5 Windows Shortcuts for PowerPoint Presentation Design

PowerPoint is more than a presentation program, it’s a design tool. Check out these 5 shortcuts that will make designing your training materials easy!

Published on 13 December, 2019

The art of creating well-designed training materials is crucial for those in the Learning and Development (L&D) industry, especially for non-designers. 

Although Microsoft PowerPoint may appear to be a presentation-focused program, it doubles as a versatile design tool that can transform your training materials from good to great. By gaining knowledge of just a few of PowerPoint’s shortcuts, you can make beautiful designs that will captivate your learners in any training session.

To help you create the best PowerPoint designs possible, here are the five best design tips that can improve your skill set and dazzle your learners using PowerPoint.

(This post will focus on shortcuts for Window users. Here’s a resource for Mac users.)

Align and Copy

The align and copy shortcut helps you save time by making slides that have perfect text and design alignment without having to create multiple items by hand.

This shortcut allows you to select and duplicate items without the copies losing their relative alignment. Using the CTRL + SHIFT function, select items such as columns, rows and text boxes by clicking and dragging your mouse to highlight the desired items. Once selected, un-click and hover over these items to then click and drag their exact duplicates to the desired placement on the slide. 

The duplicates are able to retain the same alignment to each other and the originals so you can create consistent columns, rows and text boxes next to one another. This ensures that all your work will be symmetrical within the presentation.

Here’s a video from Nuts & Bolts Speed Training to explain the shortcut further:

Draw Straight Lines

Drawing straight lines in PowerPoint is difficult, especially when you consider how hard it is to make sure their length and width all match on each slide. To prevent you from having to freestyle draw every line in your presentation, try using the draw straight lines shortcut.

To use this shortcut, simply hold down the SHIFT button and draw the line with your mouse. You will notice that it will then be drawn perfectly straight either in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal direction.

Using this shortcut, you’ll be able to make all lines consistent without having to re-create each individual one, saving you time in the process.

Here’s a video from Nuts & Bolts Speed Training to explain the shortcut in greater detail:

Group Together

Sometimes when inserting objects into a PowerPoint presentation, you will want to pair two or more objects together in the event they have to be moved. Instead of moving each object one-by-one, you can use the group-selected objects shortcut to make sure your items are always paired.

When grouping objects together, hold down the SHIFT key and select the items you wish to group. From here, hit CTRL + G on your keyboard to have PowerPoint recognize these items as one object. This way, your objects will not become separated if the format is altered.

Here’s a video from Nuts & Bolts Speed Training to explain how the shortcut will look in action:

Merge Shapes

Using the merge shapes shortcut, you will make your designs more memorable to your learners. This shortcut helps create custom shapes that may not be available within PowerPoint, making it a useful creative tool for freestyle design.

Start by inserting two or more shapes of your choice into a slide and highlighting each by clicking and dragging your mouse over each. Once all are selected, go to Shape Format and select Union from the Merge Shapes drop down menu to create one shape.

From here, you can insert text boxes and other shapes into the merged object.

Here’s a video from Leila Gharani to demonstrate the shortcut:

Exporting PPT to PDF

Converting your PowerPoint to PDF will decrease the size of your file, make it print-ready, and lock it from editing.

To convert your presentation to a PDF format, use the CTRL + SHIFT + S function for access to the Save As box and select PDF from the Save As Type dropdown menu. Once done, click Save to export your PDF to the desired save location on your computer.

Once saved, you will ensure that your file will be safe from any revisions, compact in size for easier sharing, and ready to be printed.

Here’s a video from Nuts & Bolts Speed Training to explain the conversion:

Using these tips, you can use PowerPoint as a design tool to create high-quality materials for your learners. Regardless of whether you create an infographic, booklet, or one-sheeter for your learners, designing an effective PowerPoint will give them a better learning experience that will leave a lasting impact.


Want to learn how to prep your design for print? Download our free Print Design Checklist today.

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