10 PowerPoint Tips & Tricks That Will Save You Hours

Our good pal, PowerPoint, has been a part of countless school projects and work assignments over the years. Anyone can put together a PowerPoint presentation, but can you create an engaging slide deck that will save you time and WOW! the socks off your audience?

Luckily for you, I met with PowerPoint Wiz Rustom Patel (Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft) to talk about some of his favourite PowerPoint tips and tricks below. Get ready to have your mind blown!

#1 – Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know

The following shortcuts can save you loads of time as you’re putting together your PowerPoint. Saving a few seconds here and there may not sound like a lot, but it will definitely add up over the course of your career. How many of these did you know before reading this article?

Keyboard ShortcutWhy It’s Awesome
Ctrl + DDuplicate (copy/paste) your selection right away instead of having to Ctrl + C then Ctrl + V
Ctrl + Shift + > <Increase (>) or decrease (<) font size without having to click through the toolbar at the top
Ctrl + Alt + VPaste special (choose the format that you want to paste your selection as)
ShiftHold down [SHIFT] to contain aspect ratio and drag the shape to make it bigger or smaller
CtrlHold down [CTRL] to scale the shape while keeping the center axis
=rand(#)Formula for random text to fill the space with chosen # of lines (the quick brown fox jumps…).
Windows +Zoom in and out of your screen to focus on a specific part of your screen
F5Go into presentation mode

#2 – Size Matters

Ever find yourself opening up a PowerPoint file, and it just takes forever to load? One of the culprits could be because of image size. You do not need full sized images, so compressing them can reduce your file size by a tenth. This makes it easier to sync, share, and co-author with your teammates.

How to Compress Image Size

  1. Click on any image in your PowerPoint
  2. Go to the Picture Format tab at the top of your toolbar
  3. Click on the “Compress Pictures” button (a dialogue box will pop up)
  4. Uncheck the “Apply only to this picture” option (this will compress all the images in the PowerPoint)
  5. Select “Print” resolution (excellent quality for print and screens)
  6. Click “OK”

#3 – Auto Fit Your Text

Do you get annoyed when your text doesn’t seem to fit your shape as you’re adjusting its size? You can avoid making manual adjustments by following these steps:

  1. Right click on your shape and select “Format Shape”
  2. A sidebar will pop up on your right
  3. Click on Text Options
  4. Select “Shrink text on overflow” under Text Box

Now, whenever you resize your shape, the font size will automatically readjust to fit it!

#4 – Awesome Animations & Transitions

Ever sat in a presentation and saw a really cool animation or transition? Well, now you can also you keep your audience excited and engaged throughout your presentation. Here are a few cool animations to check out:

Morph It!

Under Transitions, you can select the Morph effect for smooth and seamless transitions on duplicated slides where you’re making a few changes. Check out the video tutorial below for an example:

YouTube Video: Morph your slides in PowerPoint

Smart Art Effect Options Animations

See the source image

Do you ever find yourself trying to duplicate your slides to show a sequence or process one-by-one? You can eliminate that redundancy by using Effect Options under the Animations tab:

  1. Select your Smart Art
  2. Go to the Animations tab at the top of your toolbar
  3. Choose the “Appear” (or similar) animation
  4. Click on “Effect Options” button in your toolbar
  5. Select “One By One”

Now, when you present, you can click through to see one step (or part of the Smart Art) at a time.


If you have a Surface Pro or similar device that allows inking, you can use the “Ink Replay” feature to explain or illustrate what you’re trying to present:

YouTube Video: In Replay in PowerPoint

#5 – Excel to PowerPoint Integration

Linking to Excel

This tip was actually something that I discovered as an intern when my manager posed the annoying problem of having to re-copy and paste from Excel to PowerPoint whenever any changes in the Excel were made. To sync your Excel table to your PowerPoint slide, follow these steps:

  1. Copy your table in Excel
  2. Go to your PowerPoint slide
  3. Go to the Home Tab at the top of your tool bar
  4. Click on “Paste Special” under Paste Options
  5. Select “Paste Link” option
  6. Click “OK”

Now, when you update your Excel spreadsheet, those changes will automatically show up in your PowerPoint slide.

Embedding from Excel

Another way you can integrate Excel with PowerPoint is through the embed paste option. This lets you paste your selection into the PowerPoint and make standalone edits as needed:

  1. Copy your table in Excel
  2. Go to your PowerPoint slide
  3. Right click on your slide and select “Embed” (or press E) under Paste Options

Now, if you need to edit this table in the future, you can double click on it to open up an Excel workbook within your PowerPoint (that is separate from the original Excel spreadsheet). You can make your edits directly within PowerPoint and then close the window to see your new changes.

#6 – Zoom Zoom Zoom

The Zoom feature is useful for making your presentations more dynamic, especially when you have lots of slides. It creates a visual table of contents for your PowerPoint. You can select which other slides or sections to show on your summary slide.

How to use the Zoom feature:

  1. Complete your PowerPoint
  2. Go to the Insert tab at the top of your toolbar
  3. Click on Zoom and select the Summary Zoom (Note: all 3 Zoom options work similarly, but you can read this 24 Slides article for a more detailed explanation).
  4. Select the slides that you want to insert
  5. They will now pop up on your slide and you can re-arrange them as you please

People who then view your Summary Zoom slide can then click on a particular topic to go directly to that slide or section instead of manually clicking through the PowerPoint.

#7 – Meet the Slide Master

The Slide Master controls the PowerPoint design and template (font size, colours, layouts, etc) that you see when you click on the “New Slide” button. For those who are design savvy, you can create or customize your own templates using the Slide Master.

  1. Go to the Search Bar at the top of your screen
  2. Type in “Slide Master”
  3. Click on “Slide Master View”
  4. Make edits to the look of your slide templates (add, change, delete)
  5. Click on “Close Master View” to return to your PowerPoint

Now, you can use your standardized slide layouts instead of having to duplicate existing slides and make manual changes.

#8 – Exporting Your Slide Deck

Did you know that you can save your PowerPoint as a PDF, Video, Image(s), or an Animated GIF?

  1. Go to the File Tab at the top of your toolbar
  2. Click on “Export” (you can also use “Save As”)
  3. Select which file type you want to export to

Now, you can share your PowerPoint in different formats!

#9 – Make More Than Just Presentations

Although PowerPoint is widely used for making presentations, it offers so much versatility for other use cases! For example, you can customize your file size to make it an 8.5″ x 11″ page and then create an information package or proposal. After you create your document, you can export it to PDF and the dynamic features and links will still work!

You can also create image like email signatures! All you need to do is group together some text, shapes, and images and save the your selections as a picture.

#10 – Record Slide Show

I recently discovered this feature, and I believe it is so under utilized! This is perfect for webinars or pre-recorded content because you can actually share your camera, speak, and make drawings on your slides if you need to.

  1. Go to the Search Bar at the top of your screen
  2. Type in “Record”
  3. Click on “Record Slide Show”
  4. A presenting window will pop up with your face in the bottom right corner
  5. Click on “Record” when you are ready to present and then “Stop”
  6. Click on “Replay” to watch yourself (you can clear recordings and re-do for each slide if you need to)
  7. Exit the presenting window when you’re satisfied

Now, when you present your PowerPoint, you will actually be seeing the recording in action! You can then export your PowerPoint as a video.

You’re Welcome!

Hopefully, you found this post super helpful and will be using these tips and tricks going forward. Special thanks again to Rustom for sharing these. Please check out his Medium blog here for more advanced PowerPoint tips and tricks!