Quick Tricks

- By the MS PowerPoint MVP Team -


  1. How to create a new and smaller presentation from a large presentation.
  2. How to use an animated GIF in PowerPoint97 (not for the Viewer)
  3. Guides
  4. Customize your toolbar to meet YOUR need
  5. Quick way to change case in text - Shift + F3
  6. F4 Key
  7. Select all, deselect all, cut, copy, paste, undo, delete
  8. One step selection of multiple objects
  9. Selecting layered objects
  10. Nudging
  11. Quick view change
  12. Format painter
  13. Use View > Black and White
  14. Tear off toolbars and put them in a handy place
  15. Pause a presentation running in "Kiosk" mode
  16. Display explanatory text on mouse-over
  17. Quick selection of a text object
  18. Embedding fonts
  19. Quick Copy
  20. Quick way to Slide Master
  21. Quick way to view slide show in "small mode"
  22. Repetitive text or drawing tool use
1.  How to create a new and smaller presentation from a large presentation.
Newsgroup member, Dr. Jay, con tributed this gem.  One of the best things about the newsgroup is when someone comes up with a solution that no one has encountered or imagined.  Thanks so much, Dr. Jay.  This is a true winner!
  1. Open PowerPoint and open your large presentation.
  2. Go to Slide Sorter. 
  3. CTRL+click the slides you want. 
  4. Drag the selected slides to your desktop. 
  5. On your desktop you will see a Scrap file - double click on it. 
  6. It will open up in Powerpoint with just those slide with the same master. 
  7. Save as a new filename.

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2.  How to Use an animated GIF in  PowerPoint 97 (doesn't work in the Viewer.)

  1. Requires Windows Media Player 6 or higher.  You can download and install the current version from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/en/software/Playerv7.asp.

  2. Go to View > Tools and select Control Toolbox.

  3. At the bottom of the toolbar click on the icon that looks like this

  4. A dialogue window will appear.  Scroll to the end of the list.  Select "Windows Media Player".  On your slide, click hold and drag the mouse to define in window size that you want the GIF to play in.

  5. Right click on the object you just created and select Properties, to bring up the control's dialogue.  In the "File Name" field insert the path/filename to your gif.

  6. Also turn on auto rewind, and turn off all the player controls/tools.  (This will give you a "clean" look.)

  7. Test your presentation.  You're done.

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3.  Guides are very useful for laying out your slide and aligning objects.  However, if you select View Guides you will only see one vertical and one horizontal guide.  You can clone those and get eight verticals and eight horizontals.

1) Select a guide, press and hold down the Ctrl key while holding down the left mouse button, 2) drag a new guide to the position you want, 3) release mouse and Ctrl key.

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4.  Customize your toolbar to meet YOUR needs

Here is a simplified "Format" toolbar:

It's missing a few tools that you want to have at hand.  In our case we'll add "Pick up Object Style" and "Apply Object Style", because we'll want them later.

Go to Tools > Customize, select the Customize tab and locate the Format toolbar.  Under the Customize column, locate the "eyedroppers".

Highlight the tool you want to add to the Format toolbar, click hold and drag it to the format toolbar:

The results after dragging the "Pick up Object Style" and "Apply Object Style" tools will look like this on your updated Format toolbar:

Now that you've added the "Pick up Object Style" and "Apply Object Style" tools, experiment with them.  Pick up the style of an object, then go to as many other objects in your presentation, select one, click on the Apply Object Style button, then click on the destination object, and it will assume the style attributes from the source.  The Pick up Object Style is "sticky".  In other words, the selected style is in effective until the tool is used again to select a different object's set of style attributes.

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5.  Quick Way to Change Case in Text - Shift + F3

If you type this - - abcdefgh
        Select text and Shift + F3                        It will change to Abcdefgh
                                 Shift + F3 again              It will change to ABCDEFGH   
                                 Shift + F3 again              It will change to abcdefgh

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6.  F4

Don't forget to use the handy F4 key.  You can  select another text object and press F4  to repeat the last action.  So, if an action needs to be performed on multiple text objects in the presentation, this makes it even faster.  F4 will repeat all "last actions", not just the Shift +F3.

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7.  Select All, Deselect All, Cut, Copy, Paste,  Undo, Delete

If you are new to Windows and Microsoft products, these are some of the handiest key combinations that you will use over and over and they will save you lots of time:
  • Ctrl + A - Select All -  this will select all objects on a slide.
  • Ctrl + D - Deselect All -  this will deselect the objects that are currently selected.
  • Ctrl + C - Copy -  this will copy the selected object to the Clipboard.
  • Ctrl + V - Paste -  this will paste the contents of the Clipboard to the current slide.
  • Ctrl + X - Cut -  this will remove the selected object and place it on the clipboard.
  • Ctrl + Z - Undo -  this will "undo" the last thing you did.
  • Delete - will delete the current selected object(s).  If no objects are selected it will delete the current slide.
  • F4 - see item #5 above.
  • Shift + F3 - see item #4 above.

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8.  One Step Selection of Multiple Objects

If you want to select multiple objects in one easy step, click/hold/drag you mouse to form a box  around the objects, release the mouse button, and they will all be selected.  They can now be moved as a group, grouped to make a single object, or "nudged" as a group to position them precisely on the slide.

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9.  Selecting layered objects

We often need to have multiple objects on a slide that not only overlap, but may obscure one another.  To select a fully hidden object can't easily be accomplished by any of the above methods.  But, don't despair.  Use the Tab Key to tab through all objects on the slide.  See the simple example below.  Once you have selected the object you seek, you can right click and use the pop-up menu or the tools on the toolbar for other functions.

   Three stacked objects

Text has been moved to bottom, oval to second layer, via the Drawing tool > Order commands

Tab once - Text object

Tab again - Oval

Finally, tab and the rectangle on top is selected

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10.  Nudging

Select an object and try to move it by dragging and dropping it with your mouse and you'll quickly become frustrated by the lack of precision.  Instead, "nudge" it.  You know.  That's what your Mom used to do when you didn't do or say something right.  Now you too can be a nudger!

Select the object on your slide that you want to move.  Use the keyboard arrows to move it up, down, left and right.  The increments will be multiple "points".

If you use "snap to grid", the movement of the object will be 6 "points" at a time.  Press Ctrl and use the arrow keys and the increments are reduced to 1.25 points.  If "snap to grid" is turned off, you don't need to press the Ctrl key when you nudge.  Each nudge will be 1.25 point.

Note:  Point =  the standard unit of type size of which there are 72 to the inch (one point is approximately 0.01383 in).  Point size is the measured from the top of the ascender to the bottom of the descender.

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11.  Quick View change

You can quickly switch to the View > Master > Master Slide by holding down the Shift key and clicking on the Slide View icon:

Return to Normal View just as quickly.  Just hold down the Ctrl key and click on the Slide View icon.

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12.  Format Painter

The Format Painter is a great way to quickly transfer format settings from one object to another object.  If you don't see it on your Edit toolbar, see Quick Trick #3 for how to add it.

This is a very simple example to demonstrate the use of the tool:

Select source

Hover over destination

Click.  Done!

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13.  Use View > Black and White

There are two reasons for doing this.  (1)  It will enable you to preview what your slides will look like when printed in black and white.  (2)  It will also give you some clues of any problems that a color blind person may have when viewing your presentation.  For more information about color blindness, see this excellent Microsoft article http://msdn.microsoft.com/workshop/design/color/hess10092000.asp.

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14.  Tear off toolbars and put them in a handy place

Tired of searching for your favorite and most used toolbar?  Just "tear" if off and put it where you want.

Each tool bar has a vertical grey bar near its left edge.  Looking at our example in Quick Trick #4, the Format toolbar looks like this:

Hover over  that area and the cursor will change to a four headed arrow.  Click/hold/drag and drag the toolbar to the area of the workspace you prefer.  Release the mouse.  Now you can re-size it.  Place the mouse on an edge until the cursor changes to a two-headed arrow and drag it to re-size.

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15.  Pause a presentation running in "Kiosk" mode

If you have designed a presentation that will run in "Kiosk" mode, but you want to be able to pause it, download pause.zip (39KB), unzip it and study it in PowerPoint to see how it is constructed.  

Hints:  Slide#5  is "hidden" (see Slide Show > Hide Slide).  All of the other slides have a Pause button (see View > Master > Slide Master) that is linked to the "hidden" slide.  Adapt this method to meet your own needs.

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16.  Display explanatory text on mouse-over

Let's assume you're a teacher or a technical-type presenter.  You have words and terms in your presentation that your audience may not understand.  Wouldn't it be nice to have that information on your slide?  Just roll your mouse over the word or term and the definition/information would pop up.  Here's one quick way to do that:

If you are using PPT2000 try this.  It won't work in PPT97 or the Viewer because neither support "Screen Tips".

1. Add your textbox and type the text
2. Select the textbox

3. Right click the textbox
4. Go to Insert > Hyperlink and click on the "bookmark" button, if it appears.
5. Select your current slide in the current presentation.
6. Click on the "Screen Tip" button and type in your definition.

7. Do this for all of your text items, and then run in Slide Show mode.
8. Now when you hover your mouse over the text a pale yellow box will appear with your definition, as shown above.  

9.  Ah, you say.  I don't like yellow and the type size is too small.  If you are going to be presenting to an audience, even on a large screen, the font size really won't be readable.  So, before you begin your presentation you can right click in a blank area of your Desktop and select Properties.  You will see this screen:

(1)  Click the "Appearance" tab.
(2)  Select "ToolTip" in the Item window.
(3)  Select a color from the color tool.
(4)  Select the font of your choice.
(5)  Select a font size.
(6)  Select a font color, and click on "bold" and "italic", if you like.

Now the view of the presentation seen at the beginning of this Quick Trick will look like this:

....instead of like this.

After you have made the presentation, be sure to change your Display settings back to the way they were before.  Otherwise you'll see some wonky screen tips when you hover over tools and other objects as you work on other tasks.

If you want to see a small (9KB) sample presentation that demonstrates this, click HERE and then unzip and play it in PPT2000 in Slide Show mode.  Have fun!

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17. Quick selection of a text object

When you create a textbox/text object in PowerPoint the cursor remains at the end of your text.  If you want to select the entire text and change to font, for example, you might think that you have to click on the bounding box, or  highlight the text.

Try this instead:  type your text and then hit ESC.  The object is selected!

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18.  Embedding fonts

In PPT 2002 you can set Tools > Options > Save to embed fonts for the current presentation, or only embed the characters in use.  You can also set this preference by going to File > Save as... and clicking on Tools in the toolbar and select Options.

In PPT 97 and PPT 2000 you have to consciously make a decision when you go to File > Save as...  In PPT 97 there is a little box to check that is labeled "Embed Fonts."  In PPT 2000, you must do a File > Save as... and look for Tools on the toolbar.  Click on it and select "Embed TrueType Fonts." 

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19.  Quick Copy

Select an object, hold down CTRL, and drag the object to make a copy and place it in a different location.  Keep CTRL held down and make as many copies as you need.

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20.  Quick way to Slide Master

Hold down the Shift key and click on the Slide View button to access the Slide Master.  Click on the Slide View button to return to normal.

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21. Quick way to view slide show in "small mode"

Hold down the CTRL key and click on the Slide Show button to access the Slide Show in half screen mode.  

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22.  Repetitive text or drawing tool use

If you click once on a drawing or text tool, it will be in force for one entry.  If you double click on the tool, you can use it repetitively.  Just press ESC or click on the tool once again to de-activate it.

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All contents Copyrighted by Sonia Coleman 1998 - 2003