Tag Archives: Icons

The Case For PowerPoint… episode four

I’m still at it! As you can probably tell, I’ve been on a bit of an imagery bender this last couple of weeks, and now I’m about to continue along that thread with…

Part Four Custom Clipart

Did you even know that you can pull some clipart images apart and just grab the bits you like? Yeah, I just caused a brain explosion, didn’t I?

This only applies to illustrations, and not all of them – but if you find an image and you like one piece of it, it’s worth a go.

SO HOW DO I DO IT? It’s so easy it’s embarrassing. Just select your clipart picture, paste it into your powerpoint and right click it. From the Group category, select ‘ungroup’. You’ll probably get a message that looks like this:

Clipart Message

Click yes, then repeat the ungrouping – right click, group, ungroup. Your image will now look like a bunch of little bits. Click away to deselect all the parts, then start deleting the bits you don’t want. When you’re left with the remaining parts, just regroup them and you have yourself a custom clipart image!

Here’s some examples I pulled together from an eLearning module I made a few years back.

Beer and Pizza

Repairs Combo

Pretty cool, right? Here’s a few tips to bear in mind though:

  • Not all illustrations can be altered, it’s just a case of tough luck if you can’t.
  • If you want to save your custom image as a new file, I recommend saving it as an Enhanced Windows Metafile (that’s an option alongside your standard jpg, png etc…). The bonus of a metafile is that when you insert it into a PowerPoint presentation, you can still alter the parts; i.e. it’s an image file you can still ungroup.
  • Always try clipart before paying for imagery. Really! The image tagging used in clipart is great, meaning you can get great returns on a basic search, where just a part of the illustration relates to your keyword. You might want a picture of a pencil, for example. If you search for ‘pencil’ your search will return images of pencils on desks, in cups, maybe next to a book etc. And now you know how to ungroup the illustration and snatch the pencil from it’s setting!
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My Case For Powerpoint continues…

Part Two Fun With Shapes

A couple years back, when I saw my first post from eLearning Heroes about making your own symbols and pictures using shapes in PowerPoint, I was fairly unimpressed. I figured I could just use clipart or if I really needed, check for paid stock imagery that would get the job done. Then I worked out that a) I didn’t have a budget for stock imagery, and b) there were plenty of symbols and icons on clipart, but not necessarily collected nicely together, and in the style I wanted. So I started building them myself.

Start by getting yourself sorted with the ‘combine shapes’ tool on your ribbon (find out about that here) and then take some time to play around with the tool and see the difference between shape union and shape combine. Shape subtract is great, but if it goes awry on you, just Control+Z!

Here’s a few things I find helpful when I’m making custom shapes and icons:

GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND Sometimes, I find it helps to google image search for what I’m trying to make and deconstruct the shape from there.

DUPE, DUPE, DUPE Duplicate your shapes before combining. This way, if the combine doesn’t quite look right, you still have your original shapes to rejig then dupe and combine again – you can compare different combined custom shapes until you get it right.

BUILD BIG Make your icons in a large form, then group and minimise using your shift key to constrain the shape. Boom.

I recently made a series of lunch food icons for a resource I was making for a client. I reckon they’re pretty great – and all made in PowerPoint!

Food Icons

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