PowerPoint Basics:

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101

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

Your PowerPoint and your computer may not be set up quite like mine. That can be confusing when you are trying to follow the directions to create and edit presentations. We need to check a few settings in:

  • Page Setup dialog
Dialog: Page Setup
  • Options dialog

Dialog: Options
  • Customize dialog
Dialog: Customize
  • AutoCorrect dialog
Dialog: AutoCorrect

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Presentations

Before you start...

Project 1: PowerPoint Basics
    Getting Started Arrow to Subtopics
    Icon: Step-by-StepOpen & Close
    Icon: Step-by-StepSettings
    InterfaceTo subtopics
    CreateTo subtopics
    PrintingTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 2: PowerPoint FormattingTo subtopics

Project 3: Advanced PowerPoint To subtopics


Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Settings

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

to change settings in Page Setup dialog
to change settings in Options dialog
to customize toolbars in Customize dialog
to change settings in AutoCorrect dialog

Start with:  Icon: PowerPoint with blank document (PowerPoint open to a blank document)

Dialog: Page Setup

The Page Setup dialog has fewer choices than in many other programs. The proportions of your slides will change depending on your choice in the Slides sized for: box!

TipPage Setup choices apply only to the current presentation.

TipThere does not seem to be a way to change the margins on your print-outs.

  1. Open PowerPoint, if necessary, to a blank presentation.

  2. Dialog: Page SetupFrom the File menu, select  Page Setup... . The Page Setup dialog appears.

    The default settings should be just fine for you.

    • Slides sized for: On-screen Show

    • Width: 10 inches

    • Height: 7.5 inches

    • Number slides from: 1

    • Orientation - Slides = Landscape

    • Orientation - Notes, Handouts, Outline = Portrait

    List of choices for Slides sized for: in Page Setup dialogTipThe Slides sized for: choice changes the proportions of your slide, depending on what media you choose. The default is On-screen Show.  The dimensions of the slide are important to your layout! Choose based on your primary use for the presentation - on screen, on paper, as 35mm slides, etc.


    Slide sized for on-screen display


    Slide sized for A4 paper


    Slide sized for 35mm slides


    Slide sized for overhead transparency


    Printing: PowerPoint seems to set the margins on your paper to half an inch on all sides. There does not seem to be a way to adjust this.

  3. Click on Cancel to close the dialog.

Dialog: Options

The Options dialog has several tabs. The default settings are usually fine. We will check on just some of the settings.

Options: View Tab

The View tab controls some of aspects of the PowerPoint window, the Windows Taskbar, and PowerPoint slide shows.

  1. Dialog: Options | ViewFrom the menu select  Tools  |  Options . The Options dialog appears.

  2. If necessary, select the View tab.

  3. PowerPoint 2002:
    on Button: Dialog Help the Dialog Help button on the Title Bar. The mouse pointer changes to a select arrow with a question markPointer: Dialog Help.

    on the first item on the View tab - Startup Task Pane. A popup tip appears with some information about this item. Dialog: Options | View - popup tip from Dialog Help

    Click somewhere else to close the popup tip. The pointer returns to its normal Select shape Pointer: Select.

    for each item on the tab to see what PowerPoint can tell you about it.

    Be sure you have a checkmark in each item on this tab.
    PowerPoint 2003:
    on the Help button. A Help panel appears. Click on each link and read what it says about the topic of each of the tabs in the Options dialog. This is not as directly helpful as in PowerPoint 2002.

TipThe Startup Task Pane or dialog appears when you are opening PowerPoint with a blank presentation, but not if you are opening an existing presentation directly.

Options: General Tab

  1. Dialog: Options | GeneralClick on the General tab.

  2. Use the Dialog Help pointer Pointer: Dialog Help to check out the items on the General tab.

  3. Set Recently used file list: to at least 4, which is the default. The maximum is 9.

  4. If necessary, change the User information to your name.

TipChanging the User information here changes it for all future Office documents, not just PowerPoint presentations. The Name is recorded as the Author in the document's Properties. To change the Author for a particular presentation or another Office document, use the document's own properties
  File | Properties | Summary .

Options: Edit Tab

  1. Dialog: Options | EditClick on the Edit tab.

  2. Use the Dialog Help pointer Pointer: Dialog Help to check out the items.

  3. Put a checkmark in each item in the top three sections: Cut and Paste, Text, and Charts.

  4. Undo: The default of 20 may be OK for you, but you can increase that to as high as 150. How many Undo's your computer can handle depends on its memory.

  5. Remove any checkmarks from the section Disable new features.


Options: Spelling and Style Tab

  1. Dialog: Options | Spelling and StyleClick on the Spelling and Style tab.

  2. Use the Dialog Help pointer Pointer: Dialog Help to check out the items.

  3. Be sure to have a checkmark in:

    • Check spelling as you type

    • Always suggest corrections

  4. Do not have a check mark for Hide all spelling errors.
  5. For now have Check style not checked.
  6. Click the Close button Button: Close to close the Options dialog.

TipThe Check style option requires that Office Assistant be turned on. We will work with the Check Style feature later, after a presentation is nearly done. Office Assistant gets annoying and is in the way when turned on all the time!

Dialog: Customize (Toolbars)

Microsoft has a separate Customize dialog for managing the toolbars and Menu bar. In this dialog you can change what bars are showing, what items are on the bars, and how the bars display on the screen.

Customize: Toolbars Tab

  1. Dialog: Customize | ToolbarsFrom the Tools menu, select  Customize.... The Customize dialog appears.

  2. If necessary, click the Toolbars tab to select it.
    The bars with checkmarks are the ones currently being displayed. The default bars are:

    • Standard

    • Formatting

    • Drawing

    • Menu Bar

TipIf you find later that your bars contain different items from mine, you can use the Reset button to return all the bars to their original state, if you wish. Be courteous - Don't do this on a computer that is not yours!

Customize: Commands Tab

Dialog: Customize | CommandsWith the Commands tab open, you can edit your menu bar or any displayed toolbar by simply dragging a command to the location on the toolbar that you want or by dragging it off while this dialog is open. We will assume that no one has been playing games with your bars!


Customize: Options Tab

Dialog: Customize | Options

  1. Click the Options tab.

  2. Use the Dialog Help pointer Pointer: Dialog Help to check out the items.

  3. Be sure to check the boxes for:

    • Show Standard and Formatting toolbars on two rows.

    • Always show full menus.

    • List font names in their font.


  4. Click the Close button Button: Close to close the Customize dialog.

Dialog: AutoCorrect

As you work with your slide text and placeholders, PowerPoint may make some changes automatically. This can be quite startling if you are not aware of the AutoCorrect and AutoFormat features.

AutoCorrect: AutoCorrect Tab

The AutoCorrect tab is very much the same in all Office programs. These settings are supposed to correct the most common typing errors.  You can also uses this feature to automatically replace some short text that you type with longer text.

  1. From the Tools menu, select  AutoCorrect... The AutoCorrect dialog opens. It has two different tabs: AutoCorrect and AutoFormat As You Type.
    Icon: PowerPoint 2003 PowerPoint 2003 also has a tab for SmartTags.

  2. Dialog: AutoCorrect - AutoCorrect tabIf necessary, select the AutoCorrect tab.

  3. Use the Dialog Help pointer Pointer: Dialog Help to check out the items.

    TipYou can add to the list under Replace text as you type. You would enter a short set of characters and have your Office applications replace them with a long phrase or even a whole paragraph. Very helpful for long business names or often-used standard paragraphs.

  4. Check all of the checkboxes.

AutoCorrect: AutoFormat As You Type Tab

The AutoFormat choices do not replace your text. They just change the look, like changing 1/2 to ½ and 1st to 1st.

The AutoFit and Automatic layout choices are special to PowerPoint.

Dialog: AutoFormat As You Type

  1. Click on the AutoFormat As You Type tab.

  2. Use the Dialog Help pointer Pointer: Dialog Help to check out the items.

  3. Check all of the boxes.

AutoCorrect Options Button

The AutoCorrect Options button is available in Office XP (which includes all of the 2002 versions of its individual programs) and in Office 2003. This button has a different look, depending on exactly what change was made. It only appears after the program has made a change.

Button: AutoCorrect Options - autocorrection from the listButton: AutoCorrect Options - blue rectangle Text changes:
A small blue rectangle marks where an AutoCorrect made a change in your text. However, you must move your mouse near the spot to see it. Not very helpful if you did not notice the formatting change!

Animation of AutoFormat change of capitalizationIcon: Mouse - left clickSee it - AutoFormat double caps: Click on the image at the right to see Autoformat in action. In this case the capital A changes to a lower case a. The mouse pointer moves over the word and the AutoCorrect box appears. The animation will run 3 times. Click again to view again.

Button: AutoFormat OptionsThe AutoFormat Options button gives you the choice of undoing the change in this particular instance, or of stopping this correction for this editing session.

Button: AutoCorrect Options - AutoFitButton: AutoFit AutoFit:
Changes the size of the text so that all the text will fit in the placeholder.

For Title and Subtitle placeholders, PowerPoint only goes down 1 size. After that, it adds more lines that lie outside the placeholder.  Titles aren't supposed to be so long!

AutoFit changes the text size from 44 down to 40 as more text is typed than will fit in the placeholder.Icon: Mouse - left clickSee it - Title placeholder: Click on the image at the right to see how AutoFormat changes the text's size to fit in the placeholder. The size goes down from 44 pts. to 40 points.

AutoFit changes the size of the items in the list so that all will fit in the placeholder.Icon: Mouse - left clickSee it - Bullet list placeholder:
Click on the image at the right to see how AutoFit changes the size in a text placeholder. It just gets smaller and smaller and smaller!

Button: AutoCorrect Options - AutoLayoutButton: AutoCorrect Options AutoCorrect Options:  
Appears when PowerPoint changes something other than the text, like the layout.

AutoLayout changes the placeholder size when you insert an image, chart, or table.Icon: Mouse - left clickSee it - AutoLayout inserted image:
Click on the image at the right to see what changes AutoLayout makes when you insert an image in PowerPoint 2002. The original placeholder changes shape and position, it's text is reduced in size, and the title placeholder shifts up to make room. Not a happy effect.
Icon: PowerPoint 2003AutoLayout does not apply to inserted images but will affect tables and diagrams.