PowerPoint Basics:
Task Pane

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101

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PowerPoint 2002/03 and the other Office XP/2003 programs add the Task Pane to the application window. This pane displays at the right of your workspace and changes as you work. Its purpose is to give you easy access to frequently used commands related to what you are doing.

Window: PowerPoint 2002 with New Presentation Task Pane

PowerPoint 2002 - Task Pane = New Presentation

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Presentations

Before you start...

Project 1: PowerPoint Basics
    Getting StartedTo subtopics
    Interface Arrow to Subtopics
      Task Pane
      Smart Tags
    CreateTo subtopics
    PrintingTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 2: PowerPoint FormattingTo subtopics

Project 3: Advanced PowerPoint To subtopics


Different Panes for Different Tasks

There are several different sets of commands that display in the Task Pane. Some are available for all the Office programs, and some are specific to the program you are in. Most panes can be opened from the drop list at the top of the task pane.

Office XP:

  • New Document

  • Clipboard

  • Search 

  • Insert Clip Art

Office 2003:

  • Getting Started

  • Help

  • Search Results

  • Clip Art

  • Research

  • Clipboard

  • File Search (on File menu)

  • New Document

  • Shared Workspace

  • Document Updates

PowerPoint 2002 adds:

  • Slide Layout

  • Slide Design - Design Templates

  • Slide Design - Color Schemes

  • Slide Design - Animation schemes

  • Custom Animation

  • Slide Transition

PowerPoint 2003 adds:

  • Template Help

  • Slide Layout

  • Slide Design - Design Templates

  • Slide Design - Color Schemes

  • Slide Design - Animation schemes

  • Custom Animation

  • Slide Transition

Sample Office Task Panes

By default, only certain Task Panes have a menu command or toolbar button that opens the pane. The appropriate Task Pane should appear automatically as you work.

You can add a command or button to the menus and toolbars, if you wish, for the Task Panes that don't already have one.

Icon: PowerPoint 2002 New Presentation -
Lists recent documents and links for new documents and templates.

File | Button: New (PowerPoint 2002) New

TipNew button Button: New (PowerPoint 2002): Creates a new blank presentation with the default settings and opens the Slide Layout pane, instead of the New Presentation pane.

Pane: New Presentation

Icon: PowerPoint 2003 New Presentation -
Links to create a new blank presentation or to create from a template, AutoContent wizard, or an existing presentation. Also offers to search for a template and lists the most recently used templates.

Pane: New Presentation

Icon: PowerPoint 2003 Getting Started -
Links to recently opened presentations and Microsoft Office Online.


Pane: Getting Started

Clipboard -
The Office Clipboard keeps track of up to 24 selections or images that you copied or cut in Office programs. This is not the same as the Windows Clipboard, which only remembers the last thing you copied.

Edit | Button: Office Clipboard Office Clipboard

TipThe Office Clipboard may need to be open to track your actions.

Pane: Office Clipboard

Icon: PowerPoint 2002 Basic Search
Icon: PowerPoint 2003 Basic File Search
Allows you to search selected folders or your own online sites.

Searches for the text you specify, but primarily in Microsoft Office files or web pages. You need to let Office index your documents for this to work.

Button:Button: SearchSearch

Menu: File | Button: SearchSearch or File Search

Pane: Search

Icon: PowerPoint 2002 Insert Clip Art
Icon: PowerPoint 2003 Clip Art
Opens a search form to look for images. Then it shows thumbnails of the results. Not all image formats will show thumbnails.

Menu: Insert | Picture | Button: Clip Art Clip Art

Pane: Insert Clip Art Pane: Results - search for Clip Art

Sample PowerPoint Task Panes

These panes are very similar between PowerPoint 2002 and 2003.

Slide Layout-
Shows choices for the layout of the slide: title, subtitle, text box, picture, chart

Menu: Format | Button: Slide LayoutSlide Layout

Task Pane: Slide Layout

Slide Design: Design Templates
Shows choices for templates that control background, fonts, font sizes, bullets

Button: Button: Design
 Format | Button: Slide DesignSlide Design

Task Pane: Slide Design

Slide Design: Color Schemes -
Choices for combinations of colors for text, charts, and AutoShapes.

Menu: Format | Slide Designs | Color Schemes

Task Pane: Slide Design - Color Schemes

Slide Design: Animation Schemes -
Choices for animating your slide parts, like fade in or wipe from right.

Menu: Slide Show | Button: Animation SchemesAnimation Schemes

Task Pane: Slide Design - Animation Schemes

Custom Animation -
Allows you to choose animation for parts of a slide.

Menu: Slide Show | Button: Custom animationCustom Animation

Pane: Custom Animation

Slide Transition -
Allows you to choose an effect for the transition from one slide to the next.

Menu: Slide Show | Button: Slide transitionSlide Transition

Pane: Slide Transition

Managing the Task Pane

Default pane

Icon: PowerPoint 2002 PowerPoint 2002 and Office XP: New Presentation task pane
Other Office programs use a name that is  appropriate for that program, such as New Document for Word, New Workbook for Excel and New Page or Web for FrontPage.

Icon: PowerPoint 2003 PowerPoint 2003 and Office 2003: Getting Started task pane

Switch panes

As you work, the pane will change if you use certain menu commands or toolbar buttons. You can customize the toolbars to show a button for a pane that doesn't have a button in the default toolbar.

Task Pane:Getting Started - list of panes (2003)Task Pane: New Presentation - List of panesYou can switch what the pane shows from the pane itself. Clicking the down arrow Down arrow at the top of the pane will open a list of available panes for you to choose from. First in the list are the standard Office panes, then come any panes that are special to the particular program.

Hide pane

Several close buttons in the windowYou can hide the Task Pane by clicking Button: Close its Close button. Be careful not to click the button that closes the document, or the one that closes PowerPoint. So many Close buttons!

Menu: View | Task PaneShow pane

If the Task Pane has been closed, you can show it again with the menu command  View  |  Task Pane .

You can also open the Task Pane by right clicking a toolbar and selecting it from the popup list of toolbars.