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
Kevin Thompson

The Animation Painter in PPT 2010 is an excellent time saver.  It's great for applying multiple complex animation settings to an object based on another object.

The Change Picture tool is a huge help too for swapping out an image without losing your animations and other settings.  Just right-click an image > Change Picture > browse for the new image, and bam! (You just made the world a better place.)

James Brown

Hey jeanette,

Yes this was the one and it shed some light on my issue https://player.vimeo.com/video/204870625

The issue I ran into on PPT 2010 (64 bit) was that I could create a large number of master slides but I could only see a limited number of them at any point in time. The issue arose when I was trying to apply layouts and apply slide masters. Fir some reason not all of my slide masters were appearing. It would only show me approx. 16 slide masters and It really made applying layouts difficult.

For me dropping back to Power Point has been a huge down grade from Flash in the organizational sense. In Flash you have scenes, time-lines, layers and you can then grouping of layers and lock layers and for me the trick has been to think of ways to do this same type of thing in Power Point. When I watched your screenr, I got the idea of using Master Slides kind of like a main cateory and then using the slide layouts to hold my other screens.

Based on my new found knowledge I was able to see how to organize my project and my new tests proved very promising. Here is what I mean. As I mentioned before I'm creating a software tutorial that has basically a main navigation menu with main windows and within each of these main windows there are dependent sub windows.

For example

[Account Menu]  (Slide Master)

   + [Collector Window] (Layout1)

        + [Employer window]  (Layout2)

[Payment Menu] (Slide Master)

  + [ Payment Window] (Layout1)

         + [Other Payer Window] (Layout2)

What I tried to originally accomplish was to make a master slide for the Collector and the Employer windows which was a flaw in my logic. What I needed to do was use the Main navigation (parent directory) menu as the Master Slide and the place all of the sub windows such as the Collector Window (the child) and Employer Windows(the grandchild)  in slide layouts. 

The only thing I wish MS would come up with something like Flash Symbols that would allow you to update the base image which in turn updates all instances of the symbol in your project. This is helpful especially when images change. Anyway Jeanette your screenr was a huge help and maybe what I've learned and what I'm sharing will help someone else out.

Alexander Covan
Apparently PPT 2010 can layer text over video... will this translate to articulate?
Does it work with graphic shapes and transparent PNG images over video?
I have some associates building some amazing presentations in Keynote where they basically use video backdrops.
i think this is a great idea. Especially if a video can play in quiz maker then have quiz questions appear over the last frame.
Mike Enders


Articulate Presenter: Post production, one can switch out the background with a flash video to achieve the same effect you mention.  You can also utilize and FLV with an alpha channel as an overlay in Presenter.

Articulate Quizmaker: Quizmaker is a little more powerful in that you can achieve a layered effect similar to that which you are referencing in Keynote by adding shapes, Alpha PNGs, etc. right over the video and then having the quiz questions come in after the video ends.

A couple of years ago, I had played around with the idea of alpha flvs.   Here's a sample...it will take a while to load as I unfortunately paid little attention to optimizing the file sizes!  You may want to run it twice (Oh what I've learned in the past 2 years!).  The first 3 slides demonstrate flvs with alpha channels inserted into Presenter as a flash movie.  The fourth slide is done by switching out the video background post render.



David Anderson

Hi Alexander and welcome to the community!

PPT2010 introduced some really great features including new video options. Some of those features - including text over video - aren't currently supported in Presenter '09. That's due in part because video is inserted via Presenter's Insert Video option and not PowerPoint.

One option for layering text over videos is to set it up in PPT2010 and save everything as a new video. You can then insert the video into PowerPoint  via Articulate > Insert Flash Movie.

Now, if you're working with Quizmaker, you can easily layer text over video. Here's a screencast on the process: https://player.vimeo.com/video/148896218

Ron Price

I love a lot of the 2010 graphic capabilities (I was a fan of Microsoft's old Photo Draw program and now they have moved a lot of that functionality into 2010).  That being said - we do not use 2010 (yet) because of all of the training we do with people still in 2003 and even 2000  - we don't to be too many generations ahead of people we are leading.  "When a general gets too far ahead of his troops, he’s often mistaken for the enemy." (some dead person said that a long time ago)

So what I like about any version of PPT is: (without trying to repeat too many of the features already mentioned in this thread)

  • "Paste Special"  feature or "save as picture" (the cut out feature in 2010 is way cool, but pasting as a png together with "set transparent color" is an easy work-around.
  • The "End Position" tool for Motion paths (http://skp.mvps.org/)     "I like it a lot!" Lloyd Christmas
  • "Ctrl-D" - I use PowerPoints duplication feature maybe more than any other tool out there.

And the 2007/2010 feature of choice for me has to be "Selection Pane" - the ability to rename objects here is key.

And that's all I got to say about that.

David Anderson

So I went through the listed features shared in this thread and compiled them into a single "course". Thought it might be a fun way to view the lessons in a course format. Total runtime is 80 minutes.


Let me know what you'd add or remove from the "course"

Tom Thomas

Hi, I'm new to E-learning. Of numerous powerpoint options, I feel the ones like master template, picture or texture fill and the set transparent option are advantageous as far as an e-learning pro is concerned. Many other options including these three make Powerpoint a peerless one among the softwares of the same category, (if any exists)