Managing Large PowerPoint Presentations

Creating Sections in PowerPoint Slides

Ever been given the task of adding slides to an already existing PowerPoint presentation that has many slides. Getting someone to describe to you exactly where you need to add your specific slides can be a nightmare. Before the picture of “the yellow truck” and after the text that says, “Safety equipment”. Sure, I can find that easily, not.

Need to move large number of slides from one area to another only to find that you have lost your place and it’s now taking you forever to get back to where you need to be.

Working With Sections In PowerPoint

Do you have one of the latest versions of the Microsoft Office Suite, then you will have this feature. It’s called Section. Sections will not be seen by the audience only you as the creator of the presentation. Use the Sections as dividers. Divide your presentation into categories of the types of slides it should contain. Perhaps there are different presenters. Instead of having two or more separate PowerPoint presentations you could have one but create a section with each presenter’s name, at least you will have the starting point of each presenter.

Here’s an example: I have a presentation which discusses several aspects:

  • OHS
  • Cost
  • Employment Opportunities
  • Advertising ideas

These could all be sections to hold several slides. Sections in PowerPoint are collapsible and expandable making it easy to focus on the Section that is most relevant to you at the time. Changing the order of several slides is made easy by collapsing the Section/s and then drag and drop to the new location.

Right Mouse Click is your friend when using Sections in PowerPoint, by Right Mouse Clicking on a Section you will be able to:

  • Rename Section
  • Remove Section
  • Remove Section & Slides
  • Remove all Sections
  • Collapse All
  • Expand All

The video bellow will walk you through using Sections in a PowerPoint Presentation.

How To Import Slides From Other PowerPoint Presentations

There a times when you don’t want to build a PowerPoint presentation from scratch, there is no need. Somewhere in the organisation or in your hard drive some of the ideas you are looking for have been recreated and perhaps done well. So why reinvent the wheel. Let’s steel.

OK, let’s look at the techniques we could use to achieve this.

Go and find a PowerPoint presentation by opening your hard drive and looking through folders and subfolders until you find it. Then simply copy and paste to your new PowerPoint…. That works.

That’s fine but remember this is an action you do all the time and you probably tend to steel from the same PowerPoint too.

Reuse Slides From Other PowerPoint Presentations

Ensure you are in the PowerPoint you are building press the down arrow under New Slide command. All the way at the bottom you will find Reuse Slides. If you have the latest version, you may even have this command right next to New Slide command.

A panel appears on the right-hand side. Press the command for browse. Find a PowerPoint presentation you would like to OK, borrow some slides from.

This feature has been updated so it will work a little different depending on the version and if it’s been updated. Remember using Office 365 subscription as Microsoft makes improvements to its product you now get them instantly. The push is to start using the cloud this means – OneDrive and SharePoint.

Displayed on the right-hand side you will see recommended PowerPoint files. Microsoft has decided since you keep your files in the cloud in OneDrive that’s were your work is. It’s going through your OneDrive and listing all your PowerPoint presentations here. This could be good and a nightmare because you have 100’s of PowerPoint presentations.

Finding Your PowerPoint Presentations

The next thing is finding the PowerPoint you want. Use the Search bar at the top. It will search not your hard drive, remember you probably have more than one hard drive C: Z: H: …… but your OneDrive and SharePoint. There is no “OK” command button you simply press enter as you would search in Google.

In the older version of this Reuse Slides you could accumulate a list of your favourite PowerPoint presentations, now you will search for them but it’s not searching your hard drive for that you will need to press the Browse command each time. A little painful but if you notice here the trick is Microsoft is pushing for everyone to use OneDrive and SharePoint so if you comply then your life will be easier as you will use the search bar.

Keeping Focus When Working On Large PowerPoint Presentations

Working with PowerPoint presentations that are over 20 slides and if you constantly scan through headings to see if you have your slides or deck as some people like to call them in the right order I have a great tool for you. This feature and concept are also available in Microsoft Word.

Outline View click on the view tab and select Outline view. Here you will see only the title place holder text. You can re arrange the slide by simply clicking and dragging by the slide title. If you have the need to delete several sides at a time. This can be done from within Outline view.

Click on the First Title Slide Hold Shift Click on the last slide. Then press Delete.

Consistent Formatting

How can we keep our slide titles with consistent formatting PowerPoint doesn’t have Styles like Microsoft Word does but it does have the Slide Master which virtually does the same job?

In the Slide Master you can change all the Title placeholders to have a Red Font. Make all the bullets standardised in Bullet style, colour and distance.

You will find this feature under the View menu then choose Slide Master. Be careful here as the Slide Master has a Master for the Masters, in other words ensure you click on the very first Slide. You will notice the other slides are indented from this one.

Greatest hits

Create one PowerPoint Presentation that has all the elements you use on a regular basis to build all your other PowerPoints from this could include graphs, images, tables, diagrams and videos.

Deliver to different audiences

When you have the task of creating large PowerPoint presentations and on top of that you must split the PowerPoint slides into multiple slides to present to different audiences. For example, you deliver most of the content to Staff but when it comes to presenting to Middle Management there are additions slides that need to be added.

What’s the best way to do this?

ANSWER: Use Custom slides.

Start by creating an all-encompassing PowerPoint presentation that would suite any audience any level of management. Then we can pull it a part systematically and gently grouping it into custom audiences.

You will find this feature under the Slide Show tab then select Custom Slide Show.

Create a name for your audience and add each slide you need to present to this specific group. There is no limit to how many Custom Slide Shows you can create.

Can I Avoid A Large PowerPoint?

If your PowerPoint presentation is unavoidably large say over 20 slides, consider are you getting your message across, are you using this tool effectively.

Do you have 3 slides one after the other with the same element for example slides with just bulleted text?

Mix up your elements:

  • Limit your bullet points to 6 lines
  • Appropriate clear, high quality images
  • Clear easy to understand Graphs
  • Keep animation to a minimum
  • Use consistent formatting
  • Stick to a theme
  • Avoid complex technical jargon

Updating PowerPoint Using OneNote

OneNote is a Microsoft Office Application that is used for making notes, not printing out or necessarily converting to PDF.

Picture this, you have been given the task of updating your boss’s PowerPoint presentation it’s over 20 slides long. Your job is to replace and add more photos, update graphs and tweak a few phrases scattered throughout.

Memorising all the changes that need to take place, where do you write this down, paper and pen. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, handwriting web links and accessing photos is all available electronically.

Try using OneNote. Open your PowerPoint Presentation. Under the Review tab select Linked Notes. It’s a purple icon.

In your OneNote you should have a Section Name perhaps you could call it PowerPoint.

Other methods of Note Taking: Cornell Note Taking System

On the flip side the benefits of taking notes by hand.

Experts say taking notes by hand engages your brain in different ways, makes you interact with the material in different ways, and overall, deepens understanding (Credit: Alamy)

Read More


What makes working with Large PowerPoint slides easier is the use of Sections and to be able to reuse slides from other existing PowerPoint Presentations.

Outline view is useful because you can re arrange your slide order easily and efficiently. Using the Slide Master is like using Styles in Word documents. Change the formatting once and it cascades through.

Custom Shows will come in hand when it comes time to deliver a very similar presentation but to different audiences.

OneNote is going to be great when you want to take notes of what needs to be updated with the presentations.

Need help with public speaking, Communication skills, coaching look up Maria Pantalone.

AZ Solutions Pty Ltd also provided face to face Microsoft Office Computer Training Courses in Sydney – Sutherland Shire – Currans Hill and more.

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In our training sessions you are welcomed to bring examples of your work to class. We prefer it.

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