Favorite PowerPoint Features?

One of the reasons PowerPoint is so popular is because it's so easy to use - there isn't much you need to know to begin using it. That's probably why so many users often miss the newer features after upgrading.

So I thought it would be helpful to share our favorite and most-used features in PowerPoint 07 and 10. For those using 2003, this will be good ammo to make the case for upgrading

My top 3 features:

  1. Slide Masters - the ability to create my own text and image placeholders. Awesome for creating custom layouts.
  2. Selection Pane - there's no way to manage multiple animations and objects without it
  3. Change Picture - simple, but one of the most used features for me.

So, what about you? What are your top features or workflows in PowerPoint?

69 Replies
Robert Kennedy

Shape Tools are great as Jeanette mentioned.  These days, I find myself firing up PowerPoint for some quick graphics work instead of opening up Photoshop simply because is easier to create and manipulate shapes, shadowing, and some of the other quick effects which I can then save as an image for use in a website, blog post, etc.

Poornima Ramachandran

I love using the design templates and playing around them to make my own ones. Stenciling shapes is also a lot easier with 2007.  Filling shapes with clip art picture is my biggest favourite. (I no longer use Photoshop (90 %) to crop images...

A lot more curved rectangle styles to use in my modules too.

Stylish gradients, and ready to use theme fills ...

Never thought PPT 2007 would be this awesome. Now waiting to get my hands on PPT '10. :)

Jade Kelsall

I also love the selection pane; it makes working with lots of objects on one slide a heck of a lot easier.

Another favourite of mine is the "format painter", which is a big time-saver. I can't wait to get my hands on PowerPoint 2010 to use the animation painter. And the crop image feature is quite marvellous, though the accuracy of it could be improved (I don't know if it's any better in PPT 2010)

Zara Ogden

PPT 2007

Smart Art is great! Especially for creating branching scenarios. I hate doing flow charts in word I can never make them flow right.

For Images and shapes:

- Shadow

- Recolor and transparency

- multiple boarders

- rotate is easier to use

All the rest

- view ribbon makes moving between views way easy

- insert shapes way easier

Big Hates

- gradient tool so confused despite David Anderson's Screenr

- formatting a paragraph way suckie and not friendly

June Dunlap

I have to agree with David here, maybe a little different order of favorites:

  1. Selection pane (this is the most important for me, it was very difficult before to work with the layers of objects we have on our slides)
  2. Change picture (which also works in Word)
  3. slide masters

I don't have 2010 yet, I have it at home and have only dabbled in it a little.

Charity Dishon-Fischer

Best feature: converting shapes to freeform!  Love using this to create custom shadows and shapes (usually recreating my own versions of stock images).

Like so many others have already posted, having the Selection Pane makes life much easier!

Finally, Slide Masters...  I wasn't such a huge fan until I started using Articulate.  Now, it's nice to have templates I can call on for different projects.  And... it's so easy to select a different layout to quickly choose the right one.

Thanks for all you guys do!  I'm an Articulate fan for life!

Charity

James Brown

There are some cool things

1. Shape subtract  -- kind of cool but I can do this a lot easier in Flash.

2. Screen capture -- I find Snag-it 10 actually 100% better  but hey this tool is free.

3. Master Slides -- Flash actually does a better job with scenes and objects.

Now If they could just come up with a time-line like flash and give each object a time-line as with flash PPTX would be really cool.

David Anderson

Charity Dishon-Fischer said:

Finally, Slide Masters...  I wasn't such a huge fan until I started using Articulate.  Now, it's nice to have templates I can call on for different projects.  And... it's so easy to select a different layout to quickly choose the right one.


Same here, Charity. I'd never really thought about Slide Masters before working with Articulate. I think there's a lot we do in elearning that would help "normal" PowerPoint users sharpen their skills. There are definitely two different workflows.

James Brown

David Anderson said:

James Brown said:

My only complaint with Slide Masters is the 25 limit restrictions. 


Okay I didn't even know there was a limit. Is that 25 "masters" or "slide layouts"?  Just checked my largest course. I used  5 Slide Masters with anywhere between 3 and 10 Slide Layouts for each.

I actually discovered the slide master limitation by accident and it's now forcing me to go back and revamp my project. I just chalked this one up as a learning experience. Eventually when I get the training re-written I am going to build some scenario based learning tutorials in Articulate but for now I need to first get me training outlines revamped before I can do anything else.

Just so you know, I'm basically building a software tutorial and the product contains a approx 50+ windows that I need to incorporate into my training. The idea was to use master slides to hold my original images so that as the software changes, I only have to update the images on the slide masters. In flash this would be a really easy task. I would simply create symbols and if a window changes I simply update the symbol and the entire update trickles down through my entire project. I guess I'm so spoiled using flash, it's kind of difficult for me to digress back to Power Point. Granted Power Point has got some cool things but much of these effects were based on flash animation tweens and I honestly have created identical effects in flash in a lot less time with some pretty cool animations as opposed to Power Point but since others may have to update the project down the road I am forced to use Power Point. Plus I haven't sold my boss on Articulate just yet but once I am able to properly demo the product and show him the potential, I'm sure that attitude will change. At least I hope it does.

Amy Kesman Rossi

I can't pick three things specifically, but I love the graphics/photo editing capability in 2010. I'm not great with Photoshop and am a mighty team of one (thus don't have a graphic designer to rely on), but with PowerPoint 2010, I can make it look the way I imagined it all by myself!

The slide masters are pretty great, too. I learned how to use them better at an Articulate training session and I don't know how I ever managed without them!

James Brown

James Brown said:

David Anderson said:

James Brown said:

My only complaint with Slide Masters is the 25 limit restrictions. 


Okay I didn't even know there was a limit. Is that 25 "masters" or "slide layouts"?  Just checked my largest course. I used  5 Slide Masters with anywhere between 3 and 10 Slide Layouts for each.


I actually discovered the slide master limitation by accident and it's now forcing me to go back and revamp my project. I just chalked this one up as a learning experience. Eventually when I get the training re-written I am going to build some scenario based learning tutorials in Articulate but for now I need to first get me training outlines revamped before I can do anything else.

Just so you know, I'm basically building a software tutorial and the product contains a approx 50+ windows that I need to incorporate into my training. The idea was to use master slides to hold my original images so that as the software changes, I only have to update the images on the slide masters. In flash this would be a really easy task. I would simply create symbols and if a window changes I simply update the symbol and the entire update trickles down through my entire project. I guess I'm so spoiled using flash, it's kind of difficult for me to digress back to Power Point. Granted Power Point has got some cool things but much of these effects were based on flash animation tweens and I honestly have created identical effects in flash in a lot less time with some pretty cool animations as opposed to Power Point but since others may have to update the project down the road I am forced to use Power Point. Plus I haven't sold my boss on Articulate just yet but once I am able to properly demo the product and show him the potential, I'm sure that attitude will change. At least I hope it does.


Watched a video last night and I noticed there is a limit on slide masters but not on layouts so I'm probably going to just use the slide masters to group by main program sections and then use the layouts to hold all the windows for that section. Since I have only a handful of main sections this should work.

Thanks Janette.. Your Screenr helped me see something I had not noticed before.