Friday, August 26, 2005

The August Newsletter

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In this Issue:
  > PowerPoint Backgrounds: Context is Everything
  > STEP inside design Competition: Call for Entries
  > Using Flash Files within PowerPoint
  > Special Offer
  > New on the Network

PowerPoint Backgrounds: Context is Everything
by Rick Altman provides PowerPoint templates that feature wonderfully abstract images (and last month we showed how you can make them more versatile as backgrounds). Abstract and generic backgrounds are the chicken soup of presentations—they can never hurt. The time to be careful is when you use a background image that is more literal, as in the case with item 22265941, a way-cool urban landscape of a bridge to a big city, displayed above.

A presentation to a group of city planners might be the perfect time to use this scene... unless you think that people will try to recognize the actual bridge and cityscape, and then wonder what's the matter with you if they identify it as a city halfway across the continent. The audience is always right on this one: you will not have the luxury of explaining to them why you used the image that you did.

The situation is downright comical when well-intentioned presentation creators start browsing for imagery with zero regard for content. That produces disconnects like the one shown at right (click to enlarge), a situation I see more often than you'd ever guess.

It's all about the risk-reward ratio: abstract is a very safe way to go, while a literal image gets you more bank for the buck but requires more care and feeding.

Rick Altman is the host of the PowerPoint Live User Conference, to be held September 25-28 in San Diego, CA. He has authored two books on PowerPoint and a series of training videos. For information about the conference, now in its third year, visit

STEP inside design Competition: Call for Entries
Enter your work now in the STEP inside design 100, the only design annual that interviews all 100 winners. Your winning design will be prominently showcased, and you'll get a rare opportunity to reveal the creative thinking behind your great solution. STEP's noteworthy judges sift through thousands of entries to select the top 100 designs.

"The STEP inside design 100 annual shares the process behind the chosen projects, giving our readers true insight into award-winning work," notes Emily Potts, editor of STEP inside design. "Our judges are tasked with selecting only 100 winners from thousands of entries, which means the STEP annual truly features the cream of the crop in design." This year's judges:

John Bielenberg, principal C2, San Francisco; Dana Lytle, principal, Planet Propaganda, Madison, Wis.; Terry Marks, principal, Terry Marks Design, Seattle; Jilly Simons, principal, Concrete, Chicago; DJ Stout, Partner, Pentagram, Austin

Entry deadline: Oct. 3, 2005

Display the entry form >

Using Flash Files within PowerPoint
We'll continue this issue's focus on PowerPoint by providing a response to one of our most-asked questions: How can I use Flash files within PowerPoint presentations? While there are several approaches, we'll cover the simplest way to do this on the Windows platform.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you need to have the Flash ActiveX control installed, not only on the machine on which you create the presentation but on the one on which it will be displayed. If you have Internet Explorer installed and can view Flash content on Web pages, then you know it's installed. If not, you'll need to install the Macromedia Flash player using Internet Explorer, which will also install the ActiveX control.

Assuming you've downloaded the desired Flash files in SWF format from, you're now ready to import them into your PowerPoint slideshow. In PowerPoint choose View > Toolbars > Control Toolbox to open the ActiveX Control toolbar. Click on the Other Controls icon at the bottom of the Control Toolbox (it looks like two crossed tools) to open the list of ActiveX controls installed on your machine. Choose Shockwave Flash Object from the list of controls.

Now choose ... to the right of Custom, which will open the Page Properties dialog box for the Flash control. Enter the name of the SWF you want to use, including the full path if it's in a different directory than the PowerPoint file. You'll see other options but for now click OK. You can now view the slideshow and the Flash content will play just as it does on Special Offer
At, our goal is to be the source for people who need a simple and affordable way to download the best royalty-free clipart available online. For a limited time, is offering newsletter readers a 1-year subscription for only $129.95—a savings of $40. Why choose
  • More than 6 million clipart files
  • Web templates and e-greetings
  • Popular file formats
  • Powerful search filters
  • Staff picks section
  • New, improved holiday calendar
  • Personal download history
This reduced rate is valid through September 7, 2005, and is only available through this exclusive online promotion, so subscribe now. special offer >

New on the Network
InsightAd industry insider Hadji J.S. Williams calls for a rethinking of long-standing practices in Frozen Frogs & Cooked Books (or How to Hustle a Client), an extract from his upcoming book.

PhotoshopAlways wondered how to use the Magic Wand tool to make a selection? Orion Williams shows how in Photoshop Fundamentals: Making Selections with the Magic Wand Tool.
  > Interview with Jeff Butterworth of Alien Skin Software
  > Review of Paris Underground: A Hidden World of Art, Music and Writing
 STEP inside design
  > Right Type from the Left Coast
 Dynamic Graphics Magazine
  > Redesign for Market Change
  > Blog entries from Thomas Kryton, William McBee
     and Chris Dickman
  > Forums, articles and galleries

JupiterImages Content Sites
 • Find stock photos on, Comstock Images,,, Thinkstock Images, Creatas Images,
   PictureQuest,, Goodshoot, liquidlibrary,
   Brand X Pictures, FoodPix, Botanica and Nonstock.
 • Find photo objects on
 • Find broadcast quality clips on Thinkstock Footage and Creatas Images
 • Find clipart on
 • Find animations on

Contact Information
Have a comment or question about the newsletter? Please send it to:

- Chris Dickman, Editor

Copyright © 2005 JupiterImages Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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