A graduation slide show depicting pictures and memories of a graduate's high school or college years makes a perfect graduation gift. Alternately, a graduate can create her own slide show to play for friends and family at her graduation party. Some schools may even play slide shows before and after graduation ceremonies, transforming empty waiting time into hilarious and heartwarming entertainment. Create a basic slide show in PowerPoint by following a few basic steps.
Collect photographs. Try to capture a range of the graduate's life, including his different groups of friends, his family, sports, hobbies and accomplishments. If you have prints, scan them into your computer. If you don't have many pictures, consider asking the graduate's friends or family to contribute pictures.
Open PowerPoint and click the lower half "New Slide" icon in the Slides box. Select "Blank." Repeat several times. The number of slides depends on how many pictures you have, but don't worry about being exact -- you can add more slides later.
Click the "Design" tab on the top toolbar and select a template by clicking on its preview box. This determines the background color of your slides and the style of your text.
Go to your first slide by clicking on Slide 1 in the left-hand pane. Type a title in the box that says "Click To Add Title."
Click on Slide 2 to go to your second slide. Add a picture by clicking the "Insert" tab on the top toolbar and selecting the Picture icon. Locate the file on your computer and click "Insert." Alternately, copy and paste pictures from web pages by right-clicking the picture, selecting Copy, then right-clicking in the slide and clicking Paste. Resize the picture by dragging the corners, if necessary. Repeat to add pictures to your remaining slides.
Click the "Insert" tab and select the Sound icon if you want to add songs or sound clips. Locate the sound file on your computer and click "OK." A dialog box will appear. Select "Play Automatically" if you want the song to play without clicking. Select "When Clicked" if you want the song to play when you click the sound icon in the slide.
Select "Animations" on the top toolbar to add transitions to your slides. Preview transitions by hovering over them and click to select a transition. If you want your slide show to run automatically, check the "Automatically After" box on the right and change the time to two to ten seconds, depending on how fast you want the slide to change. You can add transitions individually to each slide or select "Apply to All."
Click F5 to preview your slide show. Make any desired changes after watching the show.
Click the disk icon in the upper left corner to save the slide show to your computer once you're satisfied with it. You can give the slide show to others through email, USB ("flash") drives or CDs.
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Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at tolerance.org. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.