PowerPoint Main Window

Tutorial – PowerPoint 2010 Basics Lesson 1: Getting to Know the PowerPoint Window

This is the first in a series of tutorials aimed at familiarizing our readers with one of Microsoft Office’s most popular applications, PowerPoint 2010. Admittedly, I am starting this tutorial in a very basic manner, but I believe that even the common PowerPoint user will find some things they weren’t familiar with along the way.

We begin our PowerPoint 2010 series simply by familiarizing ourselves with the basic aspects of the main window. When you open PowerPoint, you will see a window similar to that pictured below minus all of the pretty colored rectangles. I have placed those rectangles there to sort of break up the main PowerPoint window into its different components.

PowerPoint Main Window

The area above highlighted by a small red rectangle is called the quick access toolbar. You can see a closer view below. Notice that I have clicked the small downward pointing arrow which brings up a menu to customize the quick access toolbar. This toolbar lives up to its name. You have the ability to add buttons to this toolbar which provide quick access to commands you commonly use. For instance, in earlier versions of Office, the print button was easy to find. This isn’t the case in Office 2010. If you want a quick button that you can click to hit print, then choose the “Quick Print” option from the customize menu, as pictured below.

Quick Access Toolbar

Let’s take a look at the area highlighted by a blue rectangle in the main image above. This area is called the ribbon toolbar. For folks used to using Office 2003, the ribbon toolbar is a pretty dramatic change. As a matter of fact, probably the only thing that will look familiar to you is the placement of the file menu. The ribbon is broken into tabs and underneath each tab are sections. For instance, in the picture below, you can see that the “Home” tab is highlighted. Below it are several sections like “Clipboard”, “Slides”, “Font”, etc… Some of the sections have more options. You can know this by noting a small arrow in the lower right hand side of the section. Pictured below, I have circled the arrow in red. When I put my mouse over the arrow, you will notice I got a little box labeled “Font” with the words “Show the Font dialog box.” You will also note that the section labeled “Slides” is all inclusive and doesn’t have more options.

Ribbon Toolbar

Highlighted in orange in the main image above is the Slides and Outline tabs area. If the Slides tab is selected, then you will see a miniature version of all the slides that you have created in the presentation. If the Outline tab is selected, then you will see the outline view of the presentation. As a matter of fact, this is a great way to organize a presentation. I have previously done a tutorial located at this link http://techie-buzz.com/how-to/using-the-outline-view-in-powerpoint.html which will show you how you can utilize the Outline view to build the basic shell of your presentation.

Slides and Outline Tabs

The next area of focus is highlighted in bright green above and it is the slide content area. This is where the rubber meets the road. It is here that you put the content of the presentation that will be viewed by the audience. Since it is large enough to be seen in the main image above I will not separate it as its own image. However, I will point out the two little boxes that are placed there by default. Those are called placeholders. When you click in a placeholder, it will allow you to type in the text you want. These particular placeholders are labeled as Title and Subtitle which basically means they are formatted differently for emphasis. All of this can be changed.

The last area I want point out, but that is often overlooked, is highlighted in purple and is called the Notes area. The notes area allows you to types notes to yourself and is not visible to the audience. This is a very handy place to write down little reminders to yourself and make sure you get out the intended message.

This concludes Lesson 1. Be sure to return to Techie Buzz for Lesson 2 will soon be on its way. Please feel free to ask questions and give feedback on this and all tutorials. I would enjoy hearing from you and helping you any way I can.


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Darrin Jenkins

Darrin is an IT manager for a large electrical contractor in Louisville KY. He is married and has 3 kids. He loves helping people with their technology needs. He runs a blog called Say Geek!