One of the most common uses of PowerPoint is to present data that will be used to make a decision at a meeting. A good example is a market research team presenting to marketing executives. Some of the important issues in a meeting like this are to:
- Tailor the presentation to the audience’s level of expertise
- Distill the data to the important conclusions
- Create clear slides in spite of the complexity of the material
- Provide detailed data when requested without confusing the message
How do you provide detailed data without confusing the message — and putting so much on a slide that it’s impossible to read and understand?
It’s common to print out the slides because of the amount of data they contain. This does make them more readable — people can look at them up close — but they are still overly complicated. Such slides often hide the important point. It can be hard to see the forest for the trees.
In “The flipped presentation,” I talk about a way to put additional content in the Notes pane and print out Notes pages as handouts instead of just slides.
But there’s a problem with that
You can’t put a table or chart in the Notes pane. But often what you need to do is to create simple, clear and powerful slides with the supporting data at the bottom. So how do you do that?
There are several solutions. I cover one in another post, “Do you present with printed slides? What if your slides were the size of your paper?” But in this post, I want to talk about creating handouts in Microsoft Word.
Creating handouts in Word
Usually when you create handouts in Word, you pair the slides with the notes, which are either below or next to the slides. In this case, you’ll add the extra content in Word, since you can’t create it in PowerPoint. But you have SO much more flexibility for the supplemental content. You can:
- Copy data from Excel–it becomes a table in Word
- Copy and paste a chart from Excel into Word
- Insert a chart into the Word document and then use Excel data
Just like in PowerPoint you have choices like whether to use the source or destination style and whether to link or not.
That’s lots of flexibility and power, isn’t it?
Here are the steps to export your slides to Word:
- Create the slides. You can have text in the Notes pane, but that isn’t necessary.
- In PowerPoint 2013, choose File, Export, Create Handouts and then click Create Handouts. In 2010, choose File, Save & Send, Create Handouts. In 2007, choose Office button, Publish, Create Handouts in Microsoft Office Word.(Maybe you’re noticing that Microsoft changes its interface a lot!)
- In the Send to Microsoft Word dialog box, choose the Notes Below Slides option.
- Note that you have a choice to choose Paste or Paste Link. If you choose Paste, Microsoft embeds the entire presentation and the file can become quite large. If you have a lot of slides, choose Paste Link and be sure to keep the PowerPoint and Microsoft files in the same folder — you’ll also need both files if you need to move it to another computer.
- Click OK. Word opens. Wait until it brings in all of the slides — and notes, if any.
You now have a slide on each page with lots of room at the bottom to insert data or a chart. The technique is very similar to adding data or a chart in PowerPoint.