Basic tasks for creating a PowerPoint presentation

PowerPoint presentations work like slide shows. To convey a message or a story, you break it down into slides. Think of each slide as a blank canvas for the pictures, words, and shapes that will help you build your story.

Choose a theme

When you open PowerPoint, you’ll see some built-in themes and templates. A theme is a slide design that contains matching colors, fonts, and special effects like shadows, reflections, and more.

  1. Choose a theme.

  2. Click Create, or pick a color variation and then click Create.

    shows the create new presentation from theme dialog in PowerPoint

Read more: Apply color and design to my slides (theme)

Insert a new slide

  • On the Home tab, click New Slide, and pick a slide layout.

    Shows new slide button on home tab of the ribbon in PowerPoint

Read more: Add, rearrange, and delete slides.

Save your presentation

  1. On the File tab, choose Save.

  2. Pick or browse to a folder.

  3. In the File name box, type a name for your presentation, and then choose Save.

Note   If you frequently save files to a certain folder, you can ‘pin’ the path so that it is always available (as shown below).

Save your presentation

Tip    Save your work as you go. Hit Ctrl+S often.

Read more: Save your presentation

Add text

Select a text placeholder, and begin typing.

Add text

Format your text

  1. Select the text.

  2. Under Drawing Tools, choose Format.

    Shows the drawing tools tab on the ribbon in PowerPoint

  3. Do one of the following:

  4. To change the color of your text, choose Text Fill, and then choose a color.

  5. To change the outline color of your text, choose Text Outline, and then choose a color.

  6. To apply a shadow, reflection, glow, bevel, 3-D rotation, a transform, choose Text Effects, and then choose the effect you want.

Read more:

Add pictures

On the Insert tab, do one of the following:

  • To insert a picture that is saved on your local drive or an internal server, choose Pictures, browse for the picture, and then choose Insert.

  • To insert a picture from the Web, choose Online Pictures, and use the search box to find a picture.

    Insert Pictures dialog

  • Choose a picture, and then click Insert.

Add speaker notes

Slides are best when you don’t cram in too much information. You can put helpful facts and notes in the speaker notes, and refer to them as you present.

  1. To open the notes pane, at the bottom of the window, click Notes notes button in PowerPoint.

  2. Click inside the Notes pane below the slide, and begin typing your notes.

    speaker notes pane in powerpoint

Read more:

Give your presentation

On the Slide Show tab, do one of the following:

Get out of Slide Show view

To get out of Slide Show view at any time, on the keyboard, press Esc.

Applies To: PowerPoint 2013, PowerPoint 2016 Preview



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