How-to

SOFTWARE

f1-open-blankcreate-shape-100360099-orig_500.jpg

Add sizzle to your PowerPoint presentation with shapes and special effects

Unless you're presenting a cure for insomnia, you want your PowerPoint slides to engage your audience without distracting them from the presenter (you). Too much text invites people to read rather than listen--if they don't just tune out completely.

SERVICES

How to use iTunes Pass to reload iTunes credit for you or a friend

This week, Apple rolled out its new iTunes Pass service for storing any iTunes or App Store credit you may accrue through gift cards and e-cards. Say "Begone!" to plastic iTunes gift cards; after you enable iTunes Pass, you can go directly to an iTunes Store and have one of Apple's Specialists load some money directly into your account. Here's an overview of how to set up iTunes Pass on your own iPhone, as well as how to give your friends and family the power to give you some sweet sweet iTunes capital.

HARDWARE SYSTEMS

Brush up on your tech acronyms

H. Basco asked for "a list of all the abbreviations that computer-savvy geniuses use, thinking we all KNOW what they mean!"

SOFTWARE

roadtrip-mixtape-1-100354617-orig_500.png

Create your ultimate summer playlist with Roadtrip Mixtape

For me, summer isn't complete without a road trip--even if it's just over a long weekend. There's something iconic about hitting the open road, just you, a car, and maybe a friend or two. Just ask Jack Kerouac. (Or Britney Spears. But let's forget I just said that and move on.)

SOFTWARE

31.06-office-presentations-master-control-100355803-orig_500.png

Nine things everyone should know how to do with a presentation app

Whether you're a student preparing a class assignment or a rising executive trying to impress your CEO, you'll have to go beyond the basics if you want your computer-based slideshows to stand out. While teaching people how to use presentation software over the years, I've identified nine techniques that I think everyone should have in their arsenal--but which even some experienced presenters often seem to miss. Here's how those techniques work in Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac 2011, Apple's Keynote 6.2, and Google Docs.

SECURITY

How to create an anonymous email account

A reader recently asked me how they could use aliases in Outlook.com to create an anonymous email account. My answer was simple: you really can't.

SOFTWARE

Make your PowerPoint presentations pop with charts, graphics, and images

You can buck the stereotype of PowerPoint presentations as bullet-pointed snoozefest. PowerPoint has a wealth of new graphics, layout, and animation features to liven up your deck. We'll focus on how to add tables, charts, graphics, and images to your slides, but that's just a sample--delve deeper into the menus and you'll find a wealth of additional options.

HARDWARE SYSTEMS | STORAGE

step1_1_500.jpg

Why can't I access my NAS device from my Windows 8.1 computer?

A lot of us have network attached storage (NAS) devices on which we store all our music, videos, photos, and other personal files. It's a central storage location that's accessible to all computers and compatible media streamers on a network if it's set up correctly, and the theory is that you should be able to see your files without any problems from all of your computers.

SOFTWARE

f1-excelhomemenu-blank-workbook-100354763-orig_500.jpg

From data to doughnuts: How to create great charts and graphics in Excel

So, you need some eye-popping visuals to show off your top sales numbers for that meeting in 40 minutes but data, not design, is your forte. No problem. With Excel 2013--even if you've never used it--you can pump out a sophisticated, professional chart as fast as you can type. Or, if you can copy and paste the data from another source, you can produce a chart or graph in about 10 minutes (or less). Here's how you do it.

SOFTWARE

How to use print-on-demand book services

When I was a young man, the only sensible option when producing a book was to turn to offset printing. Even in the late 1980s, the first glimmerings of print-on-demand (POD) publishing were already shaking up what it meant to print a book; in 2014, the on-demand options are rather glorious.

Expert Opinion

staff-picks-instaweather-100355967-orig_500.png

Our favorite iOS Apps, July edition

As we do every month, Macworld staffers got together to chat about the best apps they've been using recently. Here are some that have recently captured our imaginations (and perhaps a spot on our homescreens), whether they're tiny apps from budding developers or the top-grossing apps that everyone is using. Our hope is that, while you might recognize some of these apps, others you might never have encountered. All of them, we think, are worth a look.

nadella_3_build_2014-100259277-orig_500.jpg

Microsoft's productivity drive could kill software as we know it

On Thursday, Satya Nadella charted a new course for Microsoft, focused on interconnectivity and productivity--one where, conceivably, the company's standard-setting Office applications and other products and services could slowly blur into different modes of working with the same data.

ddr4_corsair2-100313933-orig_500.png

All about DDR4, the next-gen memory coming soon for PCs and mobile devices

New CPU and GPU architectures roil the market pretty much every year--sometimes more than once a year. Yet in spite of the impact that system memory can have on a PC's performance, the industry has relied on the same basic memory architecture for what seems like an eternity--in tech time, at least.

wwdc14_homekit_honeywell-100308020-orig_500.png

Apple's HomeKit hub may already be in your house

At Apple's recent Worldwide Developers Conference, the company announced--among a great many other things--HomeKit, a suite of tools for controlling such devices in your home as thermostats, furnaces and air conditioners, smart appliances, lights, cameras, garage-door openers, and security systems. Apple will provide a platform that these devices will be asked to conform to. Do so, and you can control them all from your iOS device.

Editors Pick

fadell-nest-100254262-orig_500.jpg

Apple doesn't need its own gadgets to dominate the smart home

If you believe the weekend rumors, Apple will announce a connected-home platform next week at WWDC. But before you get too excited about an iThermostat and an iFridge and an iCamera watching you sleep, consider this: If Apple does get into the home-automation market, that doesn't necessarily mean it'll make smart-home gadgets of its own.

surface2_8-100066518-orig_500.jpg

10 things we want to see in Microsoft's Surface Mini

If Microsoft indeed intends to release a shrunk-down Surface Mini this month, as an invite for a "small" Surface event suggests, merely downsizing the tablet's design to fit an 8-inch frame ain't going to cut it. Sure, the Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 are beautiful pieces of kit, but they're made for big-screen productivity--the Surface Pro is essentially an Ultrabook without a keyboard. That experience won't translate well to a smaller form factor, better suited for content consumption than content creation.

new-lumia_8-100048944-orig_500.jpg

With this phone, I thee wed: How the Nokia-Microsoft union changes everything

There's no getting cold feet now. On Friday, Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's device business will be official, after months of delays and regulatory hurdles. The remnants of Nokia will get a whopping $7.2 billion. In return, Microsoft will get 32,000 new employees, a legion of Lumias, and oh yeah, those funky Android-based Nokia X phones.

Latest Product Reviews

mediabeam-opener-100356471-orig_500.jpg

MediaBeam: This ultra-cheap streaming stick isn't worth the money

Just what the world needs: another HDMI dongle to compete with Google's Chromecast and Roku's Streaming Stick. Like those popular devices, Ematic's MediaBeam plugs directly into one of your HDTV's HDMI ports in order to stream content.

gearliverainbow-100356115-orig_500.jpg

Samsung Gear Live: It's the world's best smartwatch, but probably not for long

The Gear Live is the best smartwatch I've ever used--but that's not a remarkable achievement considering all the crappy-to-middling efforts we've seen from Samsung, Sony and Qualcomm. If I were being generous, I'd say Samsung finally landed on a simple, wrist-friendly interface that does away with messy nested menus and convoluted features like voice calling.

oneplusone_9211-100356012-orig_500.jpg

OnePlus One: You're in control with this ultra-affordable phone

There's a utopian idea behind the OnePlus One: Offer a phone powered by the latest hardware and featuring a wealth of carrier options without any carrier restrictions. If that doesn't grab you, the price tag might--it's $300 for an off-contract 16GB model, about half of what you'd pay for phones boasting similar specs. But does the phone deliver a premium experience?

app-factoryscreensnapz001-100355394-orig_500.png

App Factory 1.2: Turn your script into a stand-alone app

Editor's note: The following review is part of Macworld's GemFest 2014. Every day (except weekends) from July until September, the Macworld staff will use the Mac Gems blog to briefly cover a standout free, low-cost, or great-value program. You can view a list of this year's apps, updated daily, on our handy GemFest chart, and you can visit the Mac Gems homepage for past Mac Gems reviews.