Monday, November 24, 2014

Recolor only an area of a slide to focus attention

 image credit: David R. Tribble   
Recolor Remainder feature changes the color of the surrounding areas while leaving the selected area unchanged.
First draw a shape over the area which should be left unchanged. You can use PowerPoint's 'freeform' shape if you want to draw a irregular shape as the one given below.

Next, select the shape, select Recolor Remainder from the Effects Lab dropdown, then choose the scheme to use - in our example here, we chose Gray Scale.

PowerPointLabs will insert a new slide, with the surrounding areas recolored (similar to the first image in this post).
After applying this feature, you can apply other PowerPoint features to the recolored area as well as the non-recolored area. Here are some examples.
Here is a short demo video:
The Recolor remainder feature comes with the free PowerPointLabs add-in and works for both PowerPoint 2010 and 2013 on Windows. 

Adjust transparency of pictures on slides

The Make Transparent turns the selected image or shape slightly transparent. This can be used to fade an image for use in the background of a slide, as shown above.
To apply the feature, select the image and click  Make Transparent from the Effects Lab dropdown.

 This feature can be useful in 'toning down' any picture so that it does not attract unnecessary attention, for example, making a logo less conspicuous:

The 'Make transparent' feature comes with the free PowerPointLabs add-in and works for both PowerPoint 2010 and 2013 on Windows.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Blur slide background to focus attention on an area

 image credit:

Blur Remainder feature can be used to draw attention to a particular part of the slide by adding a blur effect to the surrounding areas - similar to adjusting the focus on a camera.

To use it, first draw a shape over the area to be kept in focus.
Select the shape, then click Blur Remainder from the Effects Lab dropdown.
PowerPointLabs will then insert a new slide containing the blur effect.

It works with multiple shapes in one slide too. Here is an example:

Here is a short demo video:

The 'Blur remainder' feature comes with the free PowerPointLabs add-in and works for both PowerPoint 2010 and 2013 on Windows.

A 'magnifying glass' effect in PowerPoint (takes only 5 seconds)

Photo credit:
The Magnifying Glass effect can be used to enlarge a small detail on the slide. To use it, first draw a shape over the area to be magnified.

Select the shape, then click Magnifying Glass from the Effects Lab dropdown.

 This magnifies the area covered by the shape:
Though the example shown here uses a circle, any type of shape can be used as the magnifier. Here is another examples:

Here is a demo video:

The 'Magnifying glass' feature comes with the free PowerPointLabs add-in and works for both PowerPoint 2010 and 2013 on Windows. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Download more PowerPoint shapes: pins and stuff

Bored with built-in shapes PowerPoint gives you? Here is a collection of pins, magnets, and other implements for 'attaching' items to your slides.The screenshot below shows example usage.

This shapes library is called 'Pins and stuff' and is free to download from the PowerPointLabs website. It contains the following shapes.
To use these shapes in your slides, you need the Shapes Lab feature that comes with the free PowerPointLabs add-in.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Save, organize, and reuse shapes across PowerPoint files

With Shapes Lab (included in the free PowerPointLabs add-in), you can now save any element in a slide (shapes/pictures/text etc.), organize those saved elements into categories for easier reference, and reuse them across PowerPoint files.
Even the animation effects applied to those elements will be saved and are reusable. Enjoy!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pick a text color that matches the images in your slide

As you can see from the examples above, slides look nice when the text color goes well with the colors in the background image. To pick a color from the image, select the text, and drag the 'text color' icon in the Colors Lab panel to the color in the image that you want to use for the text. You can see a live preview as you drag the icon.
If you want to use a color that is not in the image but goes well with the image, drag the 'main color' icon to pick a dominant color from the image. When you do that, Colors Lab will show you a selection of colors that goes well with the picked color. To pick any of those colors, select the text as before, and the drag the 'text color' icon to the suggested color you want to use. Here's how it is done:

Colors Lab comes with the free PowerPointLabs add-in and works for both PowerPoint 2010 and 2013 on Windows. You can use it to pick colors from anywhere in the screen, not just from the slide.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pick colors for your PowerPoint slides from anywhere in the screen

The Colors Lab feature (included in PowerPointLabs) allows you to apply colors to text and shapes on any of your slides. To do so, first select the element to change by clicking on it within the slide.

The Colors Lab can change the color of text, as well as the border outline color and background fill color of shapes. This can be done by clicking and dragging from the appropriate button to the color you wish to use.
It can be used to pick colors from images in the slide, and even from outside PowerPoint. This is handy for copying a color from other websites.

Another cool thing about the Colors Lab is that it can help you pick good color combinations. If you change the main color of the Colors Lab (by dragging the color box on top), Colors lab tells you what are the other colors that can go with that color.  

Download the free PowerPointLabs add-in from

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

PowerPoint 2010 hidden feature: Combine shapes to create your own shapes!

PowerPoint 2010 users: Feeling envious of PowerPoint 2013 users' new merge shapes feature? You already have that feature in your PowerPoint 2010, but it is hidden. The free PowerPointLabs add-in 'unhides' it and puts it in the 'Format' ribbon, as shown in the above diagram. Alternatively, you can use the 'customize the ribbon' option to bring it out yourself.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cut out just the part you need from pictures, in any shape, right within PowerPoint

Auto Crop allows you to easily cut out a any shape out of an image on a slide without needing any additional image editing software.
First, use the freeform shape tool to mark out the area you'd like to crop.
Select the shape, then click the Crop To Shape button on the ribbon.
PowerPoint's shadow and soft edges effects can be used to enhance the look of the cropped image - for instance, here's the same image above after soft edges were applied.
For more complex cut-outs, just draw multiple shapes, select all of them, then click Crop To Shape.
The result of the above crop, with the shadow effect applied:
Note: Auto Crop can also be used to cut an area from multiple images. Just draw the shape(s) over all the images, select them, and click the Crop To Shape button.
Get your free copy of the PowerPoint Labs from

Zoom in/out of your PowerPoint slides with ease

Zoom to an area

Zoom to Area allows you to draw the audience's attention to a particular section of the slide by zooming in on it.
To use Zoom to Area, draw a rectangular shape on the portion of the slide you wish to zoom to.

Next, select the rectangle, and click the Zoom to Area button. A series of animation slides will be created to zoom in on the area, as well as to zoom back out again.
Here's the result.

Drill Down, Step Back

Drill Down allows you to show your audience the bigger picture and progressively zoom into details without overwhelming them with information. Step back is creates the effect of zooming back out to the "big picture". An example can be seen above.
To use Drill Down, you first need to create two slides: one for the "bigger picture" view, and one with the content to drill down into. Leave an empty area on the "big picture" slide where you want the zoom effect to take place:
Next, on the "big picture" slide, draw a rectangle in the empty space - this will be where the content from the "drill down" slide will appear.
Select the rectangle, and click the Drill Down button.
PowerPoint Labs will replace the rectangle with an image of the "drill down" slide, and add an animation slide with the zoom effect.
If you change the content of the "drill down" slide later, just select the picture and click Drill Down again to regenerate the zoom animation.
To create the effect of stepping back to see the "big picture", simply duplicate the "big picture" slide and place it after the "drill down" slide. Next, select the picture of the "drill down" slide and click Step Back.
Get your free copy of the PowerPoint Labs from

The easiest way to create multi-step animation paths in PowerPoint

Let's say you want to create slick multi-step animation paths in a PowerPoint slide, just like those shown below:
All you need to do is to place a copy of the shape to be animated at each "stop" along the desired animation path, select the shapes in the order to be animated (by Ctrl+clicking them), and click the Animate In Slide button.
To modify the animation, just move the shapes as necessary, select them, and click the Animate In Slide button again. It's that easy!
Get your free copy of the PowerPoint Labs from

Friday, January 17, 2014

The easiest way to animate shapes in PowerPoint

Animate shapes by simply specifying the start and the end positions of shapes. No fiddling around with motion paths. No calculating percentages to grow/shrink. No calculating rotation angles.
Get the PowerPoint Labs plugin from