PowerPoint 2013: Slide Basics

Microsoft PowerPoint is a popular presentation software that allows users to create professional slide decks to communicate ideas visually. This article will cover the basics of working with slides in PowerPoint 2013, focusing on features like slide layouts, text boxes, images, tables, and more.

Choosing a Slide Layout

When you create a new slide, you can select from various predefined layouts that provide placeholders for titles, text, images, charts and other elements. Some common layouts include:

  • Title Slide – Has a large title placeholder and a content placeholder for subtitles/text
  • Title and Content – Title placeholder at the top with a content box below it
  • Section Header – Title and subtitle placeholders
  • Two Content – Two content box placeholders side-by-side
  • Comparison – Title and two content placeholders for making comparisons
  • Blank – No placeholders, for fully custom layouts

To change the layout of an existing slide, go to the Home tab and click the Layout button in the Slides group.

Adding Text

To add text to a slide, click inside a placeholder and start typing. The placeholder will expand to fit your text.

To add more text boxes, go to the Insert tab and click Text Box. You can drag the text box anywhere on the slide.

Use text formatting options on the Home tab like fonts, font size, color, and alignment to customize the appearance of your text.

Inserting Images

To insert images into a slide:

  • Go to the Insert tab and click Pictures
  • Navigate to the image file you want and select it
  • Resize by dragging the sizing handles on the sides and corners
  • Use the Picture Tools Format tab to apply styles, effects, layout options and more

Be sure to only use images you have rights to use in your presentation.

Adding Tables

To insert a table:

  • Go to the Insert tab and click Table
  • Select the number of rows and columns needed
  • Use the Table Tools Design tab to adjust columns widths, merge cells, change table styles and more

You can type text directly into table cells. Use tables sparingly and only when appropriate.

Applying Transitions

Transitions add motion effects as you move from one slide to the next during a presentation. To add transitions:

  1. Select the slide(s) you want to add a transition to
  2. Go to the Transitions tab
  3. Click the transition style you want in the gallery
  4. Use the transition options to set speed, sound, duration and more

Use transitions sparingly and consistently throughout your presentation. Avoid transitions that are too distracting or flashy.

Animating Elements

Animations allow individual elements like text boxes and images to move or fade onto a slide:

  • Select the elements you want to animate
  • On the Animations tab, choose an animation effect in the gallery
  • Use the Effect Options to set the direction, speed, delays and more
  • Reorder animations on the timeline at the bottom

Subtle animations can help direct the audience’s attention, but don’t overdo it.

Final Slideshow Preparation

Before finalizing your slideshow, be sure to:

  • Use slide masters for consistent fonts, colors themes and backgrounds
  • Check spelling and grammar throughout
  • Set the slide timing in Slide Show > Rehearse Timings
  • Provide speaker notes for yourself in View > Notes Page
  • Save the file as a PowerPoint Presentation (.pptx)