PowerPoint: Help with Immovable Shapes in the Designer Templates

Selection Pane: The control room of your slides

It is possible that you have been creating PowerPoint presentations for years and still never encountered the Selection Pane.

That said, if you use PowerPoint’s Designer feature frequently, I bet you have encountered some frustration with immovable shapes and designs… Why can’t you move or delete some of these shapes? Is there a way that you can you recolor or reshape them by hand like you can with content you insert yourself?

Allow me to introduce you to your Selection Pane! This feature will give you access to every element in your slide… even content that seems to be impossible to access. Think of the Selection Pane as the control room of each slide.

Selection Pane

Video: Help with Immovable Shapes in Designer

Watch the quick video below to learn about the Selection Pane, and to see how to use it for a simple fix for common frustrations with Designer templates.

(Note that if the content of the video is too small on your monitor you can hover your mouse over the video and click on the link at the top of the video to open in a larger screen.)Youtube Link


Does this solve any of your PowerPoint Designer woes? I would love to hear from you!

PowerPoint: Presenter Coach (📢New Feature)

Do you ever wish you could obtain some objective feedback on a presentation before the big day? PowerPoint’s new Presenter Coach feature might not be exactly like rehearsing with a real live human… but, incorporating Microsoft’s increasingly impressive AI features, it is quite possibly the next best thing. Let’s take a look.

Prompt" Try speaking a little faster

Presenter Coach

The Presenter Coach is currently only available for people using Office 365 (both Windows and Mac versions).

To Rehearse with Coach, visit the Slide Show tab, left of center, in a new group called Rehearse.

Slide Show tab, Rehearse with coach

When you select this button, you will be taken to a presentation view, with an option at the lower right to Start Rehearsing. Here you can also toggle on or off real-time feedback.

Start rehearsing button with show real time feedback box checked

Real Time Feedback

In an endeavor to show you a wide variety of real time feedback prompts, I provoked my coach with a plethora of bothersome speaking tendencies.

The coach warned me when:

  • I was speaking too quietly…

Prompt: "too quiet"

  • I was using too many filler words…

Prompt: "Try to not use too many fillers like 'umm'."

  • I was speaking too slowly…

Prompt: "Try speaking a little faster."

  • Or too quickly…

Prompt: "try speaking a bit slower."


You can rehearse as long as you would like: you don’t have to rehearse our entire presentation; maybe you only want to examine a portion of your presentation.

When you escape out of presentation mode, you will be taken to a Rehearsal Report.Rehearsal Report, as described in text below

This report will tell you information like:

    • Total time and number of slides
    • Your use of fillers
    • Your use of sensitive phrases
    • Average words per minute
    • A graph with the average pace of speech
    • Originality,” or how much you added to the text printed on the slide

You also might be revisited by information that the coach prompted you with during your rehearsal, like my overusing of filler words, below.

Rehearsal report: zoomed in on notice that too many fillers were used.

If you are interested, here is a more all encompassing list from Microsoft on what the Presenter Coach is analyzing:

Suggestions from Presenter Coach


I can’t wait to hear what you all think of this new feature! Drop me a line, and let me know what you think.

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

PowerPoint: Morph Transition (plus video!)

Have you noticed a new transition in PowerPoint? It is hard to miss, since it is right at the front of the list. This new transition is called Morph, and it is pretty spectacular. That being said, it takes a little bit of tinkering to make it work correctly. Let’s take a look at how this works.

Morph Transition


You can get a much better idea of how the Morph transition looks by seeing it in action. To this end, I made a video for you today… but I also included some more instructions below, so do read on when you are done watching!

Morph Transition

I hope you enjoyed seeing Morph in action in the video above. Here is a quick recap of some of the basics.

The Morph Transition is one of the first transitions listed in the updated  Transitions tab in PowerPoint (Office 365).

Morph Transition

Simply applying this transition to a slide, however, is often a deflating experience. If not set up correctly, Morph looks very similar to the Fade transition.

How to Set up a Transition

Luckily, Microsoft has included some handy instructions for successfully setting up the Morph transition. Hover your mouse over Morph for details:

Transitions Tab, Morph Instructions

To quote Microsoft:

  1. Duplicate a slide
  2. Move things around
  3. Apply the Morph Transition

Basically, Morph works the best when two slides are very similar, but contain some minor differences. These instructions are a great way to ensure that this is the case.

More Options: Working with Text

Working with text? You may need one more step… after you select the Morph transition, look to the right for Effect Options.

Effect Options

Try Words or Characters if you are working with a slide that is text, rather than objects. One of my very favorites is the Characters option:

WIchita Facts Slide Morphed by Character

Objects and Morph

In the video, I showed you a couple ways to incorporate different objects with the Morph transition. For instance, try using Shapes, and modifying them slightly in your “morphed” slide.

Weather Alerts Slide, morphed

SmartArt is another favorite with Morph. Just remember for best results to follow Microsoft’s recommendations: duplicate a slide, make some changes to the second slide, and then apply the Morph transition.

Colleges slide, morphed

You will have to let me know what sort of creative Morph ideas you come up with in your presentations!


What do you think of the Morph transition? Did you notice this new transition in PowerPoint? Has this post inspired you to give it a try? I would love to hear from you!

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

  • Suzanne Hawley
  • Amy Solano

PowerPoint: All About Audio

What happens when you insert audio into your PowerPoint presentation? For many, the little audio button that appears in the slide is a source of some confusion. What are you supposed to do with that button? Do you always need to press play during your presentation? What if you want audio to play across slides? Let’s explore some of PowerPoint’s audio options that are not readily apparent.

Audio Play button

Inserting Audio

Like visual elements, audio elements also live on the Insert tab in the ribbon.

1. Go to the Insert tab, Media group, and select the dropdown for Audio.

Insert tab, Media group, Audio dropdown

2. There are a couple options here, allowing you to browse for an existing mp3 file, or record your own audio.

Audio dropdown, audio on my pc and record audio options

  • Remember that if you are recording your own audio, you will need a computer with a functioning microphone.

3. Once Audio is selected or recorded, PowerPoint throws an audio button in the center of the slide…

Audio button in center of slide

This button can be moved around if desired.

audio button moved

Audio: During the Presentation

The default audio setting has this button appearing during a presentation, but we will explore how to make an adjustment if that is not what you were hoping…

Audio button in lower right of screen

Since no defaults have been changed so far, if we start this presentation, the presenter will either need to trigger the action with their clicker, or press the  Play button on top of the audio button with a mouse.

Playback Contextual Tab

Like so many contextual tabs, the Playback contextual tab that comes along with Audio in PowerPoint is often ignored, but there are so many amazing adjustments that can be made back here! Let’s check it out.

1. Be sure that you have Selected the audio button to trigger the appearance of the Playback contextual tab on the right side of the ribbon.

2. Select the Playback tab. Take a look at the Start dropdown in the Audio Options group. This will allow you to set audio to start automatically, rather than in a click sequence.

Playback contextual tab, start dropdown

3. The Audio Options group contains some additional settings that may interest you. Do you want to hide that audio button during a presentation? Have audio play across slides? There are checkboxes for these popularly requested settings, and more.

Playback tab, audio options group

4. Some popular preset settings are also available to the right of Audio Options group, in the Audio Styles group. Do you want audio to play in the background? Select this button, and some check boxes in Audio Options will be selected for you. With this setting, your audio will:

  • Play across slides
  • Loop until stopped
  • The audio button will be hidden during the presentation

Audio styles group makes changes to audio options


What do you think, do these tips help you as you are working with audio in your PowerPoint presentations? I would love to hear from you!

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

PowerPoint Feature Showcase Live Recording: Academic Resources Conference

Did you miss the PowerPoint Feature Showcase at the Academic Resources Conference on Wednesday? No problem… the session was recorded! This quick conference presentation is packed with power, showing off some new features and revealing some secrets you might now have known about this program.

Check out the recording from the live virtual event below. For the guide and exercises, please visit wichita.edu/arcms.


PowerPoint: Extract All Media with One Action

There are a variety of reasons that you may find yourself needing to extract all the media content (video, audio, pictures) from a PowerPoint presentation. This process can be especially cumbersome if you have a large presentation, where saving video from slides one at a time is a daunting prospect. Here is a cool hack if you find yourself in this position. By the way, this trick will extract pretty much all content, so even if you aren’t looking for media perse, you will find this interesting. Before we jump in, thank you to Taylor for having this question in PowerPoint Advanced training last week and inspiring this byte.

Media File

File Name Extensions

First thing’s first! This trick will be a lot easier if you have your file extensions visible. If they are not already (or if you are not sure), here is what you can do:

1. Open up any folder, or visit your File Explorer in your task bar.

2. Click in the View button at the top. This will pop out the ribbon in File Explorer (yes, there is a ribbon in here! I want to do a byte on this too!)

View Tab

3. In the Show/Hide group in the View tab, make sure that the box next to File name extensions is checked.

File name extensions

Duplicate File (optional)

This is optional, but we will be changing the file extension next… so if this is your first time and this is an important PowerPoint presentation, I would recommend duplicating it so you have an original version in case something goes awry.

Changing File Extensions

Here is the PowerPoint file, with some media attached. Now that we have turned extensions on, you can see the extension is .pptx.

PPT on desktop

If you are working with an older file, the extension may read as .ppt. If this is the case, you will need to resave it as the file type Powerpoint Presentation to bring it up to date (more about this here).

1. Click on top of the name of your file to highlight it, or right click and select rename.  Instead of renaming the file, however, we are going to change the extension.

2. At the end of the title, change the extension from .pptx to:  .pptx.zip

It will look like this:

Change extension to pptx.zip

3. Press Enter. You will receive a warning message. Click Yes.

Warning message

Note: You can always change the file extension back to .pptx the same way.

New File Appearance and Behavior

The appearance of the file changes. At initial glance, it looks like a normal zip file.

New extension with folder appearance

Double click on it, however, and you will find a variety of folders. Select ppt.

New folder for presentation with folders inside

Here are the “guts” of your Powerpoint…  including a file called media.

More folders, media folder circled

Inside the Media file are all the images and videos, including any slideshow recordings you have made that are tied in to your PowerPoint.

Media folder

Who knew it would be so easy to extract all this information?


What do you think, will this help you with any of your projects, or did you find it interesting to see the “guts” of your PowerPoint presentation?

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

10 MORE Secret Commands in Microsoft Office

Almost immediately after I posted my Top 10 Favorite Secret Commands in Microsoft Office, so many more came to mind… So without further ado, here are 10 more commands that go above and beyond our usual well-known commands.

Ctrl + ; to insert date

Ctrl + K = Hyperlink

This command works in all your Microsoft Office programs, and other programs as well (like OU Campus!). Select your text, and rather than going through a right click menu, press Ctrl + K to access your hyperlink options.

Ctrl + K to insert hyperlink

Think about how quick this action can be if you have already copied your hyperlink, you can simply select text, Ctrl + K, Ctrl + V (paste), enter, and you are done.

Ctrl + ; = Insert Date (Excel)

This is different than the =TODAY function we talk about in Excel Advanced Formulas class. This command, Ctrl + ;  does not insert a formula; rather, it inserts today’s date as stagnant text.

Ctrl + ; to insert date

By the way, a similar command is Ctrl + Shift + ; to insert the current time.

Ctrl + 1, 2, 3… = Outlook Navigation

We have talked before about how Outlook has some incredible time-saving commands, and here is one of my favorites. Ctrl + (a number) will take you through the basic Outlook navigation.

Ctrl + a number for Outlook navigation

Here are the basic navigation commands in Outlook:

  • Ctrl + 1 = Mail
  • Ctrl + 2 = Calendar
  • Ctrl + 3 = Contacts
  • Ctrl + 4 = Tasks
  • Ctrl + 5 = Notes
  • Ctrl + 6 = Folders
  • Ctrl + 7 = Shortcuts
  • Ctrl + 8 = Journal

So the next time you are in your mail module, and want to take a look at your calendar, try Ctrl + 2 to quickly access it!

Ctrl + Shift + < or > = Adjust Text Size (Word, PPT)

Do you want to increase a block of text by exactly one font size? In Word or PowerPoint, select your text, then try the commands Ctrl + Shift + > to increase all selected  text by one font size or Ctrl + Shift + < to decrease.

Ctrl + Shift + > to increase size

Ctrl + [Drag] = Duplicate

We have talked about Ctrl + [drag] in Acrobat fillable forms, but did you know if works in Microsoft Office as well?

If you would like to duplicate a block of text in Word: select the text, hold down your Ctrl key, and with your mouse click and drag it to a new location. You will have an exact copy of the selected text.

Ctrl + drag to duplicate

Same story in Excel. Want to copy a block of cells? Select them, hold down the Ctrl key, and with your mouse click and drag them to their new location

Ctrl + Drag to duplicate

One note in Excel, you will want to hover your mouse on the line of selected text, until you see the four headed arrow cursor. Otherwise, Ctrl will simply deselect one of the cells in your group, rather than move them.

Four headed arrow

Ctrl + Shift + C = Copy Formatting

Almost like the Format Painter in command format… you know that Ctrl + C is copy, but did you know that Ctrl + Shift + C copies formatting?

This will work in most of your Microsoft Office programs. Select the text you would like to copy, and press Ctrl + Shift + C.

Ctrl + Shift + C to copy formatting

Select the text where you would like to copy the formatting, and press Ctrl + Shift + V. The Format Painter as a command, how cool!

Ctrl + Shift + V to Paste formatting

Ctrl + Alt + V = Paste Special

Ctrl + V is paste, and we just learned that Ctrl + Shift + V is use when copying formatting… here is another paste option: Ctrl + Alt + V will Paste Special. This will work in most of your Microsoft Office programs.

Frequently used in Excel, but also when transferring Excel data to Word… Select your data and copy (Ctrl + C), select the new location and press Ctrl + Alt + V to access Paste Special options.

Ctrl + Alt + V is paste special

Ctrl + Shift + $ = Currency Format (Excel)

There is nothing wrong with selecting a number format from the ribbon, but if you know you want currency, it could speed things up considerably to select your cells and press Ctrl + Shift + $.

Ctrl + Shift + $ to apply currency format

Ctrl + Shift + ! and beyond= Number Formats (Excel)

While you are looking at the numbers on your keyboard, try out a few more. Ctrl + Shift + ! will give you a standard Number format. Ctrl + Shift + % will give you percentages, and so on. Test out a few, and see if there are number formats you find yourself reaching for regularly.

Ctrl + Shift + ! to apply number format

Alt + F = File Tab

The Alt commands are a powerful tool in Microsoft Office. Alt will take you to the ribbon in your Office programs, and there are so many paths you can learn and memorize from there. Here is a great one to get you started:

Alt + F will take you to the File menu.

File is Alt F

From here, notice the highlighted letters letters on top of popular commands. S for Save, P for Print and so on…

File Menu options

Even if you don’t end up falling in love with all the Alt commands in the ribbon, Alt + F is an easy one to learn and utilize.


What do you think, will you use these shortcuts to save time in Microsoft Office?

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

Stephanie Versch (Picture coming soon!)

PowerPoint: Create a GIF from a Presentation

First of all, is it pronounced GIF, or GIF? Did you just say it in your head both ways? There is endless debate about the pronunciation, and for this I am grateful this article is in print rather than spoken. GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. You have likely experienced these short looping animations in a variety of ways, most notably in social media circles. Thanks to Office 365, you now have a new way of creating GIFs… through PowerPoint! Let’s take a look.

Action in the Presentation

Ideally, you will want these to be short and simple presentations. Because GIFs are all about action, consider applying a few actions (Transitions and Animations) to the presentation.

To learn more about Transitions and Animations, I would love to see you at a PowerPoint Essentials session!

Animations tab, Timing group

You can set up timings for Animations in the Timing group of the Animations tab. Any durations and delays you apply will be honored when you turn the presentation into a GIF.


For transitions, any “mouse click” items will automatically be turned into a timed action, but you can choose to set timings for slides that you would like to allow a little extra time on for your end users. You can alter the “After” setting in the Transitions tab to accomplish this.

On Mouse Click Timing settings

Exporting, and Settings

Once you have your PowerPoint ready to go, visit File, Export and select Create an Animated GIF.

Export Screen

Notice you will have the ability to change the file size and adjust the seconds spent on a slide, which will be overridden by any timings you set in the previous steps.

Create GIF Screen

When you select Create GIF, you will be prompted to select a location, and you will be done!


What do you think? Will you create GIFs from your PowerPoint Presentations?

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser


Compatibility Mode: How to Re-Activate Your Favorite Features

This happens frequently after a PivotTables session… An attendee excitedly returns to their computer to create a PivotTable from an existing Excel file, only to discover that the PivotTable screen looks a lot different than it did in class, and a lot of their favorite features are grayed out in the ribbon.  This is not just an Excel issue… sometimes this happens Word or PowerPoint: certain features are mysteriously faded in the user’s ribbon. The culprit? Compatibility Mode. Let’s talk about this setting, and how to escape from it, in your Microsoft Office documents.

Grayed out buttons in ribbon

What is Compatibility Mode?

The intentions of Compatibility Mode are in the right place. Its purpose is to make a document as functional as possible with older versions of software. So if you are using Office 365, and your friend is running Office 2010, you could send this Compatibility Mode document to them and rest assured it will look the same to them as it does to you.

For this reason, you will often see data that is exported from other programs; Reporting Services and WSU Reporting, for instance; default to Compatibility Mode. The software programmers aren’t sure what version of Office you will be using, so they err on the safe side, and have the export default to Compatibility Mode.

Another possibility: you are opening an old document. If someone created this document in 2001, and never updated the file format since then (we will talk about this further down), chances are you are in Compatibility Mode by default.

Missing Features

Earlier I mentioned that PivotTables are often the first place people notice missing features in the ribbon…

Grayed out buttons in ribbon

… But this happens in other Excel tabs, PowerPoint, and Word as well.

Grayed out buttons

The features that gray out vary from version to version, but bottom line, newer features are what disappear in Compatibility Mode. When someone is experiencing these ghosts of buttons, this is almost always the culprit.

How to identify Compatibility Mode

How do you know for sure if your document is in Compatibility Mode? There are several ways.

1. You might have some visual cues; the icons look slightly different in Compatibility Mode, shown below, on the left side of the icons.


2. At the top of your document, next to the title, you might see the words Compatibility Mode

Compatibility Mode

3. Go to your Save As screen (File, Save As). What do you see in the dropdown under the title? If it says Excel 97-2003 Workbook, you are in Compatibility Mode.

Save As screen file type drop down

In fact, stay in the Save As screen, and I will show you how to fix this.

How to Escape From This Setting (and get your favorite features back)

In your Save As screen (shortcut: F12), Compatibility Mode reads as Excel 97-2003 as the File type (dropdown under the document title).

Save As screen file type drop down

To fix this issue, click on the dropdown under the title, and select the first option for Type: Excel Workbook in this case (Word Document for Word and PowerPoint Presentation for PowerPoint).

Save As screen file type drop down

Important: you must close the file and reopen it to see the new options appear.

That’s it! You have your features back! I hope this helps with some of your legacy documents or documents exported from various sources.


What do you think? Have you been plagued by the trials and tribulations of Compatibility Mode?

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

PowerPoint: Secret Recording Tab

We are all finding ourselves making more recordings in PowerPoint lately. I hope you had a chance to try out the new and improved Record Slide Show  feature in PowerPoint. In fact, you are probably using a variety of recording features in PowerPoint and have likely noticed that these features are spread out throughout numerous different tabs in the ribbon: Slide Show recording is on the Slide Show tab, screen recording on the Insert tab, exporting a video is in Backstage View, and so on. Let’s simplify the process with a secret tab: the Recording Tab.

Activate the Recording Tab

We learn about another secret tab in Excel Macros session, but PowerPoint has its own special tab: the Recording Tab.

To activate this tab:

1. Right click anywhere on the contents of the ribbon.

2. Select Customize the Ribbon.

3.  On the right side of the popup is a list of the tabs in your ribbon. Scroll down to Recording. Click on the checkbox next to this tab to activate it in the ribbon.

4. Press OK.

Recording Tab

Hey, you have a new tab! How exciting. Here are some details about what you can access here.

A. Record Slide Show: A feature found on the Slide Show Tab. Learn more about this feature here.

B. Screenshot: Normally found on the Insert Tab, this feature allows you to grab a picture of your screen for a presentation.

C. Screen Recording, Video, and Audio: Also found on the Insert Tab, powerful tools for inserting video, audio, or recording your screen in action.

D. Save as Show, Export to Video: Typically you have to venture to Backstage View (File) to access these features.

Just to reiterate… you are not accessing new features with the Recording Tab, but you may find this to be a time saver as it brings together features that normally live all over the ribbon in various disparate tabs.


What do you think? Will you utilize this secret tab to save some time when recording in PowerPoint?

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

  • Maddie Domebo (Picture coming soon!)