If you use PowerPoint at work or at home, keyboard shortcuts can be a great time saver. Here are some little-known keyboard shortcuts I’ve discovered over the last few years while working on the PowerPoint team. These keyboard shortcuts are designed for PowerPoint for Windows. If you are using PowerPoint for Mac, you can still use them if you replace Ctrl with CMD (⌘) unless stated otherwise. I hope you find these keyboard shortcuts as useful as I have!
Draw horizontal or vertical lines
Press and hold the Shift key while inserting lines to make sure they are perfectly horizontal, vertical or at a 45-degree angle.
Keep objects in proportion
Press and hold the Shift key while resizing shapes and other objects to keep their proportions consistent. This is handy if you want to resize a circle without accidentally turning it into an oval.
Duplicate an object
Adding a bunch of identical objects? Just select your object and press Ctrl+D to duplicate it. This also works on slides.
Copy and paste formatting
If you want to format an object to look just like another object without reapplying all of the formatting by hand, use the formatting clipboard. Select the object whose formatting you want to copy and press Ctrl+Shift+C. Then, select the objects that you want to have the same formatting and press Ctrl+Shift+V to paste the formatting. This also works on the slide thumbnails if you have a slide background or theme that you want to copy from slide to slide.
This keyboard shortcut makes use of the Format Painter feature, which also allows you to copy formatting from one shape to another. The keyboard shortcut is a good one to remember since it packs even more power—once you’ve copied the formatting, you can paste the formatting onto as many shapes as you like without having to copy it again.
Group and ungroup
To group objects together, just select the objects and press Ctrl+G. To ungroup, select the object and press Ctrl+Shift+G. If you’re a Mac user, press CMD+Option+G to group and CMD+Option+Shift+G to ungroup.
Insert a new slide
Press Ctrl+M to insert a new slide after the currently selected slide. For PowerPoint for Mac, the keyboard shortcut is the same; you don’t need to substitute CMD.
Press and hold the Ctrl key while using the mouse wheel to zoom in and out in the editor. On a touch device, you can pinch to zoom. For PowerPoint for Mac, this is another one where you don’t have to substitute CMD.
Center or align text
To quickly center text, press Ctrl+E. Not happy with your centered text? To go back to left alignment, press Ctrl+L, or press Ctrl+R to right align the text.
To remove all formatting from selected text, press Ctrl+Spacebar. This will reset the text back to the default formatting.
PowerPoint content placeholders have logic built in to make sure your text has the right size and formatting to match the rest of your presentation. If you’ve changed the formatting for some text or you have pasted in text that already had formatting on it, you can use the clear formatting shortcut to make the text match the design of the rest of your presentation again.
To clear formatting on PowerPoint for Mac, simply click the Clear Formatting button on the Home tab.
Done editing and ready to present? To start a Slideshow from the first slide, just press F5. If you want to start from the current slide, press Shift+F5 instead.
As a bonus, here are a few more keyboard shortcuts you might have forgotten about. Happy editing!
—Lauren Janas, program manager for the PowerPoint team