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7 tips to master PowerPoint presentations

PowerPoint has been around since 1987 and is a popular presentation tool used by academics and professionals across industries. The tool has evolved and has advanced features today, like the Morph transition and Record Slide Show. However, there are several older features that you might not know how to use to your advantage to enhance your presentations.

Master PowerPoint presentations with these 7 easy tips with the step-by-step processes explained.

#1 Use Slide Master

Use the slide master to bring uniformity to your presentations and to save time by adding repetitive elements to one master slide rather than each slide. Access the slide master here:

Step 1: Navigate to View > Slide Master from the top menu/ribbon.

  • Step 2: On the first slide in the slide master tab, add your company logo, website, and other details you want on all your slides.
  • Step 3: Switch to the Home tab at the top to edit the font and colours to match those from your brand guidelines. Once done, tap the Slide Master tab.
  • Step 4: Go to the other layouts and make custom edits to these slide formats. You can add background design elements to some or all of your slides.
  • Note that the changes you make here will reflect on the slides in the actual presentation.
  • Step 5: After making changes, tap Close Master View from the menu.

Remember that you can only edit these elements by re-opening the slide master tab.

Also read: How to add a watermark to PowerPoint?

#2 Play around with shapes

To create design elements, use the Insert > Shapes tab. There are plenty of shapes available for you to choose from in the Shapes library, but if you want to create a custom shape, you can use the Merge Shapes functions. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Go to Insert > Shapes and choose 2 or more shapes.

Insert shapes in PowerPoint.
  • Step 2: Place them so they intersect or overlap to create a new shape.
  • Step 3: Select all the shapes and tap Format Shapes from the top menu.
  • Step 4: With the shapes still selected, tap Merge Shapes and select one of the options from the drop-down menu: Union, Combine, Fragment, Intersect, Subtract
Use the Merge Shapes function.

Also read: How to add page numbers to PowerPoint?

#3 Add images, videos and graphics

Look for icons, illustrations, stickers, videos and more, in the creative content library on PowerPoint, available to Microsoft 365 subscribers. You can pick images from the PowerPoint creative content library or free online picture galleries like Pexels, Pixaby and Freepick.

To enhance your images, you can combine the Merge Shape and Insert Picture functions. Here is how:

Step 1: Navigate to Insert > Picture and click on Stock Images from the drop-down menu.

Step 2: Search for a stock image and tap Insert.

You can also download a picture from an online image gallery and insert the picture by navigating to Insert > Picture > This Device, then selecting the picture from your device files and tapping open.

Explore the creative content library.

Step 3: Enlarge the image so that it covers the whole slide.

Step 4: Add 2 to 3 shapes on top of the image background to create a graphic. For example, add a white rectangle to cover the entire slide and insert 4 rounded rectangles on top.

Step 5: Select the rounded rectangles. Go to Shape Format > Merge Shapes > Union.

Use the Merge Shapes function.

Step 6: Select the white rectangle first, then click on the unified shape consisting of the 4 rounded rectangles. Go to Shape Format > Merge Shapes > Subtract.

You will be left with rectangular cutouts through which the background image is seen.

#4 Animate text and objects

Animations can add a fluid feel to your presentations, establish the hierarchy of elements and declutter your slide. By tweaking the settings in the animation pane, navigating through your slides while you present is easy.

Remember that overdoing animations can cause visual distress and appear unprofessional in a formal setting, so choose your animations wisely and keep them to a minimum.

Follow these steps to create a text/object animation:

Step 1: Tap the text or object you want to animate and select Animation from the menu at the top.

Step 2: Tap the drop-down next to the animation styles to look at all available options.

Fly in animation applied to the rectangular object.

Step 3: Tap the animation style you want to use. Then click on Animation Pane and adjust the start so that the animation starts with a click, with or after the previous animation. Also, choose the animation’s duration and the delay time if required.

If you want to apply the same animation effect to another object, tap the animation, select Animation Painter from the top menu, and click on the text or object you want to animate in the same style.

If you have more than one animation on a slide, you can change their chronology from the Animation Pane.

Also read: How to change the bullet point colour in Powerpoint?

#5 Use slide transitions

PowerPoint recently introduced the Morph Transition to create seamless animation between multiple slides. It gives the illusion that the content is transitioning on the same slide rather than causing a break between the slides.

To use the Morph Transition or other transition styles, follow these steps:

Step 1: Select the slide you want to add a transition to, then select Transitions from the top menu.

Step 2: View all the transition options available by tapping the downward arrow and selecting a transition style from the options.

Adding the Morph transition to a slide.

During a presentation, you might want to reference an earlier slide during the Q & A session or skip to a slide ahead due to time constraints, but manually going back and forth might not be convenient. In this case, you can add a contents tab to the top, bottom, or side of all the slides to jump quickly to any presentation section.

Step 1: Create a menu at the page’s top, bottom, or side. To do so, you can add text boxes and insert the topic’s name along with the relevant section number inside the box.

Step 2: Right-click one of the text boxes and tap Hyperlink from the drop-down menu.

Step 3: Select Place in This Document and choose the slide you want to link the box to.

Step 4: Repeat the boxes’ steps and copy and paste the menu on all slides.

You can now easily navigate to any slide or section with one click, no matter where you are in the presentation.

#7 Record narration

Users can record their screen, audio and video with pointer movements and add the recordings to the relevant slides. This feature is especially useful when creating prerecorded presentations for webinars, lessons or tutorials.

To access the record tab, do the following:

Step 1: Navigate to Record from the top menu/ribbon.

Step 2: Under the record tab, take a screenshot, start a screen recording, record audio, and insert a video.

Step 3: Choose Record > From Beginning to record the slideshow.

Step 4: Now, tap the Record button to capture audio and video narration for each corresponding slide. Go to the previous or the next slide using the arrows on either side of the slide. Note that the system does not record in between slides. Wait until the screen changes to the next or the previous slide once you click the left or right arrow.

Step 5: Tap Stop once you are done recording. Your audio or video recording will appear on the respective slides.

Also read: How to delete a slide in PowerPoint?

Bonus Tip – Slide Overview

Once you are done creating the presentation, view all the pages together using the Slide Sorter. You can view all the slides side-by-side at the same time.

Remove any additional elements that distract from the main content. Ensure that all the slides share a common theme so they look like they are part of the same presentation.

Step 1: From the top menu, select View > Slide Sorter.

You can access the slide sorter from the bottom of the screen. Click on the grid icon for the Slide Sorter view.

Also read: Fix: An error occurred while Powerpoint was saving the file

Vanashree Chowdhury

Vanashree Chowdhury

Being a tech enthusiast, Vanashree enjoys writing about technology and cybersecurity. She is a designer and marketer by profession and is deeply passionate about working on campaigns for social issues. You can contact her here: