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The first slide anyone sees in your presentation is always the cover slide.  So, it’s important to start things strong and have a professional, aesthetic, and relevant cover slide.

There are a lot of sites offering free PowerPoint templates.  However, most, if not all, I would never recommend people using—not even to my worst enemy.  So, yesterday, I carved out a few hours and created an appealing, easily customizable set of free PowerPoint templates.  You can download them at http://learnppt.com/free-powerpoint-templates.php.  There are 10 up right now, covering a range of industries, including Financial Services, Medical/Healthcare, Construction, Manufacturing, and General Business.   Take a peek.

So what if you’re looking a very specific template or cover design?  This tutorial will focus on leveraging any one of the templates I put up and customizing it for your specific need.

Let’s walk through an example.

For illustrative purposes, I will pick a very unique example.  We will customize a template for the movie Avatar.

The first step is to download one of the free PowerPoint templates.  Notice that the photo space for the ‘Business People’ template is slighter larger than that of the others.

Now, go to Slide Master mode.  In 2003, this is ‘View’ –> ‘Master’ –> ‘Slide Master.’   In 2007/2010, this is ‘View’ –> ‘Slide Master’ (under ‘Master Views’).

Click on the photo.  You will notice you can easily move it around, resize it, and delete it.  Go ahead and delete it.

Now, find an appropriate replacement photograph on Google Image Search.  I like to use their size filter and filter by ‘Large.’  This way I am left with high resolution pictures.  (FYI, this is the picture I will be using.)

Copy and paste the image into your PowerPoint slide master cover slide.  (If you have a graphics editing program, you may want to use it to reduce the size of the image prior to copying it into PowerPoint.  This will help minimize the PowerPoint’s file size.) Send the photo to the back.

Next, resize and crop as needed.

There you have it.

Questions, thoughts, concerns?  Go to my site (learnppt.com) and shoot me an email.

For pre-made PowerPoint diagrams used in business presentations, browse our library here: learnppt.com/powerpoint/.  These diagrams were professionally designed by management consultants. Give your presentations the look and feel of a final product made by McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Booz Allen, Deloitte, or any of the top consulting firms.

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