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PowerPoint Tips & Tricks

Ensuring that you have the correct slide size before you build your slides is crucial or you may end up having to revive all your slide elements. This is especially important if you are designing for print – the standard A4 preset in PowerPoint is not actually A4 (it is 27.5cm x 19.05cm). If you want proper A4 you need to use the Custom Slide Size option to set your slides to 21cm x 29.7cm.

You can change the page in a few places including:

  • Design > Slide Size
  • View > Master View > Slide Size

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Resetting your slide size

If you have been moving elements around on a slide and it has all gone wrong, the reset button will reset all your formatting to the template default while retaining any graphics and words that you have already entered.

  • Find it here: Home > Reset

Inserting a screenshot

If you need to take screenshots for your presentation you can now use the Screenshot functionality to insert good quality screenshots straight into your

  • Insert > Screenshot

Quick Access Toolbar

For functions that you use regularly, especially when they are either not on the ribbon, or on a ribbon you don’t use much, the Quick Access Toolbar in the top left of your window can be a real time saver.

There are a several ways to add functions to the toolbar:

  1. Right click on the function and select  “Add to Quick Access Toolbar”
  2. Click on the down arrow next to the shortcuts to open up the Quick Access Toolbar options
  3. Select File > Options > Quick Access Toolbar

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Embed Fonts in Your File

If you are using a number of non standard fonts in your slides you can embed these into your presentation so others can view and edit the presentation with the correct fonts, even if they don’t have them on their computer.

File > Option > Save > Select Embed fonts in the file

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Change alignment and formatting of text boxes and shapes

PowerPoint gives you a number of options to make sure your text boxes and shapes behave the way you want them to.

Right click on the text box or shape > Select Format Shape

The options give you a wide range of control over these elements so that you can place them exactly where you want.

Text Options

  • Vertically align your text
  • Change your text direction
  • Change how your text fits into your textbox
  • Set your text box margins

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Shape Options

You get all the same options you get for a text box, and some new ones to give you complete control of the size and position of the shape.

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Copy Instantly Using drag and drop

As an alternative to copy and paste using Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V you can quickly create a copy of any shape or image by 1) hold down the Ctrl key, 2) select the object and C) drag off with your mouse. This is especially good when you need to create a number of similar objects.

Moving objects with arrow keys

Using the arrow keys is usually a much more accurate way to move objects around the slide that using a mouse. To get the greatest control use the Ctrl key as you use the arrows to move the object.

  • Ctrl + Arrow

Creating and using layout guides

Layout guides are one of the more useful tools in PowerPoint. You can set them up in the slide master as well as individual slides. We recommend that you use these for ensuring that your layouts from slide to slide are consistent and all your elements line up nicely.

To bring up the Grid and Guides options box right click the background or a blank section of the slide layout and select Grid and Guides.

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It usually makes sense to have the drawing guides and smart guides selected as these make it a lot easier to align objects on the page.

By default you get one horizontal and one vertical guide. You can add extra guides by holding down Ctrl, selecting an existing guide, and dragging the cursor away.

So there you go – some of the most underused and helpful functions in PowerPoint. Learn how to use these and you’ll be well on your way to making better PowerPoint documents, faster!

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