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Tutorial for

Bullet Alternatives 010


This series doesn't completely eliminate bullets, but it does compartmentalize information in a more interesting way.

This series doesn't completely eliminate bullets, but it does compartmentalize information in a more interesting way. These panels present a progression of thought or a series of related ideas. The series example shows a progression of time: school, career, current aspirations.

You can use these frameworks over several pages, e.g., an upward flow from back to front on one page and then a downward flow from back to front on the next page.

They work particularly well with animation (download the animated example). Convert a bulleted list into a group of panels, and you can then use the panels as a tracker: simply group the panels, reduce their size, and position them consistently in a corner of the content area. Then color each panel appropriately as you move through your presentation.

Once you have identified the best-suited panel, 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 the panels

Adjust size

If you want to change the size/shape of the PowerFramework, be sure to group it and resize the entire group. Once resized, ungroup to proceed with other customizations.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the panels will reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. If you color each panel differently you don't need to use border lines. In that case you can take the borders off of the connecting fields as well. But if all of the panels will be the same color, we suggest you use a line that is just slightly lighter or darker than the panels so that the individual panels will be distinct. You can use a very fine line if you wish.

3D variations

We don't really recommend using 3D; but if you feel like you need to to be in sync with the rest of the presentation, apply a very shallow 3D depth.


Shadows in PowerPoint 2003 don't really add that much to the panels, but if you are using PowerPoint 2007, you can use the shadows to distinguish the panels instead of lines if the panels are all the same color. Even if they are not the same color, the PowerPoint 2007 drop shadows add depth and volume to this framework.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients can also be used to distinguish one panel from another. Be sure to set your gradients so that overlaying text is readable. Refer to this FAQ: What are the issues with gradients and overlaying text?


Animations should be wipes: the vertical panels should wipe from the left and the background polygons should wipe from the right. The order should be from top to bottom: right-most panel wipe left, attaching polygon wipe right, the next panel below/above should be wipe left, etc. Download the animation example to see how this animation scheme works.

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