Slide Basics

Every PowerPoint presentation is composed of a series of slides. To begin creating a slide show, you’ll need to know the basics of working with slides. You’ll need to feel comfortable with tasks such as inserting a new slide, changing the layout of a slide, arranging existing slides, changing slide view, and adding notes to a slide. 

About slides

Slides contain placeholders, which are areas on the slide that are enclosed by dotted borders. Placeholders can contain many different items, including text, pictures, and charts. Some placeholders have placeholder text, or text you can replace. They also have thumbnail-sized icons that represent specific commands such as Insert Picture, Insert Chart, and Insert ClipArt. In PowerPoint, hover over each icon to see the type of content you can insert in a placeholder.

About slide layout

Placeholders are arranged in different layouts that can be applied to existing slides or chosen when you insert a new slide. A slide layout arranges your content using different types of placeholders, depending on what information you might want to include in your presentation.

In the example above, the layout is called Title and Content and includes title and content placeholders. While each layout has a descriptive name, you can also tell from the image of the layout how the placeholders will be arranged.

To change the layout of an existing slide:

Customizing slide layouts

  1. Select the slide you want to change.
  • Click the Layout command in the Slides group on the Home tab. A menu will appear with your options.
  • Choose a layout from the menu. The slide will change in the presentation.

To delete a placeholder:

You can easily customize your layout by deleting unwanted—or extra—placeholders from any slide.

  1. Position your mouse on the dotted border of the placeholder so it changes to a cross with arrows .
  2. Click the border to select it.
  • Press Backspace or Delete on your keyboard. The placeholder will be removed from the slide.

To add a text box:

Text boxes allow you to add to your current layout, so you can place text wherever you want on your slide.

  1. From the Insert tab, click the Text Box command. 
  • Your cursor will turn into an upside-down cross .
  • Click, hold, and drag your mouse to draw a text box. A text box will appear.

To use a blank slide:

For more control over your content, you may prefer a blank slide—a slide without placeholders—over one of the existing layouts. Blank slides can be customized by adding your own text boxes, pictures, charts, and more.

  • Select Blank from the menu of layout options.

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