Creating PowerPoint presentations for hymns

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Using the church computer, screen projector, CD and DVD players

Creating and displaying videos

PowerPoint versus OpenOffice

The church computer uses the free software OpenOffice Impress for hymn display rather than Microsoft PowerPoint. Generally these two softwares are compatible, although sometimes there can be font differences that need to be adjusted for.

PowerPoint saves files as .ppt or .pptx by default, while OpenOffice saves as type .odp. or .otp (template files) OpenOffice will read most .ppt files but sometimes has trouble with correctly reading .pptx files. For basic most presentations, then, you can create the presentation in PowerPoint, save as a .ppt file, and the church’s software will read it correctly. In the “Save As” menu, this is listed as “PowerPoint 97-2003”.

The main exception is when you try to incorporate video into your presentation, which needs to be done inside OpenOffice only, or alternatively videos need to be displayed outside of the running presentation. Video instructions are in a separate page linked above.

You can download a fully-functional and free version of OpenOffice at this link.

Note: OpenOffice has a tendency to crash more often than PowerPoint, so it is good practice to save your work frequently.

The Easy Method

  1. The hymn lyrics from the CCS hymnal come in two forms: individual PowerPoint (.ppt) files ready for display, and “rich text” (.rtf) files consisting of just the lyrics and copyright information. Not all of the hymns have .ppt files, however. The simplest way to put a presentation of hymn lyrics together is to use the existing PowerPoint files. These are found on the church’s computer in the folder Windows (C:)–>CofC–>Songs and Hymns–>Hymns
    CCS hymns
  2. If you are creating the presentation at home, you can either just save the appropriate hymn PowerPoint files to a USB memory stick individually and copy them to the church computer desktop, or alternatively use PowerPoint to copy the slides from each hymn into one larger presentation. This makes for a cleaner transition from one hymn to the next, since you only have to open one file.
  3. All files for one service should be combined in a folder named with the date, for instance 12-08-19 service. Many old services are archived on the computer in the folder Windows (C:)–>CofC–>Past Service
  4. If you are making one large presentation of all hymns, bring up each individual hymn PowerPoint set in the software, and highlight each slide to be copied in the left-hand column by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking each slide. Then right-click with your mouse and select Copy. Next, toggle to your master slide set, click on the slide preceding the start point, right-click the mouse again and select Paste.
  5. Use a blank, black or dark-colored background slide between hymns. Add a small mark like an asterisk in one corner so the computer operator can tell that this slide is displayed. You can duplicate this slide as needed by right-clicking on it in the list of slides in left-hand frame. Select Copy and then click on the slide that you want it to follow. Right-click-Paste to insert the copy its new position in the list of slides. You can also drag slides in the left-hand column with your mouse to reposition them.
  6. If you are using PowerPoint, you should save your presentation as a .ppt file, and not the newer .pptx format (“PowerPoint 97-2003”).


Sometimes there are incompatibilities between PowerPoint and OpenOffice fonts, where an unexpected and unattractive font gets substituted. The church’s individual hymn PowerPoints mostly use the Optimum font, which is not included on the regular version of OpenOffice, but is on the church’s computer. Cambria Bold 36- or 40-point type is a common font that works well for most hymns, responsive readings, etc.

You can download a free version of the Optimum font, used on most of the church hymn PowerPoints, at this link. Download and uncompress the file. You can add the font versions (bold, italic, etc.) into all of your Windows applications by just double-clicking on the files.


You may also need to change the transition between slides, as the OpenOffice transitions are slower and less smooth than the equivalent PowerPoint transition. The Fade transition set at 0.50 seconds seems to work well in OpenOffice. Make sure you click on the option to apply changes to all slides.

Adding images to your presentation

  1. If you have the time and inclination, you can add images to an opening slide with the service theme, and to other slides where appropriate, for instance to accompany the introductory hymn slide containing author, composer and publisher information. You can find many images on the Internet at Just search for words from the theme or hymn, or “Jesus” or “Community of Christ.”
  2. Click on the image to go to the site where the photo is, and then right click on it, select “Copy Image”. Note that this does not work on some images.  Some images also have copyright restrictions or “watermarks,” however, and the church has been discouraging their use.
  3. Next go to your presentation slide and Right-click-Paste. You will likely need to adjust the image size to fit the screen display by grabbing the corners with your mouse.
  4. If you can’t save a particular image using this method, it may be possible to capture and save a screenshot of the image. If you are using Windows 10, you can “snip” any portion of the screen. Press “Windows-key + Shift + S”. Your screen will appear grayed out and your mouse cursor will change. Click and drag the corners on your screen to select the part of your screen you want to capture. The image will then be placed on your clipboard, and it can be copied onto a slide with the Ctrl-V command.

Using an Existing Presentation

  1. You may find it easier to use an existing presentation for a similar service to create a new service presentation. First make a copy of the file and rename it to the new date or theme name.
  2. You can then re-use, re-sequence or alter slides to meet your needs. You can read the “.rtf” hymn text files with any word processor and then copy and paste the lyrics into the hymn slides from a prior service with its corrected fonts and transitions. You should use the Edit–>Paste Special–>Unformatted Text command in PowerPoint and OpenOffice in order to preserve the existing format of the hymn slides.

Here is a basic presentation in PowerPoint .ppt format adapted from the church hymn files that you can use as a template. Right-click on this link and save it to your local disk or USB memory stick (“Save link as…” or “Save target as…”).

Here is the same presentation as an OpenOffice .otp template file. Right-click on this link and save it to your local disk or USB memory stick (“Save link as…” or “Save target as…”).