10 Microsoft PowerPoint Tricks Everyone Should Know

edited August 2023 in Business

Whether you are a college student mastering the basics of office software suites or are a seasoned professional looking to make a compelling presentation, you are almost certainly familiar with the PowerPoint application. From the classroom to the boardroom, your presentation's quality can significantly impact your audience if done correctly. Learn more about these ten Microsoft PowerPoint shortcuts everyone should know and how they can make your creative process much simpler and more effective. 

Pre-Made Templates Can Make Creating Presentations That Much Easier 

In honor of the well-known phrase. "do not reinvent the wheel," you should be aware that you do not necessarily have to go through the time and trouble of creating a PowerPoint presentation from the ground up. PowerPoint has an impressive number of different templates for creating presentations with a variety of fonts, colors, text boxes, graphics, charts, and much more. So while you are free to make your PowerPoint presentation starting with nothing but blank slides, it may be worth seeing if you can find an appropriate template and save yourself a great deal of effort. 

Make Edits Across All Slides Simultaneously with the Slide Master Function 

One of the easiest ways to have people lose interest in your presentation is having obvious formatting errors between series of slides. Rather than going through the laborious process of tweaking each slide individually, simply select the View tab from the command Ribbon and left-click on Slide Master. When using the Slide Master function, any formatting changes you make will be applied across all created slides. Ensuring that your slides are all identical and appropriately formatted before entering text and graphics will save you a lot of stress. 

Selectively Reveal Information with Custom Slideshows to Save Lots of Time 

Not every employee of a given company needs to have the same level of security clearance, and when it comes to presenting potentially valuable or proprietary information to a given audience, the same principle can apply. As opposed to creating two separate presentations for employees and executives at a given company, you can create a Custom Slideshow that excludes certain slides with more sensitive information. You can make these slideshows by accessing the Slideshow section of the Ribbon, then selecting Custom Slide Show, then Custom Shows. Then, when the time comes to give your presentation to each group, you can rest assured that everyone will be appropriately involved and informed. 

Consider the Audiences' Potential Needs with the Accessibility Checker 

Given that the medium of PowerPoint presentations is primarily visual, they may not be well suited to assist anyone watching who has issues with accessing such content. The solution to this problem is quite straightforward: open a given PowerPoint presentation and select File, then Info, Check For Issues, and Check Accessibility to change any relevant settings. By taking a little time and considering the diverse needs of your potential audience, you can create a much more meaningful presentation. 

Gain a Useful Top-Down Perspective on your Presentation with Slide Sorter 

If you are getting the sense that perhaps your presentation seems disjointed and out of order, one great PowerPoint shortcut is to use the Slide Sorter function. Since looking at slides in a linear fashion can lead to ambiguities and inefficiency in delivering your intended message, the Slide Sorter provides a top-down view of all your current slides that can help you determine if they need to be trimmed down or reordered. This tool can be accessed via the Ribbon View section, then Slide Sorter. 

Easily Change the Order of Sections and Slides with Keyboard Commands 

Many of the programs in Microsoft Office offer users the ability to use keyboard shortcuts to perform simple functions quickly, and PowerPoint is no exception. For example, rather than manually dragging slides with your mouse or trackpad, you can move slides up and down in order using the respective CRTL + Up Arrow and CRTL + Down Arrow PowerPoint shortcuts. You can also move a slide directly to the beginning or end of the presentation with the keyboard shortcuts CRTL + Shift + Up Arrow or CRTL + Shift + Down Arrow. 

Export your PowerPoint Presentations as PDFs for Maximum Shareability 

Since not everyone has ready access to Microsoft PowerPoint as an app on their PC, you may unintentionally limit your presentation's reach. One of the easiest methods for making your presentation as accessible as possible is to create an export of the PowerPoint file as a PDF. Since the basic version of Adobe Acrobat is freely available, people can easily download and view your presentation. To create a PDF of your PowerPoint, select File, then Export and Create PDF. 

Enhance Audience Engagement by Adding Live Subtitles and Captioning 

This feature is very beneficial for capturing the attention of live audiences and providing accessibility to those with hearing loss or other related issues. From the Slideshow section on the Ribbon, check the box next to Always Use Subtitles, set up your microphone, and choose Presenter View. While PowerPoint's ability to provide captions for extremely technical language may not be strictly reliable, this feature is very useful for audience engagement on several levels. 

Use the Included Library of Illustrations, Photos, and Icons to Save Time 

If your project needs to avoid using copyrighted materials or the budget for editorial photography does not exist to help with PowerPoint ideas, you already have considerable resources at your disposal. Microsoft PowerPoint contains an impressive collection of illustrations, photos, and icons you can use for your presentation. Before you accidentally spend money on something you already have access to in the first place, it's worth giving the available collection a once over. 

While these ten PowerPoint tricks are quite handy, they are by no means the only PowerPoint tips and tricks the app can provide. Check out Microsoft's website and productivity articles to learn more about PowerPoint's features and how they can help you save time and effort. 

*The opinions reflected in this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect any official positions or claims by Acer Inc.

About Dan VanPatten: Dan is a full-time technology writer with interests in gaming, gadgetry, and all things PC tech related. He writes about a variety of topics including technology news, product reviews, and software. His experience stems from years of experience writing & producing content for technology newsletters & publications.


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