When it comes to giving presentations, variety is a must. Let's face it; we've all sat through too many cookie cutter presentations that quickly lose the audience's attention thanks to overcrowded slides with too many text elements.
So, some added visuals in a presentation are the key to capturing and keeping the eye of the audience. An example of this is using PowerPoint maps to add a sense of location to your presentation.
Here are some examples of how you could use PowerPoint maps:
- Company locations. Plot your company's presence across the country or even across the globe with a well-designed PowerPoint map
New markets to expand into. Highlight the territories that you're prospecting with an illustrated map slide
Maps showing history. For example, link together a few locations on a map to show the various places you've lived over time in a personalized slide deck
But, you probably don't have time to draw maps from scratch in PowerPoint. And grabbing images of a map online might be inflexible or unlicensed for use. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to use a pre-built template to create a PowerPoint map.
PowerPoint is an extremely flexible app when you pair it with pre-built PowerPoint map templates. Infographics, for example, are a great way to illustrate ideas with graphics. Check out the tutorial below to see 15 different choices for infographic templates
- Microsoft PowerPoint20 Best PowerPoint Presentation Templates—With Great Infographic SlidesSean Hodge
Another Great Resource on Presentations: Free eBook Download
Before we dive into our main tutorial on how to make interactive maps in PowerPoint, I want to make sure you know about another great resource we've got. Our free eBook, The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations, will teach you how to create a powerful presentation. Why not download your copy today?
How to Use Templates to Create PowerPoint Maps
Unless you're a cartographer, the chances are that you don't have the knowledge or time to draw maps from scratch.
The solution to this is to use a pre-built template that already has pre-drawn maps that you can use. With a pre-made PowerPoint map template, all that you've got to do is choose a slide with the geography you need and update it with personalized details.
The best place to source these is from Envato Elements, a flat rate subscription service built with creatives and freelancers in mind. For a single monthly fee, you've got unlimited downloads to choose from spanning an incredible variety of categories. That includes graphics, stock photos, and of course—engaging presentation templates.
With a pre-built template, talented designers and map experts have already given you the framework that you need to add a geographic slide to your deck. Many of the packs include a multitude of maps spanning the globe.
In this tutorial, you'll learn how to modify slides from the Maps PowerPoint Infographic Slides template. As you can see in the screenshot below, there are many slides inside this single template that depict a wide variety of geographies. Any of these starter slides can be pulled from this template and customized for your use, ready to drop into a finished presentation.
Another option for sourcing map is from GraphicRiver, a "pay-as-you-go" model for creative assets. GraphicRiver also features its take on PowerPoint map templates.
In this tutorial, I'll show you how to take the template from Elements and customize it in a variety of ways. Let's learn more about slide customization.
How to Adjust PowerPoint Map Templates
Throughout this section of the tutorial, we'll work with the Maps PowerPoint Infographic Slides deck. Remember that starting with a slide template doesn't mean that you've got to stick with that exact style. Instead, make the tweaks that fit your specific presentation preferences.
Let's walk through five visual adjustments that you can make to a map slide to customize them for your use. Then, I'll show you how to move the slide to your existing deck.
1. Change the Gradient Overlay
The blue-green style in this template may not fit in with your existing slides. Luckily, it's no problem to modify these gradients to a different color.
For each of these modification examples, we've got to start by ungrouping the blocks. The author grouped all of the individual states or provinces on the map charts into a single block so that it's easy to move and adjust. But, to modify specific parts, you'll need to ungroup them.
To do that, right-click on a map and choose Group > Ungroup. This splits the PowerPoint map template chart out into many individual blocks that you can edit independently.
Once you ungroup the map, you can select the individual components. In the example below, I chose the main region at the top of the map. Then, I right clicked and chose Format Shape.
On the sidebar, you can choose the fill options, and change the colors in the Gradient stops section. Just click on the arrows and change the colors in the paint bucket dropdown. In the example below, I've changed the arrows to shades of green.
2. Focus on a Single State
The maps in this template are pretty far-reaching and often include an entire nation. When you want to focus on a rather specific part of the PowerPoint map, you might want to highlight a particular state and fade out the rest of the blocks.
Again, start by right-clicking the map and choosing Group > Ungroup. As a reminder, we do this so that we can select individual components of the map and adjust them individually.
After you've selected the regions you want to modify, right click and choose the format shape options. On the fill menu, turn up the Transparency slider to fade out the selected regions. You can leave them in the map view, but fading them a bit will bring more focus to the critical parts of the PowerPoint map.
3. Remove Regions as Needed
Just because the map features a broad region with many states or countries in it, that doesn't mean that you've got to include all of them. You can select individual areas to remove.
In the example below, remember to start by clicking on the map and right clicking, selecting Group > Ungroup.
Then, just click on each of the regions that you want to remove from the map. Press delete on your keyboard to remove all of the selected areas.
One of my favorite things about the maps in this slide deck is that the shapes are of high quality, so you can resize them as needed. In my example, I'm going to remove several of the provinces in Belgium, and then scale up the remaining infographic.
4. Add a Border for Focus
After you've ungrouped a block of areas in a map, you can work individually with the states on the map. Another adjustment you can make is to add a border to your PowerPoint map to break out a single region of the map.
Again, start by ungrouping the map. Then, select a single region and right click > Format Shape.
On the new menu that opens, find the Line dropdown and click on it. Then, you can change the Color, transparency, and width to modify the presence of the map border as you can see in the screenshot below.
Try increasing the size of your border to focus on a single region. You can also change the color of that border to draw more attention to the specifics.
5. Add an Annotation
If you really want to highlight a specific part of the map, you might need to add an annotation. Annotations can draw attention to very specific parts of a slide.
My favorite way to add annotations is to use a shape. Go to the Insert tab on the PowerPoint ribbon and choose Shapes. Then, find a shape that can act as an eye-catching text box to add to the map.
Remember that if you're pointing to specific cities or towns, you'll want to be very careful that your annotations are accurate. Cross-reference the placement of an annotation with a much more detailed tool like Google Maps.
Last: Add it To Your Deck
Chances are that you won't have a slide deck full of map slides. Instead, it's more likely that you'll finish up your map slide and take it to an existing PowerPoint presentation.
To move your slide to another presentation, start by clicking on the slide thumbnail in PowerPoint's sidebar. Then, copy it by pressing Ctrl + C on Windows or Cmd + C on Mac.
Now, jump over to the slide deck you want to paste the Map into. Right-click in the sidebar in the spot you want to paste your slide into. You'll see several thumbnails, and you can choose between Use Destination Theme and Keep Source Formatting:
- Use Destination Theme attempts to match your Map slide's style to the deck it's going into. Typically, you should try this first so that it matches.
Keep Source Formatting preserves the same style and formatting as you initially prepared the presentation.
Check out the quick screencast lesson below to learn more about the options for pasting a slide into a separate presentation:
From this point, you might want to adjust the style so that it matches your presentation. Items to check include:
- Double check that the fonts used on the pasted version of the slide match any existing fonts on other slides.
- Ensure that your color scheme matches nicely. The default slide deck in this tutorial uses blue-green gradients, but you'll want to adjust this to match the color scheme in your presentation.
In this tutorial, we covered PowerPoint maps and how easy they can be to create dynamic maps. Not only did we start with a great-looking template, but we also refined it to match our style with the stylistic tweaks you saw me make above.
There are so many presentations that can benefit from a map. Showcasing key details tied to a location can drive home a message with your audience.
There's no reason to stop learning about PowerPoint here! If you're looking for a complete guide to learning Microsoft PowerPoint, make sure to check out the Ultimate Guide to the Best PPT tutorial. Here are other recent tutorials to help you keep learning presentation skills:
- PowerPoint PresentationsHow to Create Great PowerPoint Presentations (With Top Examples)Laura Spencer
- Presentations25+ Inspirational PowerPoint Presentation Design Examples (2018)Laura Spencer
- Microsoft PowerPointHow to Make a Great PowerPoint Title Cover Slide - QuicklyAndrew Childress
We've got the perfect complement to this tutorial. Our eBook will walk you through the complete presentation process. Subscribe to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter and get The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations for free. Discover how to write your PowerPoint presentation, design it like a pro, and prepare it to present powerfully.
What to Do Next
If you're interested in adding professional interactive PowerPoint maps to your next presentation, make sure you try a template from Envato Elements to skip ahead in building accurate, stylish maps. A subscription to Elements will unlock a multitude of PowerPoint map templates, and you'll have access to tons of other creative assets to supplement your presentation. Why not sign up today?