What is a Digital Menu Board?

Digital menu boards are menus displayed on computer monitors or TV screens. These are commonly used in coffee shops and restaurants. They include pictures and prices of menu items.  It is easy to update and can be connected to databases to automatically update across all the locations within a few minutes. In this article, we will show the exact steps that is used to create a menu board like the one below, how to add pictures, pricing and videos and how to connect to a central database.

For more information on the advantages of digital menus, click here.

sample slide of a digital menu board for a restaurant in powerpoint

Create a New Slide show

  1. Open PowerPoint and start with a new blank presentation.
  2. Create a new slide.
  3. Right click anywhere on the slide, choose Layout and then Blank.
start to add a new slide to your presentation

Change the Background

  1. In the top menu, select the Design tab.
  2. Click the Format Background icon.
  3. Select Solid Fill or Gradient fill.
  4. Open the Color sub menu and choose a color.
  5. If the user is using Gradient fill, the user will have to choose a color for each of the Gradient stops. Click stop to select it.
set a background color or pattern for your menu board

Add Digital Menu Boxes

Turn on the grid; hold Shift, press F9. Snap objects to grid:

  1. From top menu, click on View, then in the Show group, click on the small object at the right side of the box.
  2. Put a check beside Snap objects to grid.
  3. Click OK.

Next, place boxes for the menu boards on the grid:

  1. In the top menu, select the Insert tab.
  2. Click the Shapes icon, choose a rectangle shape.
  3. Click and drag to place a rectangle.
  4. Place as many rectangles as needed.
add boxes to your menu board

Colour the Digital Menu Boxes

Once the user has the placeholder shapes for the menu boxes, set the background colours for each of the shapes that the user was created. How to change rectangle colors:

  1. Right click a rectangle, click Format.
  2. A menu will come up on the right with options.
  3. Choose the colour that the user wants.

How to make a rectangle transparent:

  1. Right click a rectangle then click Format Shape.
  2. In the right menu, look under the Shape Options tab, drag the Transparency slider to 100%.


and format the menu boxes

How to Add Images to Digital Menu Boards

How to insert an image:

  1. In the top menu, select the Insert tab, click the Pictures icon.
  2. Find picture, click Insert.

How to copy an image: While holding CTRL, click and drag the image. If the user wants to update images and other data in multiple locations, see the menu boards data connection instructions further down.

add images to your powerpoint digital menu board

Adding Text to Digital Menu Boards

How to add a text box:

  1. In the top menu, select the Insert tab.
  2. Click the Text Box icon.
  3. Click and drag to place a text box.
  4. Place as many text boxes as needed.

How to change text size and color:

  1. Select the text, right click on the selection.
  2. Use the Font Size and Font Color icons.
add text box shapes to your powerpoint menu board

How to Add Video to Digital Menu Boards

How to add a video:

  1. In the top menu, select the Insert tab.
  2. Click the Video icon. Choose Online Video or Video on My PC.
  3. Hold click the video and drag it to where the user like to place it.
add promo and advertising video to your menu board

Connecting to a Data Source

Connecting to a data source lets the user edit a data file to change all the menu items to all the locations via the Internet. The user will need the DataPoint™ PowerPoint plugin to connect the menu board to a database. The user can download this plugin at www.PresentationPoint.com. Another useful plugin for multiple locations is the digital signage player software, iPoint™ – also from PresentationPoint.

Create a Data Source

Create the data source. The user data source can be held in:

  • Excel Spreadsheet
  • Microsoft Access database
  • XML file
  • RSS feed
  • Oracle
  • MySQL
  • and many more

Here is an example of a data source we created for our digital menu – an Excel spreadsheet.

maintain the data and content of your menu board in excel

As the user can see, the data spreadsheet just includes the item name, description and price along with a link to where the picture is we want to use.

To Add a Data Connection

Click on DataPoint, then List icon.

open datapoint menu for your digital menu board data

Next Add Connection

  1. Choose the type of connection; Excel in this case.
  2. Click on Add Connection.
  3. Browse to the data file the user created and click OK.
add a data connection to your digital menu board

Then Add Query

  1. Click on Add Query – now it will show the data within the spreadsheet.
  2. Tick the box if The first row contains field names.
  3. Set how often the user wants the data to refresh on the menu board.
add a query to your menu board

Review Data Preview

The  data from the spreadsheet should show now. Click OK.

preview of your digital menu board data and menus

Connecting a Text Box to Data

  1. Click on the text box to connect.
  2. Click on DataPoint, then Text Box.
link dynamic content to your digital menu board

Choose Data For Text Box

  1. Choose the Column and Row.
  2. Preview will show what will be added.
  3. Click OK.
link a text box shape to a dynamic data source for real time data linking

The user will see the text box data update like this:

dynamically linked image on text shapes

Connect Menu Board Images to Data Source

The user can connect images for the digital menu boards to the data source, the same way as the connected the text box. Once done, the user has digital menu boards that the user can update from a central location just by updating the spreadsheet or other data source.

Our PowerPoint Plugins and Clients

Our PowerPoint plugins are used for menu boards, digital signage and many other uses by companies like these.

companies using our digital signage solution already

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Use DataPoint to link presentations to various data sources
Great Digital Signage software for playlists with images, videos and PowerPoint presentations
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