5 time-saving tips for PowerPoint in Office 365

Today’s post was written by Tanny, one of the twins who took part in The Twins Challenge: Office 365 versus Office 2019.

Recently, Microsoft invited my twin sister, Cynni, and me to its film studio in Redmond, Washington, for a fun “challenge.” The company gave us both the start of a PowerPoint presentation and asked us to complete a series of tasks using different versions of Office. I was given Office 365 and she was given Office 2019. I didn’t even know there was a difference between the two. I mean, Office is Office, right?

Not right.

I finished creating a polished deck in a fraction of the time and my slides were way cooler than my sister’s! (Which, let’s be honest, as a twin, I’m always looking to be cooler than my sister.)

Since that challenge, I’ve become an Office 365 PowerPoint fangirl. I find any and every reason to make a presentation, just so I can show off my new superpowers. I’m not the only one drawn to the magic of PowerPoint! One kid made a deck on why his family needed a new puppy, one used it to convince her mom to let her wear makeup, and yet another made a presentation on why she should go meet Niall Horan of One Direction—it’s all here in this New York Times article. Also, back in the day, Emma Stone made a PowerPoint deck to convince her family to move to Hollywood, so she could pursue acting. Really!

And lucky you, I’m sharing some of the things I’ve learned from Microsoft through this adventure! Check out these time-savers that will make you look like a full-fledged slide-making pro. You know, in case you want to move to Hollywood, adopt a puppy, wow your classmates, or impress your colleagues in your next meeting. PowerPoint’s here for you, and I am too.

  1. PowerPoint Ideas* and Designer—Oh, how I love PowerPoint Ideas and Designer! I’m not particularly graphically inclined, and now I don’t have to spend time trying to make it look like I am. In just a few clicks, the font sizing, layout, and image sizing are done for me. What would have taken who knows how long now gets done in minutes and looks crisp and polished.

Animated image of a PowerPoint deck open. The creator is inserting an image of honey bee.

  1. Ink to Text—I’ve been using this one non-stop for my schoolwork. Instead of moving text boxes and shapes around, I can write and draw with my digital pen on my computer screen. PowerPoint converts what I write into text and finessed shapes, which is kind of incredible. My favorite is that I can draw what I want on the slide and PowerPoint Designer will propose design ideas for me along with recommended icons. So easy!

Image of a PowerPoint slide being created. The creator is using Ink to Text to demonstrate "Sustainable Features" of a greenhouse.

  1. Insert embedded 3D models into slides—This one is fun, and I hear it’s pretty new, too! If you have custom animated 3D models, you can insert them into your slides. However, more helpful to me, is the library of already created animated models, ranging from animals to scientific objects to food to just about anything you can think of. It’s as simple as clicking Insert, selecting the 3D model with a running man in the corner, and watching the animation play in presentation mode. I’ve used this to help make my slides more engaging for college assignments and at my summer internship.

Animated image of an animated hummingbird used in a PowerPoint slide.

  1. Reuse existing slides in new presentations—This is something I never knew I needed, but it saves so much time. PowerPoint helps you repurpose content from both your hard drive and content others have created (like your school teams or work colleagues). Just click the Reuse Slides button on the Home tab and search for a topic to show existing PowerPoint files on your computer. From there you can browse the recommended files that you have access to, view the slides in each presentation, and insert them into your presentation.

Animated image of a PowerPoint deck searching for and reusing an existing slide about the Hubble Space Station.

  1. See what changed in your PowerPoint presentation while you were away—This is especially helpful when you’re collaborating with multiple authors, as it tells you what changed in your deck since the last time you had it open. No more comparing slides side-by-side or scrolling through the whole deck to see if anything’s changed. PowerPoint tells you what’s changed automatically—isn’t that so simple…and sweet?

Animated image of a PowerPoint deck. The creator can see a slide which was edited by her co-creator.

These are just a handful of my favorite features in PowerPoint for Office 365. In an effort to keep up with me, my sister has started using Office 365, too. Hint: You can try Office 365 for free.


*Ideas in PowerPoint is currently only available in PowerPoint Online and is rolling out to Office 365 subscribers.