PowerPoint 2016: Slide Basics

Creating an effective PowerPoint presentation requires mastering some key skills – working with slides and slide layouts. This comprehensive guide will teach you the slide basics in PowerPoint 2016, so you can create professional, visually-appealing presentations.

Getting Started with Slides

When you first open PowerPoint 2016, you are presented with a blank presentation containing one slide. This slide uses the “Title Slide” layout and contains a title placeholder and a subtitle placeholder.

To insert a new slide, click the New Slide button on the Home tab. You can choose from a variety of built-in layouts like Title and Content, Section Header, Two Content, etc. Each layout contains formatted placeholders for entering text, images, charts and other content.

Tip: To quickly add a slide with the same layout as the previous one, click the top half of the New Slide button.

Changing The Slide Layout

To change the layout of an existing slide, right-click on it and select Layout from the context menu. Choose the desired layout from the dropdown menu. This will replace the existing placeholders with the new layout.

Pro Tip: Apply a theme to introduce consistent colors, fonts and effects. Click Design > Themes to explore options.

Organizing Your Slides

As your presentation grows, PowerPoint offers great tools to organize your content:


You can group slides into sections and collapse/expand them easily from the Slide Navigation pane. Right-click a slide, choose Add Section, enter a section name and click Add.

Slide Sorter View

This view displays all your slides in thumbnails, allowing you to quickly rearrange them by drag & drop.


Add speaker notes to each slide that only you can see while presenting. Click View > Notes Page to access them.

Setting Up The Slideshow

When you finish creating slides, it’s showtime! Click the Slide Show tab and then From Beginning to present the slides. Use mouse clicks, arrow keys or Enter to navigate.

Pro Tip: Rehearse with the Rehearse Timings feature to set up slide transition timings.

Configuration Options

Click Set Up Slide Show to access options like changing slideshow type (presented/browsed), configuring monitors, and setting up custom slideshows.

Bonus Tips!

  • Use Ctrl + F5 to start the show from the current slide.
  • Click the B key to black out the screen temporarily.
  • Set up slide numbers, date and time in the footer from the Insert tab.

Creating visually appealing slides with smooth transitions takes some practice, but mastering slide basics is the vital first step to PowerPoint 2016 success. Follow these guidelines to level up your presentation game!