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Create a stunning photo slideshow
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Make a professional-looking video slideshow of all your photos and share them with friends and family

he days of pulling out an old projector to show off your latest holiday snaps in slideshow format are long gone, but if you're yearning for an exciting and interesting way of presenting your photos in a format that won't send everyone to sleep then we've got just the tool for you.
   Microsoft Photo Story 3 is a brilliant program designed for one thing, and one thing only: to create the best photo slideshow it possibly can. You can edit your photos to improve poorly framed or lit shots for example, add a variety of special effects to some or all of your photos, plus add titles, record your own narration (perfect if you're not going to be able to personally recount the stories behind the photos) and even add your own background music.
User-friendly interface
Photo Story 3 utilises a wizard-based interface to make things as simple as possible, and the guide below will guide you through each and every step of the process. We recommend making good use of the Save Project button - each time you click it you'll be prompted for a filename, so you can either overwrite your existing project or save it as a new one (a good idea if you're in an experimental mood and want something to fall back on if you don't like what you produce).

Step-by-step: A step-by-step guide to creating your first presentation

Sound advice
Photo Story 3's photo-editing tools are by necessity rather basic, although they should be perfect for most people's needs. If you need to perform more advanced photo manipulation, such as manually tweaking lighting levels, then load the problematic photo in question into your image-editing tool first to take advantage of its superior editing facilities. If you don't have such a tool, download Paint.NET for free from here  and use that.
   When it comes to putting your slideshow together, the smorgasbord of options may tempt you into trying everything under the sun - that's fine, but when it comes to finally putting your slideshow together try to tie everything together. Use the same font, size, style and colour for slideshow captions, for example, or limit yourself to one or two transitional effects. Also don't be tempted to record long passages of narration for each slide - instead, keep the comments short and snappy, so the slideshow moves along at a reasonable pace.
   One of Photo Story 3's great features is its ability to come up with original background music for your slideshow. If you don't have copyright-free music tracks to play in the background, you can create your own. Photo Story 3 boasts ten different music genres, with a handful of styles for each which can be further customised to suit your mood.
    You'll also find a Preview button handily placed on most screens - use this to test the effect or edit you're working on to get a good idea of how it will actually work in practice.

Quick-fire Q&As

Sharing your slideshow
When you reach the end of the wizard you'll be asked how you want to share your slideshow. The box below reveals how to convert it into a DVD that can be played back on ordinary DVD players and televisions, but Photo Story 3 itself supports a number of different formats: you can save it for playback on a computer, or optimise it to send via email or play on a number of portable devices, including Pocket PC handheld, Windows Mobile-powered Smartphone and portable video player.
   Once you've made your choice, Photo Story 3 will create the output file and then give the option of viewing your recently completed masterpiece or of starting another project. And given how easy it is to use, we suspect you won't wait very long before getting stuck in with your next magnus opus...

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Burn a video DVD

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