Advanced PowerPoint:

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101

Did you want: Working with Presentations: PowerPoint 2007,2010,2013,2016 or español

PowerPoint can open outlines in a number of formats and automatically turn them into a set of slides. How helpful that is depends on the original formatting, especially whether paragraph styles were applied with outlining in mind.

PowerPoint will only try to open outline files with the following extensions:
, rtf, xls, xlw, doc, wps, wpd, wk1, wk3, wk4, mcw.

What is an Outline?

Ordinarily we think of an outline as a numbered, indented list of the sections of a document, like:

  I. Introduction
II. First Main Point
       A. Supporting Point 1
       B. Supporting Point 2
III. Second Main Point
       A. Supporting Point 1
       B. Supporting Point 2
            1. Example 1
            2. Example  2
IV. Conclusion

Word processing documents can have hidden outlines, if the right paragraph styles were applied.

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Presentations

Before you start...

Project 1: PowerPoint BasicsTo subtopics

Project 2: PowerPoint FormattingTo subtopics

Project 3: Advanced PowerPoint
    Outline Arrow to Subtopics
    Icon: Step-by-StepText Outline
    Icon: Step-by-StepWord Outline
    Icon: Step-by-StepCustom Template
    ImagesTo subtopics
    Tables & ChartsTo subtopics
    Import DataTo subtopics
    FinishingTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics


Creating an Outline

New document:

You can create a simple, indented outline, like the example above, in a text editor or word processor and then open it with PowerPoint to get slides. You would usually want to leave out the numbering.

Existing document:

An existing document may not look like an outline. You don't have to start over!

In a word processing program, apply the correct paragraph styles to the text that you want to be in your slides. Use styles that have outline levels assigned to them. PowerPoint will only see the paragraphs with outline levels 1, 2, and 3.

By default in Microsoft Word, Heading 1 has Outline Level 1 assigned to it. Heading 2 has Outline Level 2, and so forth, for as many as 9 outline levels. (But PowerPoint will only see the first three levels). You can also assign outline levels to other styles, including the ones that you create yourself. So Heading 1 might not be the only Level 1 style.

What You Get in PowerPoint

From Text Documents

For a plain text document (*.txt) or a Rich Text Format document (*.rtf):

  • Normal paragraph = slide title
  • Paragraphs indented with tabs = bullet lists.

You can use the Outlining toolbar to make changes to move the paragraphs into the right bullet lists.

From Word Processing Documents

  • Level 1 paragraph = slide titles
  • Level 2 & 3 paragraphs = bullet lists
  • Paragraphs with other outline levels = not on slides

Usually Level 1 paragraphs have Heading 1 style, level 2 paragraphs have Heading 2 style, and so forth. Your word processing document may not use these Heading styles for all of the text you actually want to be on your slides. You can edit either the outline or the resulting slides.

Example: Word Document in PowerPoint

With Word documents you will get a separate slide for each level 1 heading. The other levels will be bullet points. Other file formats may be imported differently. You will have to experiment with your particular software and files!

Opening the Word outline at the left with PowerPoint produces only 2 slides, even though the text falls off the slide.

La documento de esquema in Word

Word document

Slide 1 - presentation from Word outline

Slide 2 of presentation from Word outline

Slides created by PowerPoint when opening the Word document

Outlining Toolbar:

Toolbar: Outlining

There is a toolbar for outlining tasks that you can display.
[Right click a toolbar and click on Outlining] Toolbar: Outlining
The default location is vertical at the far left.
The buttons allow you to:

  • Buttons: Promote and Demote to promote and demote the outline level of items
  • Buttons: Up and Down (the hierarchy) to physically move items up and down in the outline
  • Buttons: Expand or Collapse outline current level to expand and collapse the display of the current outline level
  • Buttons: Expand/collapse whole outline at once to collapse and expand the whole outline
  • Button: Create Summary Slide to create a summary slide
  • Button: Show formatting to toggle the display of formatting in the outline.

To Open an Existing Outline with PowerPoint

Dialog: Open - File types set for outlinesYou can open an outline directly with PowerPoint's Open dialog, but, you must set the file type to All Outlines so you can see your outline in the list of files to choose.

Tips for preparing an outline

You have to think ahead a bit to help PowerPoint to convert your outline to a presentation gracefully.

  • Work with a copy:
    Make a copy of your existing outline or document and make your changes to it rather than to the original.
  • Edit = Short and Simple:
    • Short titles
    • Short phrases for text (Use your lovely sentences in your speech!)
    • Edit the overall outline in your word processor first, where you can see all of the original text.
  • Outline levels:
    Indent levels with tabs.
    Apply Heading styles to all text that you want to be in the presentation. You can change the outline level or indention or formatting after it's in PowerPoint.