Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More Tips for Speakers

Rick's tips for speakers has an excellent list of things all speakers should do before presenting a session. It prompted me to post one of my own: controlling your fonts.

One thing that's always distracting to attendees is when a speaker has to constantly increase the font size of every window they open. This is really unnecessary because it's very easy to do it in advance. Obviously, for sample forms you create, you should use a large font, such as Arial 14 or 16 bold, but what about Windows dialogs and VFP windows?

You can easily control Windows dialogs with a special theme you set up in advance. I have one I call "Demo" because that's what it's for. To create such a theme, right-click on the Windows desktop and choose Properties. Select the Appearance page and click Advanced. Change Size to 29 and Font Size to 14 for the following elements: Active Title Bar, Caption Buttons, Inactive Title Bar, Message Box, Change Size to 21 and Font Size to 12 for Menu, Selected Items, and Tooltip. Choose OK, then select the Theme page, click Save As, and save the new theme in the default folder (My Documents). You can then switch back to your normal theme. Before you start a presentation, switch to your saved presentation theme and all Windows dialogs will be readable to everyone in the room. After the presentation, switch back to your normal theme.

The settings for VFP windows are stored in the Registry, so before you begin changing things, save the current settings by running RegEdit, navigating to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualFoxPro\9.0, and choosing Export from the File menu to save to a file such as VFP9Normal.REG. Launch VFP, choose Options from the Tools menu, and select the IDE page. For each of the window types (including Program Files, Memo Fields, and Browse), change the font size to 16 bold and be sure to turn on Override Individual Settings so all windows will use the desired font size. Close the Options dialog and exit VFP. Run RegEdit again, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualFoxPro\9.0, and choose Export from the File menu, saving the settings to a file such as VFP9Demo.REG. You can then restore your normal settings by double-clicking VFP9Normal.REG. Before you start a presentation, double-click VFP9Demo.REG and all code, BROWSE, and Memo windows will be readable to everyone in the room. After the presentation, double-click VFP9Normal.REG.

With these two simple changes, you can completely eliminate the need to apologize and change the font size for every window in your presentation (or worse, make your attendees shout out "Bump up the font!").


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the terrific tip Doug!

As a first time speaker for the upcoming FoxForward event, I'm thrilled to have this kind of information from someone like yourself who's done this kind of thing a million times.

I really like that you spelled out very specifically all the options to set, and more importantly how to easily switch between demo settings and back.. Top Notch!

Thanks again!
-Steve Ellenoff

foo said...

Excellent tips, Doug! I'll definately include these practices as I prepare for FoxForward.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Doug!

As always, awesome information!

I'm practicing my FoxForward presentation for the last time, and using the settings you provided.

Thanks again,
Kevin Ragsdale

Anonymous said...

Rather than changing my theme, I use a tip I got from Della a few years ago. I have a separate user called Presentation set up on my notebook. It's set to a large theme and the VFP icon on the desktop points to a FoxUser file that's already set to larger fonts.

There are a couple of advantages of this approach. First, I don't show all the attendees everything on my desktop. Since I may have client work or private material there, it's nice having a desktop that's solely for presentations. Second, when I connect to a project that decides to change my display resolution, it's not my working desktop that gets all messed up.