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Tutorial for Tools 013 – Volume Controls

Using Volume Controls

These frameworks are typical volume controls: they don't have numerical values attached to the grid. However, if you'd prefer to add numerical values, place them next to the 20 tick marks for each control or to the far left for all the controls. The frameworks in this series are called volume controls, but you can use them as controls for many other activities.

These controls are different than the typical gauges and ranges you see on control panels: they set performance levels instead of report on performance activity. You can couple a control in this series with a needle gauge: use animation to show that when a control is set to increase "volume" the needle in the needle gauge reacts and swings to show the incremental increase. A cool way to show cause and effect on a control panel.

Once you have identified the best-suited PowerFramework, download it to a specific location on your computer so you'll be able to find it (the desktop is always a good choice).

Customizing Volume Controls

Adjust size

If you want to change the size/shape of the controls, be sure to group them and resize the entire group. Once resized, ungroup to proceed with other customizations. Hold the shift key down as you resize if you want to rescale the group.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the controls will reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. Select "No line" if you want to eliminate the outline of the object (the example for the series does not use lines), or change the line point size if you want thinner or heaver lines.

3D variations

3D doesn't work terribly well with these frameworks; but if you believe that 3D would add the continuity you need, be sure to use a very short depth (3 points or thereabout). Be aware that applying a 3D effect will change the color of your object(s).


Be very conservative with your shadows as well. Use a very tight shadow colored very lightly. You don't want design enhancements (shadow effects) to impede clarity. If you do use a shadow, reorder the pieces of the gauge so that it appears correctly on the page. PowerPoint 2007 shadows appear more realistic, but use them sparingly and consistently with these frameworks.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients tend to get in the way of the controls. The tick marks should be vivid, and making a background a gradient will tend to diminish clarity.


Animations should be selected that will enhance the meaning of the message, not merely to add interest to the slide. There is a downloadable animation example for you to view: a simple wipe from the bottom (or left if you use the vertical versions) with the ending/marker bar set to appear after the wipe. If you couple a control with a gauge, animate the gauge to spin to the desired spot on the gauge dial. Click here to go to the FAQ entitled, "How can I best animate the pendulum, gauges, and other frameworks so that the pendulums/needles swing?". The series for gauges can be found in the Tools Category.

Series that relate to this tutorial:

TO013 – Tool 013 – Volume Controls

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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