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Tutorial for

Bullet Alternatives 017 – Tools 022, 026

Objects and Overlays – Blocks, Question Marks, and Qs

Using Objects and Overlaying Bars

These series contains frameworks that will easily establish a one-to-many concept: the main idea is represented by the vertically oriented object, and the subordinate objects are contained within the horizontally oriented bars. The frameworks can be used to set up individual concepts or visually convey topics for discussion/presentation structure.

Short text strings/sentence fragments work best with these series. The gradient that has been set on each of the bars provides an open-end so that text can expand to the farthest right part of the slide. The gradient is a combination of semitransparency and full transparency so that the frameworks can be used with all slide backgrounds.

Place text over the objects and left edges of the bars as a separate text field. Also place text over the individual bars as a separate text field if you are using PowerPoint 2003. The text layering over the object is important because if you type your text into the object, the bar overlays will obscure the text.

Once you have identified the best-suited bullet alternative variation, 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 objects and bars

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. If you just want to widen the bars, group them and increase/reduce them to the desired size.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the PowerFramework will reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. Use a complementary lighter color for the horizontal bars. You may need to try a few different colors from your palette because the semitransparent overlay of the horizontal bars "blends" with the block – some blends typically do not produce a great blended color. If you use gradients, eliminate the lines. Semitransparent horizontal bars work best.

Colors can also be a tool. If you want to highlight a certain question, consider giving the horizontal bar a different color and transparency value.

3D variations

Don't use 3D with these frameworks. Because of the overlay and semitransparency, the 3D doesn't really look very good.


Don't use shadows with these frameworks unless you are using PowerPoint 2007 and apply a shadow to the grouped framework. Otherwise, it's the same issue as 3D: because of the overlay and semitransparency, the shadows don't really work very well.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients work really well with this type of framework (see series example). The gradient that fades away on the right (no right-hand boundary) actually extends the text field so more text can be used. Pictures or icons added to the inside of the circle work particularly well. Adjust the color as you would with any field with a gradient.


Animate as wipes or another effects that support the flow of the framework. Download the animation example for a possible animation scheme.

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