How to fast track PowerPoint content

The problem with getting your initial content into a PowerPoint presentation is typing in the placeholders. It is a bit awkward. And the awkwardness can keep your ideas from flowing.

Linus Pauling famously said, “The best way to get a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” If the method you use to put your ideas onto the page is cumbersome, the creative process gets stalled or “fatigued.” Rather than settling for “good enough” in your frustration with the input process, change the process. Here are two methods to use.

Fast track content in PowerPoint

In the Navigation pane of the Normal view in PowerPoint, you will notice two cards or tabs at the top. One says Slides and the other, Outline. When you click on Outline, you can easily type in your slide titles, subtitles, topics and bullets.

1. Start by typing your presentation title next to the first slide icon. Press Enter and then the Tab key and type in your subtitle.

2. Create the next slide by pressing Shift+Tab to move the cursor to the next bullet point. Type your slide topic.

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3. Make the bullets by hitting the Tab key and typing your bullet text. Press Enter. You will notice that the next item appears at the same level.

4. Press enter and then Shift+Tab to create the following slide.

The trick is to ignore what is going on at the right on the actual slide until you’re done. Alternatively, you can just type all your content and ideas, pressing Enter after each. Then, go back and use the Tab key on bullet points and subtitles.

Fast Track content from Word

Another method you can use involves Microsoft Word. Tip: Resist the urge to format your text other than as directed below. Here are the steps.

1. Add the Send to Microsoft Office PowerPoint button to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). To do this, click on the Customize Quick Access Toolbar arrow on the QAT, then More Commands. Change Popular Commands to All Commands and locate Send to Microsoft Office PowerPoint. Click the Add button to add it to the QAT.

2. Apply Heading1/Heading2 styles accordingly. PowerPoint will interpret a Heading 1 style as a slide topic or title and Heading 2 as a bullet point or subtitle. Use the shortcuts Ctrl+Alt+1 and Ctrl+Alt+2 for Heading 1 and Heading 2, respectively. Just click anywhere in the text you would like to format.

3. Arrange the final order of slides and bullets using copy, cut, paste and/or move.

4. Click the Send to Microsoft Office PowerPoint button.

Now you are in PowerPoint with your slides all laid out. If you notice that each bullet point is a new slide, close PowerPoint and do not save. Back in Word, clear all formatting and redo the Heading 1 and Heading 2 styles.

Finally, In the Navigation Pane, press Ctrl+A. Then right-click and choose Reset Slide. This removes any lingering Word formatting and resets it to whatever Slide Master you use. Right-click on the first slide, and change the layout to Title Slide.