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Tutorial for Concepts 033 – Monitor and Laptop Projections

Using the On-Screen Projections

The laptop screens and monitors and the cursor are great tools for creating click-through tutorials (the downloadable animated example for this series demonstrates a click-through sequence). They are also a stylish way to present screenshots on screen. There is little doubt that what you are presenting is a screenshot when the audience can see that it is being projected from a computer screen on the slide.

There are two different types of downloads:

  1. cn033_monitors.ppt and cn033_laptops.ppt are editable. You can change the fill and line colors for all of the fields.
  2. cn033_PNG_monitors.ppt, cn033_PNG_laptops.ppt, and cn033_laptops_v2 are pngs and the fill and line colors may not be changed. If you would rather not work with a graphic that is comprised of many fields and you are okay with the colors, then the PNGs are the way to go.

Notice that each download has a cursor/pointer included. Using the cursors will make the click-through tutorials more realistic. See the series animated example for a way to incorporate the cursor in the tutorial.

Customizing the On-Screen Projections

Adjust size

Resizing PNGs is simple. They are only one field and can be resized simply by holding the shift key down and then resizing. For the other laptops and monitors that have many fields, group them and then resize while holding the shift key down.

Then position the resized laptop(s) or monitor(s) on your slide(s) and bring in and place the screenshots that you wish to use.

Color variations

The PNGs are ineligible for formatting unless you are using PowerPoint 2007. With PowerPoint 2007 you can recolor the PNGs as photographs. However, since the laptops and monitors represent real objects, it's best to keep them colored so that they appear realistic. Adding color tints tends to detract from realism.

The same principle applies to the laptops and monitors that can accept color: be careful that you do not format the colors in such a manner that the laptops and monitors appear cartoonish.

Creating the semitransparent projection connector is easy. Use the polygon tool to draw a line around the monitor screen/laptop screen and the enlarged screenshot. Then apply a light gray or white color, remove the line color, and make semitransparent. This projection connector should be in front of the monitor/laptop screen but behind the enlarged screenshot, so make sure you layer this correctly.

3D variations

If you are using PowerPoint 2007, the 3D Rotation menu will help you rotate the laptop or monitor screenshot (not the projected screenshot) so that it appears correctly. The two menus below are the formulas for the 3D rotations.

The screenshot below shows the rotation and perspective formula for the rotated screenshot on the monitor. The sizing may be wrong, but that can be corrected by simply resizing the screenshot and then placing it onto the monitor.

The formula below is for screenshot that overlays the laptop screen. Again sizing may be an issue, but you can just hold the shift key down and resize the rotated screenshot until it is perfectly sized to the laptop screen.

If you plan on using one of the PNG_v2 versions, each laptop has a rotated photograph behind it. You can use the photograph size and the 3D rotation formula to create your rotated screenshot or photograph.


Don't use shadows on this type of framework. The exception is if you are using PowerPoint 2007: then make sure that the laptop and/or the monitor is grouped and then apply a drop shadow.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients and patterns may not be good formatting choices for these frameworks, but the pictures are certainly important. Screenshots are considered pictures. If you want to take a screenshot, hold the shift key down and press the Print Scrn button on your keyboard (which is usually in the upper right). The screenshot will be placed in your clipboard. Then simply paste (Ctrl v) the screenshot onto your page and crop out the unwanted parts of the screenshot.


If you are developing a screenshot tutorial, take screenshots of the successive steps and animate them in order. Add the cursor and click points if you wish (see the downloadable animation example). Use simple reveals such as appear/disappear or fast fade-ins and -outs.

Series that relate to this tutorial:

CN033 – Concept 033 – Monitor and Laptop Projections

Possible use example

Links to instructions for getting the framework into your presentation

  1. Determine the best file type for your needs
  2. Download the file
  3. Import the framework into your presentation
    1. Importing a PPT file
    2. Importing a EMF or PNG
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