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Troubleshoot PowerPoint Designer

Ask for design ideas any time by choosing Design > Design Ideas on the ribbon. The PowerPoint Designer toolbar button

If PowerPoint Designer doesn't have any design ideas for you or you don't see the Design Ideas button, there are a few possible reasons for that situation.

Design Ideas are only available to Office 365 subscribers

On desktop versions of PowerPoint, only subscribers get design ideas. You can try or buy a subscription here.

On PowerPoint Online, Design Ideas are available to folks who have Office 365 for business.

Two Office 365 subscription packages don't include Design Ideas: Office 365 Germany and Office 365 operated by 21Vianet.

Turn on the Office intelligent services

To use PowerPoint Designer, make sure that Office intelligent services are turned on:

Go to File > Options and look for Office intelligent services on the General tab.

Go to File > Options > General to enable or disable Intelligent Services

See Enabling and disabling intelligent services for more information.

An administrator may have turned off PowerPoint Designer

PowerPoint Designer is a feature for Office 365 subscribers, but some organizations turn off the feature. If you have an Office 365 subscription but don't see the Design Ideas button, ask your IT department.

Reinstall Office to get subscriber features

If you've upgraded from Office to an Office 365 subscription, you need to uninstall Office and then reinstall in order to get the subscriber features. See the instructions in these articles:

  1. Uninstall Office from a PC or Uninstall Office 2016 for Mac

  2. Reinstall Office 365

Restart the app to get PowerPoint Designer

Sometimes users find that the first time they start PowerPoint after installing Office 365, the Design Ideas button isn't available. Restarting the app fixes this problem.

If there are no Design Ideas available for you, a few things might be the cause. First of all:

  • Make sure you're connected to the Internet. PowerPoint Designer goes online to get its Design Ideas.

  • Use a theme that comes with PowerPoint (not a custom theme or one that you've downloaded from elsewhere).

Following are other problems and how to solve them:

No design ideas for slides with pictures

  • Make sure your slide has either the Title or Title + Content slide layout applied.

  • Don't use any additional objects or shapes on the same slide as your photo.

  • Use a maximum of four photos (.jpg, .png, .gif, or .bmp) per slide, and make sure they're larger than 200 x 200 pixels in size.

No design ideas for process-based slides

  • Make sure your slide has the Title + Content slide layout applied.

  • Don't use any additional photos, objects, or shapes on the same slide as your process text.

Because PowerPoint Designer is a relatively new service, it is still learning new tricks. If Designer can’t generate high-quality options for you, it won’t show any options at all. We're working hard to be able to generate great design ideas for more varieties of your content.

And of course, if you don’t find Designer useful, you can turn it off by going to File > Options > General, and then clearing the box that says Automatically show me design ideas.

Someone else is editing

If you are co-authoring a presentation with someone else and more than one person is actively editing a single slide at one time, Designer won't give design suggestions on that slide.

However, as soon as there's only person editing the slide, Designer will begin offering design suggestions again once that person does an action (such as adding a photo) that Designer can respond to.

No design ideas for slides that have shapes or text boxes

PowerPoint Designer isn't able to suggest design ideas when a slide has a shape or text box drawn on it. You can have photos and you can have text in a placeholder.

If you can see the Design Ideas button in PowerPoint but it's grayed out, it means:

  • You aren't connected to the internet, or

  • A single slide isn't selected. This can be the case when multiple slides are selected in the slide thumbnail pane in Normal view, or when the focus in the thumbnail pane is between two slides. It also is the case when the focus is in the Notes pane or you are in Slide Show view rather than Normal view.

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