Want to build slides faster? Want to do anything in PowerPoint faster?
One of the secrets to making PowerPoints faster is to learn your shortcuts.
In this article, discover the top 25 keyboard shortcuts in PowerPoint* that will help you save time and effort when creating your presentation.
Are you ready to expand your knowledge and go beyond Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V? Take some time to read this and yes, memorize them, because they will help you big time in the long run.
*This list was created based on a survey we ran with 30,000 professionals, asking them what their favorite keyboard shortcuts are and what really helps them save time. Watch the video below and learn how you can make a slide fast with these shortcuts.
#1. Jump to the Slide Master
The first shortcut is the hidden Slide Master jump, allowing you to go directly to the Slide Master to edit any items that affect the master layouts of your presentation.
To get there, simply hit the Shift key on your keyboard, then then click on the Normal icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.
The Normal icon is normally used to get to your notes, to the Outline View and back to the Normal View.
When you press on Shift then click on the Normal icon, you will jump to the child layout associated with this slide on the Slide Master. If you do this twice, you will jump to the parent layout.
This is especially useful when you’d like to add an element, for example a logo, onto all the child slides. What you can do is to hold Shift + Normal Icon twice, paste the logo on the master slide and you can see that it is going to be added to all the child slides.
#2. Align and copy
This shortcut is one of the top shortcuts from our survey because it allows you to select an object and in just a couple of heart beats, create an exact and perfectly aligned copy of it.
You can also select a group of objects and copy-drag it to create the same group in another column or area on the slide.
Note: Sometimes this shortcut is hard to achieve with charts as they can be difficult to grab. What I recommend doing is moving your chart first and then holding the Ctrl+Shift key to create that perfectly aligned copy
Search this page (Ctrl + F) for more shortcuts for charts.
The duplicate command has a hidden "shortcut within a shortcut".
Aside from the fact that Ctrl + D can create a copy of an object fast (twice as fast as copy-paste), it also allows you to copy that object and place it automatically in the same distance and in the same direction as your first duplicated object.
To do this, just press Ctrl + D to duplicate an object. Drag the copied object to the desired distance and direction. Then it the duplicate shortcut again and the next object will be pasted in perfect position and alignment.
Note: This is one of those shortcuts that's easier demoed than explained. Watch the demo video above to see how to do it.
That's how you can create a perfect grid like this in under 10 seconds:
#4. The Eyedropper (pick up anything)
In Powerpoint 2016, Microsoft added an Eyedropper command which also has a hidden shortcut associated with it.
First off, select a shape then go to the Format tab. Then, choose Shape Fill. Your mouse will turn into an eyedropper.
Then, simply click onto a color you want to pick up. Then, click on the shape that you want to fill and that shape will automatically be assigned the color you picked up.
What’s cool about this shortcut is you can get any color from anywhere.
For example, you would want to get the color from another website, all you need to do is to get the Eyedropper, then click down with your mouse and drag it to the website. When you've found your desired color, simply let go of the mouse and the shape will be filled with the color you chose.
#5. and #6. Group and ungroup
Grouping and ungrouping shortcuts are useful especially if your slide is being accessed by other people who can accidentally move your columns and images around.
If you group the elements, it's harder for someone to drag one part of it elsewhere, independently of the other objects in the group.
Another cool use of this shortcut is the ungrouping of icons. When you insert an icon (either natively from the Insert tab, or as a vector graphic) onto your slide, it will come in as one object. But in reality, an icon is simply a grouped collection of shapes.
To access the individual pieces of the icon, all you need to do is press Ctrl + Shift + G to ungroup them.
Now, you format the different parts of the icon as you wish.
Another cool thing you can do with the ungroup shortcut is ungroup a SmartArt object.
For example, you can turn a whole bunch of different pictures like these:
And turn them into a uniform photo collage like this:
To do this, just select the pictures, go to Format tab, select Picture Layout and select the layout you'd like.
Then simply ungroup the SmartArt by hitting the ungroup keyboard shortcut twice (Ctrl + Shift + G).
To learn more about this trick (and 4 other cool ones you've never seen anywhere else), check out our article on 4 tricks you don't know in Powerpoint.
#7. Insert a new slide
As you build your presentation, you will be constantly adding new slides. Using the Ctrl + M shortcut will save you some time as you don’t need to constantly go to the Home tab in between typing the content of your slides.
When you add a new slide, PowerPoint will automatically insert a new slide with the layout of the slide you are currently on.
The only exception is if you are on a title slide. When you are in the title slide and you click Ctrl + M, instead of generating another title slide, it will give you the next type of slide in your template (usually a content slide).
Another thing that's cool about this shortcut is that every time you use it, your cursor will be immediately jump into the title placeholder of the new slide so you can immediately type text in.
#8. and #9. Start slideshow
To start the slideshow from the beginning:
To start the slideshow from the current slide:
To start the slideshow, all you need to do is hit F5 on your keyboard. Pretty simple - no more hunting for that little button on your screen.
Also, if you want to start the slideshow from your current slide, rather than from the beginning, you can hit Shift + F5.
Becoming familiar with this shortcut will allow you to jump back and for to Slide Show Mode so that you can preview your slide and spot check for typos, verify the placement of the images and logos, run the animations, etc.
When you're done, you can hit the Esc key and you will go back to edit mode.
Here are some bonus shortcuts for running your slideshows:
When you press on Alt before the regular slideshow shortcut keys, you will launch the Presenter View, which allows you to manager your presentation live.
In Presenter View, you will see your current slide on the left (this is what the audience sees), your next slide preview on the right (only you see this), and your slide notes below that (only you see this).
You will also see the timing for your current slide and your overall presentation. This is a great way to see a bird’s eye view of your presentation and make your presentation delivery seamless.
#10. and #11. The "Format Painter"
These shortcuts are actually called the "pick up styles and apply styles" keyboard shortcuts.
When you select an object on your slide and hit Ctrl + Shift + C, you copy all the formatting of that object onto your clipboard.
Then, if you select another object and hit Ctrl + Shift + V, you apply all that formatting onto that object.
For example, you want to copy the color of the green shape in the picture below and apply it to the keyboard icons.
Simply select the green shape, hit Ctrl + Shift + C, then select the key shapes and hit Ctrl + Shift + V. Tada!
Note: The formatting includes everything: font, font size, font shape, paragraph styles, shape fill, text alignment, text margins, etc.
#12. The Selection Pane
Pressing the keys Alt + F10 once will open the Selection Pane. Hitting them again will close it.
The Selection Pane is a great tool for seeing all the objects and groups of objects you have on your slide, allowing you to edit them, change their layering, and even hide them.
The Selection Pane also allows you to more easily select objects that may be hidden on your slide beneath another layer.
#13. and #14. Bring an object forward and send an object backward
To bring forward:
To send backward:
Very few people know these shortcuts exist, and it's a shame because allow you to manage the layering of objects on your slide.
This means that you can adjust what objects are above / beneath each other.
If you have a lot of objects on your slide, you can open the Selection Pane (Alt + F10) and then use these layering shortcuts in order to better visualize the layers and move objects around.
#15. The Animation Painter
If you work with lots of animations in Powerpoint, this shortcut will save you a huge amount of time.
Instead of going to the Animation tab over and over again to add animations to your slides, you can just select an object with the animation (or sequence of animations) and hit Alt + Shift + C.
Then, go to your second object and hit Alt + Shift + V to paste the animation (or animation sequence) onto that object.
#16. Draw straight lines
One thing you want to avoid inserting into your slides is crooked lines. But how do you make sure all lines are straight? By using this shortcut!
Instead of drawing a line freestyle, hold the Shift key as you draw the line and you’ll get a perfectly straight line. You can draw the straight line in any direction you want, either diagonal, horizontal or vertical - it doesn’t matter. You will always get a straight line.
This also works for drawing other shapes. For example, if you want to draw in a perfect square, just hold the shift key as you draw in a rectangle. The same goes for a perfect circle.
#17. and #18. Increase and decrease font size
To increase the font size:
To decrease the font size:
One thing you will constantly do as you build your slides in Powerpoint is change the font sizes. Although you don’t want too many different sizes of fonts, there are a lot of instances where you will need to make changes in the font sizes.
These shortcut keys are better than using the font size dropdown because you can increase or decrease the font size whatever mode or tab you are in. For example, if you are in the Slide Show tab, you can make the font size bigger or smaller without having to go to the Home tab.
What’s great about this shortcut is that it also works in Microsoft Word and other Office programs.
#19. Format a specific chart element
The chart is the most complicated element in PowerPoint because it has the most number of moving pieces and clicking through all the formatting options and menus takes a lot of time.
A fast way to format a particular chart element is to double-click the element to open up its options.
An even more sure way to do this is to select the element and then hit Ctrl + 1 on your keyboard. That element's formatting options will then open up on the side.
Note: There is a dropdown in the formatting options which allows you to cycle through different elements of your chart without having to select it with your mouse.
#20. Open the Notes Pane
Hitting Ctrl + Shift + H on your keyboard opens and closes the Notes Pane, allowing you to view and edit the notes for each slide.
#21. Create a section
Sections are a super useful feature in PowerPoint because they help you organize your slides, rearrange your presentation quickly and print specific sections fast.
For example, if another person is collaborating with you and will work on slides 6-10 while you work on slides 1-5, what you can do is hit Ctrl + < to create a section for each person.
You can rename each section with the person's name and you can also collapse, expand, and move each section.It also allows you to save time when printing only some slides in the presentation. For example, if you only need to print your colleague’s part, then you can easily select their section in the print menu.
#22. Move a slide up or down
Another common thing you will do as you build your slides is move slides around within a presentation.
To save you time, you can use the Ctrl + arrow shortcut keys while in the thumbnail view of the presentation. This will move a slide (or group of slides) up and down in the order of slides. The same works for sections.
#23. Insert a symbol (equation)
The fastest way to insert Powerpoint symbols is by using the Alt + = shortcut to insert an equation.
Note: Keep in mind that the font for equation symbols is a specific font and may be different from the font you're using for the rest of your text. See the example below.
#24. Open the date and footer dialogue box
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that you are not clicked into anything on the slide. Hit the Esc keys a few times to make sure you have nothing selected.
Then hit Alt + Shift + D on your keyboard and the Header and Footer dialogue box will open. This is where you can add headers, footers, slide numbers and the date and time on your slides.
Note: Ticking the slide number checkbox does not mean the slide number will automatically show up. To get your slide numbers to appear correctly, read this article on properly adding slide numbers.
Another way to use this shortcut is to add a date on the title slide of your presentation for today's date.
To do that, simply hit the shortcut to open the date and time dialogue box. Then choose the date format you want and click OK. This will add today's date (based on your computer's settings) to your slide as a text box.
You can also select Update Automatically from the dialogue box so that the date updates each time you open the presentation.
#25. Activate the Alignment Tool
This is THE MOST AMAZING SHORTCUT in all of PowerPoint, in our opinion. However, for it to work, it must be set up properly.
In order to start using this, you need to turn all your alignment keys into hot keys.
To set this up, go to the Home Tab, navigate to the Arrange dropdown, and then right-click the Alignment tool at the group level. Notice that the Alignment Tool is added to the Quick Access Toolbar.
The next step is click on the downward facing arrow in the QAT and choose More Commands. In the dialogue box, find the Align Objects tool and click it all the way to the top and then select OK.
Once it's properly set up, all you have to do is select an object and hit Alt, 1 on your keyboard, and you'll get all the possible alignment options.
Then you can hit on the next available letter to choose the alignment you want.
So for example, if you want to align two objects to their tops, simply select both objects and hit Alt, 1, T for Align to Top. And that's it!