One of the most common things we hear people having to do in PowerPoint is to reuse slides that already exist in other presentations, but that this often brings with it its own set of headaches around formatting not behaving.
Alternatively, using PowerPoint's 'Reuse Slides' command may make the process easier:
- Click HOME > New Slide > Reuse Slides…, or INSERT > New Slide > Reuse Slides…
- Click the Open a PowerPoint File link in the panel on the right-hand side of the screen, and browse to the existing presentation
Any slide can now be clicked to insert it into the current presentation, with all its formatting updated to match the new file! If you need to retain the original formatting, tick the Keep source formatting option (at the bottom of the panel) before inserting the slide(s).
Optionally, right-clicking in the panel will allow you to insert all of the existing slides, or to apply formatting from the existing file to the new one.
Working with slide text
Rearranging text on slides
To move text up or down a slide, rather than using Cut and Paste:
- Click anywhere inside the bullet point that is to be moved
- Press Alt+Shift+á or Alt+Shift+â until the bullet point is in the correct place
Click VIEW > Outline View to use PowerPoint's 'Outline View' to quickly work with the text of a presentation.
In the left-hand panel, work with text as normal, together with dragging it up/down (including between slides) or left/right (to promote/demote). Dragging a bullet point all the way to the left will convert the text into a new slide title.
Quickly add a screenshot to your presentation using INSERT > Screenshot > and then click the window you wish to screenshot.
- Alternatively, click INSERT > Screenshot > Screen Clipping
- When the screen 'fades', click-and-drag around the area of the screen to screenshot
Working with objects
PowerPoint has many tricks and shortcuts that can be used when working with objects in a presentation, some of the more popular of which are detailed here:
- Use the arrow keys to move objects up/down/left/right
- If resizing a shape/picture etc., hold Ctrl to resize it from the centre outwards
- When drawing a shape, hold Shift to 'constrain' it – so the Rectangle tool only draws squares, the Oval only draws circles, the various line tools only allow you to draw straight lines, and so on
PowerPoint provides a fast and easy method of duplicating any presentation content – select the item in question (an object, image or even a slide) and press Ctrl+D.
If duplicating an object, try the following process to duplicate both the object and its offset from the original:
- Select the object and press Ctrl+D to duplicate it
- In one move, reposition the new object
- Press Ctrl+D to create a new duplicate, offset by the same amount
Here, the leftmost object was duplicated and positioned next to it to create the second. The second was then duplicated three times.
Positioning and placing objects can be tricky, especially when it comes to lining them up (and even more so to line up objects that are on different slides). Click VIEW > Guides to call up a set of movable guidelines.
- When dragging a guide, the measurement shown is the distance from the centre of the slide
- Hold Ctrl and drag a guide to copy it and create another guide
If you quickly need to edit a presentation's Slide Master, Shift+click the Normal View icon on the Status Bar at the bottom of the screen.
Outputting to Word
If you need to output your presentation as a Word document, perhaps as a handout for the audience complete with your speaker notes:
- Click FILE > Export > Create Handouts
- Click the Create Handouts button on the right, select Notes next to slides and click OK
Setting up the slide show
Rather than using SLIDE SHOW > Set Up Show to configure how the slide show will run, hold Shift and click the Slide Show icon on the Status Bar at the bottom of the screen.
Starting a slide show
PowerPoint provides two quick shortcuts to start your slideshow:
- Press F5 to start the slideshow from the beginning
- Press Shift+F5 to start it from the current slide
Controlling a slide show
PowerPoint provides a wealth of keyboard tricks to help control a presentation whilst it's running:
- Type x and press Return to quickly jump to slide x
- Press S to stop/start slide timings, essentially pausing your presentation
- Press B to black the screen (black on/off) or W to white (on/off) the screen – these also pause the presentation
- Press H to display the hidden slide that immediately follows the slide currently being shown
- When a slide show is running, hold Ctrl and hold the left mouse button to use a fake laser pointer
For extra wow-factor, install the free smartphone app called Office Remote which allows you to use your device to control the presentation, rather than having to stand at your laptop!
The first time you use it:
- Install Office Remote (available from your device's Store) on your device, and the companion software (available from Microsoft) onto your laptop
- Pair your device with your laptop via Bluetooth
To use Office Remote:
- Ensure that the required presentation is open in PowerPoint
- In PowerPoint, click the Office Remote button (there may well be a dedicated OFFICE REMOTE tab on the Ribbon)
- Open Office Remote on your phone or tablet and select your laptop from the list of paired devices
- Select the presentation that you wish to control
The current and next slides will be displayed along with buttons to move backwards and forwards. The 'four squares' icon at the top allows you to call up a list of all slides in the presentation so that you can navigate to any of them quickly.
Broadcasting and presenting via the Web
If you need to deliver a presentation to someone remotely, but perhaps WebEx or similar isn’t an option, try PowerPoint’s built-in tool – all your audience need is an email address and a browser:
- PowerPoint 2007/10: SLIDE SHOW > Broadcast Show
- PowerPoint 2013/16: SLIDE SHOW > Present Online
If necessary, sign-in with your Microsoft ID and PowerPoint will generate a link that can be emailed out to your audience. You can then deliver the presentation from PowerPoint, and your audience will view it in their browser.