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Tame your large PowerPoint decks

by on
in Centerpiece,Office Technology,PowerPoint Tricks

Are you terrorized by your monster PowerPoint deck? If you have a PowerPoint file with more than 30 slides, there are tools you can use to tame the beast. Let’s look at two ways to make your decks easier to manage, modify and present.


If you work with a monster slide deck, you spend a lot of time scrolling the Navigation Pane or squinting at the Slide Sorter view to find the slides you want. Parsing your presentation into logical segments using the Add Section tool (Office 2010 and 2013) will give you a cleaner visual of your overall presentation, as well as an easy way to rearrange it.

  1. Arrange introductory slides, like the title, agenda and housekeeping slides, into a section called Intro, by clicking just above the first slide and selecting the Section button in the Slides group, Home tab. Choose Add Section. It puts all your slides in one section, initially. It’s OK. That will change as we move on.
  2. Right-click on your Untitled Section bar, and choose Rename to type in “Intro.”
  3. Click just above the first slide in the next section of your presentation. Again, add a section and rename it.
  4. Continue until all your sections are added and renamed.

It’s easy to work with because you can collapse all sections by right clicking on any section and choosing Collapse All. Now you can just reveal the slides you want to work with, instead of constantly navigating with your eyes to find what you’re looking for. Slide Sorter view makes it easier to move a slide from one remote section of the presentation to another. Just collapse all but the two sections you’re working with.

Custom Slide Shows

Some of these extra large decks aren’t meant to be viewed all in a row during one presentation. They function more like a repository for total content. You select slides from the master deck to create a smaller subset that you use in the live presentation. Custom Slide Shows can be a great solution for this scenario. By using a Custom Slide Show, you can maintain one single presentation file and create multiple configurations. Let’s say you only want to show the first part of the presentation. All you need is the first 17 slides and the last two.

  1. On the Slide Show tab, Start Slide Show group, click the Custom Slide Show button, and choose Custom Shows. Then, click the New button.
  2. Select the first 17 slides by clicking on the first slide, holding the Shift key down and clicking Slide number 17. Any hidden slides will show up in parentheses. Click the Add >> button. Tip: Consider using Custom Slide Shows, rather than hiding, to customize presentations.
  3. Select the last two slides and do the same as above. If you do not want the entire selection, select slides on the right and click Remove.
  4. At the top of the dialog box, name your custom show in the Slide Show name field. Click OK.
  5. To present your custom show, just click the Show button on the next dialog box.

You can add multiple custom shows for each presentation. The configurations are stored with your PowerPoint file and will be available from the Custom Slide Show button.

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