PowerPoint Recommendations Slide: How to Create It (15:30)

In this sample lesson, you’ll learn how to create a “Process Recommendations” slide for use in an investment banking-style pitch book or presentation.

For Aspiring Investment Bankers Only:

PowerPoint Recommendations Slide: How to Create It (15:30)

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Table of Contents:

  • 5:36: Putting the Text Boxes in Place
  • 9:43: Creating the Text Box and Arrow at the Bottom
  • 14:29: Recap and Summary

NOTE: This sample lesson uses custom shortcuts that are not built into PowerPoint. To get all the shortcuts working properly, you must follow the instructions in this sample lesson where we customize the interface and Quick Access Toolbar.

PowerPoint Recommendations Slide: How to Create the “Process Recommendations” Slide in an Investment Banking Pitch Book

Welcome to our next lesson in this module of practice exercises. This time around we’re going to take a look at the Process Recommendations slide from the full pitch book of Jazz Pharmaceuticals and you are going to get some practice creating what you see on screen right now. As always, the starting file here is blank except for the title at the top and so your task is to create something like what you see on the screen right now.

With this exercise to give you a few hints in advance, you probably want to start by creating these arrow shapes on screen and then applying whatever formatting is appropriate. Once again you are going to have to use ninja lines here if you want to get parts of this aligned correctly. Aligning the parts over here with our recommendation and then making sure that they match up to Targeted Discussions and Broader Search can also be somewhat challenging, so you’ll have to think about how to do that.


But actually creating the shapes isn’t too hard. The real challenge here, I think, is the alignment and the distribution and getting all of that working. So you should think about some of the tips and tricks and tactics that we’ve already learned so far to do this.

With that said, pause the video right now and give it a shot yourself and then when you’re done, un-pause the video and we will walk through this together.

Okay, so I would start by drawing an arrow. So go to Alt, 09. And then go up and we want to get the arrow shape right here, the right arrow. So I’m just pressing and holding Shift and drawing it over here and we’ll align this up on the right edge right here. You can see that the PowerPoint smart guide already sprang into action when I started dragging it over there, so we already have that. Now looking at this the left arrow extends all the way to the left side matching the title right here.


To do this we should probably format the arrow on the right side first and then once we have that formatted and have set that up properly then we can do just duplicate it flip it around and use it for the arrow on the left. Now before we do that one thing I want to do is just to measure how much space we have on screen, because we need to know how big to make this arrow because the arrow should occupy about half the space, actually exactly half the space on screen between these two.

So let’s drag this out and around and then let’s drag the left side. I’m doing this just so we can measure exactly how big this is. Alt, JD, the width is 9.08 so let’s go back here and for the width of this arrow, Alt, JD, we should make it exactly half of 9.08. So half of nine is 4.5 plus the
.04. So this should be 4.54. We have that.


So let’s just move this to the left and once again right align it, Alt, 1, R. It’s also worth formatting it at this point, so we don’t want any border, Alt, 4, and then N for no outline. For the background color, Alt, 3 and we want this lighter color right here because that is what matches what’s on this existing one. And then we do have a drop shadow in the background which is a little bit unusual. But it’s okay. We can certainly apply it here. So just go to the format menu with Alt, JD and then you want to go down to Shape Effects and then select the arrow right here and just select outer. I don’t know if this is exactly what we used on the other one, but it’s close enough. So we have that one arrow.

Now we’re not going to create this text boxes in the arrow itself. Instead those are going to be separate text boxes that we paste onto it.


The reason why we are not doing it on the arrow itself is because if we just start typing here, yes, we can get some text. But the problem is that we cannot actually get two different text boxes within the arrow. We can only create one of these. So in this case it’s not possible to actually do this by using the built-in text features of the shape.

So let’s take this and press Ctrl + Shift and drag the mouse to the left and then let’s rotate this around. I could have just used the Alt keys there. It doesn’t really matter. So we have this. Let’s change the color, Alt, 3 and we’ll change it to this lighter blue color which matches up to what we have here. We still have the drop shadow. Let’s move the shape to the back because we don’t want this drop shadow to appear on the other arrow. So I will just select this and Alt, 6, K to move it to the back and now we have something that looks more reasonable here. So we have that.


Of course, that is the easy part. What we have to do now is figure out how to get the text boxes here, and then how to get this arrow and this box and the other box with the bullets below. Before I do that, though, let me also check the width of these arrows and let’s look at the finished version here. Alt, JD and the height is 1.58 and the height of this one is 1.83. I’ll change it to 1.58. And then do the same thing on this one, Alt, JD and the height will be 1.58. So we have that.

I’ll top align these Alt, 1, T and let’s send this one back, Alt, 6, K. So now to get these text boxes in place, let’s start by just drawing one over here and I just went to Alt, 9 to do this, or actually you could even just use the mouse it doesn’t matter. Specialized Negotiations With One Party, it’s size 12 font so let’s just paste it in here and then let’s select the whole thing and press Esc, Alt, 7, 12 and so we have this in place.


And we are not going to worry about alignment or distribution yet. We just want to get the text laid out here. Highly Targeted Process, we can just copy and paste this. Or I can just type it in again as I did. And then Targeted Discussions and Broader Search, Broad M&A Process. So let’s just copy and paste these and then Targeted Discussions + Broader Search.

We clearly need to make some of these text boxes bigger, so let me do that right now. Alt, JD, size is 1.57 for the width and 0.71 for the height. Let’s change the font color as well, Alt, 2 and change it to black. And then Broad M&A Process, we can just copy this one over as well. Broad M&A Process.

We have a lot of the set up now.


Before I go in and distribute everything, let’s just make sure they’re all the same size. Alt, JD, 0.71 1.33. Then this one Alt, JD, 0.71 and 1.57. So let’s select everything here, Alt, JD and 0.71 and then 1.57. So all of these are the same size now. Let’s change the vertical alignment here Alt, 5 and then change it to middle. To get the distribution correct, we need to use ninja lines. The issue is that again, we have smaller shapes instead of bigger shapes. And in this case if we try to do this, let’s say we just select everything here and then we have these arrows and we say Alt, 1, H, it doesn’t really do what you want. So we can’t just align it to the arrow because the arrows span so much room. We need something that lets us align it to the very tip of the arrow where it starts right here.


And to do that we need our lines. So Alt, 08 and we will draw a line right there. Drag it over with Ctrl + Shift and dragging it. And then we’ll have this right here and then we’ll have that right there. So with these lines in place, now we can just select everything here and then Alt, 1, H and we have distributed this horizontally.

So this is looking good. And then the one last thing to do here is we also need to use ninja lines at the top to distribute all these text labels vertically within the arrow. The reason is that again the very top of this arrow is up here, but we want to align it to only this part down here, and then the part right below it here. Let’s just draw some new lines here. So Alt, 08 and then shift and drag to draw this to keep it straight.


Shift + Ctrl and drag it down. And so we have this.

Now here let’s group all these so we don’t get any weird behavior. We’ve grouped all those and then let’s select these lines. That didn’t quite work. So let’s try that again. Select these lines, Alt, 1, V and now we’ve distributed it vertically. Hardly makes a difference here, but at least we have it there and we know it’s correct. Let’s move these ninja lines up. I’m not going to actually get them into place. I’m just moving one up and one down because we’re going to need to use these at the end anyway.

So we have that now. Now the next thing here since we have arrow set up, we need to think about this part down here, the recommended part with the arrow box there and then the box right below it.


So for this part, I would probably start by inserting the rectangle shapes right here. Alt, 8 and then we can just draw, I’m actually not going to hold Shift when I do that. We can just draw a shape here and call it Recommended and then we can change this around. We’ll get the actual dimensions from the finished version right here, so we’re not going to worry about that for right now. It is size 12 font, so that’s good and then the other one right below we need to create another shape right there. So Alt, 8. And then again I’m not going to actually hold Shift when I draw this and we can draw this right down here. So we have all that.

I’m going to copy and paste the text over from here just to save some time here, and we can see that our shape is a little bit different from the one on this slide here. Let’s check the dimensions with Alt, JD, 2.68 and 3.46.


So 2.68 and 3.46 and so we have that.

And then for the “Recommended” part right here, the height is 0.3 and the width is 2.17. So 0.3 and then 2.17. So we have that.

Now for the style for both of these, they’re not really the same style, so we can’t really save time by copying and pasting that in. Let’s center align these with Alt, 1, C and let’s remove the borders Alt, 4 and then N for no outline. The first one we’re going to change the background color. So Alt, 3 and change it to the dark blue and then Alt, 2 to change it to the light white or the white font color, and then this one down here Alt, 3 and let’s change it to the lighter color right here.


If you go to Alt, 5 we do have a left margin, right margin, top margin, bottom margin. And if you go to Alt, 5 here in our reference, we have the same types of margins so that appears to be fine. And then to get these properly center aligned with the text right here, it’s trickier than it looks.

First off let’s ungroup everything with Ctrl + Shift + G and then to actually get this working, you could just try some manual tricks here. So just select everything Alt, 1, C. The problem is that if you do that the text here is going to keep moving around, which is what you don’t want to have happen. You want this to stay in place because we already distributed this. So once again, we can use ninja lines for this task. Let’s draw a line down here and make sure it’s bigger than everything on screen, Alt, 1, L, and then let’s drag another one over here. Alt, 1, R, and then let’s see if this works.


So we’ll select those lines, the recommended box, and the box down here, Alt, 1, H. And we actually have to do it shape by shape, Alt, 1, H, and then select the one at the bottom, Alt, 1, H and we have that. And now we can delete these lines. That is another way you can use ninja lines to do this.

And then the final task here is just to insert the small arrow at the top. So this one is actually pretty easy. Alt, 09 to draw a shape and let’s draw the arrow right here. Let’s just use the rotate tool to flip it around. And then drag it up here, Alt, 1, C, to center align it. And then we want it to be the same color, so Alt, 3 change it to the dark blue, and Alt, 4 and no outline and there we have it.

Ours is a little bit different from the reference, so I can move this down a little bit. But it’s pretty close and overall we think we’ve done a reasonable jobs of recreating what was on the reference slide right here.


So we have all that and then really the last thing here is to group everything on the page with Ctrl + G. Let’s go up and move our ninja lines into their right positions, so Ctrl and the arrow key to move this down, Ctrl and the arrow key to move this up. Alt, 1, V and so we have that. And then we can delete these lines. Ctrl + Shift + G and we have that.

So now we’re done. There’s not much else to do here. Really the main insight from this slide, if I had to sum it up, is that when you have a situation like this where you have multiple areas of text within a shape, usually you’re better off just creating the shape and then the text boxes within it separately because it’s hard to accomplish this using the built in text features for shapes and PowerPoint. So do it like this, make sure you measure up the shapes and make sure that they’re the right dimensions in advance. If you have some kind of weird alignment issue like this where you are trying to align the text to part of the shape, you’re going to have to use ninja lines most likely.


And then you also have to use it for something like we did here where we aligned these two bigger shapes in terms of width to the smaller shape once again by using ninja lines.

That’s it for this lesson. Coming up next in the next lesson in this module, we’re going to be looking at another slide, a more complex diagram in PowerPoint, and you’re going to get practice creating that one as well.

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