By Guest Blogger Paul Allen Clifford

In sports, you'll often hear the commentators say, "They've gone back to the fundamentals." Believe it or not, that's good advice for church tech, too. Some things are so familiar that you do them without thinking and so when it comes to those things, there are ways you can do them better.

So, let's look at how you can use ProPresenter better by embracing some things you might have known you could do, but forgot.

1. Set up songs so you can use arrangements.

That means dividing the text into verses and choruses. Sure, it seems like extra work now, but if you do it, the next time your worship leader says, "let's just do verse one, the chorus, and repeat verse one and then the chorus twice," it will be easy to do without last minute jumping around.

2. Use reflow editor. 

ProPresenter's reflow editor lets you quickly take a block of text and format it into verses and choruses easily. Pro tip: use option-return (alt-enter in Windows) to move text from one slide to the next. Just click where you want the next slide to begin and then option-return and you'll have the text on the next slide. No copying and pasting needed.

3. If possible, talk your pastor out of using PowerPoint. 

I know that's what he (or she) is used to, but it's very old school (and don't get me started about clip art and animations). In practice, using PowerPoint itself becomes an invitation to text-heavy slides with numerous levels of bulleted lists. Use ProPresenter or even just a text editor instead. If you get a text file, you can import it in just a second and then apply the template you want. Easy breezy.

4. Don't put it off. 

As soon as you can, make the presentation for the following week. If others are slow to give you information, put in what you can. It's better to cut out some stuff than have to put it all in last-minute.

5. Use keyboard shortcuts. 

I'm gonna continue to harp on this one, not only because I make a keyboard skin to help with it (preorder the wired one here and the original one here), but because it really is true. The mouse and even touch screen are a lot slower than the keyboard. I even timed it out and making the same presentation, for me, was 50% faster using the keyboard.

One thing I forgot to mention is that the best way to speed up your prep is to really know the software. There are plenty of tutorials out there on everything mentioned above (I know because I did a good chunk of them) and there are also in-person trainings and online courses as well.  So, take advantage of the "coaching" that's available and reap the benefits on the weekend for the investments you make during the week.

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