Comparing the Old vs. the New

Let’s look at an example of a traditional slideshow and compare it to the same slideshow using the new Zoom Slides feature.

Our scenario has us presenting three charts, each describing a story but in their own unique way.  Our task is to select the chart we think tells the story the best way and use the chart in our final report.

The traditional approach to showing an audience three charts would be as follows.

That gets the job done, but it lacks any excitement, suspense, or emotional punch.

Now we see how the presentation looks using Zoom Slides.

Zoom Slides also increased my level of enthusiasm.  This is clearly going to make all the difference in the world when it comes to giving a memorable presentation.

Let’s see how all this was done.

#1 – Zoom Basics

This first example will use the Zoom Slides feature in it most basic form.

Begin by creating all the slides you will be using in your presentation.

If we wish to zoom in on the three existing slides, we need to insert a blank slide before the three standard slides.  Right-click above the top-most slide thumbnail and select New Slide.

For this example, if the new slide has any placeholders, remove them and leave yourself with a blank slide.

To insert he Zoom Slide feature on the new blank slide, select the blank slide and click Insert (tab) -> Links (group) -> Zoom -> Slide Zoom.

The resulting pop-up will display all slides in the slidedeck.

Place check marks below each slide you wish to include in the summary zoom slide and click Insert.

What the feature inserts are live thumbnail images of the selected slides.  If you alter the original slides, the thumbnails will update to reflect the change.

Arrange and size the thumbnails accordingly.

When we run the slideshow, we see the summary slide with the thumbnail images.

If we click on the first slide thumbnail, we gracefully zoom into the thumbnail revealing the linked slide in all its full resolution glory.

Upon each click of the mouse (or hit of the spacebar key) we are gracefully lifted off the current slide, moved to the next thumbnail image, and gently descend into the new slide.  Once we reach the last slide, our presentation ends in The Black.

We don’t want our presentation to end after the last zoomed slide, so we will change one of the Zoom Slides options.

When you select a zoom slide you are given access to a ribbon of option named Zoom.

Two of the more important options you will use more than any are “Return to Zoom” and “Zoom Background”.

Return to Zoom

If we select each thumbnail in turn and place a check in the “Return to Zoom” option, we will see a small left-pointing arrow in the slide number box in the lower-right corner of the thumbnail.

This indicates two things:

  1. The slide can be clicked at any time; first, last, never, repeatedly, etc…
  2. The zoom feature will return the viewer to the summary slide of thumbnails images after the slide is viewed.

This allows the presenter to dive into the slides in any order they wish and even return to previously viewed slides if necessary.

If we wish to maintain the linear approach to presenting our slides yet return to the summary slide once we finish with the last slide, remove the checks from the “Return to Zoom” option on all slides except the last slide.

Zoom Background

The “Zoom Background” option removes the background element from the slide thumbnail.

To see this better, lets change the background color of our summary slide to gray, leaving our slide thumbnails with a white background.

Select a thumbnail slide and click Zoom (tab) -> Zoom Styles (group) -> Zoom Background.

This will remove the background from the slide thumbnail rendering it transparent.

This gives us the opportunity to get creative with our presentation.

Set all the zoom slide thumbnails to have a transparent background.  Now we’ll add colored shapes to act as background “zoom zones” (not an official PowerPoint term) for each thumbnail.

You can also change the size of the slide thumbnails to suit your needs.

Observe the result of the above changes.

#2 – Zoom to Impress

Let’s take this already more interesting presentation and make it truly memorable.

Start by adding a new slide and change the background to something more interesting than a solid color, like a texture or a picture.

Next, add images of blank office objects, such as notepads, paper, tablets, clipboards, etc.

PowerPoint include many features that will enhance your pictures, such as cropping, recoloring, frames, background removal, rotation, and flips.  It’s like using a lite-version of a popular image editor that rhymes with “Photos Hop”.

Select the Zoom tool as before and insert the zoom slides.  Position the thumbnails over the various blank image objects in your summary slide.

Because the original slides were set to have white backgrounds, they don’t appear realistic when placed atop our blank office objects.  This is a great time to use the “Zoom Background” feature on the slide thumbnails.

Verify that the last slide in the thumbnail set is using the “Return to Zoom” option.

Run the show to see how the slideshow is taking form.

After we present the three chart options and return to the summary slide, we want to then show the winning chart in the contest.  In our scenario, the second slide contains the winning chart.

Begin by duplicating the slide with the second chart and place it at the end of the slidedeck.

Return to the Zoom Slide summary and select Insert (tab) -> Links (group) -> Zoom -> Slide Zoom and select the newly duplicated last slide.

Place the new zoom slide thumbnail slide below the original thumbnails.

Because we don’t want to reveal the winner until the end of the presentation, we will change the thumbnail image of the “winner” slide.  Select the newly inserted thumbnail and click Zoom (tab) -> Zoom Options (group) -> Change Image -> Change Image.

You can select an image from file, search for an image on the Web, or use an icon form the icon library.

We’ll use an icon of a prize ribbon from the Celebration category in the icon library.

The icon has a border around it, so let’s set the “Zoom Border” to No Outline.  We’ll also set the “Return to Zoom” option to active.

When we run the show, we zoom through the three slides, return to the thumbnails, then reveal the winning chart.  Once viewed, we return to the summary slide once more.

#3 – Zoom to Selection

Until now, we have used the Zoom Slides feature to zoom in and back out from single slides.  What if you have many slides you need to display before returning to the summary slide of thumbnails?

This can be solved by combining sections with the zoom feature.  This will give us the ability to move through the presentation in an unordered way.

Imagine having a slideshow of various types of house pets.  You ask the audience, “What do you want to see first?”  The audience shouts “Cats”, so you click on a thumbnail of a cat and proceed to show several hilarious slides of cat memes.

Upon displaying the final cat slide, you return to the summary slide and ask which pet should be displayed next.  The audience shouts, “Dogs”, so you click on the dog thumbnail and begin the string of dog-meme slides.

When giving the presentation to a different group, you may present the dog slides first and the cat slides thereafter.

Warning – Broken Zooms Ahead!

If we add slides after a slide that is currently part of a Zoom Slides set, the Zoom Slides feature will break and all slides after the “break” will display in sequential order like a traditional slideshow.

The moment you wish to have multiple slides linked to a single zoom you need to use Slide Sections.

Slide Sections are very simple to implement in PowerPoint.

To add a section, place your pointer between two slides in the thumbnail panel (on the left) and right-click.  Select Add Section.  Give the section a name.

Repeat this process until you have assigned each set of zoom slide groups to section.

For our existing example to work with sections instead of individual slides, we’ll remove the current thumbnail links for the chart candidates and click Insert (tab) -> Links (group) -> Zoom -> Section Zoom.

The resulting pop-up will display all the sections in your slidedeck.

Place check marks below each section you wish to include in the summary zoom slide and click Insert.

The inserted thumbnails will appear the same as when we inserted individual slides, but behind each thumbnail is a link containing a list of all slides in the section.

Running the show allows us to select any chart in any order, dive into that section, display all the related section slides, and return to the summary.

Unlike before, we can add slides to the sections without breaking the Zoom Slides feature.

Practice Workbook

Feel free to Download the Workbook HERE.

Leila Gharani

I'm a 6x Microsoft MVP with over 15 years of experience implementing and professionals on Management Information Systems of different sizes and nature.

My background is Masters in Economics, Economist, Consultant, Oracle HFM Accounting Systems Expert, SAP BW Project Manager. My passion is teaching, experimenting and sharing. I am also addicted to learning and enjoy taking online courses on a variety of topics.