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Triple Your PowerPoint Productivity with Nuts & Bolts Speed Training

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this before:

“Hey, can you throw together a website stats deck by Friday? We have a big leadership meeting on Monday and we need to show them the latest results.”

Sure, no problem. Except, it’s now 4pm on Wednesday, and you’re already drowning in other requests.

I’m raising my hand because, I’ve totally been there. Sometimes, the deadline is the next day.

Don’t they KNOW who I AM?

Look, our managers, executives, and clients don’t mean to throw us in panic button mode. Believe it or not, they’re not secretly plotting to make us stressed, frustrated, and not a little homicidal.

But sometimes, it sure can feel that way.

What if I told you there were ways to save time with PowerPoint that don’t cost money and take minutes to learn – tricks that will literally transform your presentation productivity?


Good! That’s why today, we’re taking a quick field trip outside of the analytics community to bring you two very special guests that are on a mission to help people like us conquer the crunch.

Camille Holden & Taylor Croonquist of Nuts & Bolts Speed Training take us behind the scenes of their wildly popular PowerPoint 3x Productivity Course!

It’s an amazingly in-depth online course that hands you the keys to unlock hours of saved time using PowerPoint with little-known features and shortcuts. Features like using the Quick Access Toolbar, the Slide Master, and my favorite, chart formatting.

As an avid student, I can tell you the time I’ve saved using their techniques have saved me ungodly hours of time and allowed me to dedicate myself to my homemade yogurt craft.

In This Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • How crunching hundreds of PowerPoint decks every day inspired Camille & Taylor to bring Nuts & Bolts to life
  • The most underused, time-saving tools PowerPoint offers that you’ve never heard of
  • The most costly mistakes we make when creating PowerPoint decks
  • Tricks for creating and formatting charts lightening fast

People, Resources & Links Mentioned In This Episode:

How to Follow Taylor & Camille:

Upgrade Tip of the Day:

Being PowerPoint ninjas, Taylor & Camille had not one but three incredibly powerful PowerPoint tips for PBM listeners:

  • Instantly access your chart’s formatting options by selecting the chart and hitting CTRL + 1
  • Save your custom-formatted chart as a chart template to reuse over and over again
  • Add your Shape Fill & Shape Outline settings to your Quick Access Toolbar (QAT)

If you’re ready to save even more time…

Taylor and Camille are giving my community an extremely valuable opportunity. On Friday, December 4th at 2p EST, Taylor, Camille and I are hosting a free one-hour webinar called

“Triple Your PowerPoint Productivity and Chart Creation with 3 Features You’ve Never Heard Of.”

Taylor will take you through the most incredibly useful PowerPoint formatting & charting techniques from PowerPoint 3x that saved me hours of headache.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me. Have some feedback you’d like to share, or question for Taylor or Camille? Leave a note in the comments below, and we’ll get back to you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the left of the post. Subcribe to Podcast - iTunes

If you liked what you heard, I would love if you could leave me a rating or review in iTunes. Ratings & reviews are extremely appreciated and very important in the rankings algorithm. The more ratings, the better chance of fellow practitioners getting to hear this helpful information!

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates and never miss a show.

Special thanks to Taylor & Camille for joining me this week. And as always, viz responsibly, my friends.


Click here to view the transcript for this episode.

Lea Pica: What's up guys? Lea Pica here. Today's guests are the masterminds behind the only course designed to triple your efficiency using PowerPoint. Stay tuned to find out who is making a cameo on the Present Beyond Measure Show Episode 011.

Announcer: Welcome to the Present Beyond Measure Show where you’ll learn the best tips, tools and techniques for creating and delivering data visualizations and presentations that inspire data-driven decisions, change hearts and enlighten minds. If you’re ready to get your insights noticed, remembered and acted upon, you’re in the right place. Now your host, Lea Pica!

Lea: Hey guys! Welcome to the 11th episode of Present Beyond Measure. Very exciting! I hope you enjoyed your, as I call it very unhappy turkey day. I enjoyed mine immensely even though I'm recording this technically before turkey day but anyway, I digress. So I've bumped up the launch day for this episode a little bit because today's esteemed guests are offering a very special opportunity just for my listeners which I'm gonna tell you about at the end of this episode so stay tuned for that. These guests are a little outside of our measure community, but they offer something so valuable to analysts and marketers. I really wish they’d been around when I'd started my career.

But first I want to take a moment to read another lovely review of the show from iTunes. And this review is from Andrew Richardson and he says, “You need this podcast if you ever present anything. If you want to continue creating boring, hard to understand, bullet points only presentations then don't give this podcast a listen. But if you want to create engaging impactful easy-to-understand presentations that will help you move your business forward, then you need this podcast. Great guests, awesome insights and some humor mixed in. Lea Pica does it right.”

Well, thank you so much for that very kind review, Andrew. I really appreciate that and as a show of thanks I’ll be reading out all my favorite reviews just to show my appreciation. Now if you'd like to leave me a review and get a shout out on the show, please visit the show in iTunes that’s Just click on ratings and reviews. It only takes about 10 seconds and I really, really appreciate it.

Now before we jump into the show, I'd like to take a moment to mention that my workshop with the Digital Analytics Association in lovely Atlanta is only a few weeks away. You can catch me live on December 10th for a crazy four hour packed session of tips on how to upgrade your presentation and data visualization skills with best practice principles based in neuroscience and tons of time saving tricks that I have discovered over the years to save your valuable time. And if you're ready to create slides and charts that demonstrate your value to your clients and managers and really create an impact in your organization’s, you’re ready for a workshop with me. Alright, let's get to the show!

<music> Hey everyone! Today we’re taking a bit of a detour with my two very special guests. They’re not analytics experts like the usual guests, but rather they are experts in helping anyone who uses PowerPoint leverage formatting shortcuts in all sorts of little-known features to triple their efficiency. They’ve created the only course that I've ever seen dedicated to helping people unlock the speed and power of PowerPoint and it’s super fun to boot. Please help me welcome Camille Holden and Taylor Croonquist of Nuts and Bolts Speed Training. Hi guys!

Camille and Taylor: Hey! Great to be here.

Lea: So excited to have you on. So I first heard of your training course which is called PowerPoint 3X through one of my favorite podcasts called the Rad Presenter Show with Stephanie Evergreen and Jonathan Schwabish, and they are experts in the art and science of data visualization and presentation, and I immediately signed up for all your free stuff at and I'll put that link on the show notes page which will be It's already helping me take back hours of my time from nitty-gritty formatting stuff and instead using acted to actually create nice slides so before we get into the training, what was the inspiration for your Nuts and Bolts and how did it come to exist?

Camille: Well, the slightly longer story is Taylor and I were both living in China at the time and that’s where we met and we were both working office jobs. Taylor was working in the financial industry consulting for foreign companies trying to enter China, and I was working in public relations and event planning, and we were both day in day out working in PowerPoint banging our heads against the computer like everyone else, trying to get presentations out and build slide decks, and we sort of both in our respective jobs realized that there's a lot of people out there who struggle with the actual program itself. People just say, “Open up PowerPoint and create a deck,” and in reality it’s the using of the program that can be quite a challenge for people. And we both side-by-side were starting to develop skills, trying to find shortcuts, thinking, “Gosh, there’s gotta be a better way to do this,” and sort of spending the time to figure out how to do it the best way, the fastest way possible and we kind of grew as PowerPoint users.

Taylor: What I was going to say too is especially like the volume of content you have to sift through increases. So like in my job we were doing the excel decks, or the financial models plus the PowerPoint presentations. We were a small team so the more projects we took on, the more decks we had to build, the more iterations for investors. So pretty soon you needed to churn through hundreds of slides a day making sure everything is aligned, making sure everything is formatted and consistent. You start to realize that how you go about building your slides, what we call the front end of the deck, like how you go about building your slides in the first place has a huge impact on how hard or easy that slide is going to be to update for however you have to spin the slide in the future. We really started to consolidate a lot of these shortcuts, tips, tricks things we learned from other people, things we figured out from excel, and workflow processes just started helping us day in and day out kind of crunch through more of our decks faster to get out of the office really.

Camille: We joked about making it to happy hour, and often it's kind of a joke because most people that we work with and most people that we were at the time in our jobs, we’d have loved to have made it to happy hour. In reality as we got faster it just meant that we’d have more projects to work on. But ideally, you can make it out of the office and go and do something else with your time.

Lea: Right. You know it's funny because one of the more shocking things that I dropped during my main session that I used to help educate people on better presentations is it's not a PowerPoint problem, it's a people problem. And it's learning a framework a process and a system for getting the most out of that in saving not repeating the same tasks over and over 800 clicks to get there. People are really surprised by this because they’re always like “PowerPoint sucks. Death by PowerPoint.” So that's why think your training is so fantastic because it's trying to knock down all those barriers so you can actually use PowerPoint as a tool and not as a crutch I guess.

Camille: You’d be surprised how many times we hear the moaning about PowerPoint and ultimately you know a lot of people hear us and say that we train people in PowerPoint they think “you must love PowerPoint” and ultimately, we’re kind of neutral – we think it's a great tool. It’s not so much what we think about the program, it’s the matter of fact is we have to use it. This is a tool that is required of us. We might as well figure out how to use it best possible. We’re neutral about the tool, but what we’re not neutral about is people's willingness to invest the time to actually learn the tool. I think if you're using it day in and day out and you’re not spending time figuring out how to be more efficient about it, it's a shame because your life could be radically different if you are a lot faster.

Lea: Absolutely, and I think everyone's always asking what are the greatest, latest tools that are coming out, I want to know about the next tool, instead of sort of mastering the most ubiquitous tool that you're sure to use no matter where you're going to work. You may not have even access to later tools but I would argue that some of the other tools, one in particular I can think of that zooms, a little hint there, the learning curve is crazy for creating something that doesn't make your audience seasick. It's very difficult to master, so I absolutely believe in mastering the fundamentals.

Taylor: Along that line mastering the fundamentals, the funny thing about PowerPoint I think as the entire office, I kinda always joke about that we all go to college and we use Microsoft Word and we use Excel and we use PowerPoint and then 10 years later you’re basically still using the programs in the same except way even though they’ve been through like four upgrades. You still see people who like drop text boxes on top of shapes all the time which was like the de facto only way to do that in PowerPoint 2003 but here you are 10 years later – like you said get in the fundamentals and upgrade the fundamentals as the program shifts can make a huge difference in your work day.

Lea: It’s so funny my first real exposure to PowerPoint was I took a course in it in college and that course was probably the thing that sent me down the completely wrong path because all it did was show me every terrible, useless, feature of the slide transition animations and laser beaming in words and things. We were graded higher depending on how creative we were. Things like that and instead it didn't show me anything about the principles of basic visual design, how the brain observes information and things like that. I always laugh about that.

Taylor: We call that the 10,000 command approach to PowerPoint which if you read a book too, if you get a PowerPoint book and there’s a lot of good stuff in those books, but they kind of start like you said at A-Z, walk you through every menu, every gradient, every option you could ever do, and then assume that because you’ve now been through the 10,000 commands that you’re now going to come up the back end and have any idea what you're doing you’re just like “Oh my god. Now I have to use 10,000 commands to double my slides.” It’s like oh man.

Lea: You need a framework not a giant menu. The tasting course is better that the giant menu.

Camille: And that’s the approach we took when we set out to build our course. For me for example, we’ve had to learn how to build a website for example, and that’s one of the things that I’m constantly trying to figure out, is like why? I asking the question why would I use this feature? Why does this matter? Why is it here? What’s it useful for? I’m constantly, you these different programs that we’re now forced to kind of learn to build the website. Constantly trying to seek out the “Okay you tell me this function is here but why is it here? What is it used for? Why would I use it? Why would I not use it? And that’s what we set out to do in our course is to make sure that any time we introduce something we told you why it was useful, why it was not useful. When do you use it, when not to use it? We don't introduce something for the sake of introducing it. There’s always a reason behind it. There is always a purpose for it. I think that helps a lot. It helps me. That’s the kind of approach I like learning something because it’s like Taylor said you can find the 10,000 commands but if nobody tells you why you’d ever use swivel animation it’s like okay this is another piece of knowledge in your your brain but it’s not going to go anywhere if you're don’t really have a purpose for it. So we tried our best to make our course centered around the whole functionality behind everything we show you.

Lea: That's great and now what were some of the biggest mistakes that you saw your teams making in their presentations when you were getting started or the most inefficient tasks that inspired this?

Taylor: The most inefficient task…. I mean DAC’s client would send us disastrous slide masters so as you know you a lot of misconstrued ideas about what should be happening on the slide master and then a lot of different people using it. It’s one of those things interesting as these office programs is you can actually accomplish a lot even though you’ve technically done it the wrong way and there’s a lot of people out there that are doing things not correctly but it does work at the end but then it creates this big untangling effect at the end of it. So I would say slide masters and then like too many objects, crooked lines, and unalignments is a massive issue that people would struggle with.

Camille: That’s what I was going to say. I think there’s actually one the most pernicious one because it’s so subtle simple things like really so low as additional people will sometimes say misalignments you like your headline is bouncing around as you go from slide to slide, or objects are shifting around and in your page numbers are moving and wiggling or whatever the other There are some glaring ones and you can always those are easy to fix the things like that that make even a decent looking slide look unprofessional. I think those are some of the bigger ones that are actually quite easy to fix and we’ve come up with all kinds of weird workarounds to get it to work and I think those are the ones for me now that would the toughest thing that always regardless that trying to get a hundred slide deck to get all the titles to be fixed after the fact. Those were some of the most painful ones.

Lea: I know. I've gone into client decks where they didn't even leverage the title as part of the master, just pasted a text box and trying to get that formatted consistently was just crazy. So I absolutely think the slide masters like one of the unsung heroes of PowerPoint. I don't even, I don't do a thing with presentations until I've pretty much finished the slide master and then just maybe make a few tweaks afterwards. But I mean some of the tips that you’ve given even just through your email newsletter like fixing the crooked line, it was like “my God how many times have I tried to get that line straight” and you know the alignment tricks are amazing and I think when they launched the snap guides in PowerPoint finally I think my life changed. The alignment is huge.

So you know a complaint that I hear a lot from my audience is how do I get my clients to do this stuff better? And it sounds like you had to work with people, you were probably showing them a better way through the work that you were doing, so what would you say did they take notice of that? Did they say, “Hey! This looks great. I want to learn more about how you’re doing this”?

Taylor: For me for client projects, keeping in mind that we’re in finance doing transactions so typically we have a lot of stuff on our slides to begin with which was just standard. So what I would normally do is I would first build the deck with all of the content. I wouldn’t try to trim it down. I would just build the slides with the content on it to a level that flew for us, was going to fly for the client, and then I would basically duplicate the presentation. I would iterate over it and I would basically trim down the text enlarge the visual imagery and I would just sit down, I remember one client in particular I sat down and said okay here’s one deck we can do, here’s the one I recommend we do, and here’s why this is is so much better. This gives you more talking points. There’s less text, it’s this that and the other thing, and when he saw them in comparison like that he actually went with the more visual layout which was the correct one by my standard.

Lea: Hmmm…

Taylor: But he was the client so if he had wanted to go the other direction. I had that all ready to go, we can do this, if that’s what you want.

Lea: That's an interesting strategy. So show them what it would look like if they stayed the course, but show them what you could do if you were following better practices and let them decide and then ultimately it's their call.

Taylor: Yeah, and point out why. Because if you just send it to them, and say ok here’s the 2000 just pick one, they might not have in the back of your mind why one is different from the other. Why their logo’s not on this slide but it’s on this slide… or why the pages… they need someone to kind of lead them and walk them through the kind of strategy of the verbal presentation.

Camille: Part of it is a double edge sword knowing in a way once you become good enough at PowerPoint and start showing people better ways to do things, you’re going to get a lot more sent your way. <laughing>

Taylor: Double your workload.

Camille: All of sudden, it’s like you did it great last time. Why don’t we just send it to you directly from now on? But you know, that could be a good thing if you’re trying to climb up and prove your value. But it is funny once clients or colleagues are won over. Suddenly everything goes your way. You have a moment there where you’re like “Ah, darn it.”

Lea: What did I do?! Never mind. Put your logo on every slide. Alright, so let’s get to the good stuff. Tell me all about the PowerPoint 3x training.

Taylor: PowerPoint 3x, it’s really all about speed and efficiency. I actually counted it. There’s like 1038 commands in PowerPoint. I mean it sounds boring, but I went through the list and I counted them because I was just curious… and literally 60 of those commands make up I’d say 80%, or I’d almost guess 90-95% of most people’s work day which is mostly your formatting your alignments, your adjustments, your layerings and basically we’ve just taken those 60 commands and using the four different flavors of shortcuts hooked them up to your keyboard so that 80% of what you do on a general daily basis all of a sudden is just being keyboard driven and you’re not digging through file menus and you can obviously start making much better decisions or rapid fire decisions about things because you can quickly kind of iterate over your layouts and try a bunch of different stuff.

Lea: That's incredible. I mean I think keyboard shortcuts, I would say I’m in a pretty keyboard shortcut savvy audience but maybe not for PowerPoint because sometimes it's like eight keystrokes to change the font size. Maybe I’m exaggerating…

Taylor: Font size, once you need that you just ctrl-forward bracket-ctrl-back bracket will just walk text size up or walk text size back. But you know you’re right there, you’ll meet people who will know about ribbon guys so you hit the alt key and then you drill into your ribbon. But that’s so far away so those people that know the ribbon guys often times don’t know the QAT so you can actually take these far, hard to reach commands like the alignment tool. Stick them right in your QAT and take a five keystroke shortcut and make it a two keyboard shortcut. You can do that with these kind of couple, you don’t even have to go overboard. You can just get a couple of commands that you use all the time, that’s what I tell people. What do you just every single day that drives you nuts, or drives you crazy, or you feel like you’re repeating yourself over and over, just take those you don’t even need to get crazy you don’t have time to take a whole program or whatever put those on your QAT and just force yourselves to use them. You can literally double your daily productivity just doing that. It’s crazy.

Lea: I'm so glad you mentioned the QAT because I’ve mentioned this to a couple people in my field and they’re like what??? Before you guys, I think I had like the save as button on my QAT. What does it stand for and can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Camille: The QAT stands for Quick Access Toolbar and it exists in across the OfficeSuite, Word, Excel, PowerPoint 2007 and later. It doesn't work on PowerPoint for Mac or Office for Mac. It doesn't exist there which is unfortunate. But we can get into that later.

Lea: Is that the 2016 version as well?

Taylor: To my knowledge. I haven’t seen it on a Mac yet, but my knowledge is that it won’t be there either.

Lea: Ah, that’s a shame.

Taylor: But they can use toolbars. If you have a Mac use toolbars. It’s a little bit different but more or less the same.

Camille: And so when you open up your email, PowerPoint or whatever software in OfficeSuite it'll either be at the top of your ribbon or below it, and it's basically like the name says – quick access toolbar. So it's a quick way to get to certain commands and when you open up the default it's like save, undo, redo, and I think that’s it. There may be…

Taylor: Touch/Mouse Mode if you have a tablet computer….

Camille: And basically those commands are kind of useless on the quick access toolbar because there’s a lot of very easy shortcuts that almost everyone does all the time anyway like ctrl-S, ctrl-Y, ctrl-Z. What we recommend people do is they remove those from the quick access toolbar and they actually put what Taylor was saying, the commands that they use the most frequently all the time, particularly ones that are buried deep in the ribbon where you can’t easily click or hotkey your way there.

So the quick access toolbar can be different for different people. If you use a lot of tables and charts maybe you want to put a bunch of commands that relate to those elements in your quick access toolbar. If you use a lot of pictures for example, every time you open you paste a picture you select a picture the little picture tools tab will open and then you have to dig deep into there. Well, if it’s on your QAT all you have to do is hit the alt key and hit the number that pops up that relates to that command and boom you’re there, so you won’t even have to take your hands off your keyboard. So that’s the QAT in a nutshell. We have fine-tuned ours for what most people use PowerPoint for. It’s what we think will save people the most amount of time, the commands they use the most frequently, but it’s totally customizable and anyone can put whatever commands they want on it.

Taylor: But the number one command that everybody should put on their QAT…I’m like on a mission…

Lea: Let’s hear it!

Taylor: A mission to get everyone on it. It’s on our YouTube channel. It’s on our website. You stick that alignment tool, you just have to right-click it in the ribbon, right-click and it will say add to quick access toolbar and you just need to move it to that first position, so that anytime you want to align something in PowerPoint you just hit alt+1 and then L for left, T for Top, B for Bottom, R for right, H for distribute horizontally. That will cut people’s time in half literally overnight because if you’re building graphics you’re not just inserting a new slide and type and text. If you’re building unique customized graphics that’s what you do all – day – long. All over the place.

Lea: That one was like a revelation for me when I started to use it, it takes some muscle memory practice to remember to hit alt and then which number is it. Because now my QAT is probably excessively long, but I know like I've had a number of objects where I have several text boxes, centered inside a white box or something, and I want everything centered, or a line justified, and in seconds they’re perfect and I don't have to agonize over is it two pixels too far…

Taylor: Yeah, or if you have just a single object and you know a lot of people you know the alignment but don’t realize if you just select a single object and use the alignment tool and now use your slide as the anchor shape. I’ve literally gone through people’s decks for like “can you polish it but I need this back in five minutes.” l go through each slide. I just go Alt+1, center, align. Alt+1, center, align. I just center align all their stuff. It looks better than it was. I couldn’t do much but that was enough. They’re like, “Wow! That looks really good,” and I’m like, “Thank you.”

Lea: So I definitely think that if folks unlock the power of the QAT, and I'm still learning myself especially with alignment and I do have the entire chart menu and I think the selection pane is one of my favorite discoveries in PowerPoint because you're always sending things to back and then wait and now you can't see it. Selection pane is my favorite.

So now you guys, who would you say the 3X training is best for?

Taylor: I mean we always say you from my fields, so it’s like analysts, consultants, anybody who's crunching the deck. So we are deck crunchers. So our senior leaders would get the projects, land the clients and we’d build the pitch books. So people who are crunching decks.

Camille: So typically building presentations that are not actually live presented presentations. So they’re more like a document. It’s something that you email to someone or you’ll print or occasionally put on a screen, but you know in a kind of a small boardroom kind of a setting. So we were very rarely building presentations that were done live in front of an audience. So that just means that fonts would be smaller, the content is gonna be much heavier on the slides.

Taylor: Timelines. Corporate valuations. Hierarchies. You know all this crazy stuff you could really do it and make it look really sharp and professional but now you are dealing with 70 objects on a single slide. <laughing>. That’s where all this shortcuts are hiding and a flow process comes back into play.

Camille: Our course, really if you use PowerPoint once a week, you know it might not be worth it for you to invest time to learn these productivity hacks and to develop a system to use PowerPoint. But if you’re using PowerPoint day in and day out, I kinda think it doesn’t matter what you're building that ultimately because you’re in the program so the course will be perfect for you. So it kinda crosses across industries and we have students, in US government military, we have consultants, bankers…

Taylor: People getting their masters…

Camille: …teachers. It really kind of spans a whole cross-section of industries, but the one commonality is these people care about their time, and they care about being fast and just getting it done.

Taylor: And they’re picky about their slides. They want their slides to look good. They’re the ones that when they see a slide they can tell there is something unaligned, or they can tell the formatting is not all the way there and they actually want it to be. Cause some people just don’t care. Like my old boss he kinda wanted it right but it didn’t really matter to him. So you needed someone with that kinda like attention to detail. No, no, no we want this color to be perfect. How do you do that fast?

Lea: Right and you know in my industry, people present pretty often. And we get caught between creating slides that aren’t really great for live presentations but because they email them afterwards as sort of a handout, but they don’t even serve that purpose really well either. So I think probably your tricks will be great for helping people develop a handout based on a live presentation, because that is definitely a step that most people, I would say don't take. But it is really valuable because I'm told that a lot of people can’t make meetings and they do need to read something afterwards and not be led through live.

Camille: Right, and I think that once you start realizing that PowerPoint can be less of a task and can take less time, all of a sudden the amount of slides you can create, presentations you can create doubles. You’re much more willing you know. For me I think the hesitation would of been, “well, I just don’t have time to make this handout, this extra document. I am just gonna make the one.” But suddenly, if you can do it a lot faster, if you know a couple of shortcuts to duplicate your presentation really quickly, move things around boom, boom, boom, it suddenly becomes less of a task and you find yourself probably more willing to create documents that might actually really help in your situation.

Lea: Exactly. So you guys created one of probably the most epic PowerPoint keyboard shortcut guide I have ever seen. <Laughing> I have it bookmarked on every computer. <Laughing> I visit it regularly. What are some the most useful ones would you say and how long did it take to just dig up and find all of those?

Taylor: Ahh. How long it took. People always ask, “I need to learn more shortcuts.” There are 150 control shortcuts alone. Or there is even more than that probably. So people are like, “I don’t have the time to do that,” so what we did was try to really group those shortcuts on like areas of activity. So I told people, do you use the selection panel a lot? OK, here’s all the selection page, just start there. Or if you use charts a lot? Just start there. Just start on one cause once you start getting hooked on a shortcut or two, your learning of everyone’s it takes a minute to get going but once you get your third, fourth, fifth shortcut down you realize how much time it’s saving you, and how much more quickly you could be doing this, and how much time you’ve been wasting, and you are almost kicking yourself in the butt. Like, how did I not know that? I have been using the program for years!

Camille: It’s like watching your parents you know right-click to copy and right click to paste. How did I ever do that before?

Lea: Or yeah, go to Google and then type in to search Google and then… <laughing>

Taylor: Exactly. So it’s kinda like that, so we just kinda, people wanted more shortcuts and we wanted to give it to them and and we wanted to try to add value. So there’s obviously a list of shortcuts online already. So you know the question was how can we add more value to this shortcut list and so we said well, we could group one group them based on common activities and we obviously made short clippy YouTube videos showing people how to tie them together in some kind of wicked combinations.

Camille: Kind of like we said before know people will put with the for example to give your audience a tidbit. One of our favorite shortcuts is ctrl D for duplicate, it’s like ctrl C, ctrl B but all on one shortcut, so it’s already twice as fast. But you'll find that shortcut on some people’s lists, on some websites, occasionally, but what they don’t tell you is the added bonus functionality of ctrl D. So we try to make sure that we said that in all of our shortcut related material that there is actually a bonus feature of this shortcut and the bonus feature is that if you ctrl D duplicate an object once and you move it to a certain place and you ctrl D again, that object will be copied again, but in the exact same distance and position from the first movement you make. So it's easier to show visually but basically if you duplicate something and align it perfectly, you just hit ctrl D however many times and your object will be pasted perfectly, evenly, throughout your slide. That’s just a gem of a shortcut that you wouldn’t just ever know if you looked up duplicate. They’d tell you it’s ctrl D and that’s it.

Taylor: Yeah.

Lea: I remember seeing that video demonstration and I tried it myself and I was like, “What is this sorcery?” <Laughter>

Camille: I think most people would think it’s an error actually, that they did it by mistake. They’re like what’s going on? Why is this moving this way?

Taylor: It’s almost like until you realize what’s happening you do think it’s an error, you’re like, “Why did my box just jump way down there?” Then when you realize if you build your slides in what we call relative alignment position, if you build it in such a way you can basically use that ctrl D to duplicate and fill in your entire layout and just go boom, boom, boom, boom, boom and everything fills in perfectly. And you’re like there you go. I don’t even have to use the alignment tool. It’s amazing!

Lea: Unlocking these kinds of things I think is what makes what you do so valuable to so many people, even for the best experts I’m sure don't know half of the things are buried in there. So, what kinds of outcomes have your students seen and achieved by taking your course?

Camille: Speaking of shortcuts reminds me of a story about a student who took our program and got so into the shortcuts that she wrote back and she was like, “Now I'm finding shortcuts for gmail…

Lea: It’s a gateway.

Taylor: It’s a gateway drug…to all other programs.

Camille: It is true that ultimately it is a mindset once you get introduced to it and you start applying it, it applies not only across the entire OfficeSuite but across a whole bunch of computer software so it’s just a side note that you reminded me of that’s kinda funny.

Taylor: We get tons of emails, so part of our course we say we’ll guarantee that we’ll save you three hours a week in PowerPoint if you’re using it regularly. And like I remember this one guy took the first unit and emailed me like, “I literally saved six hours just in one unit alone – today.” He’s like, “Oh, my god. Thank you so much.” And I was like, “There you go. Wait til you get to the rest of the course.”

Lea: Don't jump the gun yet. That's amazing. So do you have any plans for covering what's coming in PowerPoint 2016? Or do you think people will still be using the earlier versions enough to hold over?

Taylor: I’m an early adopter to all upgrades – of just about everything. I went to the beta version. I think they held a lot back because in the beta version 2016 I literally only saw one difference which was this search area where if you didn’t know where something was you could just type font, color, and it would just drill down to that from the search menu. It was like a little added feature in the ribbon. So we’ll definitely look into that.

We will definitely retool our course if there are new advancements and how we can be faster, but what we really found is most of the speed tricks, techniques, and the workflow processes and how to build really slides really, really quickly doesn't matter if you’re using 2007. Doesn’t matter if you’re using 2010. There’s a couple features in 2013 like the intercept commands and track commands, so there’s a couple new tools to add along the way but the way the basic 90% of the workflow and how to be really fast. You don't get outdated. It’s like a skill and once you have that skill, you just have it and the program’s not going to change for you very much.

Lea: Right. The foundation’s going to stay the same but maybe they’re getting better finally at servicing some of the magic. It's really hidden there. So do you have any new courses in the works?

Taylor: We’ve got a whole charting and tables unit that’s going to come out soon.

Lea: Cool! Oh, I know my audience will love that.

Taylor: So that’s one, and we’re going to be at the Presentation Summit and I'm doing, which is funny because I always make fun of the presentation advice “just add more pictures.” I alway tease all the gurus because they’re like, “just add more pictures” which is funny. But actually my presentation’s on picture extension techniques, so taking non-perfect, crappy, low-quality photos that don’t fit the full screen or don't go 16 x 9, and it’s a bunch of tips, tricks and techniques for extending that photo across so instead of spending more time on google searching for the perfect photo which often doesn’t exist, it’s how do you take a photo that doesn’t fit and make it full screen.

Camille: How do you take what you have and work with it.

Taylor: Yes, and of course on top of that we float stuff over the top of it because we love all the content and the tables and whatever, but that’s another little like side branch-out thing we will be doing soon too.

Lea: I might be front row for that because I do work with a lot of imagery for sort of the higher stakes presentations that I do and by far and away, It’s getting that image resized and making sure it looks high quality that is probably one of my number one gripes, so let me know.

Taylor: There ya go! We’ll let you see it as soon as it’s ready. Pretty cool.

Lea: So you're partnering with someone named Lia, I love that name, from Spicy Presentations. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

Taylor: So, she goes by P. Spice.

Lea: OK, P. Spice.

Taylor: P. Spice. PowerPoint Spice. P. Spice. When we were first getting started—quick long story— we were looking for anybody out in our space that was doing cool stuff. And she runs one of the more popular PowerPoint YouTube channels. She has tons of tutorials on animations, which is again something that we don't really use a lot. All of our decks are more typically printed. And you can’t print an animation so there's really no reason for me to go learn. She had this awesome YouTube channel. She has a really active community and she had a little bit of a website up, and she really wanted to make a website. She took our course. She loved it. She loved what we were doing. We said, “Hey, why don’t we just combine our efforts and you can just do all this animation stuff.” She, on our blog, has Spicy Presentation as a whole other separate blog for animators and people that want to get more creative with their pictures effects and stuff.

Lea: That's really neat because something am going to be writing about is how I think animation is sort of the best kept secret for helping reveal information a little bit at a time during a live presentation. Something my audience struggles with is having slides that are covered in numbers and complex charts and I think it's a little bit all too much at once. So I've used a lot of animation to do like the slow reveal, like the strip tease, little pieces here and there rather than the trenchcoat flash that I call it. So I'm definitely going to be checking that out and I'll make sure that that's also in the show notes page..

Taylor: Awesome. P. Spice is just a master at what she can pull together with these animations.

Camille: Yeah, she blows us away every single time.

Taylor: Yeah, she sends us her vids and says, “Hey, what do you think of this?” I’m like, “How the heck did you do that? That’s amazing!”

Lea: I know I saw one that was “How to create fireworks.” I was like, I don't even know how to even….

Taylor: How real did those look? That was crazy! That looks like a real firework. Are you sure? Super cool stuff.


Lea: So I called the next segment the upgrade and that’s a power tip for PowerPoint, Excel or the other tools that we use in our trade to do everything more awesome. So your entire job revolves around this so I'm expecting you have something super awesome you can drop for us.

Taylor: I’ve got a couple. The number one tip I have for people working with charts, which is a lot of us, is chart templates. I find that most analysts in consulting companies don't even know the chart templates. So you can take a preformatted, a chart you already formatted, so this kinda goes back to our whole concept of format once, reuse often. Reuse something you formatted as often as possible. And you can right click your chart. Save as a chart template and basically push all of your formatting adjustments, not only on the chart using your PowerPoint presentation, but those chart templates work in Word and Excel. You can actually update your dashboard. You can update your pitch book. All off some standard chart formatting. That’s the number one time savings tip I think there is for people that use a lot of charts.

Lea: Totally. I love that one. I give that one out a lot. Anything else?

Taylor: Yeah, another great one in PowerPoint is the ctrl+1 shortcut for your charts. I don’t know if you guys know that one.

Lea: No.

Taylor: Another thing you want to avoid is drilling or trying to dig through formatting menus. If you’re in PowerPoint and you want to format almost any aspect of your chart, you just hit ctrl+1. It will pop open the dialog box to the specific formatting options for that specific element. So your axis, your data label, your column chart, whatever it is, ctrl+1, boom – pops it open. You make your adjustment and you’re back on. You’re done.

Lea: That is amazing! Thank you! This is why I do podcasts. Anything else? I know you’ve already given us so many. We’ll take one more.

Taylor: Another great one is, just going back to your QAT, I guess you don’t even have to put it on your QAT. I put them on my QAT, so the shape fill and the shape outline. Just fill in your shape colors and doing your outlines of your shapes. Well, those work on charts so one you can re-color charts very quickly just using shape fill. You don’t have to right-click and go on to any file menus. You just have it set up on your QAT, Alt whatever that number is, you change the color. Same thing for the outline your axis are just outlines so you can actually use the outline command, again if it’s on your QAT it’s only a couple keystrokes away. You don’t have to again dig through the file menus, change your axis to have one and ½ points, you can just use that outline tool.

Lea: These are awesome and I'm sure that this is not even barely scratching the surface of everything you guys offer so thank you so much for sharing those.

Taylor: No problem.

Lea: And I have one last question, and this is my fun one. So imagine this scenario. You’re at an exotic noodle bowl sampling event when suddenly a noodle pulls you into your bowl through a rip time and you're brought back to the precise moment you're about to give your first presentation or design your first presentation. What would you say to the past you?

Taylor: OK. I’ve got one. Pause. Pause… I think first time presenters and a lot of people just forget to just pause. Make a point and then shut up. Look at people. People need time to process and I think one of the problems when we get nervous or we’re in a big presentation where it’s high stakes or even just with our colleagues, you feel like you have to rush through everything and get all your point outs. I’m like look at this. Look at that. Look at that. What are you talking about? Make a point. Pause. Let people soak it in. Make your next point. Try to make eye contact with someone…

Camille: It gives you the brain space too to make sure that the next thing you say is what you wanted to say and how you wanted to say it. And it’s hard to get used to at first, but you realize if you space things out you can start to think more clearly too and maybe release some of those endorphins that are kicking because you're nervous speaking in front of a group.

Lea: Absolutely. I know for a fact first hand as someone who suffers from extreme stage fright that forgetting to pause due to nerves is a great way to kind of disconnect with your audience and those dramatic pauses are really what kind of reel people back in. Great tip. I love that.

Camille: Look at people.

Lea: I like it.

Taylor: And smile. You can smile during your presentation. People like it.

Lea: I know. It’s not a funeral.

Taylor: It’s not a funeral. Exactly. You hope it’s not.

Lea: Some people feel like it is. So I could talk to you guys all day, but unfortunately we've run out of time. So can you tell the listeners where they can keep up with you?

Camille: Yeah, so our website is at All spelled out. Nuts and Bolts speed training. We also have a YouTube channel if you just Google nutsandboltspeed training into YouTube or YouTube it. We have a whole channel there. PowerPoint Spice is the other YouTube channel. And if you're interested in shortcuts on our website, you'll get there and the first thing you'll be asked for is to sign up for the PowerPoint shortcut cheat sheet if you want to download that for free. So that’s kinda mostly where you can find us. We’re on Facebook and twitter, but our website is kind of the hub for all the goodies so that’s where I’d go.

Lea: And I'll make sure that all of the links you've mentioned today are on the show notes page. And I just want to thank you so much again for being on the show today. I look forward to learning more about all the courses you have planned, and your future stuff. So please take care.

Taylor: Awesome. Thank you.

Camille: Thanks for having us.


Lea: Aren’t they awesome?! I honestly believe that Camille and Taylor are doing a public service with this training. I can't possibly calculate the hours they've help me save with our online course and they just added a data visualization module to the course which I'm testing out right now and it's all about formatting charts superfast and accessing table formatting that's normally a pain in the you know…

And just for you my beloved listeners, Camille and Taylor are offering a free one-hour webinar with me on Friday, December 4th at 2 PM Eastern that's all about mastering the QAT which they talked about, which is the best kept secret in PowerPoint and Excel. And they’ll be giving you sneak peeks at what you can learn in the dataviz modules with PowerPoint 3X.

I really hope that you'll join me for this web class. It’s going to be jam packed with amazing free tricks that are going to last throughout your Microsoft Office career. And on the show notes page you'll also be able to review all of the resources that we mentioned, all of their upgrade tips he talked about, view the transcript, lots of other stuff, and I would love if you could leave me a comment or suggestions and join in the conversations because I want to hear about the challenges you face about creating an impact with your data presentations. Or you can tweet me a question for the show by including my twitter handle which is @leapica and including the #pbm as in the Present Beyond Measure.

And I’m going to leave you with today's little bit of presentation inspiration and that's from Henry David Thoreau. I think this quote is perfect for today's episode and that is: “Our lives are frittered away by detail; simplify, simplify.” And use the tools at your disposal to simplify superfast. Stay in the spotlight, Namaste…

What do you wish you could do faster in PowerPoint? Please share!

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