7 Easy PowerPoint Tips to Save Time and Sanity

Whether you like it or not, PowerPoint is the most widely used presentation tool in the world. It is a necessary medium of communicating in business. Creating presentations can be tedious and time consuming. Making 5-6 mouse clicks to perform a single task over and over is inefficient. There has to be a better way.

Here are 7 easy tips that will save you time and take some of the pain points out of PowerPoint.

Note: The below images are from PowerPoint 2016, the location of the images may vary slightly between versions.

1. Create Your Own Custom Ribbon or Add Features to the Quick Access Toolbar

PowerPoint has its set features and ribbon layouts for the casual user, but that’s not you. You’re a heavy user, you deserve better. Customizing your toolbar to include your most commonly used functions will save you an enormous amount of time navigating PowerPoint. It may seem like a daunting task, but trust us, it will take you 2-10 minutes and save you hours.

How to add features to the Quick Access Toolbar:

  1. Click on the dropdown in the Quick Access Toolbar and select More Commands.

  2. Select your desired command, click Add and repeat for your most commonly used tools.
  3. Click OK when finished.

How to create a custom ribbon:

  1. Right click on or near any of the ribbons (e.g. Home, Insert, Design, etc.) and click on Customize the Ribbon.

  2. You can create a completely new Tab (e.g. Home, Insert, Design), or Groups (e.g. Clipboard, Slides, Font) within existing Tabs.

  3. Select your desired command, click Add and repeat for your most commonly used tools.
  4. Click OK when finished.
  5. Here is an example of some commonly used features to add to your custom Tab.

Users can also add the below recommended command buttons to the Custom Quick Access Toolbar or Personalized Ribbon in PowerPoint.

2. Pick Up / Apply Object Style – The Better Format Painter

Format Painter is the default “go to” tool for users to quickly take the format from one object (Font Type, Font Style, Size, Color, Indentation, etc.) and apply to another object; however, Pick Up Style / Apply Object Style is a hidden gem that is a much more versatile tool that will save you time.

Pick Up Style / Apply Object Style lets you select formatting from almost any object within PowerPoint and save it until you want to apply the format. This function is more efficient compared to Format Painter for several key reasons:

  1. Continue Working: When using Format Painter, users have to immediately apply the selected style to the new object. Pick Up Style / Apply Object Style allows users to grab a style, continue working in their presentation, and apply the style at a later time. This is especially helpful when grabbing formats from one slide that will be applied elsewhere in a presentation.
  2. Reuse the Format: It can be reused over and over again until a new style is set. Format Painter forces users to reselect a format each time they want to apply it to a new object. Too many clicks = too much wasted time.
  3. Eliminate Misplaced Clicks: It also eliminates the risk of the dreaded accidental or misplaced click that is all too common with using Format Painter. It’s amazing how easily you can miss the object that you want to apply a format to, forcing the user to start the process all over again. It’s a tedious task that nobody deserves to be subjected to.

How to use Pick Up / Apply Object Style:

Pick Up / Apply Object Style Shortcuts: The shortcuts are quite easy to remember as they are similar to Copy (Ctrl+c) and Paste (Ctrl+v):

  • Pick Up Style: Ctrl+Shift+C
  • Apply Style: Ctrl+Shift+V

3. Use Duplicate and Cut your Copy and Paste Time in Half

Even the novice user is aware of how to copy (Ctrl+c) and paste (Ctrl+v) an object in PowerPoint. A quick copy paste takes seconds, but these seconds add up over the course of a deck, a day, or a year. Duplicate is fast tool that will save you time and maybe even minimize your chances of Carpal Tunnel…

Users can Duplicate an object or multiple objects at a time two ways:

  1. Using your Mouse:
    1. Select the object.
    2. Hold down the Ctrl key.
    3. Drag a duplicate to its new position.
  2. Simply select the object(s) and press Crtl+d.

4. Use the Eyedropper when possible, but know your Company’s RGB Codes

Pick Up / Apply Object Style does a great job of transferring colors from object to object; however, there are times when you will need to pull colors from company logos or other pictures, which the Eyedropper does.

To use the Eyedropper:

  1. Select the object or specific text you want to change the color of.
  2. Select the Eyedropper shown below.

  3. Click on the image or text you would like to copy the color from – the originally selected object or text will automatically change to color that was selected.

In order to save time, it is always helpful to memorize or have written down the 2-3 most commonly used RGB color codes for your business. When all else fails, you can simply:

  1. Highlight an object or text that you would like to change.
  2. Select More Colors as shown in the image below.

  3. Enter the RGB code you wish to apply.

  4. Click OK.

5. Pin Frequently Used Folders Presentations to Save Time Searching Through a Maze of Folders

Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time clicking through folders to find commonly used files, wasting time navigating folder structures for a commonly used file or template. File, Open, Browse, locate your drive, and search through 10 sub folders to find the template you use 5 times a week is torture. Pinning your most commonly used folders or files to PowerPoint will save you from the monotony of clicking through folders time and time again.

  1. When PowerPoint is open, click on the File ribbon, then Open.
  2. Right click on the Presentation or Folder you want to pin and select Pin to List.

6. Set a Default – Have PowerPoint Open the Same Way Every Time

Ever wonder why PowerPoint seems to open in a different view almost every time you open a file, especially when the file is shared between many users? This is because PowerPoint opens a presentation using the last view option saved. You can stop the annoying and tedious process of adjusting the view every time you open a file by setting a default view.

  1. Click the File tab and choose Options in the left pane.
  2. Select Advanced in the left sidebar.
  3. In the bottom of the Display section, you will see the last line titled Open all documents using this view and open the drop down list.
  4. Choose your preference. Note: Normal – thumbnails and slide and Normal – thumbnails, notes, and slide are two of the most common views.
  5. Click OK.

7. Select Groups of Objects Using the Selection Pane–Stop Driving Yourself Crazy Accidentally Unselecting Groups of Objects

Trying to select groups of objects on a complex slide might as well require a microscope. Holding Ctrl and clicking on each individual object not only takes time, but also is often met with accidental clicks that select/unselect unintended objects. Selecting objects by dragging the mouse is inaccurate. Use the Selection Pane to quickly and accurately select groups of objects.

  1. On the Home ribbon, open the Select drop down and click Selection Pane.

  2. A right sidebar will open displaying all the object on your slide. Select multiple objects by holding Ctrl and clicking multiple objects in the sidebar.

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