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Home > Books > Microsoft Office for the Older and Wiser > Making an advent calendar

How to make an advent calendar on your computer using PowerPoint in Microsoft Office (2010 and 2007)

Book cover: Microsoft Office for the older and wiser

By Sean McManus

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Did you know you can use PowerPoint to make an advent calendar on your computer? If you don't have time to make your own, you can even use the free template built in to PowerPoint to count down to Christmas on your computer.

The PowerPoint advent calendar shows a house with numbered doors. When you click a door, it fades away to reveal the picture underneath. The advent calendar has been made by Microsoft and includes some great cartoon graphics, but you can easily customise it with photos of your family, artworks you've created on the computer or your own choice of clip art.

Many people have PowerPoint on their computer as part of their Microsoft Office suite, but they mostly ignore it because it's typically used for delivering presentations. My book Microsoft Office for the Older and Wiser shows you how to create a photo album using PowerPoint, and provides detailed guidance on how to use the PowerPoint interface. This short article will talk you through making an advent calendar.

You will need:

How to make an advent calendar in PowerPoint

  1. Start PowerPoint and then click the File tab (in Office 2010) or the round Office button (in Office 2007). They're both in the top left of the screen. If you don't know which version of Office you have, by the way, if you have a round button in the top left, it's Office 2007. If you have an orange File tab, it's Office 2010.
  2. Click New. You'll see a selection of available templates and themes.
  3. Find the search box. In Office 2010, it's about a third of the way down the screen and it says 'Search for templates' in it. In Office 2007, it's at the top of the window and says 'Search Microsoft Office for a template' in it.
  4. Type 'advent' into the search box and press the return or enter key.
  5. PowerPoint then checks the internet for the advent calendar template, so you'll need to have an internet connection.
  6. When you're shown the advent calendar template, click the Download button. It's on the right, underneath the picture of the advent calendar.
  7. Save the new presentation on your computer. Click the File tab (in Office 2010) or the round Office button (in Office 2007) and then click Save. Give your advent calendar a filename and save it somewhere you can find it again.

Playing your advent calendar slide show

  1. Try it out! You can test drive the advent calendar by starting the slide show. Click the Slide Show tab and then click From Beginning, on the left in the ribbon at the top of the screen. There's also a tiny button at the bottom of the screen you can use (indicated on screenshot).
  2. Your advent calendar will fill the screen, and you can click the doors to open them. When you've finished, press the Escape key on your keyboard to go back to editing the advent calendar.

Customising the images in your computer advent calendar

Annotated screenshot of PowerPoint editing advent calendar

  1. You can use the advent calendar as-is, of course. But it's more fun to customise it. First, make sure you're not watching the slide show and you're in the editing mode (it should look like the screenshot). To change the background picture of a house, right-click on the background and then click Format Background. Click Fill on the left in the window and then click the File button and you can choose a photo or other picture from your computer. Click the Close button when you've chosen your background.
  2. You can also change the pictures behind the doors. In fact, there's a photo of two strangers behind door 9 (perhaps the people who made the template?) so I recommend you change that one at least. First, click the Home tab in the top left and then click Select in the ribbon at the top of the screen (indicated on the screenshot) and then click Selection Pane. A new panel will open on the right.
  3. In this new panel, scroll down to find the codes that start with 'reveal', such as 'reveal_5' and 'reveal_18'. Click one of these and it will highlight that picture behind that door number on the advent calendar.
  4. You can then right-click that image on the calendar (try right-clicking the bobbles on its corner if the image is almost blocked by the door) and choose Format Picture. In the same way that you changed the background to the calendar as a whole, click Fill on the left of the window and then click File to load a new picture into that window.
  5. Customise the other doors and you're ready. You can test your advent calendar at any time by playing the slide show (see above). You can click the doors in any order, so you don't have to click numbers 1 to 8 to test number 9.

I hope you enjoyed that project and that it helps you to celebrate Christmas!

Find out more about Microsoft Office

My book Microsoft Office for the Older and Wiser is out now. Through a series of projects, it shows you how to make the most of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. You'll learn how to design letters, posters and newsletters; how to work out your holiday budgets and manage your address book with Excel; how to create a photo album with PowerPoint; and how to keep a recipe book using OneNote. There's a bonus chapter showing you how you can use email to keep in touch with friends, too. Find out more about Microsoft Office for the Older and Wiser.