PowerPoint Basics, Window & Views

When you open PowerPoint 2016, you will see this window:

The parts of the window:

The Ribbon

Starting with Office 2007, Microsoft removed menus and toolsbars from most of their applications. In their place, there is a Ribbon with tabs—he ones titled, "Home," "Insert," "Design," "Transitions," "Animations," "Slide Show," "Review" and "View"? Here is the Ribbon by itself:

The ribbon is used instead of menus and toolbars. Think of the Ribbon as a "super toolbar." You will notice that the many toolbars of Office 2003 have disappeared; the Ribbon has replaced them. The designers of Office wanted to present as many features to users as easily as possible. Before, many features were hidden in dialog boxes and submenus; the Ribbon helps make them more visible and easy to use.

Clicking on the tab for a Ribbon section will show you a new set of buttons under that theme.

If you double-click on any Ribbon tab, the Ribbon will become Minimized—that is, it will only show the tabs, and the buttons will disappear. In this mode, you can see the buttons by clicking on any tab; the buttons will disappear after you finish using them. This lets you have more screen space for the slide design. You can un-minimize the Ribbon by double-clicking on a tab again.

In order to see more detailed controls, you can open dialog boxes. These can be opened by clicking on the dialog box buttons below the Ribbon sections:

In Office 2007, the Ribbon could not be changed. However, since 2010, Office allows you to customize the Ribbon by hiding existing Ribbon tabs, adding new groups to exisiting tabs, or else creating new tabs of your own. See the examples below:

In the examples above, you can see the "Insert" tab before and after I added a new group and some buttons. Below, you can see a whole new tab with groups and buttons that I added.

You can add these by going to the File tab, clicking on "Options," and then choosing "Customize Ribbon" in the left sidebar. You can use the controls there to make the changes:


There is a Views bar down in the lower-right corner of your PowerPoint window.

Here are the parts:

  1. Toggle Notes
  2. Toggle Comments Pane
  3. Normal View
  4. Slide Sorter View
  5. Reading View
  6. Start Slide Show (from current slide)
  7. Zoom Slider
  8. Fit Slide to Current Window Size

The Notes Toggle Will make the notes area visible or not. Notes are useful in presenter mode.

Toggle Comments Pane to make comments; these will not show up when presenting; they are for collaboration.

Normal View is the view that you started in—the slide and the sidebar.

Slide Sorter View lets you see all the slides at one time, and re-order them easily.

Reading View will simply present the slides without any controls; escape to exit.

Start Slide Show will begin your slide show from the currently selected slide. To start from the beginning, go to the Slide Show tab in the ribbon.

Zoom Slider allows you to zoom in or out.

Fit Slide to Current Window Size will zoom in until the slide is as large as possible while still allowing the whole slide to be visible.


Each presentation is divided into slides. Each slide shows a different screen to your audience. If you use the Sidebar, you can rearrange your slides:

You can also arrange slides in the Slide Sorter View:


Everything you put on a PowerPoint slide is considered an object. Objects include:

  • Text boxes
  • Word Art
  • Shapes (and Autoshapes)
  • Photos
  • Clip Art
  • Charts
  • Tables
  • Movies & Sounds

Each object can be selected, moved, an changed via commands and buttons.

When you select an object, you will see a Placeholder.

This placeholder has four corner resize handles, four edge resize handles, and a rotation handle (the arrow-shaped icon on top). You can resize or rotate the placeholder by clicking and dragging on any one of these.

When the placeholder is selected, that means the computer is focused on it. When selected, it is possible to grab and move the object, or to delete it by pressing the backspace or delete key.

Terms to Know

ribbonthe control area at the top of the window; kind of like a mixture of a menu and a toolbar.
tabtitles of different areas of the ribbon.
objectanything you place on a slide, such as a shape, picture, text box, etc.; each object has its own layer.

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