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6 Underutilized PowerPoint Features

Because PowerPoint has been around for such a long time (almost 28 years), Microsoft has been able to create features and integrate options that allow presenters and now some eLearning professionals to create content effectively. Whether it be a UI update or a completely new tool such as Zoom, new Microsoft PowerPoint features are always getting created and updated. The only downside to living in a world where new features are constantly being added, is that the older features tend to be forgotten or left behind (pardon my Pirates of the Caribbean reference). So let’s bring back the dead and take a look at 6 features that have gone under the rug in PowerPoint.

1. Increase Number of Undos:

Humans make mistakes and most mistakes happen when adding and modifying complex design elements. I don’t need to convince of the amount of error that accompanies creation and design, but I do need to convince you to up your Undo limit! The default limit is 20 Undos (if that ain’t a word, it is now), but you can increase the limit to a maximum of 150 Undos. Note, that if you dramatically increase the Undo limit, PowerPoint may slow down due to an increase in the default retention of memory.

2. Turn Anything Into A Shape (.emf):

Probably one of the most underutilized features in PowerPoint is the ability to turn any asset into a shape. Turning a table into a shape is one of the more likely assets that you would need/want to turn into a shape. Natively, tables in PowerPoint have very little customizable options. You can change the theme color rather easily, but advanced color formats and animations are virtually nonexistent. But once it is a shape you have close to 100% customizability. Here is how to change a PowerPoint table (and anything else frankly) into a completely modifiable shape:

  • Copy the desired asset
  • Special Paste (CTRL+ALT V) it onto the desired slide
  • Select Save As Picture (Enhanced Metafile)
  • Right Click>Group>Ungroup
  • Modify and animate!

3. Unlock/Lock Main Ribbon:

The unlocked main ribbon has become one of my most favorite “misfit” features in PowerPoint. By simply clicking on the pin icon at the bottom right of the ribbon you can lock and unlock it, thus allowing you to have a more complete view of the canvas. Yes there are times that you will being going back and forth too frequently for the unlocked ribbon to be very useful, but a unlocked ribbon is useful in many more situations than you think. Try it out and thank me later. 😉

4. Name Objects:

When you have a lot of objects on a slide that all have animations and motion paths associated with them, it can be very hard to keep track of objects. One of the most useful features you can use to combat this problem lies within the Selection Pane. The Selection Pane allows you to select, delete, show and hide, and even rename objects on a selected slide. To do this go to the Home tab, and at the far right of the ribbon you will see the Editing section. Here, click on the Select dropdown and open the Selection Pane. Now you can organize all your assets in a way that will help you increase your productivity and development time.

5. Align Objects Tool:

Out of the 6 features highlighted in this blog, the Align Objects will make the biggest impact on your presentations. PowerPoint has lots of built in templates that are aligned perfectly for you to quickly insert data and have it look good. But their templates are also restricting and don’t fit the model of presenting that we see nowadays. So always remember that you can space things out, align things vertically and horizontally, and even align things to the slide (top, bottom, etc.).

6. Replace Fonts:

One of my favorite underutilized features in PowerPoint is the ability to replace fonts project wide. PowerPoint will automatically detect which fonts are most used within the project making it a lot faster to replace text and revamp your presentation with updated fonts. To replace your fonts you simply go to the Home tab on the main ribbon, and to the far right you will see a drop down menu labeled Replace. Once you click on the dropdown, select Replace Fonts and start replacing!

Now I hope this brings to light some of the amazing features PowerPoint has to ofter? Did I miss any poor unfortunate features (again, pardon my Little Mermaid reference)? Let me know in the comments section below!

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