Learn how to make better presentations with Microsoft's presentation app. Use these easy PowerPoint functions and features.
In this tutorial, you'll get 20 of my favorite PowerPoint features and PowerPoint tools to build great-looking presentations.
The Best Microsoft PowerPoint Features to Make Better Presentations in 2022 (Video)
Are you ready to start learning about the features of PowerPoint right now? Get a headstart on six of those features with this quick video:
You just learned about some of the top MS PPT features. Do you want to know more? Continue reading to discover a great source for PowerPoint templates and for details on how to use even more great PowerPoint features.
The Best Source for PowerPoint Templates (With Unlimited Use)
Envato Elements is the best place to find premium PowerPoint templates. For a low monthly fee, you become a subscriber. Once you become a subscriber, you get access to:
- high-quality and premium templates
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Benefits and Features of PowerPoint (For 2022 Presentations)
What is the main purpose of Microsoft PowerPoint? It helps you tell stories in visual ways. This is done by the stunning presentation of content - words, images, charts, and more. It's a multimedia tool that helps you craft and share your ideas with the world.
PowerPoint offers an array of customization features. Every visual element is under your control. Whether it's text styles, image shapes, or sleek animations, you're in the driver's seat. Whatever template you choose in PPT, you keep full creative control. It helps you bring your vision to reality.
PowerPoint functions and features also help you streamline your workflow. You don't have to make the same edits over and over. With features like Slide Master and copying, you can reuse designs again and again. This leaves you extra time to focus on creativity, without being bogged down in tedious edits.
PowerPoint is built for an audience. With robust collaboration and sharing features, you can work with a team to build slides. And you can share finished presentations in formats that work best for your broader audience. PowerPoint new features are added with each release of the app. If you're wondering about future upgrades, they'll download as you update PPT.
As you can see, PowerPoint features and benefits are countless! Let's dive in and explore twenty of the best that you should be using today.
Guide to Making Great Presentations With PowerPoint
Now, let's take a closer look at some of the MS PowerPoint features and tools you can use to become more efficient.
1. Build Infographics for Data
Words alone aren't enough to share data in interesting ways. To wow your audience, you need to use infographics. These are visuals that combine information and graphics together. They help you tell stories with data in creative ways.
Infographics are a hallmark of premium templates. They're one of the PowerPoint features and benefits that you'll find most helpful in creating modern, engaging slide decks. They may take the form of funnels, timelines, data bars, and much more.
And when you've used a premium infographic PPT, built-in features give you unlimited control. In moments, you can click and drag to move the infographic into a new position on a slide. Or you can change out its colors by using the Shape Format > Shape Fill menu on PPT's ribbon.
2. Start With a Built-in Layout
There are really two directions you can go when you're building out a new slide in Microsoft PowerPoint:
- Design the slide from scratch, dropping in individual placeholder boxes one after another, adding them one by one until you've got a slide.
- Try out a built-in layout that includes all the content boxes that you need from the beginning.
It's really a no-brainer to start your slide design with a pre-built layout. It's a time-saver, and it also improves the look of the presentation because all boxes and content are aligned neatly.
From the Home tab, choose a Layout from the menu option:
I think one of the reasons that presenters avoid layouts is that they want to customize the slide. There's nothing stopping you from taking a layout and tweaking it, moving boxes around as needed, or adding other content placeholders.
3. Use Slide Master View to Update Designs Consistently
Most of my favorite PowerPoint features not only save time, but also ensure that slides are consistent. It's a huge advantage if the logo is in the same spot on each slide, for example.
Go to the View tab and choose Slide Master. Now, add something that you want to appear on each slide (like a logo or footer text) to the master:
When you return to Normal view, you'll see the changes on each slide that uses the same master.
Again, it's all about making clean slide designs with consistency. Adjusting the slide master is a sweet spot of productivity and design excellence.
4. Layouts to Declutter Slides
Cluttered slide layouts are all too common in many PowerPoint decks. Sometimes, you've got little choice but to pack a lot of information onto a single slide. But it's a bad habit you should avoid.
A good rule of thumb is to use PowerPoint's Layout option. It's a drop-down menu found on the Home tab. If you find yourself with a messy slide, go here first.
You'll see an array of different slide layouts - many with extra room for images and other contents.
This is a subtle, yet effective way to declutter your slides. It helps coach you on cleaner, neater layouts that you can then apply in a single click.
5. Use Someone Else's Presentation as a Starting Point
Picasso is credited for having said,
"Good artists borrow, great artists steal."
There's nothing wrong with using the hard work of others to build a great presentation.
I use Envato Elements on every creative project that I work on. I always start browsing on Elements to get ideas for what I'm working on. With one of the PowerPoint templates, you've got a huge head start on creating a presentation.
The price of Envato is worth it for the PowerPoint themes alone. But for those who create presentations frequently, you benefit greatly from the stock photos, graphics, icons, and other assets that can really spice up a presentation.
- How to Make Professional PowerPoint Presentations (With PPT Templates) + VideoAndrew Childress21 Mar 2022
Using one of these pre-built templates isn't stealing—it just feels like it because it makes it so easy. With Elements, you skip the hard work of designing everything from a blank slate.
6. Rearrange Slides for Effectiveness
Most presentations can become markedly better in just a few seconds by simply rethinking the order that your slides are sequenced. Over and over, I coach presenters to remember the BLUF principle: bottom line up front.
How many presentations have you sat through where the message was unclear? By the time you've sat through 30 minutes, you're so inundated with data that it can be hard to remember the point. Instead, give your conclusion up front and then share why you feel that way.
The best way to do this with PowerPoint is to switch to Slide Sorter view. There's no better way to have all your content in view at the same time. Switch to it by clicking on View > Slide Sorter.
When I switch to Slide Sorter view, I'm taking a long hard look to ensure that I'm not burying my conclusion. I'm building a story that makes sense sequentially. Drag and drop the slide thumbnails to reorder them in a concise and BLUF-friendly order.
7. Work With Design Ideas for Inspiration
Stuck in a rut trying to create a new slide design? It happens to us all. No matter how compelling your content, sometimes it's hard to know how best to arrange it on a slide. But this is also very important. You need a clear, coherent slide layout that's attractive and easy to read.
Fortunately, PowerPoint features and benefits can help you here! With built-in smart Design Ideas, PPT suggests new layouts for each slide in your presentation. Access the feature by going to the Design Ideas button on PPT's Home tab.
When you click it, you'll see a sidebar open on the right side. On it, there are thumbnails featuring new layout ideas for your slide designs. To apply one, simply click on the thumbnail. In a flash, PowerPoint will rearrange your slide to match.
8. Follow the Guides
Earlier versions of PowerPoint made it somewhat difficult to align things consistently on a slide. Now, the guides that you'll see pop up as you drag and drop objects help ensure that your objects are nice and neat.
In the screenshot below, you can see an example of what I mean. The small red arrows and dotted lines show how objects relate to each other, and you'll see them when an object is equidistant between them.
Keep an eye out for these helper lines when you're working in PowerPoint. Using them to align objects results in a cleaner slide.
9. Set Slide Sizes
The key consideration when setting slide size is to consider the size of the screen you'll present on. Some different types of screens have slightly different aspect ratios.
To change slide size, go to the Design tab and choose Slide Size, then Custom Slide Size.
Setting the size of your presentation is important. When you align the two, your presentation fills the screen or projector that you're using.
- What Are the Right Dimensions (Size) for Your PowerPoint PPT Slides? (+ Video)Andrew Childress28 Mar 2022
10. Format the Background
When you work in PowerPoint, it pays to make creative use of all space. This includes the empty space on your slide. In other words, it's the background. Formatting a PPT background helps you add creative colors and patterns to each slide.
It also has a practical purpose. Adjusting slide backgrounds helps boost the readability of content on your slides.
To adjust slide backgrounds in PPT, find the Design tab, and then choose Format Background from the Customize group. A sidebar launches, with an array of options. You can choose from solid fills, or 3D gradient designs. You can even add pattern and image fills! Click on each of the bubbles to control these options.
11. Resize Multiple Objects
As I mentioned earlier, I think consistency in slides is important for maintaining a clean look. If you've got multiple images that need to be the same size, there's an easy feature for doing just that.
A great example of this is when you've got several profile images that need to be resized consistently. To do this, start off by holding Control on your keyboard (Command on Mac) and click on all the images that should be resized.
Now, make sure that you're on the Shape Format tab on PowerPoint's ribbon. Next up, find the Size area, type a number into one of the boxes, and press enter. All the images will be resized to the same size that you set in the box:
After you set a starting point on size, you can tweak it to get things perfect. The important thing is that you keep them all selected and tweak the size in lockstep.
12. Clean Up Tables Quickly
Data tables in PowerPoint are one of the most effective ways to present data. They're easy for your viewer to quickly glance at and understand numbers with an easy row-column view.
As you start resizing and tweaking the look of a table in PowerPoint, it's likely that your rows and columns may become a bit disjointed or messy. I like to fix this with Distribute Rows, which evens up the sizes of the rows:
Highlight the rows, and then go to the Layout tab and click Distribute Rows to apply an easy fix to your rows.
13. Learn to Use SmartArt
Without a doubt, SmartArt is one of my favorite MS PowerPoint features. Think of this feature as the sweet spot between infographics and text-only diagrams.
Basically, SmartArt is a way to create flexible graphics that you can update right inside of PowerPoint. You don't need a separate app to build out your own graphics and charts.
SmartArt allows you to build out a variety of diagrams, such as hierarchies, processes, cycles, and more. Basically, you can build out a simple bulleted list, and the art adapts to include the points you add.
I'm all about doing as much as you can directly inside of PowerPoint. Features like SmartArt are a great bridge that cut out one more app like Illustrator or Photoshop from your workflow.
14. Try a Theme Variant
What do you do when you get to the end of designing a presentation, and it just doesn't feel right?
The easiest solution might be to try a new variant. This simply tweaks the color scheme and style of the presentation. On the Design tab, click a different thumbnail from the Variants selection.
When you change a variant, it'll change the entire presentation's color scheme, as you can see below. One simple click is the easiest way to try an alternate style:
Changing the Theme Variant is yet another step you can use to quickly and consistently apply a new look to your presentation. You may not have time to redo the presentation from scratch, so try out a variant as an alternative.
15. Save Slides to Share
PowerPoint offers many great ways to save slides for sharing. Naturally, the default is the app's own .pptx format. This keeps the formatting that you build in. Your saved copy will include your animations, transitions, narrations, and much more.
When you share your slides, audiences can open them in their own copies of PowerPoint.
But sometimes, you may need to share slides with a wider group. Maybe they don't have PowerPoint installed but want to read over your slides. Or they may be on a limited connection and don't need features like animations or web links.
Here, it's a good idea to save your slides in PDF format. This option is widely readable, even on smartphones and other mobile devices.
To save slides for sharing, keep in mind what your audience needs. Then, go to File > Export inside PowerPoint. Choose Create PDF/XPS and select PDF on the pop-up menu.
Your slides are ready to share with the world!
16. Align Objects
If you decide to add images or any object to your presentation, you should know about the align feature. The align feature is one of the key features of PowerPoint. When you use it aligns objects so that they line up.
To get all the objects to align properly, you’ll need to highlight the objects you want to align. Then click on the Shape Format tab. Next, in the toolbar, you’ll find the Align button. When you click on this button, a menu drops down. Choose an option depending on how you want your objects to align.
If you click Align Center, all your objects will be aligned in a straight line in the center of your screen.
17. Insert Shapes
If you want illustrations in your presentation, then you should know how to insert shapes. Inserting shapes is one of the features of MS PowerPoint.
To add a shape to your slide, click on the Insert tab. Then, in the toolbar, click on the Shapes button.
When you click on the Shapes button, a menu drops down with various shapes. Choose the shape you want. Next, click and drag your mouse to draw the shape.
18. Slide Transitions
To add some interesting effects to your presentation, the PowerPoint feature for you is slide transitions.
To add transitions, click on the Transitions tab. In the toolbar, a menu of effects appears such as Wipe and Split.
For even more effects, click on the Effect Options button. When you click on the Effect Options button, a menu drops down with more options.
Animations can also add interesting effects to your presentation. Animations is a PowerPoint feature that adds movement to objects on your slide.
To add animation, select an object. Next, click on the Animations tab. You'll see a display of various animations including Appear, Fade, Wheel, and more. Click on an effect to select it. Then click Effect Options to the right of the various animations to see a drop-down with more options for your selected animation.
After you've selected an animation and effects, you need to define the trigger. Under the Animation Pane option click the Trigger option. Select when you went the animation to appear from the drop-down.
20. Inserting a Video
If you want to add a video from a website to your presentation, you can hyperlink the video to the text on the slide.
Start by highlighting the text you want to hyperlink. Next, click on the Insert button. In the toolbar, you’ll see a Video button. When you click on the Video button, a menu pops up letting you choose to insert a video from the following locations:
- This Device
- Stock Videos
- Online Videos
Choose the option where your video is located. Then select the video from the window that appears.
5 Top Premium PowerPoint Templates From Envato Elements Trending for 2022
Premium Microsoft PowerPoint templates can you save you time. Here's a hand-picked list of the top five Microsoft PowerPoint Premium templates:
Streamo is a multipurpose minimal style template. This template comes with 35 slides. Everything in this template can be edited, including graphics.
Fiesta is a creative template with a colorful design. This template comes with 30 high-definition slides. Change the colors with the 50 color themes this template comes with.
Carnation is a multipurpose template with stylish colors and a nature-themed design. This template comes with over 50 unique slides. Plus, you'll get infographics and icons.
Lolerei is a multipurpose template with a modern and professional-looking design. The nice-looking design of this template can work with any presentation topic. Also, this template comes with a picture placeholder, so you can drag and drop an image into the placeholder.
Flat PowerPoint is a creative premium template that comes with 50 slides. This template comes with 50 premade color themes. And if you want to use icons, this template comes with 30 slides full of icons.
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Learn More About Microsoft PowerPoint
Don't stop now! There's plenty more to learn about Microsoft PowerPoint. I truly believe that building up your presentation skills is one of the most valuable steps you can take when you're trying to advance your career.
Check out some of the tutorials below to keep learning more about presentations with PowerPoint:
- How to Make Animated PowerPoint Presentations With PPT TemplatesAndrew Childress18 Aug 2023
- How to Make a Timeline in PowerPoint With Templates (w/Video)Andrew Childress23 Dec 2022
- How to Make Creative PowerPoint PPT Presentations (With Unique Ideas + Video)Andrew Childress12 Jun 2023
Save Time on Your Next PPT Project!
In this article, you learned the key features of PowerPoint and how to use the MS PowerPoint features. Then, put that knowledge to use on a premium presentation template.
Envato Elements has thousands of premium templates so that you can easily create an impressive presentation.