Turning PowerPoint Shapes Into Bullet Points – The Life Cycle Of A List Of Bullet Points

It sounds crazy, right?

You spent all that time turning your dry list of bullet points into something more visual…so you’re probably thinking:

“Why on earth would I want to turn everything back into a list of bullet points?!”

Well believe it or not, this is actually an awesome PowerPoint trick for anyone building lots of corporate presentations!

PowerPoint Objects into Bullets Intro Graphic

Here are a few good reasons why this is extremely useful:

#1: Re-Design. You receive someone’s PowerPoint presentation and you don’t like it…it happens…and you realize that the fastest way to rework the slide is through SmartArt. To do that, you need to get all of the text within your shapes into a list of bullet points.

#2: Double-Checking Numbers. You have a bunch of numbers in different PowerPoint objects (shapes or text boxes) that you want to sum up so that you can double-check that the total is correct. As there is no calculation engine in PowerPoint, you’ll have to switch over to Excel. To avoid retyping everything manually to get each number into its own cell, you’ll need to get your numbers into a list.

#3: Generating Slides. You like the text in an agenda slide, and you now want to create new slides within your presentation, using the text as the title and/or sub-title for your new slides…and the fastest way to do that is to paste them as a list of bullets into the Outline View of your presentation.

Do any of these sound familiar or useful?

The key is pulling all of these tricks off without retyping or copying/pasting any of the text MANUALLY…is to understand the “life cycle of a list of bullet points.”

In this post, we’ll show you have to work backwards through the Picture Tools Layout command to push your PowerPoint objects into a list of bullet points, so that you can then reuse them however you see fit.

Below is both a video tutorial and a written tutorial depending on what you have time for.

Video Guide – PowerPoint Tutorial:

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Written Guide – PowerPoint Tutorial:

Step #1: Insert a Picture – Starting on your PowerPoint slide with the shapes you want to convert into a list of bullet points, insert a random picture (any picture will do so don’t waste time being picky).

In the diagram below, I’m just inserting a screenshot of a blank Excel document I have open.

PowerPoint Objects into Bullets Step #1 - Insert a Picture

Step #2: Select all of your objects – With the newly inserted picture selected, hold Shift and select all the shapes with the text that you want to convert to a list of bullet points.

PowerPoint Objects into Bullets Step #2 - Select all of your objects

Step #3: Choose a Picture Layout – With all of your objects selected, go to the Picture Tools Format tab, select the Picture Layout command and select one of the layouts (they are all going to look really bad, so don’t waste your time being picky here…just pick one).

PowerPoint Objects into Bullets Step #3 - Choose a picture layout

Selecting a graphic, everything is  pushed into a SmartArt graphic (and it looks horrible…don’t worry).

PowerPoint Objects into Bullets Step #3B - Before and After Shot

Step #4: Convert to Text – With the SmartArt graphic selected, on the SmartArt Tools Design tab, navigate to the far right (or right-click your graphic) and select Convert to Text.

PowerPoint Objects into Bullets Step #4 - Convert the Object to Text

Doing so, the picture is removed and all of the text from your individual shapes is magically transformed into a list of bullet points….which is hands down AMAZING!

PowerPoint Objects into Bullets Step #4B - Objects as text

The Power of a List of Bullet Points

Now that you have a list of bullet points, you have a number of additional options for strategically using them within your PowerPoint presentation:

Option #1: Use SmartArt to Develop a New Layout Now that everything is in a list of bullet points, on the Home tab, you can use the Convert to SmartArt command to push your bullet points back into SmartArt for new layout inspiration.

Check out our post on “4 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do in PowerPoint” to see how do do this.

PowerPoint Objects into Bullets Step #5 - Option 1 - SmartArt

Option #2: Paste Your List of Bullet Points into Excel Now that your text (or numbers) is in a list of bullet points, you can remove the bullets and paste them into Excel. Doing so, each bullet will go into a separate cell within Excel.

See this video tutorial to learn how to double-check your PowerPoint numbers using Excel.

PowerPoint Objects into Bullets Step #5 - Option 2 - Excel

Option #3: Create New Slides From Your List of Bullet Points You can quickly create new slides within your presentation using your list of bullet points by copying and pasting them into the Outline View of your presentation.

After you copy them, navigate to the Outline View by hitting the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Tab. Paste in your list (you may have to play around with the order by using the Enter, Tab, and Shift + Tab keys), and voila!

See this earlier post to see exactly how to pull this off.

PowerPoint Objects into Bullets Step #5 Option 3 - Outline View

And there you have it! That’s how I use the life cycle of a list of bullet points to build better slides and solve common annoyances in PowerPoint! If you have other similar uses for the life cycle, please let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you at Happy Hour!

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