Want to build your PowerPoint slides faster with fewer errors?
Shortcuts are the FASTEST way to double your productivity in PowerPoint and here we've collected the 25 best PowerPoint shortcuts that will save you the most time.
To generate this list of keyboard shortcuts, we sent a survey to our over 30,000 PowerPoint subscribers and tallied them up (as well as threw in a few secret shortcuts like the Slide Master Jump).
If you spend lots of time in PowerPoint, these shortcuts are all worth your time to memorize.
Ready to expand your shortcut knowledge beyond Ctrl + C to Copy and Ctrl + V to Paste?
Start reading below.
And if you find that these keyboard shortcuts aren't working for you, see our troubleshooting guide here.
#1. Jump to the Slide Master Shortcut
This is my favorite way to jump to the Slide Master view in PowerPoint (and hardly anyone knows about it).
To use it, simply hold the Shift key on your keyboard, then then click on the Normal icon at the bottom of your PowerPoint work space, as you can see in the video below (plus a pro tip when using it).
Clicking the Normal icon typically rotates you through these e views:
- Opens your notes pane (if it's not already open)
- Opens the Outline View of your presentation on the left
- Opens the Thumbnail view of your presentation on the left
That's why this is a hidden PowerPoint shortcut and it does something special if you use it twice in a row as discussed in the video above.
Not sure what you should be doing on your Slide Master in PowerPoint? See our guide here.
#2. Align and copy shortcut
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 first moving your chart and then holding the Ctrl + Shift keys to create that perfectly aligned copy
#3. Duplicate shortcut
The duplicate command is twice as fast as the normal Ctrl + C to copy and Ctrl + V to paste shortcuts as it's half the number of keys.
On top of that, it also has a hidden jump feature that you can see in action in the below video.
#4. The Eyedropper Shortcut
In PowerPoint 2016 and later (same as the Office 365 subscription), Microsoft added an Eyedropper command that has a hidden shortcut associated with it that you can see in action below.
To use this hidden eyedropper shortcut to change a shape fill (for example), simply:
- Select your object
- Navigate to the Drawing Tools Format tab
- Open the Shape Fill drop down
- Select the Eyedropper command
- Click and drag with your mouse on your screen (anywhere) to pick up the color
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. The Group Shortcut
Selecting a set of objects on your slide and hitting Ctrl + G will group those objects together so that you can move them around as a single object on your slide (unless you have a table selected).
This makes organizing your slides significantly easier. learn all of the ins and outs of the grouping shortcut, see our ultimate guide here.
#6. The Ungroup Shortcut
To ungroup a set of objects that have already been grouped (so you can format and edit the individual pieces), simply select the group of objects and hit Ctrl + Shift +G on your keyboard.
You can see these shortcuts in action below, plus some uncommon things you might not have ever realized that you can ungroup like icons.
#7. New slide shortcut
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 automatically inserts a new slide based on 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 jumps to the title placeholder of the new slide, so you can immediately type text in.
#8. Start Slideshow From Beginning shortcut
To start your presentation (regardless of which slide you are on within your presentation), simply hit F5 on your keyboard.
No more hunting around in the Ribbon to let the show begin.
#9. Start Slideshow From Current shortcut
This allows you to quickly jump back and forth between the presentation mode of a slide (so you can spot check it for errors) and the normal editing view of your slide by hitting the Esc key.
To see all of the different ways you can start a slideshow in PowerPoint (including the presenter view and slide show settings dialog box), see our guide here.
#10. Pick Up Style Shortcut (Copying Formatting)
When you select an object on your slide and hit Ctrl + Shift + C, you copy all the formatting of that object onto your clipboard.
#11. Apply Style Shortcut (Paste Formatting)
Selecting an object and hitting Ctrl + Shift + V will paste whatever copied formatting you have onto that object.
Note: The formatting includes everything for your object:
- Font style and size (of the very first piece of text)
- Shape fills, outlines and outlines weights
- Middle and horizontal text alignment
- Shape effects and margins
#12. Selection Pane shortcut
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. Bring Forward
All of the objects on in your PowerPoint slides exist on a layer, based on when the object was added to your slide.
Hitting Ctrl + Shift + ] will bring a selected object (or group of objects) up one layer at a time on your PowerPoint slide.
#14. Send Backward
Hitting Ctrl + Shift + [ will walk a selected object down one layer at a time on your PowerPoint slide.
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. Animation Painter shortcut
If you work with lots of PowerPoint animations, this shortcut will save you a huge amount of time when building out your creative projects by copying and pasting your animation sequences.
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 shortcut
One thing you want to avoid inserting into your slides is crooked lines. But how do you make sure all your lines are straight?
Simply use the Shift key to draw them as you can see below.
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. Increase font size
The increase font size shortcuts works in both Microsoft Word and PowerPoint to decrease your font size.
#18. Decrease font size
One thing you will constantly do as you build your slides in PowerPoint is change your font sizes
These shortcut keys are better than using the font size drop own 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 chart element shortcut
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. Notes Pane shortcut
See the below video for a pro tip on how to best use 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 shortcut
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.
On top of that, 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 shortcut
Another common thing you will do as you build your slides is move slides around within a presentation in the thumbnail view on the left.
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 shortcut
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. Date and footer dialogue box shortcut
This is actually a double-dipper keyboard shortcut.
That's because you can use it to launch both the Header and Footer dialog box and the Date and Time dialog box depending on how you use it.
To see a quick explanation of both (and how to insert an automatic updating date in PowerPoint) see the quick tutorial below.
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, see our article here.
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. Alignment Tool shortcut
This single most important PowerPoint shortcut for any serious user.
The trick is, to make it work, you first have to set it up properly (turning all of the alignment tool commands into easy to use shortcuts).
For help setting this shortcut up, see the short tutorial below.
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!