PowerPoint 2016: Creating and Opening Presentations

Getting Started with PowerPoint

PowerPoint 2016 is a presentation program that allows you to create dynamic slide presentations with animation, narration, images, videos, and more.

When first opening PowerPoint 2016, you will see the Start Screen. From here, you can:

  • Create a new blank presentation
  • Choose from various pre-made templates
  • Access recently edited presentations

To start a new blank presentation, locate and select Blank Presentation to access the main PowerPoint interface.

Some key elements of the PowerPoint 2016 interface include:

  • Quick Access Toolbar: Provides quick access to common commands like Save, Undo, Redo. You can customize this toolbar by adding other commands.
  • Ribbon: Contains most commands, organized into tabs like Home, Insert, Design.
  • Slides Pane: Displays thumbnails of all slides in your presentation. You can rearrange, add new slides here.
  • Notes Pane: Allows you to add speaker notes for each slide.
  • View Tools: Allow you to show/hide elements like Ruler, Gridlines, Guides to aid in slide design.

Creating and Saving Presentations

To create a new presentation:

  • Go to File > New
  • Select Blank Presentation

This will open a new presentation with a single blank slide.

To save your presentation:

  • Go to File > Save As
  • Choose location on your computer
  • Give your file a name
  • Click Save

By default, PowerPoint 2016 saves presentations in the .pptx format. This is based on XML and is compatible with PowerPoint 2007 and newer versions.

Some other notable file formats include:

  • .ppt: Compatible with PowerPoint 97-2003 (older file format)
  • .odp: OpenDocument Presentation format, can be opened by other apps like Google Docs
  • .pdf: Saves presentation as print-ready PDF document

Opening Presentations

To open an existing PowerPoint 2016 presentation:

  • Go to File > Open
  • Browse to the presentation file
  • Select the file and click Open

If you need to work with a presentation created in an older PowerPoint version like 2003 or 2000, it will open in Compatibility Mode. This disables certain newer features to maintain compatibility.

To regain access to all PowerPoint 2016 features, you can convert the presentation to the 2016 format. However, this may cause minor layout changes.

Designing Presentations

When creating your slides, keep in mind some core design principles around simplicity, alignment, redundancy, and more:

  • Simplify slides and eliminate non-essential material so viewers can focus (Principle of Weeding)
  • Align related elements so viewers don’t have to scan the entire slide to make connections (Principle of Aligning)
  • Don’t overwhelm with too much text, imagery, media at once (Principle of Redundancy)
  • Use slide titles, transitions, and signals to focus attention (Principle of Signaling)

Some best practices when designing PowerPoint 2016 presentations:

  • Use a consistent and subtle template: Avoid loud, distracting colors/graphics
  • Simplify and limit text: Use brief bullet points instead of lengthy paragraphs
  • Use quality visuals: Images, charts, diagrams to complement your points
  • Cite sources properly: Provide citations for any external content you use, like this

Presentation Views

PowerPoint offers several ways to view your presentation, changeable from the View tab:

  • Normal: Default view for editing slides
  • Slide Sorter: See thumbnails of all slides at once
  • Reading View: Focuses on slide content, hides other elements
  • Slide Show: Previews how presentation will look in full screen

View options affect what tools are available while designing slides. For example, Reading View hides any slide editing tools and focuses solely on the slide content itself.

Additional Tips

  • Use slide layouts from the Home tab to quickly insert formatted placeholders for text, images, charts etc.
  • Add speaker notes in the Notes Pane to provide additional context during presentations
  • Use Document Inspector before sharing presentations to check for private data
  • Mark presentations as final when finished to prevent further editing by others


In summary, PowerPoint 2016 is a robust presentation tool that enables creating dynamic and professional slide decks. Taking advantage of built-in design templates and principles can help in crafting effective, visually-appealing presentations. Properly saving and opening presentations in the appropriate formats helps ensure compatibility across devices and PowerPoint versions.