Customizing Your PowerPoint Workspace
Less Clicking, More Doing with the Quick Access Toolbar
No doubt about it, PowerPoint is a great tool! Sometimes we find ourselves using features that take a little too long to get to though. What do I mean by too long? More than one click for something I use a lot. Some of you may be thinking, what about key commands? We'll get a post up about key commands one day, but memorizing those can be an exercise. In the meantime, here is a short video that can help users become more efficient in minutes as we explore the Quick Access Toolbar and Custom Ribbons in PowerPoint.
For PC users, you can even download and use our sample QAT. To quickly make your own custom QAT, try right-clicking on your favorite buttons in ppt and select "Add to Quick Access Toolbar".
Mac users must click the "Customize Quick Access Toolbar" drop-down found at the end of the QAT and search for the commands they wish to add. Please note that (for now) on a MAC any functions available solely via plugin will not work in your QAT.
I've been asked to share what is currently in my QAT. The first 9 items in the toolbar are the most useful on a PC as they can be easily activated by tapping Alt and then their corresponding number, if you are on a Mac you may want to put your most useful items in the middle. While it is subject to change for a specific project or task, this is pretty much how I keep it.
The first 3 are from the FREE PPTools hammer plugin, they are:
Memorize: Learn the position (and optionally the size) of a selected object
Hammer: Apply the memorized properties
Options: Settings you would like tool to memorize
YOUtools has similar functions to the hammer and is available on Mac. with you tools you can right-click an object to copy its size and position, then paste a number of combinations of those attributes to another object.
YOUtools also has the functions for my fourth and fifth slots with:
Align to First: Toggle to apply alignment functions to the first object selected
Fill Slide: Scale and distort object to fill the entire slide to its edges
The rest I believe are all native to PPT and are not from plugins, they are:
Fill: Adjust a selected picture to be centered within and fill its crop and remove distortion
Merge Shapes: Dropdown with useful options for creating custom shapes
Crop: Button that is also a dropdown with useful features like crop to 1:1 ratio
Reset Picture: Resets, color, crop and size to that of the source image
Insert Picture: Inserts a picture to your layout
Send to Back: Sends the selected object to the bottom-most layer of your slide
Bring to Front: Sends the selected object to the top-most layer of your slide
Distribute Horizontally: Evenly distributes selected objects horizontally
Distribute Vertically: Evenly distributes selected objects vertically
Rotate Objects: Useful for flipping objects vertically or horizontally, to rotate objects, hold alt and press the arrow keys
Align Objects Left: Align the left edges of the selected objects
Align Objects Center: Align the horizontal centers of the selected objects
Align Objects Right: Align the right edges of the selected objects
Align Objects Top: Align the top edges of the selected objects
Align Objects Middle: Align the vertical middles of the selected objects
Align Objects Bottom: Align the bottom edges of the selected objects
Change Shape: Opens a menu to convert your current shape into another
Edit Points: Allows custom shape editing to be done by hand, for more precise work, use merge shapes
Convert to Smart Art Graphic: Will break bullets/paragraphs in a selected text box into all kinds of flowcharts and other useful design starting points
Convert to Text: Can turn smart art back into a text box and other handy tricks
Symbol: Insert a glyph
Eyedropper Fill, Text Color and Line Color: Apply any color to the selected shape. This tool, as well as eyedropper text fill and eyedropper outline, have been lifesavers when doing rapid prototyping and testing out palettes.
Lock Aspect Ratio: Now works in the QAT! Great for resizing objects by holding shift and the arrow keys without distorting the object.