GASP! I have two hours to clean up this presentation. Help!


If there’s one thing that’s familiar to all PowerPoint creators, it’s scrambling to finish a PowerPoint presentation quickly. Whether it’s a new ask that you’re starting from scratch or some last-minute updates before a big presentation, sometimes there just isn’t enough time to get everything done.


But with these fast and easy PowerPoint tricks, you can carve out a pro-level presentation in minutes!


5 tricks for fast and easy PowerPoint updates

  1. Copy/Paste formatting with the Format painter

  2. Tighten up with the Align/Distribute feature

  3. Edit images with powerful image editing options

  4. Create masks with the Shape Format tool

  5. Bringing in graphics as SVG files


1. Copy/Paste formatting with the Format Painter

As far as time saving PowerPoint tips go, the format painter is one of the more well known tricks, and for good reason: it’s incredibly effective.


But what is less well known is that you can copy/paste formatting with keystrokes. This may seem like a small change, but once you get used to it, it can be a huge time saver. Now, instead of interrupting your workflow to hunt down the format painter tool, you can simply hit a few keys and watch the magic happen. Here’s how to do it.


To copy and paste formatting, select the object/text with the base formatting you want to copy, then press CMD+Shift+C (Mac) or CTRL+Shift+C (PC). Then click on the object(s)/text you want to apply this formatting to and press CMD+Shift+V (Mac) or CTRL+Shift+V (PC).


Here’s an example of the using the format painter with keystrokes:


2. Tighten up with the Align/Distribute feature

While guides (or if you fancy yourself a pro, your own eyes) can be an effective way to align objects on a slide, it can also be an imprecise and time-consuming way to move around multiple pieces of content. But there’s actually a better way, one that’s designed specifically for this situation: PowerPoint’s Align/Distribute feature.


This tool allows you to quickly distribute a group of objects either vertically or horizontally, or to line them up relative to the slide or each other using this function.


Here it is in action:


3. Edit images with powerful image editing options

Imagine this: you’re working on a slide with 30 corporate logos, all in full color. Then you learn that they all need to be in grayscale. Because time is tight, you can’t spend the rest of your day searching the internet for b/w versions of each one. And on top of that, you are not exactly a Photoshop expert. What do you do?


Luckily, Power Point offers in-program image editing that can take care of this in a snap. All you have to do is bring up the Formatting Pane, then click the image icon at the top. From here, PowerPoint offers tools to edit brightness, contrast, saturation, and color temperature, and even fully recolor an image if needed.


There’s another major feature of PowerPoint’s editing capabilities that we find particularly useful: the ability to remove an image background or set a transparent color. Typically you’d go to software like Photoshop, but that’s not always an option. That’s why this feature is so useful and such a time-saver.


To remove the background, simply click on the image and select “Remove Background”. You’ll then have the option to fine tune the boundaries of the image and background you are removing. This feature works best on images with simple backgrounds or white fills.


Similarly, you can isolate a specific color (usually white or black) and have PowerPoint set it as transparent. The results may vary, but this can be used to quickly eliminate a solid colored background from an image. Depending on the image you’re using and the result you’re looking for, this can sometimes work better than Remove Background, so it pays to know how to use both of them.


Here’s how each works:


4. Create masks with the Shape Format tool

PowerPoint’s recent addition of the Shape Format tool has been a real game changer for designers. Similar to the Pathfinder tool in Illustrator, this feature lets you create simple custom vector shapes and image placeholders without having to leave PowerPoint. And while it may take some getting used to the way PowerPoint’s version works, with a little practice you’ll be knocking out your own shapes in no time. In particular, the Shape Format tool offers a third way to eliminate the background from an image by creating a type of image mask.


First, create a custom shape around your object and fill it with any color. Next, bring the image to the front, highlight both the image and the shape, then choose intersect. With just a few steps, you’ve created a custom-shaped image that masks the background. This technique works especially well if the image you’re working with has a busy/complicated background.


Here’s an example:


5. Bringing in graphics as SVG files

Sometimes you’ll have an image/graphic that will be used in many different colors or styles. In this case, you can benefit from importing the graphic as an SVG file.


By importing the graphic as a vector, you’ll be able to scale it, change fill colors, and more, all quickly and easily. In addition, you can then convert the graphic into a PowerPoint shape to gain even more flexibility in editing.


Check out this example for more:


With these easy but effective tips, you can create high-quality presentations even when time is tight. For more PowerPoint pro tips, check out the rest of our blog!


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