Based on feedback I've received at hundreds of presentations, the most important single piece of visual thinking advice I can give is this: if you want to draw on-screen, just open PowerPoint.
Yes, the best drawing program on the planet is already on your computer -- and it's not even from Apple. :-) It's the built-in "PRESENTATION MODE" drawing application in PowerPoint (aka PPT).
The drawing is smooth, touch-sensitive (for those of you on a tablet PC) and intuitive to use. Here's how to access this wonder:
- Open your PPT document.
- Go to presentation mode.
- You will see 4 faint icons in the lower left corner (if you can't see them, open up a blank white page in PPT; sometimes colored backgrounds make the icons difficult to see.)
- Still in presentation mode, mouse over the PEN; a set of options will pop up (see attached)
- From there, select pen type, color, etc.
- Draw directly on your slide.
- When you exit presentation mode, PPT will ask if you want to "keep notations" If yes, your drawings will become embedded 'vector' objects in your original PPT; if no, you'll go back to your original.*
* For Office 2003 and earlier, you'll need to right-click on your presentation and choose "pointer options".
I use this lovely little application 100% of the time when I am presenting. It works for large audiences (you draw on screen while connected to a projector) and small audiences (people can see you work right on-screen). I even use this as my standard drawing tool when creating new illustrations while on the plane or anyplace where I don't have access to a scanner. It even works for live drawing during webinars online.
Although I use a tablet PC, the drawing application works exactly the same with a regular mouse and screen.
Funniest thing of all, I was giving a "back of the napkin" presentation to 100 people last week at Microsoft up in Redmond. It was a great session and at the end someone asked me what application I was using to do the live sketching on-screen. When I showed them it was plain-old out-of-the-box PPT, the crowd went wild! I've never had so many cheers.
Made my day. And theirs.