1. A Tour of the User Interface


Our quick tour will show you how to access commands in the ribbon, change view options and select the correct slide dimensions for your presentation.

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  1. Lesson Goal (00:09)

    The goal of this lesson is to learn about the main points of the PowerPoint user interface.

  2. Accessing Commands in the Ribbon (00:15)

    At the top of the screen in PowerPoint is the ribbon. The ribbon contains several tabs, such as Home, Insert, and Design. Each of these tabs contains various commands, for example, insert a new slide.

    Tabs and commands can be accessed by selecting the relevant tab with the mouse, then selecting the relevant command. Alternatively, you can use keyboard shortcuts. For example, the shortcut Alt, H accesses the commands in the Home tab, while Alt, H, I accesses the command to insert a new slide from the Home tab. PowerPoint tends to involve more mouse work than other applications such as Excel. As a result, there is relatively little efficiency gain from using keyboard shortcuts in PowerPoint.

  3. Understanding Panes (01:13)

    To the left of the screen is the navigation pane. This shows us all the slides in the current presentation in order. The main area of the screen is the view pane. This is where we design and develop our slides. We can adjust the zoom level of the view pane using the slider at the bottom right of the screen. We can also use the Fit to Window option in the bottom right corner to see the whole slide in the view pane.

    Below the view pane is the notes section. This can be used to record speaking notes or other additional information that shouldn’t be in the actual presentation. We can show or hide the notes section by selecting Notes at the bottom of the screen.

  4. Using Different Views (02:17)

    The bar at the bottom of the page is known as the footer. It contains a number of different view options, indicated by icons in the bottom right of the screen. The normal view is the default view that is used to create slides. It is accessed by selecting the first icon on the left.

    The slide sorter view can be accessed by selecting the icon with four squares. This view shows all the slides in the presentation. We can reorder the slides by clicking a slide and dragging it to the desired location.

    The slideshow view is used when presenting to an audience. It maximizes the view of the slides on the screen. It can also be accessed by pressing F5. When we are in Slideshow view, we can press Esc to exit the view.


In this course we'll learn how to create visually compelling slides in PowerPoint. In this first lesson we'll start by exploring the PowerPoint user interface.

When you first open PowerPoint you'll be greeted with a blank document such as this one. At the top of the page you'll see a series of tabs called the ribbon. The ribbon can be intimidating at the start because there are just so many commands to understand. But normally when we're designing slides we'll have the tab set to Home.

Many of the commands in the PowerPoint ribbon can be accessed using keyboard shortcuts. For example, Alt + H brings up all of the shortcuts available in the Home tab, and Alt + R brings up all of the shortcuts available in the Review tab. To complete the keyboard shortcut simply press the key next to the desired command. I'll press C to insert a new comment. And repeatedly reaching for the mouse can slow you down a lot, in PowerPoint however you tend to have on hand on the mouse most of the time so keyboard shortcuts are not nearly as efficient. As a result, I tend to us the mouse when accessing commands in the ribbon. Below the ribbon on the left hand side of the page is the navigation pane. The navigation pane tells us what slides are currently in our presentation and in what order. If I was to add a new slide to the presentation by going to the Home tab and clicking on this button, you'll now see it appear in the navigation pane. Next to the navigation pane we have the view pane, which is where we get our work done. If you'd like to change the view pane we can use this slider in the footer, slide it to the right to increase the zoom, and slide it to the left to decrease the zoom.

I like to see the whole slide when I'm designing pages so I'm going to set the pane to fit to window here on the right hand side.

Below the view pane is the notes section. If you'd like to add speaking notes for a slide or record some additional information such as appendices the notes section can be useful. However, notes take up valuable space away from the view pane so when I'm designing slides I tend to minimize it.

To the left of the slider in the footer we have a number of additional view options. To see these in action let's first add some text to our two slides. Click in the placeholder and start typing.

And we move to the second slide, add some text here as well.

Let's first look at slide sorter view by clicking on the icon with the four squares. This view is a great option when you have to rearrange slides in a large presentation. To change the order of slides and move their position simply click and drag.

This obviously becomes more useful the more slides you have. And you can see how easy it is to quickly change the order in which they appear.

Next we'll look at the slideshow view, which maximizes the view pane on the screen. The slideshow view is used when you're presenting to an audience.

Let's press Escape to leave the slideshow view and click on the far left icon to return to the normal view.

There are a number of other views available on PowerPoint outside of the two just shown. But I find the slide sorter view and the slideshow view are by far the most useful. The slideshow view wraps up our tour of the PowerPoint user interface. We are now ready to customize the user interface with the quick access toolbar in the next lesson.

PowerPoint Essentials
Shapes, Lines, and Images


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