Did you know that in about 20 mouse clicks, you can create a self-running, music-filled, professional looking slideshow of your favorite photos with the PowerPoint photo album shortcut? Unfortunately, this shortcut is not available for Macintosh computers yet, so you must have PowerPoint on a Windows PC to complete this lesson. To prepare, create a PowerPoint Photo Album folder on your computer. Select the photos you want to use, and put a copy of each one into this folder. Next, pick a great background song from your digital music that is perfect for your photos and your audience, then copy it to the same folder. Ready? Let’s go!
PowerPoint Photo Album Shortcut
Photo Album Shortcut to Insert Photos
Open PowerPoint for a new blank presentation. On the Insert tab>Images section>click Photo Album. The Photo Album window will appear.
Click on the File/Disk button and point to your new PowerPoint Photo Album photo. Click on the folder, then press Ctrl-A to select all the photos in the folder. Press the Insert button to insert these photos into your presentation.
Your pictures will now be listed in the “Pictures album” section of the Photo Album window. You can sort them now, but it’s easier to sort slides, so we will sort later. Look at the Album Layout section. “Fit to Slide” is the default and makes your photo as big as your slide. If you look at the other options, you can combine several slides with or without a caption. We’ll leave it as “Fit to Slide” today. Leave the Frame Shape and Theme options as they are, and click the “Create” button.
This is where the magic begins! PowerPoint does all the work, automatically creating a title slide, and placing each photo on one slide for you. If you have a lot of slides, be patient while they load. Once the slides are created, stay on Slide 1 and edit the title and creator’s name if necessary. You may also go to the Design tab and pick a different theme or variant. I’m going to keep the default design because I think the simple bold black background accentuates my photos.
Save Your Show
This is a good time to save your creation! Save it to the same PowerPoint Photo Album folder. It’s always a good idea to keep your PowerPoint presentation, your photos, and your song in the same folder. If you are moving your presentation to a USB drive, copy the entire folder to the new computer can find the files, too.
Do you want to change the order of your slides? Click the Slide Sorter icon in the bottom right and drag the slides around until they are in the order you prefer.
Transitions and Advance Slide by Four Seconds
On the Transitions tab, click on the Fade transition for simplicity, then change the timing to 4 seconds by clicking the Advance Slide After arrow up four times. Before leaving the Transitions tab, be sure to click “Apply to All,” so that your transition applies to your entire show. For a more detailed description of transitions, see our PowerPoint Transitions lesson.
Insert Audio, aka, Add Music
Your show is visually ready, but you may want to add some background music. From the Slide Sorter view, double-click your title Slide 1 to return to Normal view. Go to the Insert tab. On the far right, there is a Media section for inserting Video and Audio. Click Insert tab>Media section>Audio drop-down arrow>Audio on my PC. Point to the song you copied to the PowerPoint Photo Album folder, and click Insert.
PowerPoint will insert your song via transparent speaker icon right in the middle of your slide. I always drag the icon to the bottom right corner to get it out of the way. Whenever the speaker icon is selected, special Audio Tools/Format and Audio Tools/Playback tabs appear. On the Audio Tools/Playback tab>Audio Styles section>click Play in Background. This automatically checks all the boxes in the Audio Options section that we need to start the song automatically, play the song across our slides, continue or “loop” the song until we stop it, and hide the icon during our show.
Save and Start Slide Show
As promised, in less than 20 clicks, you are ready to sit back and enjoy your photo album. On the Slide Show tab>Start Slide Show section>click On Beginning.
If your slides aren’t transitioning correctly or the timing is too long or too short, go back and redo the Transitions and Advance Slide section. Sometimes I accidentally type 4 tenths or even hundredths of a second instead of clicking up to 4 seconds, which makes the show go by in a blink of an eye. Did that happen to you? Once you make your changes, don’t forget “Apply to All.”
Loop Continuously until Escape
Let’s say you are hosting an open house at your place of business and you want your show to repeat until you press Escape. From the Slide Show tab>Set up section>click Set Up Slide Show and the Set Up Show window appears. Check the box next to “Loop continuously until ‘Esc.’” Remember if your monitor is set to automatically shut off to save power after ten minutes or so, your show will also disappear, so adjust your monitor or sleep settings as needed before the open house.
Esc to Make Changes
Any time you make any change, watch your show again. If you don’t like something, press the Escape “Esc” button during your show, and make the changes. If you’re on the Transitions tab, press “Apply to All.” Save and watch it again until it is just right!
Here’s a video by Sali Kaceli on 7 useful shortcut keys when presenting a powerpoint presentation: