PowerPoint Perfection

PowerPoint is a presentations and animation tool suitable primarily for the mouse; Right? Well, not necessarily. You can perform many editing, often repetitive actions in PowerPoint with the keyboard, if you know how.

This will save you tons of time as well as cut down on the potential for tendonitis.

PowerPoint Perfection

Scenario – your boss has given you several lengthy presentations, which he wants you to edit – by tomorrow! If you want to edit these extremely quickly, then try the following method:

First, decide exactly what you need to edit:

  1. For proofing and editing a few slides occasionally, use Slide View (Alt + 3).
  2. To edit a Master slide, type (Alt + v +m), then use the arrow keys to edit the particular Master slide you desire.
  3. For proofing and/or modifying mostly text, use Outline view (Alt + 2).
    1. F6 jumps between the outline, the actual slide, and the note editing panes.

    2. Choose the left-hand outline pane, move the cursor with the down arrow to select any particular slide, and expand or contract that slide's contents by using the Context/Application key.

    3. You can also expand or contract all the slides by typing Ctrl + A.

    4. If you have to edit the text only of several slides, use Outline View –
      to change titles and add lines more efficiently.

  4. To search quickly for a graphic in a particular slide, try Slide Sorter view (Alt + 4).
    • When you find the desired slide, type Enter and PowerPoint will open that slide for you in Slide View.

The PageUp/Down keys scroll differently, depending on which view you've selected.In other words, scrolling in Outline and Slide View is slide by slide, while scrolling in Slide Sorter View occurs by row.

Now let's assume that we are simply editing in Slide View.

  1. Navigate to the desired presentation (see my first article "Of Mice and Keyboard Shortcuts" for time saving hints) and type Enter to open PowerPoint.
  2. Use PageUp/Down keys to navigate to the desired slide.
  3. Type (Shift) + Tab to select the text box that you want to edit; then type Enter to edit the text inside it..
  4. Type Shift + Alt + arrow keys (remember my "Word Outline View" article) to promote or demote text.

    Note:  Just as in Word, Hebrew-enabled users must be careful when promoting/demoting text not to change the   selected language.

  5. If you want to preview the changes to that slide, type Shift + F5 or F5 by itself to preview the presentation from the very beginning.

Suppose you have to add a slide or change a slide's format:

  • Ctrl + M adds a slide.
  • To change the layout, type Alt + O + L. ▪ To change the template, type Alt + O + Y.

A Summary of MS PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts

The table below summarizes most of the PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts. This information supplements the shortcuts that I presented in my previous columns.

Desired Action


Outline View

Slide View

Slide Sorter View

Alt + 2

Alt + 3

Alt + 4

Minimize, Maximize, Restore

Alt + Minus

View Slide Show from beginning


View Slide Show starting from present slide

Shift + F5

Beginning/end of presentation

Ctrl + Home/End

Navigates to each slide (row of slides) in order


Moves to desired block of text in a slide for editing

Shift/Tab + Enter within a slide

Jumps between outline, slide pane, and notes editor

F6 in Outline View

I apologize to my readers for this article's tardiness. I could not complete it over the Passover holiday.

Next time: I will explain how to use Keyboard Shortcuts in Internet Explorer.