Create a basic presentation in PowerPoint 2007

This article helps you quickly and easily create a basic presentation in Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 and points out additional features that you can use to sharpen and enhance your work.

What do you want to do?


Perhaps you need to create a PowerPoint presentation by the end of the day, but you haven't created one before. Or perhaps you created PowerPoint presentations a long time ago, but you don't remember how.

This article is a great place to start learning (or remembering) how to use PowerPoint. By the end of this article, you will have a new PowerPoint presentation, and a solid foundation of knowledge and confidence about using Office PowerPoint 2007.

 Notes 

  • If you are already familiar with Office PowerPoint 2003 or earlier, and you want information about the new features in Office PowerPoint 2007, see the article What's new in Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007.
  • You may find it useful to print this article before you begin work, so that you don't have to switch between the onscreen article and the PowerPoint window. To print this article, press CTRL+P.

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Familiarize yourself with the PowerPoint workspace

Do one of the following:

  • If Office PowerPoint 2007 is already running, save and close any open presentations, and then exit and restart PowerPoint 2007.

Find links to information about saving presentations in the See Also section.

  • If Office PowerPoint 2007 isn't already running, start it now.

When you start PowerPoint, it opens in the view (view: A way of displaying the contents of a presentation and providing the user with the means to interact with it.) called Normal view, where you create and work on slides.

Workspace when you first start PowerPoint

Callout 1 In the Slide pane, you can work directly on individual slides.
Callout 3 The Slides tab shows a thumbnail (thumbnail: A miniature representation of a picture.) version of each full size slide shown in the Slide pane. After you add other slides, you can click a thumbnail on the Slides tab to make the slide appear in the Slide pane. Or you can drag thumbnails to rearrange the slides in your presentation. You can also add or delete slides on the Slides tab.
Callout 4 In the Notes pane (notes pane: The pane in normal view in which you type notes that you want to accompany a slide. You print these notes as notes pages or have them display when you save a presentation as a Web page.), you can type notes about the current slide. You can hand out your notes to your audience or refer to your notes in Presenter view when you give your presentation.

 Note   By default, Office PowerPoint 2007 applies the Blank Presentation template (template: A file or files that contain the structure and tools for shaping such elements as the style and page layout of finished files. For example, Word templates can shape a single document, and FrontPage templates can shape an entire Web site.), which appears in the preceding illustration, to new presentations. Blank Presentation is the simplest and most generic of the templates in Office PowerPoint 2007. Blank Presentation is a good template to use when you first start working with PowerPoint because it is straightforward and can be adapted to many presentation types. To create a new presentation that is based on the Blank Presentation template, click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, click New, click Blank and recent under Templates, and then double-click Blank Presentation under Blank and recent.

After you open the Blank Presentation template, only a small portion of the Notes pane is visible. To see a larger portion of the Notes pane so that you have more room to type in it, do the following:

  1. Point to the top border of the Notes pane.
  2. When the pointer becomes a Horizontal splitter bar, drag the border up to make a little more room for your speaker notes, as shown in the following illustration.

Workspace with resized Notes pane

Notice that the slide in the Slide pane resizes automatically to fit the available space.

Near the top of the screen are three buttons that you may find useful:

  • Undo Button image, which undoes your last change. (To see a ScreenTip (ScreenTip: A short description that appears when the user holds the mouse pointer over an object, such as a button or hyperlink.) about which action will be undone, rest your pointer on the button. To see a menu of other recent changes that can also be undone, click the arrow to the right of Undo Button image.) You can also undo a change by pressing CTRL+Z.
  • Redo Button image or Repeat Button image, which either repeats or redoes your last change, depending on what action you just performed. (To see a ScreenTip about which action will be repeated or redone, rest your pointer on the button.) You can also repeat or redo a change by pressing CTRL+Y.
  • Microsoft Office PowerPoint Help Button image, which opens the PowerPoint Help pane. You can also open Help by pressing F1.

Links to more information

Customize the Quick Access Toolbar

Views in PowerPoint

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Name and save your presentation

As with any software program, it is a good idea to name and save your presentation right away and then to save your changes frequently while you work:

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, point to Save As, and then do one of the following:
    • For a presentation that can be opened only in Office PowerPoint 2007, click PowerPoint Presentation.
    • For a presentation that can be opened in either Office PowerPoint 2007 or earlier versions of PowerPoint, click PowerPoint 97-2003 Presentation.

If you choose this option, you cannot use any of the features that are new in Office PowerPoint 2007.

  1. In the Save As dialog box, in the Save in list, select the folder or other location where you want to save your presentation.
  2. In the File name box, type a name for your presentation, or do nothing to accept the default file name, and then click Save.

From now on, you can press CTRL+S or click Save Button image near the top of the screen to save your presentation quickly at any time.

Links to more information

Use PowerPoint 2007 to open or save a presentation in another file format

Save a file

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Add, rearrange, and delete slides

The single slide that is provided automatically in your presentation has two placeholders, one formatted for a title and the other formatted for a subtitle. The arrangement of placeholders on a slide is called a layout (layout: The arrangement of elements, such as title and subtitle text, lists, pictures, tables, charts, AutoShapes, and movies, on a slide.). Office PowerPoint 2007 also provides other types of placeholders, such as those for pictures and SmartArt graphics.

When you add a slide to your presentation, you can do the following to choose a layout for the new slide at the same time:

  1. On the Slides tab, click just below the single slide that already appears there.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Slides group, click the arrow next to New Slide.

Arrow next to New Slide button

A gallery appears, showing thumbnails of the various slide layouts that are available.

Gallery of available slide layouts

Callout 1 The name identifies the content that each layout is designed for.
Callout 2 Placeholders that display colored icons can contain text, but you can also click the icons to automatically insert objects, including SmartArt graphics and clip art (clip art: A single piece of ready-made art, often appearing as a bitmap or a combination of drawn shapes.).
  1. Click the layout that you want for your new slide.

The new slide now appears both on the Slides tab, where it is highlighted as the current slide, and in the Slide pane. Repeat this procedure for each new slide that you want to add.

 Tip   If you want your new slide to have the same layout that the preceding slide has, you can just click New Slide instead of clicking the arrow next to it.

Identify how many slides you need

To calculate the number of slides that you need, make an outline of the material that you plan to cover, and then divide the material into individual slides. You probably want at least:

  • A main title slide
  • An introductory slide that lists the major points or areas in your presentation
  • One slide for each point or area that is listed on the introductory slide
  • A summary slide that repeats the list of major points or areas in your presentation

By using this basic structure, if you have three major points or areas to present, you can plan to have a minimum of six slides: a title slide, an introductory slide, one slide for each of the three major points or areas, and a summary slide.

Simple six slide presentation

If there is a large amount of material to present in any of your main points or areas, you may want to create a subgrouping of slides for that material by using the same basic outline structure.

 Tip   Consider how much time each slide should be visible on the screen during your presentation. A good standard estimate is from two to five minutes per slide.

Apply a new layout to a slide

To change the layout of an existing slide, do the following:

  1. On the Slides tab, click the slide that you want to apply a new layout to.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Slides group, click Layout, and then click the new layout that you want.

 Note   If you apply a layout that doesn't have enough of the right kind of placeholders for the content that already exists on the slide, additional placeholders are automatically created to contain that content.

Copy a slide

If you want to create two slides that are similar in content and layout, you can save work by creating one slide that has all of the formatting and content that both slides will share and then making a copy of that slide before you add the final, individual touches to each.

  1. On the Slides tab, right-click the slide that you want to copy, and then click Copy on the shortcut menu (shortcut menu: A menu that shows a list of commands relevant to a particular item. To display a shortcut menu, right-click an item or press SHIFT+F10.).
  2. Still on the Slides tab, right-click where you want to add the new copy of the slide, and then click Paste on the shortcut menu.

You can also insert a copy of a slide from one presentation into another presentation.

Rearrange the order of slides

  • On the Slides tab, click the slide that you want to move, and then drag it to the location that you want.

To select multiple slides, click a slide that you want to move, and then press and hold CTRL while you click each of the other slides that you want to move.

Delete a slide

  • On the Slides tab, right-click the slide that you want to delete, and then click Delete Slide on the shortcut menu.

Links to more information

Create and print a presentation in Outline view

Copy and paste your slides

Overview of layouts

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Add and format text

The most common content for slides in a PowerPoint presentation is text — in titles, headings, and bulleted lists.

  • To add text to any slide, click the placeholder where you want to add the text, and then type or paste the text that you want to add.

Format bulleted lists

Some placeholders automatically format your text as a bulleted list, and other placeholders don't. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, do either of the following:

  • To switch between a bulleted list and unbulleted text, select the text, and then click Bullets Button image.
  • To change the style of the bullet characters in a bulleted list, click the arrow next to Bullets Button image, and then click the bullet style that you want.

You can also make these changes by using the Mini toolbar, which is a handy, miniature, semitransparent toolbar that becomes available when you select text. To see the Mini toolbar clearly, rest your pointer on it. To use the Mini toolbar, click any of the available commands.

 Tip   You can also display the Mini toolbar by right-clicking unselected text.

Change the appearance of text

There are many ways to change the appearance of text on a slide, ranging from basic buttons on the Home tab for formatting font, style, size, color, and paragraph characteristics to more advanced options, such as animation (animate: To add a special visual or sound effect to text or an object. For example, you can have your text bullet points fly in from the left, one word at a time, or hear the sound of applause when a picture is uncovered.) or conversion to SmartArt graphics.

Add speaker's notes

Too much text makes a slide cluttered and distracting to your audience. But if some of the information that you need isn't on the screen that your audience sees, how can you keep track of it?

The solution to this dilemma is speaker's notes, which you can type in the Notes pane for each slide. Speaker's notes help you keep your onscreen presentation free of excess content while you still keep track of all of the information that you need during the presentation.

 Tip   You can easily cut excessively detailed text from the Slide pane at any time and then paste that text directly into the Notes pane so that you still have it for reference.

You can print your speaker's notes and then refer to them while you give your presentation. Alternatively, if you run your Office PowerPoint 2007 presentation from one monitor (at a podium, for example) while your audience views it on a second monitor, you can use Presenter's view to display the notes only on your monitor while you are presenting.

Links to more information

Deliver a presentation on two monitors by using Presenter view

Add formatting to your document by using the Mini toolbar

Use automatic formatting as you type

Create and print notes pages

Add text to a slide

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Apply a more appropriate look to your presentation

So far, you have focused on the arrangement and the basic content of your slides. Now, consider the overall appearance of your presentation. What visual tone do you want? What look and feel will make it clear and attractive to your audience?

Office PowerPoint 2007 provides a wide variety of design themes (theme: A set of unified design elements that provides a look for your document by using color, fonts, and graphics.) that make it easy to change the overall look of your presentation. A theme is a set of design elements that provides a specific, unified appearance for all of your Office documents by using particular combinations of colors, fonts (font: A graphic design applied to all numerals, symbols, and alphabetic characters. Also called type or typeface. Arial and Courier New are examples of fonts. Fonts usually come in different sizes, such as 10 point, and various styles, such as bold.), and effects.

Office PowerPoint 2007 automatically applies the Office theme to presentations that are created by using the Blank Presentation template, but you can easily change the look of your presentation at any time by applying a different theme.

Same slide with two different themes applied

Apply a different theme to your presentation

  • On the Design tab, in the Themes group, click the document theme that you want to apply.

 Notes 

  • To preview how the current slide looks with a particular theme applied, rest your pointer on the thumbnail of that theme.
  • To see thumbnails of additional themes, click the arrows next to the row of thumbnails.

Arrows for showing more themes

  • Unless you specify otherwise, Office PowerPoint 2007 applies themes to the entire presentation. To change the appearance of only selected slides, on the Slides tab, press and hold CTRL while you click each slide that you want to change. When all of the slides are selected, right-click the theme that you want to apply to them, and then click Apply to Selected Slides on the shortcut menu.
  • If you decide later that you want a different theme, click that theme to apply it.

Links to more information

Apply or customize a document theme

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Add clip art, SmartArt graphics, and other objects

You want to create the most effective visual presentation possible — and often, a series of slides that contains only bulleted lists is not the most dynamic choice. Lack of visual variety can cause your audience's attention to drift. And many kinds of information aren't most clearly expressed in a paragraph or a bulleted list.

Same slide content with and without graphical content

Fortunately, Office PowerPoint 2007 makes it possible to add many other kinds of audio and visual content, including tables, SmartArt graphics, clip art (clip art: A single piece of ready-made art, often appearing as a bitmap or a combination of drawn shapes.), shapes, charts, music, movies, sounds, and animations. You can add hyperlinks (hyperlink: Colored and underlined text or a graphic that you click to go to a file, a location in a file, a Web page on the World Wide Web, or a Web page on an intranet. Hyperlinks can also go to newsgroups and to Gopher, Telnet, and FTP sites.), too — to move more flexibly both within your presentation and to locations outside of it — and you can add eye-catching transitions (transition: One of a set of transitional display effects that are available in some Microsoft Office applications. Transitions specify how the display changes (such as fading to black) as a user moves from one item (such as slide or Web page) to another.) between slides.

This section introduces just a few of the most basic kinds of objects and effects that you can add to your slides.

Add clip art

  1. Click the placeholder that you want to add clip art to.

If you don't select a placeholder, or if you select a placeholder that cannot contain an image, the clip art is inserted at the center of the slide.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click Clip Art.

The Clip Art task pane opens.

  1. In the Clip Art task pane, locate the clip art that you want, and then click it.

You can now move the clip art, resize it, rotate it, add text to it, and make other changes.

 Tip   To search for additional clip art on the Microsoft Office Online site, click the Clip art on Office Online link at the bottom of the Clip Art task pane.

Convert slide text to a SmartArt graphic

A SmartArt graphic is a visual representation of your information that you can fully customize. Converting your text to a SmartArt graphic is a quick way to convert existing slides to professionally designed illustrations. For example, with one click, you can convert an Agenda slide to a SmartArt graphic.

Converted PowerPoint Agenda slide

You can choose from many built-in layouts to communicate your message or ideas effectively.

To convert existing text to a SmartArt graphic:

  1. Click the placeholder that contains the text that you want to convert.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click Convert to SmartArt Graphic Button image.
  3. In the gallery, to see how a SmartArt graphic looks with your text, rest your pointer over the thumbnail for that SmartArt graphic. The gallery contains layouts for SmartArt graphics that work best with bulleted lists. To view the entire set of layouts, click More SmartArt Graphics.

When you find a SmartArt graphic that you like, click it to apply it to your text.

You can now move the SmartArt graphic, resize it, rotate it, add text to it, apply a different Quick Style (Quick Styles: Collections of formatting options that make formatting your documents and objects easier.) to it, and make other changes.

Although it is especially easy to create a SmartArt graphic for existing text, you can also work the other way around, by first inserting the SmartArt graphic that you want and then adding text to it:

  1. Click the placeholder that you want to add a SmartArt graphic to.

If you don't select a placeholder, or if you select a placeholder that cannot contain an image, the SmartArt graphic is inserted at the center of the slide.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click SmartArt.
  2. In the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box, in the leftmost pane, click the type of SmartArt graphic that you want.
  3. In the center pane, locate and click the layout that you want, and then click OK.

 Tip   To see a preview of any layout, click that layout. The preview appears in the rightmost pane.

Add a slide transition

Slide transitions are animation-like effects that occur when you move from one slide to the next. Office PowerPoint 2007 provides many types of slide transitions, including standard fades, dissolves, cuts, and wipes, as well as more unusual transitions such as wheels and checkerboards.

  • On the Animations tab, in the Transition to This Slide group, click the transition that you want.

 Notes 

  • To preview how the current slide looks with a particular transition applied, rest your pointer on the thumbnail of that transition.
  • To see thumbnails of additional transitions, click the arrows next to the row of thumbnails.

Arrows for showing more transitions

  • If you decide later that you want a different transition, click that transition to apply it.

You can choose other options in the Transition to This Slide group to control the transition speed, to add a sound, and to apply the same transition to all of the slides in the presentation.

Links to more information

Apply or change a Quick Style for shapes

Learn more about SmartArt graphics

Add transitions between slides

Add, change, or delete shapes

Add a table to a slide

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Add hyperlinks

You can use hyperlinks to move from one slide to another, to a network or Internet location, or even to another file or program altogether.

  1. Select the text that you want to click to activate the hyperlink.

Alternatively, you can select an object (a piece of clip art, for example, or a SmartArt graphic).

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Links group, click Hyperlink.
  2. In the Insert Hyperlink dialog box, click the appropriate button in the My Places box for the target of your link (that is, the place where the link takes you).

To go to another slide in your presentation, for example, click Place in This Document.

  1. Find and click the target location, make any changes that you want in the Text to display and Address boxes, and then click OK.

Links to more information

Create a hyperlink

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Check the spelling and preview your presentation

When all of your slides look just like you want them to, there are two more steps to finishing your presentation.

Check the spelling in your presentation

Even though the spelling checker is turned on automatically in Office PowerPoint 2007, it is still a good idea to check spelling again after you finish working on your presentation:

  1. Press CTRL+HOME to move to the top of your presentation.
  2. On the Review tab, in the Proofing group, click Spelling.

If Office PowerPoint 2007 finds spelling mistakes, it displays a dialog box, and the first misspelled word found by the spelling checker is selected. You indicate how you want to resolve each error that the program finds. After you resolve each misspelled word, the program selects the next one, and so forth.

Preview your presentation as a slide show

To view your presentation on your computer screen exactly the way that it will look to your audience when you are presenting, do the following:

  1. On the Slide Show tab, in the Start Slide Show group, do one of the following:
    • To start with the first slide in the presentation, click From Beginning.
    • To start with the slide that currently appears in the Slide pane, click From Current Slide.

The presentation opens in Slide Show view.

  1. Click to advance to the next slide.

 Tip   To return to Normal view at any time, press ESC.

Of course, you can also preview your presentation at any time while you are creating it.

Links to more information

Check spelling and grammar

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Learn about preparing to deliver your presentation

Now that your presentation is complete, what you do next depends upon who will give the presentation, as well as where it will be given and what equipment will be used:

  • Will the presentation be run on the computer on which it was created or on another computer, or will it be delivered via a CD or a network location?
  • If the presentation is given live, will you or someone else present it, or will it be self-running?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you may need to complete the following processes in the given order, in a different order, or (in some cases) not at all:

  • Rehearse and time    It is important to leave sufficient time for whoever is giving the presentation to make sure that it fits within the schedule (including time at the end for questions, if appropriate), and to rehearse it adequately. It is a good idea to rehearse the presentation in the space where it will be given, using the equipment that will be used, and preferably in front of at least one or two people. This way, the presenter can become comfortable with the facilities and with a live audience — and feedback from that audience can be useful in identifying any elements that you need to revise before the actual performance.
  • Print handouts and speaker's notes    You can print your presentation either as speaker's notes or as handouts:
    • Speaker's notes show one slide at the top of each printed page, along with the content of the Notes pane for that slide at the bottom of the page, and can be used by the speaker as a script or outline during the presentation. They can also be distributed to the audience, so that each member has more complete information from the presentation.
    • Handouts show one, two, three, four, six, or nine slides per printed page and are intended for cases in which it isn't desirable to include the Notes pane contents in the distribution to the audience. (The three-slides-per-page handout includes ruled space where the audience can write notes.)

Handouts and speaker's notes

  • Package for CD or Web distribution    When you use the Package for CD feature to copy your finished PowerPoint presentation to a CD, to a network location, or to the hard disk on your computer, Microsoft Office PowerPoint Viewer 2007 and any files that are linked to your presentation (such as movies or sounds) are copied as well. That way, all of the elements of the presentation are included, and people who do not have Office PowerPoint 2007 installed on their computers can still view the presentation.

Links to more information

Copy a presentation to a CD, network, or local disk drive

Rehearse and time the delivery of a presentation

Create a self-running presentation

Create and print notes pages

Create and print handouts

Congratulations!

You are now familiar with the processes that you need to create a basic Office PowerPoint 2007 presentation.

Now that you know the fundamentals, you can begin to branch out and experiment with other features. PowerPoint provides a large range of options for making your presentations more effective, flexible, and exciting. You will find useful ideas and advice in Help and on the Microsoft Office PowerPoint Home Page at Microsoft Office Online.

Don’t have the 2007 Office release yet?

Download a free trial button

Buy the 2007 Office release

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Applies to:
PowerPoint 2007