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How to Make a Personalized E-card Using Powerpoint

Updated on December 03, 2016
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I am a high school English teacher who is passionate about writing, theater, directing and enjoying a positive life with family and friends.

When the holidays approach, I always seem to procrastinate when it comes to buying and sending traditional greeting cards. If I do make it to the store, I spend far too much time sorting through the card section, because I can never find exactly the card I want. More often, I find myself browsing for e-cards, because I have left the card buying until too late for the postal service to transport it on time. Again, I often will find great e-cards, but they are never exactly right, or I have to pay for them. I just can’t see paying good money for an electronic greeting card.

Several years ago, I decided to try to create my own e-card when I wanted to send one to my husband who was out of the country for the holidays. I played with the Movie Maker program and had a lot of success. Recently, I discovered that PowerPoint is also a fabulous program to use for making e-cards. In fact, with the animation functions, it might even be better than Movie Maker.

Getting Started

An e-card is essentially a mini-movie.It is a series of images, still or animated, with music and text to relay your message.Did you know that you can make a movie out of your PowerPoint presentation?To make your own, personalized e-card, follow the steps below.Experiment, play and have fun! (Please note that I used Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 to create the videos in this article.)

1. Make a Plan

  • Decide which image or images you want to use in your card.Do you want to have moving objects or just still photos? Do you want one picture in the background or several images throughout.I have used our wedding photos to make anniversary e-cards. When I make a card for Valentine’s Day, or any holiday, I choose my favorite photos of my husband and I to form the backgrounds.Knowing that these e-cards are between him and I, that works for us. I wouldn’t broadcast those on Hubpages or YouTube though, so here the examples are generic. Generic images are fun too!

  • Decide on the text of the card. For Valentine’s Day, your favorite love poem, song lyrics or wedding vows might make great text for the card. Or you can keep it simple and to the point, like I have in the examples displayed here.

  • Decide on the music. Choose your favorite love song for Valentine’s Day. Create a voice over or sing “Happy Birthday” for a birthday card. The possibilities are endless.

Remember to consider where you plan to send and post your card when you are choosing images and music. If you are creating a card to email to the one you love, the sky is the limit. If you plan to post it online, be sure to give credit where credit is due to photographers and musicians.

2. Create Images

  • If you don’t wish to use stock photos, personal photos or clipart, you can use online applications to create unique images.

3. Begin Creating the PowerPoint

To begin the e-card making process, start by making a PowerPoint presentation.

Create a background:

  • There are several pre-set backgrounds in PowerPoint. These can be found by clicking on the “design” tab. Simply click on the design you like and it will appear on the slide. (See example #3)
  • To create a color background, right click on the slide and select “format background.” That will give you a menu to choose solid or gradient colors. (Example #1 uses a solid black background, while example #2 uses a gradient color selection.)
  • While in that format menu, you can also upload a photo to use as your background. However, I often find it easier to insert the photo using the insert tab. Then, you can size the photo to your liking. You can make the photo the background by clicking “send back” on the right click menu. This will place the photo behind other objects on the page.

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4. Insert Text, Shapes, and Images

  • Begin laying out where you want to place the text by inserting text via textboxes. There are a variety of font and color options, so you can customize the text. Don’t be afraid to break it up into more than one text box on the page in order to get the words placed exactly where you want them.
  • Insert shapes. The hearts in example #2 are taken from the “shapes” options under the insert tab. Once you choose and insert a shape, you can customize it. To customize a shape, either right click and choose “format shape,” or click on “format” on the top of the screen. You can change the color and angle of the shape. You can add a shadow, bevel, glow, or make it 3-D. The options are vast. Once you have the shape created, you can copy and paste it in order to duplicate it, as I have done in example #2.
  • Insert images. For example #1, I created images using a web app. After saving these images, I was able to insert them by using the “insert pictures” option under the “insert” tab. Originally, these images had a white background. However, I wanted only the image to show and not the large, boxy, white background. In order to get rid of the background, I simply made the white color “transparent.” This is easy to do. Once you insert the picture, click on it to highlight it, and you should have a “format picture tools” menu on the top of the screen. Under “color” there should be a “set transparent color” option. Click on the option, then click on the background of the inserted photo. The white background will disappear, leaving only the image.
  • Create multiple slides or only one. For example #1, I created four different slides. For example #2, I used only one slide. In the end, you can make a seamless mini-movie using both approaches, so experiment and have fun.


Example #2 (created by Donna Hilbrandt)

5. Make It Move!

Certainly, you can create a static image, which will look like an e-postcard. If that is your goal, all you have to do is finalize the layout and save the slide as a photo. To do that, click “save as” and change “PowerPoint presentation” to a jpg using the drop down menu. It will save as a photo, and you can email it.

One of the beauties of e-cards, however, is that they move and sing. To create movement in the card, you need to set animation features.

  • Click on the animation tab on the menu across the top of the screen. Then, click on “animation pane.” This will pull up a pane on the side, which will list the animation features you create.
  • Choose an object to animate by clicking on the image, shape, or text box.
  • There are entrance, movement, and exit features. Mouse over them, and your highlighted shape will move. Once you find the one you like, click it and it will appear in the animation pane on the right. You can change the effects and timing by using the drop down menu for each individual animation in the animation pane. This is the area of creating your e-card where you should have fun and experiment!

Example #3 (created by Donna Hilbrandt)

6. Add Music

To add music to your e-card, insert audio. This feature can be found under the insert tab. You can choose a song from your files, just like you would insert a picture. Once you insert the song, the audio icon will show up in the middle of you slide. On the menu at the top of your screen, there is an “audio tools playback” tab. Under that tab, you can click the box to “hide during show.” That will make the icon disappear. Also under that tab, you can set the volume and start time. The music will show up in the animation pane. It can be moved around. I suggest that you move it to the top of the order.

For example #1, I tried to “trim” the audio using the feature in the “audio tools playback” menu. It didn’t work for me. I also was stumped about how to get the audio to play across the whole slide show. This is how I solved the problem for example #1.

  • First, when I made the audio the first animation, nothing else was working.
  • Under the “audio tools playback” tab, I clicked on “play across slides” which was under the “start” drop down menu. That worked, but I had trimmed the audio and thought it would repeat in a loop. That didn’t happen.
  • To solve that problem, I inserted the same audio a second time in the third slide. That fit the timing of the clip I wanted.

It might take a bit of experimentation to get it right, but these steps should get you started.


7. Finalize Your E-Card

Before saving your e-card, you will need to do one last step. Click on the “slide show” tab in the top menu. Then, click on “rehearse timings.” This will pull up a slide show on your screen with a timer in the top left corner. If you have multiple slides, this step is super important. Click to the next slide when you want the transition to occur. When you get to the end, a message will pop up telling you how long the slide show is, and it will ask you if you want to save the timing. For me, this step was crucial. I wanted the music clip to be exact, so I played with the timing several times in order to time the movement to the music.

When you are happy with the timing and flow of the presentation, which you can check by playing the show back (F5), you are ready to save. Go to “file” and “save and send.” There, you will see a “create a video” option. Click it on the menu, then choose “create a video” on the screen of directions. Choosing this feature will create a “windows media video” or wmv. This will save separate from the actual working PowerPoint presentation.

Final Thoughts

After you have completed all of these steps, your personalized e-card is done! The first time you create an e-card, it will take time, patience and experimentation with the features. However, once you figure it out, it is easy, fun, and fast to make additional e-cards. Have fun and good luck!

© 2013 Donna Hilbrandt

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Donnah, I shudder when I see the word powerpoint. So many have tried to teach me the use of that technology. It seems to be beyond my capabilities. Thank you for an excellent explanation.

    • donnah75 profile image
      Author

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks, Bill. After learning how to use the technology installed in my classroom, PowerPoint is a breeze! This was a fun hub to create. :)

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Excellent work, Donna! One of these days, I will get over my high tech intimidation syndrome and start dabbling into some of these nifty programs. Thanks for sharing!

    • donnah75 profile image
      Author

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      hawaiianodysseus: It really is quite easy and fun. I tend to learn these things through trial and error and just playing around. I wish I had known that you can convert the presentation to a video a couple years ago when I was making a background presentation for a play I was directing. That would have made life easier. Now I will know for next time. Thanks so much for your support!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very informative hub. I learn much from you. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!

      Prasetio

    • donnah75 profile image
      Author

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you, prasetio30. I hope you give it a try.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 4 years ago from Thailand

      What a great idea. I have used the online ecards before, but never though of this.

      Pinned, shared, tweeted, up and useful.

    • donnah75 profile image
      Author

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Wow, thanks Brett! It is fun and adds a personal touch. Thanks for reading and sharing.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I love this idea, Donnah. I do know how to use powerpoint, but not able to dedicate time to doing this beautiful idea at the moment. Will certainly keep this in mind for future e-cards. Well done!

    • donnah75 profile image
      Author

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks, teaches! After you create one, it becomes quite fast and easy to create more. Good luck!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Donna,

      What fun it would be to create unique E-cards such as the ones you showed in this hub. Will have to take the time to learn how to do this at some future date. I just created my very first YouTube video using some of the photos in my hub about the Grand Canyon National Park. It is the last video of the Grand Canyon seen in January. I learned by trial and error as you did in creating this E-card. Voted up, useful, interesting and will share with my followers. Great job!

    • donnah75 profile image
      Author

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the read Peggy W. I too just figured out YouTube, as I couldn't house all the videos in this hub in Hubpages. It was easier than I anticipated. Good luck with your video creations :)

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      Great explanation of how to create an e-card. Thanks!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Loved your ideas.:)

    • anuramkumar profile image

      anuramkumar 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      Wow...just loved it. I'm surely going to try this. Voted up.

    • donnah75 profile image
      Author

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Deborah-Diane, Ruchira, and anuramkumar: Thank you, ladies! I hope you try it out and have success.

    • holmesjenn profile image

      holmesjenn 4 years ago from Colorado

      Great detail and step by step. I made my first valentine photo cards with photoshop this year. It was easier then I thought it would and fun!

    • divacratus profile image

      Kalpana Iyer 4 years ago from India

      Really useful! Thank you. I am a big fan of creating things myself for my partner. It gives that special touch and the words mean so much more and are more personal compared to the ready-made ones available online.

    • donnah75 profile image
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      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      holmesjenn: It is fun and a great creative outlet. Thanks for reading.

    • donnah75 profile image
      Author

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      divacratus: I agree. Putting the personal touch into something you create yourself means more than spending a few bucks on an out of the box card. Thanks for reading.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      i always love personalized ecard... and powerpoint is one best tool for this!

    • donnah75 profile image
      Author

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks, unknown spy! I appreciate the support.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Like you, I can never quite find the perfect Ecard. I didn't even know making my own Ecard was possible! I'd like to give it a try and I suppose after I've made one, the rest will be easier to create. Very useful! Voted up and shared.

    • donnah75 profile image
      Author

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      vespawoolf: I hope you try it! It is a fun, creative outlet. Thanks for reading and sharing. :)

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