Friday, March 12, 2021

Selling on TPT 101: Product Creation - Tips and Tricks for Making Resources


Selling on TPT 101: Product Creation | Apples to Applique

Hello, and welcome to TPT 101, Part 4! (Click on these links to find Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3).

Let's talk about the most fun part of selling on Teachers Pay Teachers: Product creation!

Creating products at first can seem overwhelming. I promise it gets easier as you go along, and today I want to share with you some tricks I've learned that have made creation faster and easier, as well as more professional.

Personally, I love PowerPoint for creating products, so most of these tips will be specific to PowerPoint, but many can also be used for your program of choice.

First, if you are making printables, set your slide size to 8.5" x 11" (or A4 if you are not in the United States). This will ensure smooth printing for your buyers. I also, personally, like to start with a blank background rather than one of the PowerPoint templates.

Next, just start putting in your text and graphics! Play around with inserting images and text; PowerPoint makes it very easy to resize and rearrange items. It takes time to improve your skills in design, so just take some time to play around with different fonts, color palettes, layouts, etc. Do keep in mind, though, that for printable products, it is best to offer them in black and white, when possible. Many teachers do not have access to colored printers, or that access is limited. Many sellers choose to put both a colored and a black-and-white version in the file so teachers can choose what meets their needs.

Here are some of my favorite PowerPoint shortcuts that make the creation process easier:

To move an image/ text in front of or behind another object, right-click on it and select "send forward" or "send backward".

You can select an object and have it align exactly with the edge of your page or of another object by using the align tool. If only one item is selected, it will align with the page edge. If two or more items are selected, it will move one to match the location of the other. For example, if you click "align top", it will automatically move the lowest object to be in line with the top object.

You can select multiple items at a time using the control key (PC) or the command key (Mac) and selecting them. When they are all selected, you can click on the shape or picture format option at the top to do some handy things. You can group them together so they move as one object. You can resize them together so the proportion remains the same. You can use the align tool to line them all up together or space them out evenly.

Another great trick for lining up text or images is by using tables. You can insert tables with whatever number of cells, rows, or columns you wish. When you click "insert table", you select the number of rows and columns. I believe it caps out in the creation pane at 10 by 8, but after you insert the table, if you need more, you can simply right-click on a cell and choose to add another row or column. Using a table is a fast and easy way to put cutting borders on flash cards, or to ensure text is spaced exactly right. You can leave the borders black or make them invisible, depending on whether or not you want them to show in the final product.

You can easily save slides or pages as an image to be used on covers or thumbnails, or for marketing purposes. Simply click "save as" and then select "jpg" from the drop-down menu under the file type.

Sometimes, you might want to save a picture of a group of images or an element on your page, but not the entire page, for many different reasons, really. Perhaps to use it on a thumbnail or because you need to crop the picture but had it placed at an angle on the page, or for any other number of reasons. To do this, click on any images/text boxes, etc. that are part of what you want to save, right-click, and select "save as picture". It will export just those pieces to a png file which can then be used as needed.

Copy and paste is your friend. You can duplicate entire slides or just parts of them and then change them as needed. This is super helpful when you want to keep the same background, headings, and borders on multiple pages but change some of the other elements. You can copy and paste images to make them all a uniform size. One of my favorite features about copying and pasting in PowerPoint is that if you copy an element on one page--say, for example, you decided to add a header after you've already made several pages--when you paste the element on a different page, it aligns it in the same place. This is a huge time saver for things like going back and adding a copyright to each page.

To easily offer a color and black-and-white version of your product, use the copy and paste tools. Create one version of your page (I like to start with the colored version) and then duplicate the page. Right-click on the clip art and select "change picture". Then you can easily switch out the colored clip art for the black-and-white version of the clip art and it will be the correct size and in the right place.

Whew, that was a lot of information thrown at you all at once! Experience is the best teacher, so open up PowerPoint (or your preferred program) and play around with it. You'll be amazed at the things you can do quickly and easily once you start using all of the tricks available to you.

Until next time, keep teaching (and creating) with heart and passion!


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