5. Importing Text from Word and PDF

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We often import text from other sources into PowerPoint slides. In this lesson, I show you the various ways to do this and highlight some of the difficulties you might encounter, particularly with PDF.

Lesson Notes

Importing text into PowerPoint

- Paste Special allows you to paste text into PowerPoint in many ways
- Your chosen format will depend on how you want the text formatted

Importing text from MS Word

- Pasting text from Word should be completed as formatted or unformatted text
- Avoid pasting as a Microsoft Object or as a Picture
- To maintain all formatting, paste with Keep Source Formatting

Importing text from PDF

- Pasting from a pdf is harder due to bullets
- PowerPoint can't identify bullets when importing from pdf format
- As a result, post-import formatting changes are normally needed


Often, we’d like to import text into PowerPoint slides from other sources, for example Microsoft Word documents or PDF’s.

PowerPoint provides a number of different ways to import text, and in this lesson, we’ll explore how best to accomplish this task.

Let’s start off by going to our Word document, selecting all of the text we wish to paste with Ctrl + A and then Ctrl + C to copy.

We’ll then go to our PowerPoint document and past with Ctrl + V.

When I do this, PowerPoint creates a text box and imports the text into that text box.

It also has the correct style formatting for our text, which is the bold and the italics.

However, it doesn’t capture the bullets that we had in the original Word document.

This method of pasting is called HTML Format.

To see other options, we can click on the drop down arrow, underneath the Paste icon in the Home tab of the ribbon.

And I’ll click Paste Special to bring up these alternative options.

The next options below HTML Format is called a Microsoft Word Document Object.

I’ll select this and press OK.

I’ll also delete our first HTML Format paste.

The Microsoft Word Document Object copies the text and the bullets into a new object, but it’s not a text box.

Microsoft Word Objects are quite frustrating to edit and to move around.

So I recommend staying away from this option, if at all possible.

Next we’ll look at some of the picture options.

So I’ll go back to my Paste Special drop down and select Picture and press OK.

And this pastes the text with the correct formatting and the bullets, but it’s pasted as a picture, which means if we want to reformat or edit the text, we can do so.

Below the two Picture options, we have the Formatted Text option.

And this provides us with the same result as the HTML Format, correctly formatted text which can be edited but no bullets.

And lastly, the Unformatted Text provides us with the correct text, but no formatting.

So how do we successfully paste both the style formatting and the bullet points from our Word documents? Well let’s delete this example and go back to our Paste drop down.

And instead of going to Paste Special, we go to an option called Keep Source Formatting.

And when I select this, you can see that we now have the correct style formatting in a text box and we have the correct bullets.

When you’re pasting from Microsoft Word, I tend to always choose this option.

Now let’s move on to a new sheet and learn how to import from pdfs.

In the pdf shown, I have the same text written as I did in the Word document.

I’ll start by selecting the text, copying with Ctrl + C, returning to my PowerPoint document and going to the Paste Special drop down as I did before.

Now I only have two options to choose from: Formatted Text and Unformatted Text.

I’ll choose the Formatted Text option and press OK.

This Paste Special option includes my style formatting and includes the bullets in the bottom half of the text box.

However, for the ticks and the X’s, it doesn’t recognize those bullet formats.

If I delete this paste and instead use my previous tactic of Keep Source Formatting, you can see that it now has both the ticks, the X’s and the original bullets, as well as the style of formatting.

However, there seems to be a problem.

Compared to my previous slide, you can see that the bullets are not aligned correctly.

Can you guess why this is the case? Well, it turns out that when you import from a Word document, PowerPoint can determine when you’re using bullets, and as a result, when you click in the text box, the Bullet icon is selected in the ribbon.

However, for pdf documents, PowerPoint can’t identify the same lines as bullets, and as a result, the Bullet icon is not selected.

Indeed, I can even add bullets to these five lines by pressing the Bullet icon which now creates a new set of bullets after my original paste.

As a result of this conundrum, importing from pdf tends to be trickier than importing from Word, and some reformatting, particularly with regard to bullets, is often needed.

Either way, when you’re importing from Word or from pdfs, try to use the Keep Source Formatting option as much as possible.

It should definitely be the first port of call when importing text.