If not for PowerPoint, my content creation works will face big hurdles. I am not exaggerating, and in course of this article you will see why. This is *one* software I use more than any other. And why not? Some of the tools in PowerPoint are simply awesome because they are easy to use to create great results.
Most people I have come across use PowerPoint for creating presentation. That’s odd for sure, especially when you realize how much more you can do with it. As a freelancer I have found PowerPoint immensely useful for myriad purposes. Take video for example.
It was 7 years back when I first started using PowerPoint along with Camtasia Studio to create web video. I went on to create the e-learning course, PowerPoint Video Guide, and later write the book, PowerPoint Video Magic. In either case the mantra is the same. To make people aware of PowerPoint’s utility to make video both for training and marketing purposes.
I have earlier covered designing call-to-action buttons using WordPress plugin. If you ask me there is no easy tool than PowerPoint to create awesome CTA buttons in less than 10 minutes. You have so many options at your disposal ready to try with, that it makes little sense not to use them.
In this article, we are going to discuss at length all that you can do to create killer call-to-action buttons in PowerPoint in double quick time. As you will see it’s easy and fun to do.
But before getting into the nitty-gritty here are some CTA buttons in different designs. Feel free to copy them for your use. Did you ask how to do this (because they are not individual images)? Well, I will give you simple tricks for that (Step 7). Keep on reading.
Step 1: Discover Clipart Icons inside PowerPoint
See, most of the above buttons have icons at one side. PowerPoint makes it easy to get you those icons. How?
Click Insert > Clip Art. In the Clip Art that comes on the right, tick the checkbox, Include Office.com content. Now search for terms like ‘button’, ‘cart’, ‘tick’, ‘icon’, ‘download’, ‘email’, etc. From the results that com, select the ones that you find okay for your need (see image below).
Most of these clip arts (or images) are either in PNG or WMF (Windows Metafile) format. WMF is a vector format that can be ungrouped into smaller elements. Each of these small elements or shapes can be individually formatted by changing dimension, color, picture effects, etc. in PowerPoint as has been done here.
Even if you do not ungroup the WMF vectors you can still modify them and also the PNG images by formatting their colors, sharpness, brightness, and contrast. To do this go to Format > Color and/or Format > Corrections. You will be amazed by the options PowerPoint gives you. The image below shows how to recolor the graphic I have used at the top of this article.
Step 2: Get Free Icons on Web
Not long back designers used to sell the icons they made at somewhat fancy prices. Today icons are largely available for free because of glut arising out of over-supply. Search for ‘free icons’, and you will be swamped by the sheer number of icons available for free. Many of these icons can be used only for non-commercial purpose. But if you dig a little deep you may find free icons that you can use for commercial intent provided you give appropriate credit to the creator (or licensor).
Step 3: Modify Images, Icons
It goes without saying that you’d want the icons fit for use for your specific needs. In other words, you’d want to modify the icons by altering their shape and color as necessary. To do this in PowerPoint all you need to do is format the icon images (go to Format > Color or Format > Corrections).
You will notice…in some cases the background color of the icons also changes. If you cannot remove the background image, don’t worry. You can create the call-to-action buttons with the same background color (image below). But how can you identify the background colors by its RGB or Hexadecimal code?
The tool that I use to *pick up* any color on my screen is called ColorPic, the desktop color picker. It’s free, and when you install it, the tool looks like the following image. Simply hover the cursor on any color, and ColorPic immediately gives you its RGB, HSV, and hexadecimal code. The RGB code will now help you decide the color of the CTA buttons in PowerPoint.
Step 4: Draw Rectangle
From Insert > Shapes, select Rounded Rectangle. Now coming to the work area, draw a rounded rectangle. By default PowerPoint gives it a fill color (usually blue) and a dark border of 2pt thickness. You want to change this. Right-click on the rectangle and from the options that come, select Format Shape.
Formatting shape is easy. Mainly you will change the Fill (color), Line Color, and Line Style. For our need we will choose a solid (or gradient) fill, line style of 0.5pt thickness, and a dark line color. If you are planning to use an icon that already has a background, use that background color as the fill for the button (refer step 3, and the ColorPic illustration above). Once this is done you are ready to insert an icon on to the rectangle and also the texts for call-to-action.
Step 5: Inserting Icon & Text
If you already have the icon ready for use, drag it and position on the button where you want it to be. Next, write the call-to-action text as a separate element, and not directly on the button. This you want to do to have greater control on positioning it and the icon on the button.
At this stage you have to decide the font family and its size for the CTA text, and also whether you want it in all caps or upper lower or in lower case. PowerPoint gives you lots of choice for the font family, and also the options like character spacing, text shadow, change case, and font color. As you will find these options are very useful to design the call-to-action texts.
After you have done all of that and are happy with the result, you need to position them properly on the button. To do this select the 3 elements, viz. the rounded rectangle, the icon, and the CTA text, and going to Home > Arrange > Align select Align Middle. This ensures that the icon and the text are exactly aligned in the middle of the button, which is what you want.
Step 6: More Designing?
Do you need any more designing? Perhaps not. But in case you are…consider giving some shape effects to the rounded rectangle, like Shadow, Reflection, Glow, Soft Edges, etc. Doing this is simple. Select the rounded rectangle, and then go to Format > Shape Effects. You can now choose the effect you want. To give an example, both the ‘Add to Cart’ buttons in the second image from the top have Offset Center shadow effect.
Step 7: Saving CTA Button as JPEG/ PNG Image
PowerPoint allows saving an entire slide, and NOT individual elements. To save a slide as an image file, open it in the work area. Now, going to File > Save As, a dialog box opens where you have to give the file a name and select its type. Clicking on the dropdown ‘Save as type:‘ reveals all the file types available for saving. Among them you will find JPEG and PNG. Save the file in JPEG, PowerPoint asks you whether to save Every Slide or Current Slide Only. Select the latter, and the slide is saved as a JPEG file.
This is half the job done. You don’t need the full slide image. You need only the button image.
To do that, open the JPEG image file in Microsoft Paint. Now press Ctrl+A to select the entire image, and drag it or nudge it (by using the arrow keys) to the top-left corner. Next, drag the handles up to the edges of the image. Now simply press Ctrl+S to save the image.
If you wish to save the call-to-action button as a separate image file, go to top-left dropdown on the Menu, and then select Save as > JPEG picture. It is quite simple really. The 2 images below describe the steps.
Finally, if you wish to use the CTA buttons in this post, right-click on the image and select ‘Save image as…‘ to save the image in your computer. Now, follow the same steps as described here above to use any particular button for your needs.
As can be seen it is a good idea to design call-to-action buttons in PowerPoint because it is so easy and versatile to make. You may in fact create a range of CTA buttons, and then offer them for free as a hook to get newsletter subscribers (it’s there in my mind for a long time). However, PowerPoint has many wonders to offer and you will be naïve (in my opinion) not to use them for your content marketing. I’ll be writing on them in future articles.
If for some reason you’re not keen on using PowerPoint, and you use WordPress (a necessary condition), you have hope. You can create call-to-action buttons using this free WordPress plugin.
What is your take on using PowerPoint for CTA buttons? Are you using any other tool? Let’s discuss them in the comments below.