Have you ever been in a situation where you’re asked to create a design in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint? This is a common request when we talk with clients who don’t have a professional designer on their team to edit Adobe Creative Suite files like Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc.
While it’s totally reasonable to build in a platform that your client can easily edit, for designers, it can be difficult to get really creative in these very strict programs. Not to worry! We’ve got three tips for designing in tricky software.
1. Create the first draft in something you feel more comfortable in.
We recommend starting in design-based platforms like Illustrator or InDesign, and then moving the designs into Word or PowerPoint later on. This allows you to create without the limitations of the non-design driven software!
Be careful of this approach when dealing with big projects like eBooks and longer presentations. Oftentimes, when faced with a larger project in one of these softwares, we’ll opt to do a small preview of initial concepts to get the direction approved by the client.
Once we have the overall style approved, we’ll build the design in the requested software — eliminating the need to spend hours re-creating something while still enjoying the benefits of working in design platforms that foster the initial creativity.
2. Use one of a Microsoft’s templates or themes as a jumping off point.
Microsoft provides a lot of templates that are completely customizable. While most of them aren’t something you’d typically use — because let’s be honest from a design perspective they aren’t great — you can use them as a starting point.
Using the templates can help you create a layout that is more in line with your end goal, saving you time and frustration if you aren’t familiar with the advanced settings in Word or PowerPoint. This can also help with the fatigue that’s cause by the blank page in a software you aren’t used to navigating.
3. Suggest a more design friendly software.
Some clients might specifically ask for you to create the work in Word, but PowerPoint or Google Slides are much easier to manipulate. Word has many formatting restrictions that can make it frustrating to use.
PowerPoint allows you to move object, images or text anywhere on that page without the constrains of margins, and it lets you layer to your heart’s content! PowerPoint is a lot closer to Illustrator than you might think. While the key commands don’t work, you can still create shapes, use the pen tool, crop images, and more. PowerPoint will even give you layout suggestions if you are feeling stuck.
Frankly, PowerPoint is underrated if you ask me. Plus, if the client has Word, then they will likely have PowerPoint as well, making the switch easy for both parties.
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