Welcome back! If you haven’t read Part 1 of my 16 Time-Saving PowerPoint Secrets for Creating Printables click here.
If you’re back for more of my PPT tips and tricks get your pen and paper ready, because I have so much more to share with you! I also have a bonus secret at the end so be sure to read all the way through (even if you already know all these secrets). 🙂
My first time-saving secret is all about formatting your background. When creating printables or (if you’re a TpT seller) product covers you sometimes want a background image. We often refer to these images as digital background paper.
There are two ways to add a background image in PowerPoint.
#1 – You could simply click on the Insert tab > Pictures > Choose your image > and click Insert. This would place the image on the page and you could drag the corners and sides to fill the background space. However, two things are going to take place when you do this.
- You’re going to distort the image.
- The image is going to be easily moved around on the page.
- Your image will automatically fill the space and not be distorted due to stretching.
- Your image will not move around on the page.
When you use the selection pane you can easily select objects, change their order, or change their visibility. As you add objects to a page it’s a good idea to name them. This makes finding an object much easier when you want to move, replace, or delete it.
I’ve used my monthly newsletter templates in the example below. This page has a ton of images, text boxes, shapes, etc. They are also layered so that certain objects are in front or behind other objects. As I placed these objects on the page, I gave each one a name in the selection pane on the right.
To access the selection pane select an image > click on (Picture Tools) Format Tab > Selection Pane
To name an object simply double-click it’s original name it was given when inserted. This will automatically show up in the selection pane. For example: when I inserted the tractor clip art PowerPoint named it “Picture 1”. I double-clicked on this wording in the selection pane and renamed it “Tractor”. I also inserted three pumpkins on the page. As I inserted them, I named them “Pumpkin 1”, “Pumpkin 2”, and “Pumpkin 3”.
Now, why did I do this? As you can see in the example above I have many different objects in my October newsletter. This requires lots of layering and alignment to get them in the right places. There is a hay bale behind the tractor and stalks of wheat behind the wagon and header. If I wanted to move either of these objects I would have to move everything in front of it to get to them. Instead of messing up my design I could simply click on the name of the object in the Selection Pane and from here I could reorder, move, delete, or replace the object. This keeps my original design in place and doesn’t move any other object on the page – definitely a huge time-saver!
In the last time-saving secret, we talked about “naming” objects using the Selection Pane, and I briefly mentioned how helpful this tool is when “layering” objects. In PowerPoint, you can layer objects by bringing them to the front, sending them to the back, or you can slightly nudge an object forward or backward.
Let’s look at my October newsletter template again. I have a lot of graphics layered in my header. The bundle of wheat was originally behind the wagon, basket of apples, and the October title. I could not click on the wheat image to move it because it was behind other objects. I could have moved the wagon and baskets of apples to get to it, but I had those images where I wanted them, and I didn’t want to spend time arranging them all again.
I had previously named each image as I inserted them on the page, so I could use the Selection Pane to select the wheat and bring it to the front. From here, I could move it around on the page and reorder the object without moving any of the other graphics.
If you only have a few objects on the page you don’t necessicerly have to use the Selection Pane. You could click on the object you want to move and arrange it either backwards or forwards. (see example below)
The arrange feature comes in handy when you are working with many different objects or if you are trying to create a scene.
PowerPoint enables you to group objects on your slides which can be a big time-saver! This feature is particularly useful when it comes to creating complex pictures because it allows you to work on one part of the picture, group it, and then work on the next part of the picture without moving the objects you’ve grouped together. Pictures, shapes, clip art, and text boxes can all be grouped together.
Let’s take a look at my Speller’s Choice Menus. I have a lot of graphics and text boxes on one slide. I placed the cascading flowers where I wanted them, but I didn’t want to accidentally move one of them while I continued to work on the design of the page. I selected all of the flowers > clicked on Arrange > clicked on Group. This grouped all the flowers into one object.
You can also select the objects to group together and right click over them to choose Group > Group. Or, you may decide that you want to ungroup objects so that you can work on your design. You can also regroup it all back together again. This will save you time trying to fix it back if you accidently move an object while working on another area of the slide.
Objects grouped together in PowerPoint will also stay together if they are moved or resized. This is much quicker and easier than selecting all of the objects each time you want to move them (especially when you have objects layered over each other like I do in the example above).
This is one of my favorite time-saving secrets! I use it A LOT! Reusing slides is one of the quickest ways to insert a slide you’ve previously created into another document. You could always open up both documents and cut and paste from there, but there is an easier way!
The Reuse Slides feature will open on the right side. From here, you can browse to find the file you are looking for.
After you select the document you want to use, all of the slides in the document will open. Before you select a slide to reuse make sure the “Keep source formatting” box is checked. This will ensure that all formatting will be copied over when you insert this slide. Choose the slide you want and click on it.
Duplicating slides is another feature similar to Reusing slides, however, this feature is will allow you duplicate and reuse slides within the same document. I often spend a lot of time formatting a page with background, clip art, and text. To save time, I’ll duplicate the slide so that I don’t have to reformat it again. I always do this when I’m making task cards.
When I’m creating task cards, I want to make sure the pages are exactly the same. To get an exact copy I right click on the slide shown in the slide preview on the left. You can also click on the Home Tab > New Slide > Duplicate Selected Slide. I just find it quicker and easier to right click on the slide I want to duplicate.
Now, I have an exact copy of the first slide, and I don’t have to recreate the page by adding all the images and text boxes again.
Once you click on “Save” a box will pop up asking you which slide you want to export. You can choose to export “All Slides” as images or “Just This One”.
To format line spacing, select the text you want to change. Under the Home tab in the Paragraph section you’ll find an icon for changing the spacing between lines. (see example above) From here, you can choose one of the options listed to widen the space between your lines, or you can choose “Line Spacing Options” to customize the spacing between your lines.
I usually use the line spacing options to decrease the space between my lines. I use this when my wording doesn’t fit within a certain space. I almost always change the line spacing to Multiple > 0.8. This usually gives me a perfect fit, but there are times that I have to tweak it just a little (depending on the font I’m using).
There ya go… 16 Time-Saving PowerPoint Secrets for Creating Printables! Whew! Did you get all of that? Don’t forget to check out Part 1 of this mini-series to learn more PowerPoint time-saving tips and tricks.
Hopefully, this helped you learn a few secrets about PowerPoint that you didn’t already know as well as give you a few ways to save some work time. Do you have any PowerPoint secrets that I didn’t list here? I’d love to know about them!