Keyboard shortcuts when editing slides; Issue #188 June 30, 2009

PowerPoint Tip: Keyboard shortcuts when editing slides

In past issues on the newsletter, I’ve shared some tips on keyboard shortcuts you can use when in Slide Show mode. If you missed some of the past issues or want to remind yourself of those tips, click here. Today I’ll share a few keyboard shortcuts to use when creating and editing your slides.

One of the tips I share in my workshops that most people tell me is new information to them, is how to break a line at a specific word when writing a headline (or any text). Just press Shift+Enter (i.e. hold the Shift key down and press Enter). This is different than simply pressing the Enter key, which gives you a new paragraph. The Shift+Enter key combination breaks the line and uses the line spacing instead of the paragraph spacing. It may look pretty darn similar on your screen, but line spacing is smaller than paragraph spacing and that difference will appear much larger when projected to a big screen in a boardroom.

Another tip I share in my workshops is to use the Ctrl+arrow keys to do fine positioning of objects on a slide. You probably know that you can move objects, such as shapes or text boxes, by clicking on them and dragging them with your mouse. You can also click on the object and move it using your arrow keys. But you may have noticed that even when using the arrow keys, you sometimes can’t line up objects exactly where you need them to be. Here’s where you need the fine positioning that you get when holding the Control key down and using your arrow keys. This moves the object one pixel at a time, the smallest movement you can make. This will allow you to get exact positioning when you need it.

The final tip is one that will allow you to locate and edit objects that may be hidden behind other objects or to locate objects that are on the slide but not visible. You may have objects that are completely behind other objects due to the way you need to build your slide to have the maximum impact from that slide. You may also inherit other slides that have empty objects on them that are causing problems. How do you select these hidden objects so that you can edit them or delete them without having to move other objects and mess up your overall slide appearance? Select a visible object and then press the Tab key to cycle through all the objects on the slide. Once you have selected the object you want, you can format it by right-clicking on one of the boundary handles. You can delete it by pressing the Delete key.

The more efficient you get at creating your slides in PowerPoint, the more productive you will be and the more time you will have to rehearse your presentation so it goes as well as it can.