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Tutorial for

Text Tables 007, 009


Using the text-table schedules

Schedules are essential to help event participants manage their time. The schedules in this series are a great format for just that. These tables are starting points for wonderfully effective multiday/multilocation events. They can be as simple as you like (series example just has name of event, description of event, and presenter), or they can be highly descriptive (including location of event, presenter's company, etc,). They can even be set up to handle multiple events for the same times. There are only three table tools that you need to know how to use, and they're very simple tools.

They are available in 1- to 6-column variations for 15-minute (tt007) and 30-minute increments (tt009).

The blank, colored spaces in the series example indicate breaks or time needed by event staff to set up the next session.

Customizing your text table

Importing preformatted text tables into your template

Whenever outside content that includes text (these preformatted tables, for example) is brought into your template, skewing is likely to occur. This happens because the two templates have different default text attributes. There is one step that you can take to position yourself so that this skewing is minimized – not only with PowerFrameworks tables, but with all text content brought in from an outside source.

This step is setting the text hierarchy in your slide master so that it works for you and not against you. If your slide master is formatted that the top level of text has a bullet, then all text you bring in from an outside source will have bullets. You don't want this, as it creates the need for a lot of unnecessary reformatting. Not only do you need to get rid of the bullet on imported text, but you need to get rid of the associated indent. You need to rethink the text hierarchy on your slide master. Your PowerFrameworks team strongly recommends that the first level of text hierarchy in a slide master should be nonbulleted, left-aligned text (no indent). The highest level of text on a slide is not bulleted text, it is the heading over/sentence leading into the bulleted text. Please review the best practice entitled, Establishing the Text Hierarchy in Your PowerPoint Slide Master."

Now that you don't have to deal with bullets on everything you import into your template, you can breeze through the rest of the reformatting caused by the other differences in text defaults, which centers around font size and color and font choice. Imported text will default to your settings either in the slide master or the text size you've set for that page. That means, for example, that a table containing 10-point text, once imported, becomes a table containing 22-point text, which seems to distort and scares you near to death.

  • The first step in regaining control is to highlight the whole table and apply a reasonable font size. The table should pop back into its original dimensions.
  • The next step is to apply the correct font and font color. PowerFrameworks text tables are formatted with the Ariel font and the color is black. Choose whatever works best in your presentation.

At this point you can start loading the template with your own content.

Adjust size

Size adjustments for these types of tables are a two-step process. The first size adjustment is the first thing you do after it has been imported into your presentation, and the second size adjustment is the last thing you – after text has been inserted.

Size adjustment 1

If the imported slide is too large for your template (parts of the table overlay the design elements of your slide), then select the whole table and reduce its size until it fits gracefully onto your slide.

Size adjustment 2

Input text into the table and then perform the last size adjustment. These tables work best when the text in each cell is relatively the same size. That way the schedules look uniform, the table presents well, and the slide appears polished. When you have entered all of your text into the cells, you will need to rebalance the table. This is a great tip, incidentally. If you put all of your text into the table first, you will only have to rebalance the page once. A good tool for making the rows and columns uniform is the Distribute Rows Evenly and Distribute Columns Evenly tools (see below).

Make sure that the Tables and Borders toolbar is visible (it looks like the toolbar above). Then select the rows/columns you wish to be the same size and click on the appropriate button.

Merging and Splitting Cells

Since the daily events can span more than one time increment, it's important to merge the cells so the block of time for the event is one cell. Do this by selecting all of the cells in the table that span the time for the event. Then click on Merge Cells.

While a schedule is being developed, time shifts are common. If you need to adjust the spans of time for an event, the Draw Table and Erase tools are all you need.

When you click on the Draw Table tool (left-hand button in red box above), a little pencil appears in place of your pointer/cursor. Draw with the little pencil a line within a cell that consists of merged cells where you'd like to separate a cell from the merged cells – easy. If you'd like to erase a line between cells, you can use the Erase tool (right-hand button in red box above). Instead of a pencil appearing in place of your pointer/cursor, you'll see a little eraser. You can also just select the two or more cells and click on Merge Cells, as described above – your choice.

These complex-looking charts are actually very easy to manipulate. Create a table and try them out before you actually need to start working with a schedule. You'll quickly gain the courage to effectively create and revise these schedules.

If you are using PowerPoint 2007, click on the table and find the same tools shown above in under either the Design or Layout tabs.

Color variations

You can apply color to the cells, borders, and text from your template's color palette. Just be sure that the colored "blank" cells in the schedules do not overpower the text. Usually a very light color works best for slides with white or light backgrounds or very dark, but slightly lighter than the background, for slides with dark backgrounds.

3D variations

No 3D on these please.


No shadows on these please.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

No gradients on these please.


There is no animated example for this series, but you can add text fields that can be animated with reveals if you wish. The table, itself, cannot be animated.

Click on a name for more information.
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