Spend too much time working in PowerPoint? You need PowerPoint presentation hacks that save time and give you great results. We've put together 12 of the best techniques for hacking PowerPoint like a pro.
Here's the goal: work fast and deliver great-looking presentations. With our PowerPoint design hacks, you'll definitely do both. These are the most efficient way to create your next presentation. Let's dive in!
12 Top PowerPoint Presentation Hacks
PowerPoint design hacks serve two purposes. They save you time, and they help you serve up impressive designs to wow your audience. What's more, you don't need to be a design expert to use the 12 PowerPoint design hacks we'll cover. Here's our list:
1. Use the Guides
PowerPoint's guide features are great PowerPoint hacks you can use right away. These help you keep objects in perfect alignment. Imagine that you're dragging an image onto a slide.
You've already placed some other content on the slide. For example, you've added a chart and a text box. Your goal with the image is to align it with these other objects so that their edges line up.
Dragging objects in PowerPoint is easy - you simply click and pull on any piece of content. As you move it around the slide, you'll see red dotted lines start to appear. These are guides, which show alignment and distance. They look at your selected object, telling you how it fits alongside the other slide content.
Guides in PPT are dynamic. They adjust as you move. This makes them the perfect way to craft a symmetrical, visually pleasing slide fast.
2. Scale Objects Precisely With the Size Menu
Hacking PowerPoint really involves making your slide designs work their best for you. They boost productivity by making changes easy and uniform.
Consider this situation: you have three objects on the same slide and you want them to be the same size. At the moment, each of the three is different.
You could adjust the size of each object in turn, but that wastes time. Why not change all three at once? To begin, click on the first object. Then, hold down Shift on your keyboard and click the other two. You now have all three selected.
Since these are images, you'll see the Picture Format tab on PowerPoint's ribbon. (If you're using different objects, it may be labeled Shape Format or Graphics Format).
Clicking Picture Format, you'll see the Size group on the right side. Here, there are boxes for Height and Width. You can type in custom values, which represent the exact size of the selected objects.
When you're finished, hit Enter, and the objects will all resize to match.
3. Always Use Premium Templates
PowerPoint presentation hacks let you work smarter, not harder. So why spend time building slide layouts from scratch, when you can leave it to the experts? This is the advantage of premium templates, which you should be using today. Premium templates are built by creative experts that have you in mind.
These templates have robust features and unmatched flexibility. Rather than building slide designs from scratch, you can just fill in your own content.
The best source for premium PowerPoint templates is Envato Elements. With thousands of designs to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect one for you. Elements is an all-you-can-download membership service. For a flat monthly rate, you can use the full library of templates!
Plus, Elements includes stock photos, fonts, and much more. All these assets are the perfect companions for your next slide deck.
4. Split Objects Evenly With the Distribute Option
Often, you'll find yourself working with several objects on a single slide. These include pictures, charts, graphics, and more.
For a stylish slide layout, it's helpful to split objects equally distant from one another. This is possible on either a horizontal or vertical axis. Fortunately, there are PowerPoint design hacks to do exactly that.
To distribute objects evenly, begin by selecting them. Again, this is done by holding down the Shift key and clicking on multiple objects. And once again, return to the Format menu on PPT's ribbon.
Distribute options in PPT live on the Align dropdown menu. It's on the right side, in the Arrange group. Click on the Align menu arrow, and you'll see a list of options appear.
The Distribute Horizontally and Distribute Vertically options are near the bottom. Clicking one will snap objects around, so that their relative distance is equally split. It's a fast and easy way to build neater slide layouts that are easy to read.
5. Streamline Bulk Edits With Master Slides
Suppose that you're building a slide deck, and you want to place the same image on every slide. But your PPT deck has dozens of slides in it!
Placing objects on each slide is a slow, manual process. Fortunately, it's not necessary if you know the master slide PowerPoint design hacks. Master slides, in essence, control bulk edits in your presentation.
To work with them, begin by going to the View tab and choosing Slide Master. You'll see a sidebar on the left, with one or more numbered slides. These numbered slides are the master slide layouts. The indented slides represent layouts in your deck controlled by the master slide. Any change that you make to a master slide will automatically apply to all slides below it.
In this example, you can insert an image and place it in one corner. It'll be placed on each slide controlled by the master. This is the beauty of PPT's Slide Master. It enables bulk editing in a flash. Make a change just once, and it applies universally.
6. Shape Photos Into Stylish Shapes
PowerPoint presentation hacks help you work with images in new and creative ways. Images, of course, are works of art. But they can themselves be styled into different shapes! It's a fun way to make unique slide layouts.
To shape a photo in PowerPoint, select an image and go to the Picture Format tab on the ribbon. Then, click on the Crop drop-down arrow, found in the Size group. From the list of options, hover over Crop to Shape.
When you do, you'll see an array of shape choices, grouped into categories. There are basic geometric shapes, arrows, equation symbols, and many more. Click on any one of them, and the selected photo is trimmed to fit inside the shape.
7. Format Backgrounds for Sleek Backdrops
Every slide has a background. Often, this is simply empty white space with content on top. But with a few clicks, you can transform this vacant area into a stunning design element of its own.
To begin, find the Design tab on PowerPoint's ribbon, and click on it. You'll see many options appear on the menu bar. The one you need is in the Customize group on the right, and it's labeled Format Background. Choose this one.
The Format Background sidebar appears on the right side of your slide. There are several fill choices that you can use:
- Solid Fill lets you add a colorful background
- Gradient Fill lends a 3D effect
- Pattern Fill adds waves or stripes
- Picture or Texture Fill is even more powerful. Using it, you can insert an image to form your slide background.
By default, using Format Background changes only the slide that you've selected and in view. But another of our PowerPoint design hacks lets you add your new background to every slide.
To do this, click Apply to All at the bottom of the Format Background sidebar. Your new design applies to every slide in the deck!
8. Stage Content in Sequence With the Animation Pane
Animations are PowerPoint presentation hacks that help control the pace and flow of your slides. And they look great, too! When you've got many animations on one slide, they can seem tough to control. Luckily, the Animation Pane is there to help.
Think of PowerPoint's Animation Pane as the control center for animations. You can access it by going to the Animations ribbon tab, then click on Animation Pane. The pane appears as a sidebar on the right side of your screen.
Animations on your slide will be listed in order by numbers. These numbers also appear on the slide, so you won't have to guess what object an animation is tied to.
The Animation Pane gives you full creative control of animations. You can drag them around the list to change the sequence.
Or you can right-click on an animation to control when and how it starts. And up in the Timing section, you can adjust speed features like Duration and Delay.
By using the Animation Pane, you unlock a full set of PowerPoint presentation hacks. These let you control animations that impress your audience and keep you on track.
9. Use Add-ins to Gain Extra Features
PowerPoint hacks aren't limited to the app's built-in features. When you think about hacking PowerPoint, you should remember to check out add-ins. Add-ins are extra features that you can add to your PowerPoint installation.
To start working with PowerPoint add-ins, be sure that you're on the Insert tab. This, like the other tabs we've used, is found on PPT's ribbon. Near the middle, you'll see the Add-ins group.
To get an add-in, click on Get Add-ins. PowerPoint will launch the Office Add-ins menu, from which you can browse a huge number of options. Many of these help with custom charting and style elements that you can't otherwise edit.
When you have an add-in selected, choose Install. Once it's loaded, you can access your add-in and begin working with it. Return to the Insert tab and click on the My Add-ins dropdown. Your installed add-ins are listed, and you can choose one to launch.
10. Find Inspiration With Design Ideas
PowerPoint design hacks help you build stunning slide layouts quickly. That's especially true when you're working with premium templates!
But sometimes, you may struggle to find a perfect slide layout for the content you're sharing. Of course, you can move objects around the slide to make it look different. Wouldn't it be useful to get a bit of help?
Yes, and PowerPoint makes it easy! When you're working on a slide, and need some inspiration, go to the Design tab. Over on the right side, you can see a button called Design Ideas.
Click this, and a sidebar menu will launch. PowerPoint will analyze the contents of your slide, and come up with new creative layouts. These are previewed in the thumbnail images. If you see one that you like, click on it.
PowerPoint will apply the design. All of the content scaling and moving will be handled for you. It's a single-click way to craft inspired layouts when you hit a style impasse!
11. Craft Data Visuals With the Excel Charting Feature
PowerPoint design hacks extend to your data, too! For example, you can add beautiful custom charts to your PPT slides. These help you share data in style.
But sometimes, you may be working with a large volume of data. Perhaps you've got it in a spreadsheet or listed in a database. A chart is your best option for sharing.
To add a chart, go to Insert > Charts. Chart designs in multiple categories appear on the menu. Choose one to add, then click OK.
Now, you'll witness the power of Excel-based charting in PowerPoint. This is a top choice when you're hacking PowerPoint because it gives you the tools you need to share data.
An Excel spreadsheet will open, right inside of PPT! In it, you can type (or import) raw data to chart.
You can change the values, along with headers and titles. Truly, it's a fantastic way to bring your data to life. Instead of working on the chart itself, you're filling data into a spreadsheet. As you work, the PPT chart will update in real-time.
12. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts
Last but not least come PowerPoint presentation hacks that you can use again and again. These are keyboard shortcuts, and they work with any PPT slide deck. Keyboard shortcuts help you perform specific actions in PowerPoint, without the need to open any menus.
By learning keyboard shortcuts, you can save time on tasks you perform the most. They take only a second, and they can often complete multi-step tasks in one move. Here are a few favorite PowerPoint shortcuts that you can start using right away:
Undo last action
Ctrl + Z
Center selected text
Ctrl + E
Open the Insert tab
Alt + N
Select all content on a slide
Ctrl + A
Save your presentation
Ctrl + S
Ctrl + G
For a complete overview of the most useful PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts, check out our full tutorial:
The Best Source for Designs With Built-In PowerPoint Hacks (With Unlimited Use)
Envato Elements is the best place for PowerPoint design hacks built into top-notch templates. For a flat-rate fee, you get unlimited downloads of the top PowerPoint themes, photos, fonts, and so much more.
It's impossible to match Elements' value. As you saw in an earlier tip, templates give you methods for hacking PowerPoint presentations in no time. That flat rate gives you more assets than you can imagine. Unlimited PowerPoint templates means unlimited possibilities for designs.
On Envato Elements, you unlock unlimited access to everything you need. Custom fonts, illustrations, and so much more power up your PowerPoint. These PowerPoint presentation hacks take you to the next level.
Now You Know the Best PowerPoint Design Hacks
Who doesn't love a time-saving trick? Don't forget that the best way to use PowerPoint hacks is to tap into the unlimited library on Envato Elements. This and the 11 other tips in this template help you design the best presentation in less time.
I'm sure you want to put these PowerPoint presentation hacks into action. Pick a few from this tutorial and start using them with that presentation you're working on. I'll bet you love the finished PowerPoint presentation.