A lot of questions have been asked surrounding the topic of PowerPoint Action Buttons. “What are they? How are they different than normal shapes, and why should I use them?” All of these questions are about to be answered in this week’s #AskMeMonday.

What Are Action Buttons?

Action Buttons are pre-coded shapes that allow you to hyperlink to different slides, run programs outside of PowerPoint, and even start up macros. On the surface, they are virtually indistinguishable from native PowerPoint shapes—all the magic happens behind the scenes.

What Can Action Buttons Do That Native PowerPoint Shapes Can’t?

Shapes can be distorted, changed, flipped, animated, and even hyperlinked to a different slide or file. Action Buttons can do all of those things and more. One of the greatest differences between Shapes and Action Buttons is that Action Buttons can enable macros within the presentation and even run a program outside of PowerPoint. Meaning that if you are a teacher that is giving a lecture on how to code in Visual Studio, you can create a Action Button and enable it to open and run Visual Studio with either a click or a simple hover of the mouse (PowerPoint shapes can’t do that). Below, you can see the visual differences of what is possible in the backend (right click>Hyperlink) of shapes and Action Buttons:

On one of my past blogs, a company called Eyeful Presentations posted a comment showcasing an awesome approach to building a game in PowerPoint without using VBA scripting. They also tweeted out to us:


The game they created was an ingenious “mouse adventure” game where once you touch a wall with your mouse, you would be sent back to the beginning. This game was built mainly by using a bunch of Action Buttons that used the Hover State ability to restart the slide.

The multifunctionality of Action Buttons allow for amazing content creation, content control and more streamlined presentations. How have you used Action Buttons in your Presentations? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to join us next week for #AskMeMonday!

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