Monday, March 23, 2009

Reminder to check before you present

Last week I got reminded of how important it is to check every slide before you present. Unfortunately, I got reminded in the middle of my own presentation. I had used a special character on one of the slides. This was a Greek character that was important to the point I was making. I selected it from the Symbol list in PowerPoint and thought everything would be fine. But I presented from a computer that had a different version of the operating system (Vista vs. Windows XP) even though it had the same version of PowerPoint. And my Greek character turned into a symbol of a pair of scissors! Didn’t make the point at all. But I explained what it was supposed to show and everyone understood my point in the end.

My takeaway lesson from this experience: Double check all special symbols that you are using in your presentation on the setup that you will be using. Sometimes this means checking in the room right before your presentation, so make sure you arrive early and you know which slides you have to change if the setup has a different font configuration. I had not realized that changing the operating system could change the font definitions, but now you can learn from the lesson I was taught. Another approach you could use is to save the symbol character as a graphic and use the graphic instead, since font definitions don’t affect graphics. I have done this in the past and it works quite well.

Glad that I can continue to enlighten you as I learn lessons in public!


Blogger Santo Cuollo said...

Dave, this happened to me in a big way. I created a presentation with a "24" theme. I even identified the font the show uses. When I tried to show the presentation from a computer different from the one I created it one, I found the font, even though it was "true type", was not loaded in the presenting PC. The type came up as indecipherable symbols! Both had the same OS - the issue if that certain fonts are standard in Windows, but not all. Your point still stands - test before presenting!

10:50 AM  

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