by Adam Noar
If you want to be a PRESENTATION HERO you need to work more efficiently and easily within PowerPoint.
This starts by knowing your essential PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts.
That’s why we have put together a list of 15 of the best PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts that we use ALL THE TIME when designing presentations.
These ninja like keyboard hacks will not only help you gain more control over your slides but will also save you lots of time!
Let’s begin with a quick summary and then go into each shortcut in more detail!
#1. Zoom In or Out of Your Current Slide by Using Ctrl + Mouse Wheel Spin.
Zooming in and out of your canvas is critical if you want to design your slides properly. By zooming in and out of your slide you will be able to get a close-up view of your file or zoom out to see more of the slide at a reduced size.
There are two ways you can zoom in and out of your slides:
The slow way or the fast way.
The slow way involves clicking on what object you want to zoom in on and then clicking on the magnification dial on the lower right hand corner of PowerPoint. This method gets the job done but involves a lot of mouse clicking.
The FAST way involves clicking on what object you want to zoom in on and then using the shortcut Ctrl + spinning your mouse wheel.
The way it works is simple:
Spinning your mouse wheel forward will zoom in on your current slide, while spinning it down will pull your view back.
Here’s a look at the canvas zoom keyboard shortcut in action:
Once you see the importance of zooming in and out of your slides you will be on the path of slide creation greatness!
#2. Reorder a Bulleted or Numbered List (Without Having to Cut and Paste) by Using Alt+Shift+Up and Alt+Shift+Down
While we don’t really advocate using bullet lists here at Presentation Panda we do realize that people still use them from time to time.
If you are going to include some type of list (a bullet list, numbered list, etc.) then you should know that there is a quick way to reorder your list if needed.
If you want to reorder your list simply place your text cursor next to the list item you want to move up or down and then hit Alt+Shift+Up (to move the item towards the the top of list) or Alt+Shift+Down (to move the item to the bottom of the list).
Here’s a look at the list reordering shortcut in action:
#3. Toggle Through Objects/Layers Using the Tab Key
When you’re dealing with more complex graphics and animations on your slide you need to be able to select certain objects on the slide quickly.
Selecting a particular object on your slide can sometimes be difficult when your graphics have multiple layers (objects overlapping one another).
When objects overlap one another, reaching the ones on the bottom of the pile has traditionally required workarounds, such as temporarily cutting or moving the ones on top. This can be quite tedious and a big time suck!
To select the particular object/layer that you want, all you have to do is keep hitting the Tab key until your object/layer is selected.
Here’s a look at the toggle shortcut in action:
#4. Undo Your Last Edit Using Ctrl + Z
When you’re creating your PowerPoint slides you are going to be making edits CONSTANTLY. There are often times you will need to undo your last action/edit.
You can either do this by hitting the undo button in the PowerPoint Ribbon or you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Z. If you want to redo your last action use the keyboard Ctrl + Y.
Bonus Tip: By default, PowerPoint limits the number of times you can undo an action to 20 times. You can increase this number up to 150 times by going to “File”, select “Options”, select the “Advanced” tab and then increase the number (up to 150).
#5. Select All Objects Using Ctrl + A
There are also times you need to be able to grab all the objects on your slide at once.
To do this all you have to do is press Ctrl +A. This will select all objects on the slide.
Bonus Tip: After you have selected all your objects you may decide that you want to deselect one or more of them. After you have selected all your objects (Ctrl + A) you can press Ctrl and then select the object(s) you want to deselect.
#6. Group Objects Together Using Ctrl + G
Grouping allows you to make two or more PowerPoint objects into a single ‘grouped’ object that you can more easily move around and manage on your slide.
To quickly group objects together, simply select multiple objects (you can do this by holding the Shift key), and with your objects selected, hit Ctrl + G.
To do the opposite (ungroup a group of objects) simply select a group of objects and hit Ctrl + Shift + G on your keyboard.
Note: only grouped objects can be ungrouped.
#7. Keep Proportions (Draw a Perfect Square, a Perfect Circle, etc.) by Holding Shift While You draw with the Mouse
PowerPoint doesn’t offer a square or circle AutoShape. You can try to create one, but there isn’t a built-in option that automatically produces one. Instead, you must start with the rectangle and oval AutoShape objects.
The next time you need to draw a perfect circle, square etc. simply hold down the Shift key and then draw the shape using your mouse. Be sure to release the mouse before you release the Shift key.
Bonus Tip: You can also hold the Shift key while you draw a line to create a perfectly straight line.
#8. Duplicate Objects Using Ctrl + D
It’s simple to create multiple versions of the same shape or picture in PowerPoint, but when you use a shortcut, it’s even easier.
Simply select the item you want to duplicate and then press Ctrl + D.
Another way to duplicate an object would be to Ctrl + C (to copy) and then Ctrl + V (to paste). However, using Ctrl +D is much faster since it only involves one step instead of two.
Bonus Tip: You can also duplicate an entire slide by selecting the slide thumbnail on the left side of the screen and then press Ctrl + D
#9. Insert a New Slide Using Ctrl + M
Unless you’re planning on giving a one slide presentation you want to be able to insert a new slide quickly (as you will be using lots of them).
The quickest way to insert a new slide is to simply press Ctrl + M on your keyboard.
#10. Change Font Size by Holding Shift + Ctrl and use the Greater Than (“>”) and Less Than (“<”) Keys
Adjusting font size in PowerPoint is nothing new. But to quickly fit your text the way you want it, you can simply highlight your text, hold Shift + Ctrl and use the greater than (“>”) and less than (“<”) keys to make it larger or smaller on the fly.
Trust me. This method works much better than guessing and typing in the font size into the PowerPoint Ribbon.
#11. Insert a Hyperlink with Ctrl + K
Here at Presentation Panda we LOVE hyperlinks.
By getting creative with the hyperlinks, you can get a Prezi-like functionality of jumping around to different parts of your presentation.
An easy example of this is creating a table of contents that is interactive. You can use it to skip ahead to wherever you want in your presentation, and then go back to choose your next destination.
An easy way to insert a hyperlink into your presentation is by selecting the object you want to apply a hyperlink to and then using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + K. Doing so will bring up the box where you can then indicate the place in the PowerPoint deck that you want to link to.
#12. Toggle Gridlines On and Off Using Shift + F9 for Better Alignment
Using PowerPoint’s grid and guides will help you keep objects aligned. There are several ways you can customize the grids including modifying the grid spacing, snapping of objects, and drawing guides.
There are times you may want to have grids turned on and other times you may not want to see them. Therefore, it’s good to know the PowerPoint shortcut for toggling grids on and off.
All you have to do is use Shift + F9 to toggle them on or off.
#13. Quickly Save Your Presentation Using Ctrl + S
It’s always smart to be saving your presentation frequently. I’m sure we have all experienced at least one occasion where we experienced an issue that caused PowerPoint to fail and if the file was not recently saved then we may have lost our most recent edits.
The fastest way to save your PowerPoint presentation is to use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + S.
We use this shortcut so often that it has almost become second nature. We find ourselves hitting using the shortcut without even thinking about it.
#14. Move Objects in Smaller Increments Using Ctrl + Arrow Keys
Sometimes you want to place a graphic object “just so” on a PowerPoint slide, but as you drag it with your mouse, it jumps to a spot on its own. Of course, this is near where you want it to be, but not quite the right place.
This can be VERY frustrating.
The quick way around this is to use the arrow keys on the keyboard, (found on the number keypad) instead of dragging the object with the mouse.
These keys will “nudge” the object left, right, up or down, a little at a time, until you can place it just where you want it.
The default nudge setting is 6 points. Points are units of the standard type size. There are 72 points in one inch, so each point measures 0.167 inches a very small measurement.
If the default setting for nudging is still too large for your purposes, you can make the increments of movement even smaller. Hold down the Ctrl key while using the arrow key (up, down, left, right). When doing this the nudge setting is reduced to 1.25 points, for finer manipulation of the object placement.
#15. Activate the On-Screen Laser Pointer in Slide Show Mode With Ctrl + L
In Slide Show mode, you can turn your mouse into a laser pointer to draw your audience’s attention to something on a slide.
To turn the laser pointer ON simply hit Ctrl + L. To turn the laser pointer OFF hit Ctrl + L again and the laser pointer will turn back into a mouse Pointer.
Note: you can only turn the laser pointer on during Slide Show mode. You can not turn it on when you’re editing your slides.
By knowing the essential PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts you will be able to efficiently design your slide deck in record time.
Keep in mind that PowerPoint has a TON of keyboard shortcuts that were not mentioned in this article. Rather than overwhelm you with all of the keyboard shortcut options, I wanted to focus on some of the ESSENTIAL ones that can significantly impact your PowerPoint productivity.
If you don’t feel you need keyboard shortcuts, remember that slow, inefficient ninjas are dead ninjas. If you practice these shortcuts and memorize them you will wonder how you ever got by without them!
Here’s my question to you:
After reading this article do you have any additional PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts that you find particularly helpful?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Lastly, do you have a friend that could benefit from learning about these ppt keyboard shortcuts? If so, email them the link to this post.
Thanks for reading and be sure to share this article if you enjoyed it (by using the sharing buttons to the left).
Hungry for more PowerPoint tips, tools, and tricks just like these? Here are a few articles you might like: