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Microsoft PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint Title

Quick Start Guide

Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 looks different from previous versions, so wee created this guide to help you minimize the learning curve.

Quick Start Guide

When you first open PowerPoint 2013, you'll see that you have several choices for getting started -- using a template, a theme, a recent file, or a blank presentation.
PowerPoint Quick Start Guide

How to get help with PowerPoint 2013

If you've been using earlier versions of PowerPoint, you'll probably have questions about where to find certain commands in PowerPoint 2013.

There are many free resources available to help you learn PowerPoint 2013, including training courses, Getting Started help topics and videos, and basic tasks. To find these materials, select the PowerPoint Help button (the question mark) in the upper right corner of the PowerPoint window.
PowerPoint Help window

Create custom ribbon tabs and groups

You can create custom tabs or groups on the ribbon and add buttons with the commands you want. Right-click any ribbon tab or group, and then select Customize the Ribbon.
Customize the ribbon

Next, add commands from the PowerPoint Options box. For example, you could create a tab called Frequent, and then add some of your most frequently-used commands to a custom group on this tab.

If you make a mistake, you can use the Reset button to go back to the default ("factory") settings.

Some older PowerPoint commands don't appear on the ribbon, but they're still available. In the PowerPoint Options dialog box, select Customize Ribbon, and then, in the Choose commands from list, select Commands Not in the Ribbon. Now find the commands you want and add them to a custom ribbon tab or group.

Things you might be looking for

Use the list below to find some of the more common tools and commands in PowerPoint 2013.

  • To open, save, print, share, send, export, convert, or protect files, select File and then look in the Backstage view (select the commands in the left pane).
  • To add slides, apply a layout, change fonts, align text, or apply Quick Styles, select Home and then look in the Slides, Font, Paragraph, Drawing, and Editing groups.
  • To insert tables, pictures, shapes, SmartArt, WordArt, charts, comments, header and footer, video, or audio, select Insert and then look in the Tables, Images, Illustrations, Comments, Text, and Media groups.
  • To apply a theme, change the color of a theme, change the slide size, change the background of a slide, or add a watermark, select Design and then look in the Themes, Variants, or Customize groups.
  • To apply or adjust the timing of a transition, select Transitions and then look in the Transition and Timing groups.
  • To apply or adjust the timing of an animation, select Animations and then look in the Animation, Advanced Animation, and Timing groups.
  • To start a slide show, set up a slide show, specify monitors for use with Presenter view, select Slide Show and then look in the Start Slide Show, Set Up, and Monitors groups.
  • To check spelling, enter and review comments, or compare presentations, select Review and then look in the Proofing, Comments, and Compare groups.
  • To change views, edit a master view, show grids, guides, and rulers, zoom in, switch between PowerPoint windows, and use macros, select View and then look in the Presentation Views, Master Views, Show, Zoom, Window, and Macros groups.

Access frequently-used commands

The Quick Access Toolbar, in the upper-left corner of the PowerPoint window, is a great place to add shortcut buttons to the commands you'll use most often.

Select the drop-down arrow next to the Quick Access Toolbar to add or remove the commands listed on the shortcut menu.
Quick Access Toolbar

If the command you want to add isn't shown in the list, switch to the ribbon tab where the button resides, and then right-click it there. On the shortcut menu, select Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

Intuitive tools at your fingertips

Note that some ribbon tabs appear and disappear, depending on what you're doing.

For example, when you insert or select a video, the Video Tools: Playback and Format tabs automatically appear. They appear so you can apply formatting or set playback options for the video. These types of contextual tabs appear any time you insert or select a picture, chart, table, WordArt, or any other object.
Video Tools

When you're working on a slide and you right-click the slide background, the right-click menu appears, which is loaded with task options.

Similarly, the mini toolbar automatically appears whenever you want to perform quick text-related tasks, such as indenting a bullet or applying bold to your text.
Mini toolbar

Changes to themes

When you apply a built-in theme and you want to change the colors and fonts, you can now choose from designer-selected theme variants from the start screen or on the Design tab.
Designer-selected theme variants

If you don't see a combination that works for you, you can always customize the theme colors, fonts, and effects in Slide Master View.

Select View > Slide Master and you'll see the Colors, Fonts, and Effects options in the Background group.
Video Effects

New default slide size

Much of the world's TVs and video have gone to widescreen and HD formats, and so has PowerPoint. In previous versions, the slide ration was 4:3. In PowerPoint 2013, 16:9 is the new default, but you can change this on the Design tab.

If you work with slides in older versions of PowerPoint, or are presenting on older monitors or projectors, you'll want to change the slide ratio back to 4:3. To do so, select Design > Slide Size and then choose 4:3 -- or you can set your own custom size.
Default slide size

Presenter View setup is automatic

If you used Presenter View in previous versions of PowerPoint, you might have had difficulties setting it up. PowerPoint 2013 fixes that headache and makes it simpler to use.

All you do is connect a projector and monitor and PowerPoint applies the right settings for you automatically. However you can also take control manually (switching between the monitor and projector) if you need to.

Note that Presenter View no longer requires multiple monitors. Now you can rehearse and use all of the tools in Presenter View from a single monitor without hooking up anything else.
Presenter View setup is automatic

PowerPoint on touch devices

You can now interact with PowerPoint 2013 on touch devices running Windows 8. Using typical touch gestures, you can swipe, tap, scroll, zoom, and pan your way through your presentations.
PowerPoint on touch devices

Save your presentations to the cloud

The "cloud" is like file storage in the sky. You can get to it anytime you're online. If you travel or move from one place to another on a regular basis and you need access to your files, consider storing your files in the cloud.

SkyDrive is a free online cloud service where you can securely access and share files with others. All you need is a free Microsoft account or Windows Live ID to sign in to SkyDrive.
Save your presentations to the cloud

Sign in to Office

To get started saving, sharing, and storing your files to the cloud, sign in to Microsoft Office.

In PowerPoint, or any Office application, look for your name at the top right corner of the ribbon. After you sign in, you can switch accounts and change your profile.
Sign in to Microsoft Office

How to work with people who don't have PowerPoint 2013

Here are some of the things to keep in mind when sharing or exchanging files with people who are using an older version of PowerPoint.

  • In PowerPoint 2013, if you open a presentation that was created in PowerPoint 2007 or earlier, you'll see the words [Compatibility Mode] on the title bar. This tells you that the presentation is currently saved in the older file format, which doesn't recognize newer features like embedded video, new transition effects, sections, and more. If you want to use all of the available PowerPoint 2013 features, you'll need to change the presentation to the newest file format. To change the file to the newest file format, select File > Info > Convert.
  • In PowerPoint 2013, if you save your presentation as a PowerPoint 2013 and a colleague opens in PowerPoint 2007 or earlier, a prompt appears with a link to download the free Compatibility Pack. They'll need the Compatibility Pack to open the work with presentations in the new format. If you've included new PowerPoint 2013 features or formatting in your presentation, your colleague (using PowerPoint 2007 or earlier) will see warnings about unsupported features. Before sharing your PowerPoint 2013 presentation with colleagues who use earlier versions of PowerPoint, run the Compatibility Checker tool. To check for compatibility, in PowerPoint 2013, select File > Info > Check for Issues > Check Compatibility. The tool tells you which new features in PowerPoint 2013 aren't supported in older versions. You can then decide whether to remove these features to avoid warnings in earlier versions of PowerPoint.
  • In PowerPoint 2013, if you save your presentation as a PowerPoint 2007 or earlier file and a colleague opens the presentation in PowerPoint 2007 or earlier, the file will open normally -- no Compatibility Pack is required. If you've included new PowerPoint 2013 features or formatting in your presentation, your colleague will see warnings about unsupported features, the formatting or feature may not appear in the file, or the objects may not be editable. When you save your file in the older PowerPoint file format, the Compatibility Checker will run automatically and warn you about any unsupported features.

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