Microsoft PowerPoint is a powerful presentation tool. When used effectively, it can add visual appeal and support for a presentation. In this article, I would like to introduce you to a little used feature that PowerPoint provides called the Outline view. One common mistake that I see people make when designing a presentation, is that they often go straight to design mode rather than have their thoughts organized in a logical manner. This is like painting drywall before it is hung on the studs. Below you will see a partial view of the basic PowerPoint window. Along the left side of the window you will notice that a miniature version of the slide is viewable. As slides are added to the presentation, the miniatures will become viewable on this side of the window. If you look to the right of the tab that says Slides, you will see a tab labeled Outline. Let’s click on the outline view.
Once you have clicked on the Outline view, you will notice an even smaller slide icon. If you click to the right of that icon and begin typing, you will notice that the slide preview area on the right will fill in the Title area of the slide. I typed the title of my presentation and hit enter on the keyboard. By default, this will start a new slide. However, I wanted to add text to the subtitle area of the first slide. To achieve this, I clicked the Increase Indentbutton (blown up in the picture below) which moved the text under the title. Notice how PowerPoint recognized that. Since I started a new level in my outline, it should put that text in a new level on the slide. Now when I hit enter again, the text will be on that same level. In order for me to start a new slide I need to hit Decrease Indentbutton. This will move the text back a level and start a new slide. Now I can continue to outline my ideas and PowerPoint will generate slides and bullet points based on what I type.
Below you will see where I typed in a general heading of Get More Training. I then hit enter and clicked the Increase Indentbutton to create bullet points for my slide. If I hit Increase Indentagain you will notice it creates sub points.
I really believe this is a good way to work on a PowerPoint presentation, as it forces you to get your thoughts in order, while creating the basic shell of your presentation. Once you have your outline all lined out, then you can start the task of adding colors and themes to your presentation.
==== About the Author ====
Darrin Jenkins is an IT manager for a large electrical contractor in Louisville Kentucky. Darrin posts his helpful advice at the SayGeek blog.