If you need to create an Infographic, there are better programs than PowerPoint that you could use. Photoshop would be a good choice, or maybe Fireworks. That being said, PowerPoint is likely on your office computer right now. Additionally, PowerPoint is often underutilized as a design platform and is surprisingly agile.
One reason PowerPoint isn't the first program people think of for Infographics is that infographics are traditionally not the same size as a PowerPoint slide. To convey a hearty amount of information you'll generally want it to be much longer. You can actually change the slide size pretty easily from within PowerPoint by choosing Design > Page Setup > Page Setup. From there you can adjust the width and height of the slide on the Page Setup dialog box. The issue with this is that it can be difficult to work within PowerPoint on that long of a canvas. Additionally, the proportions of any shapes you insert will automatically change if you change the slide size. If your infographic isn't super big and if you know the size ahead of time and don't change it, however, this might not be a bad option for you. Otherwise, if you're willing to perform one extra step, there's still no reason why you can't use PowerPoint. The following technique is similar to printing out slides on different pieces of paper and taping them together, but digitally instead.
First you'll need to design your infographic. Think of it like any other presentation, but with a couple caveats, which I explain below.
Opt for a Simple Background
Going for a solid background is a good choice, and definitely the easiest. A border (that goes just along the vertical sides or across the sides and top of the first slide as well as the bottom of the last slide) is also not too difficult to pull off. A background pattern, while possible, may give you headaches if the pattern does not easily line up with the next slide.
Avoid Empty Spaces
Empty space isn't a bad thing in most cases, but keep in mind that these slides will be "stitched" together. A common tendency when designing a slide is to leave a bit of space at the top and bottom of a slide. When designing an infographic, however, once the slides are stitched together, having space at the bottom of one slide as well as the top of the next one will give you a rather large gap in content.
For Flawless Transitions, Cut Your Graphics Exactly in Half
A good way to fill those empty spaces: set up your graphics so that some of them start on one slide and end on the next seamlessly. At first glance, that's easier said than done, but I promise it's pretty easy. In the example below I want to have the arrow shape start on this slide and seamlessly continue onto the next slide when I collage them together.
To do this, I formatted the shape until it was the size and in the general position I liked. I then used the sizing handles as a guide and moved the shape up and down until the center sizing handles lined up with the bottom of the slide.
Next I copied the shape ([Ctrl] [C]), clicked on the next slide, and pasted it ([Ctrl] [V]). When you copy and paste from one slide to another, PowerPoint will retain the slide placement from the previous slide, so the pasted shape will now appear in the same spot at the bottom of the next slide. You won't need to worry about moving it left or right, as it will already line up perfectly. Instead, just press the up arrow on your keyboard until the center sizing handles line up with the top of the slide.
Save Your Slides as Images
- In PowerPoint, choose File > Save As.
- On the Save As dialog box, locate the Save as type drop-down menu and choose PNG Portable Network Graphics Format.
- Name the file (the slide images will appear within a folder with this name).
- When the Info dialog box opens click the Every Slide button to save all of the slides as separate PNG files.
- Click the OK button.
Use a Free Online Photo Editor to Piece it Together
I tried out a few options and found iPiccy to be the fastest and easiest, with the best quality. Fotoflexer has a similar collaging tool, but the final image was blurry, and I didn't see any option to increase the quality as I went. The collaging could also be done in Pixlr, or a similar Photoshop-esque editing site, but without prior Photoshop knowledge that might be a bit more confusing than it needs to be.
To collage the slide together in iPiccy:
- Navigate to http://ipiccy.com/ and click the Start Editing button.
- From the top of the screen, click the Create New Collage tool.
- From the top left click the Add Images button. (You will be asked to give permission to iPiccy, to store your images until you delete them. I found deleting images when I was done with them to be easy and pain free. Click Allow to continue.)
- Click the Upload Photos button, navigate to your slide images, and upload all of them.
- Click the Done! button.
- From the Basic area, choose a vertical stacking collage to accommodate your slides.
- Click the Auto-fill button at the top of the window to fill the collage with your slide images.
- Drag your slides until they are in the correct position.
- At the left of the window slide the Spacing bar to the left until it is at 0.
- Slide the Proportions bar until you can see all of your infographic. For mine that ended up being 57:43.
- Select High Quality from the upper right of the window and then click the Done! button.
- Click the Save button at the top of the window.
- Give your infographic a name, slide the quality up to100%, select PNG format, and click the Save Photo! button to save the infographic to your computer.
AJ teaches a live, 3-hour class that offers tips/tricks for improving the look and feel of your PowerPoint presentations: Slide Sprucing: Remodeling Lackluster PowerPoint Slides for eLearning and Presentations.