Before and after a presentation doesn’t have to be wasted time. You can add a single slide to preview or review your presentation. One way to do that is to splash representative graphics or pictures on a single slide, and doing so is easier than you might think.

Creating this effect has just a few steps:

  1. Gather the pictures or art you want to use; I recommend that you save them to the same folder with your presentation for easy access.
  2. Divide the slide into equal (or not) sections.
  3. Insert an AutoShape, most like a rectangle, into each section.
  4. Fill each AutoShape with a different graphic file or picture.
  5. Assign an entrance effect to each AutoShape using the After Previous Start setting so each picture is showcased individually.

Let’s work through a simple example with just two pictures, side by side (I got all the pictures from Microsoft’s Online Gallery). First, let’s insert a couple of AutoShapes:

  1. Insert a blank slide.
  2. Click the Insert tab and choose Rectangle from the Shapes dropdown in the Illustrations group.
  3. Insert it, consuming the left side of the slide.
  4. Copy the rectangle and position it to the right.

Now, you’re ready to fill the shapes with pictures, as follows:

  1. Right-click the rectangle you want PowerPoint to display first. In this case, that’s the AutoShape on the left.
  2. Choose Format Shape from the resulting context menu.
  3. Choose Fill in the left pane (if necessary).
  4. Click the Picture Or Texture Fill option.
  5. Click File.
  6. Locate and select the picture you want to display.
  7. Click Insert.
  8. Click Close.

Repeat the instructions above to fill the shape on the right. Then, you’re ready to apply an animation to each shape:

  1. Select the picture on the left (or the picture you want to appear first).
  2. Click the Animations tab.
  3. From the Animations dropdown in the Advanced Animation group, choose Wipe from the Entrance section.
  4. In the Animation task pane, find the selected rectangle and choose Start After Previous from the dropdown.
  5. From the same dropdown, choose Effect Options.
  6. From the Direction dropdown choose From Left.
  7. Click OK.

At this point, the slide will display the picture on the left immediately, using the left wipe effect. You can click Play in the task pane to preview it. Repeat the process with the picture on the right, but this time, choose From Right in step 6.

I’ve used just two pictures to keep the example simple. You can divide the slide into numerous pictures – the larger your viewing screen, the more pictures you can reasonably display on one slide. But that’s not the end of it; you can stack AutoShapes for a layered effect.

After creating the first layer, add a second layer by positioning more shapes right on top of the first set of pictures. The shapes that comprise the second layer don’t have to match the first. In fact,  a mismatch creates an interesting effect, where pictures in the first layer are partially obscured as the second layer exposes each picture, as shown below. The two squares on the bottom are actually the bottom halves of the two pictures in the first layer, which contains only two pictures. The two squares on top are the first two pictures in the second layer, which contains four pictures.

When adding a new layer, you can work on the same slide. However, you might find it easier to create each layer on a temporary slide. When the layer is complete, press [Ctrl]+A to select all the elements in the temporary slide and paste the selected elements to the permanent slide.

You can use this effect to display tons of pictures or graphics at the beginning of the end of your presentation. You can even use it in the middle of the presentation, if you do so for the right reasons – this type of slide could easily distract your audience. If you use this slide at the beginning or the ending of your presentation, make sure it repeats.