the ways you can make the custom shape.



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PowerPoint won’t save: read-only

A coworker experienced an off issue where he couldn’t save a Power Point file.  The error was that it was “read-only,” and he had to save it as a new file.  But whenever he tried to save the file as a new name, he got an error that the file already existed (even if it didn’t).  He was stuck.

The work-around solution was to just create a new PowerPoint file and copy all of the slides in there.  Then he could save the new file.

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Don’t wrap text in PowerPoint

A coworker had a table in PowerPoint, and when he pasted in the text he needed into it, it didn’t “wrap” – and it made the 2-column table into a single column (on one row anyways).  He asked me where the button was to toggle the word-wrap.  At a quick glance, I didn’t see it, so I had a different solution.  I told him to paste the text into Notepad.  This will remove all formatting.  From Notepad, he re-copied and pasted it into PowerPoint, and it pasted correctly.  I guess the original/copied version must have enforced a non-wrap method?

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Check the template

I created PowerPoint/Excel files from ASP (or really, you can do any language) by outputting a .vbs file (basically text file with a different extension).  First it copies a “template” file with how the graph should be made, then it opens the file and populates certain cells with the new values.

The problem was that my template file had dummy data in there, that I was overwriting.  In the file I was creating, there wasn’t enough data, so some of the dummy data still had old (dummy) values that weren’t being overwritten.  The output therefore had part of my graph with right data, and part of it with the dummy values.  My code was fine; it was the template that was incorrect.

Solution: I had 20 rows of data.  I changed it to 5 rows of data; so there’s 15 less rows of dummy information.

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powerpoint 2012 graph don’t show zero

That’s what I searched for, when I was trying to not show zero’s in my graph (where there was a line of data, say from January to December… and I only had data points for January – May filled in).

This is the page that gave me the answer:

The reason this works is in Step 3: the semicolon (“;”) is what shows it (or not).  The first part is a positive number, the second part is if it’s zero, and lastly if it’s negative.   The format is [format_if_positive];[zero];{format_if_negative] .

By adding in two “;” ‘s – one for zero and one for negative, I was able to format it the way I wanted it.  Add in the two “;” ‘s and hit the “Add” button in the PowerPoint 2012 Graph screen.

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Paste Excel into PowerPoint as editable Excel document

When you’re in MS Excel and you copy cells into a MS PowerPoint slide, it just copies it as a table; you can’t edit it as easily.  This can be especially troublesome when you want to update a graph (and can’t see the numbers behind it).

The solution: after you copy data in Excel (as normal), go into PowerPoint and do a “Paste Special” (in Office 2007, on the “Home” tab, you can click the little down arrow below “Paste” on the far left).  A “Paste Special” window comes up and the first item says “Microsoft Office Excel Worksheet Object”, which is highlighted.  Click off to select a different item in the window, then re-select Microsoft Office Excel Worksheet Object.  Click “OK” to paste it it in.

Note, this pastes in the entire MS Excel workbook.  So if you had other tabs with other data, that’ll be pasted in too; I’m not sure if that unnecessarily increases the file size, if you only needed 1 tab.


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