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Tutorial for

Bullet Alternatives 027


Using Bullet Alternatives

These little capsules work well as bullet alternatives, but they work equally well as an icon that can be used with many other framework or concepts. For example, use them along with For a bullet alternative, the left side of the capsule can hold the main point/word/icon and the right side can hold the description.

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

Also see Power Chart for October 2008 for another use for the capsules.

Customizing the Capsules

The different capsule variations can be used as a group or you can select just one capsule variation and use multiples of it on a slide. There are many options. The left side of the capsule is generally smaller than the right side and can contain an icon or key words. The right side can contain a more lengthy text description.

There are capsule variations that are split in half. These variations can be used as a real capsule, holding content "inside" the capsule that can spill out.

Different words can spill out, or dots, or icons. This could even be animated (see below).

Adjust size

If you want to change the size/shape of the capsules, be sure to group them 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 capsules will reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. Select "No line" if you want to eliminate the outline of the object, or change the line point size if you want thinner or heaver lines.

3D variations

The 3D effect does not look that great with these bars. They don't look rounded – they look boxy. If you're using PowerPoint 2007, you might think that a bevel would work – but it won't. You're better off applying a gradient (see below).


The drop shadows in PowerPoint 2007 look especially nice with these bars and insets. The other types of shadows don't add much to the framework.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Formatting these capsules can be fun. In the series example we used photographs with soft edges (PowerPoint 2007 feature) on the left side of the capsule. You can also use a graphic, text, or import a cropped photograph into the left side of the capsule. Lots of possibilities for both PowerPoint 2003 and 2007 users.

Gradients work especially well to give the appearance of 3D.

If you choose to use photographs within the left side of the capsule and you would like to convert your rectangular photographs into the correct shape, you should review the FAQ entitled, "How do I create photographs in different shapes from rectangular photographs?"


Animations should be selected that will enhance the meaning of the message, not merely to add interest to the slide. The animated example shows you how you might introduce each capsule when they are used as bullet alternatives.

When you use the capsules to hold content (see graphic above), you can use animation to spill the contents out.

  1. Apply a motion path to each capsule to move them apart
  2. Add a slight spin to tip the capsule parts down
  3. Apply motion paths to the contents so that they spill out of the open capsule.

Format these three animations so that they all happen on one click.

Click on a name for more information.
Click on a thumbnail to view a larger image