Introduction to Microsoft PowerPoint


The Microsoft PowerPoint Interface



Microsoft PowerPoint is a software product used to perform computer-based presentations. There are various circumstances in which a presentation is made: teaching a class, introducing a product to sell, explaining an organizational structure, etc.

There are two main kinds of presentations you can deliver: before an audience or not. The preparation and the actual delivery of each are quite different. Before getting into the details of each, we will first take a look at the software and analyze what it has to offer.

Starting Microsoft PowerPoint

To use Microsoft PowerPoint, you must first open it:

  • One way you can open Microsoft PowerPoint by clicking Start -> (All) Programs -> Microsoft Office -> Microsoft Office PowerPoint.
  • Sometimes somebody may send you a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation as an E-Mail attachment, a file on a floppy disk, or a file on the network, etc. The file is usually represented by a Microsoft PowerPoint icon. You can double-click the icon to launch Microsoft PowerPoint and immediately open the presentation.
  • You can open Microsoft PowerPoint using a shortcut. If you happen to use the software on a regular basis, you can create a shortcut on your desktop or on the Quick Launch area. Many users also take advantage of the Microsoft Office Shortcut Bar. Sometimes, the icon you need will not be there; in that case you should insert it manually.
  • If you are working on a network of related computers, a presentation may be located in another computer. Once you locate the computer or the folder on the network and you see the Microsoft PowerPoint icon, you can double-click it. This would open the application and the presentation. The network administrator can also create a link or shortcut to the drive that is hosting the presentation. You can then click or double-click this link or shortcut to open the presentation and, as a result, launch Microsoft PowerPoint.

Using a Microsoft PowerPoint Shortcut

If you use Microsoft PowerPoint on a regular basis, you should have an icon on the desktop that can lead you to it quickly. This icon is called a shortcut. There are various techniques used to create a shortcut. Probably the first thing you should find out is where your application is located. You can find out by doing a search on the computer. You can create a shortcut from the Programs menu.

By default, the shortcuts for Microsoft Office 2003 applications are located in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11 folder. The icon for Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 is called POWERPNT.

To create a shortcut from Windows Explorer or My Computer, you can right-click the Microsoft PowerPoint icon, position your mouse on Send To and click Desktop (Create Shortcut).

To create a shortcut from the Start menu, click Start -> (All) Programs. When the program appears, you can right-click it, position the mouse pointer on Send To and click Desktop (Create Shortcut).

To create a shortcut directly from the desktop:

  1. You can right-click an empty area of the Desktop ->  New -> Shortcut
  2. On the first page of the wizard, you can click the Browse button
  3. In the Browse For Folder dialog box, if necessary, you can click the + button of My Computer and click the + button of the drive where Microsoft PowerPoint is located. By default, this would be the C: drive
  4. Click the + button of Program Files
  5. Click the + button of Microsoft Office
  6. Click the + button of Office
  7. Click POWERPNT
  8. Click OK
  9. Click Next
  10. If you are want, change the name of the shortcut to Microsoft PowerPoint:
  11. Click Finish

Practical Learning: Launching Microsoft PowerPoint 

  • To launch Microsoft PowerPoint, click Start -> (All) Programs -> Microsoft Office -> Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003

Microsoft PowerPoint Interface


The Title Bar

As a regular Windows application, Microsoft PowerPoint shares some characteristics that are common to other programs. The top section of the interface is made of a wide bar called the title bar:

Title Bar

The left section of the title bar displays a small picture known as the system icon. This icon is used to identify the application. The icon holds a list of actions you can perform to close, minimize, maximize, move or restore the application. To perform any of these actions, you would click the system icon. This would display its list:

This list can also be referred to as the system menu. To use one of its items, you can click it.

The main area of a title bar is a long bar actually referred to as the title bar. This section is also used to perform the same operations available on the system menu. There are other operations you can perform different than the system menu depending on the way you click the main area of the title bar.

The System Buttons

The right section of the title bar displays three small squares referred to as the system buttons. They are used to minimize, maximize, restore or close Microsoft PowerPoint. These items are

Button Role
Minimizes the window
Maximizes the window
Restores the window
Close Closes the window

The Main Menu

Under the title bar, there is the main menu and sometimes called the Menu Bar. To use a menu item, you click one of its words and the menu expands. If an item is missing from the main menu, you can customize it.

There are four main types of menus you will encounter:

When clicked, the behavior of a menu that stands alone depends on the actions prior to clicking it. Under the File menu, an example is Exit

A menu that is disabled is not accessible at the moment. This kind of menu depends on another action or the availability of something else. Here are examples:

A menu with three dots means that an intermediary action is required in order to apply its assignment. Usually, this menu would call a dialog box where the user would have to make a decision.

A menu with an arrow holds a list of menu items under it. A menu under another menu is called a submenu. To use such a menu, you would position the mouse on it to display its submenu. Here is an example:

On the main menu (and any menu), there is one letter underlined on each word. Examples are F in File, E in Edit, V in View, etc. The underlined letter is called an access key. The access key allows you to access the same menu item using the keyboard. In order to use an access key, the menu should have focus first. The menu is given focus by pressing either the Alt or the F10 keys. When the menu has focus and you want to dismiss it, you can press Esc.

On some menu items, there is a key or a combination of keys we call a shortcut. This key or this combination allows you to perform the same action on that menu using the keyboard. If the shortcut is made of one key only, you can just press it. If the shortcut is made of two keys, press and hold the first one, while you are holding the first, press the second key once and release the first key. Some shortcuts are a combination of three keys.
From now on, in our lessons,
Press Means
T Press the T key
Alt, G Press and release Alt. Then press G
Ctrl + H Press and hold Ctrl. While you are still holding Ctrl, press H once. Then release Ctrl
Ctrl + Shift + E Press and hold Ctrl. Then press and hold Shift. Then press E once. Release Ctrl and Shift

The Toolbars

Under the menu bar, there is another bar made of various buttons. This is called a toolbar. There are various toolbars used in Microsoft PowerPoint. Each toolbar has a proper name and we will learn how to recognize them.

At times, there will be many toolbars that come and go while you are using Microsoft PowerPoint. For this reason, we will refer to each toolbar by its name. To know the name of a toolbar, you can right-click any word on the menu bar or any button on the toolbar. If you have only one toolbar on your screen, its name will have a check box. The other name(s) on the context menu is (are) the one (those) you can add to the screen if you wish:

You could also create your own toolbar.

The Status Bar

The status bar is a long horizontal bar that spans the whole bottom section of Microsoft PowerPoint. It will be used to provide some assistance or information about an item that is displaying or being accessed in Microsoft Access.

Microsoft PowerPoint Help


Context-Sensitive Help

Context-sensitive help refers to help provided on a specific item on the screen. Such help is provided for objects that are part of Microsoft PowerPoint interface. It includes objects like buttons on toolbars, dialog boxes, etc. Context-sensitive help is also referred to as “What’s This?”.

To get context-sensitive help on a dialog box, you can click its button that h as a question mark on the left of the system Close button. To use this type of help, click the question mark button and click the item on which you need help.

Practical Learning: Using Context-Sensitive Help

  1. Start Microsoft PowerPoint
  2. To get context-sensitive help on a dialog box, on the main menu, click Tools -> Options...
  3. In the New Presentations dialog box, click the General tab
  4. Click the What’s This button 
  5. Read the various sections on the Help window
  6. On the Help window, click About Music And Sounds
  7. After viewing help, close it
  8. On the Options dialog box, click Cancel

The Office Assistant

The Office Assistant is a “character” or a “virtual person” whose main job is to provide instant help when using a Microsoft Office product. The Office Assistant can stay on top of Microsoft PowerPoint while you are working. If you don't like the way it looks, you can click it and click Options. This would present you with the Office Assistant property sheet in which the Gallery property page allows you to select a different Office Assistant. The Options property page allows you to configure the behavior and responsiveness of the Office Assistant.

To display the Office Assistant when it is not available, on the main menu, you can click Help -> Show the Office Assistant.

To use its service, just click it, then type a word, a sentence, or a question. After pressing Enter, a primary list of possible matches would be displayed. If you do not find what is close to your request, you can use the available options or change your request.

If you don't want the Office Assistant on the screen while you are working, you can hide it. To do this, on the main menu, you can click Help -> Hide Office Assistant. 

Practical Learning: Using the Office Assistant

  1. If the Office Assistant is not displaying on the screen, on the main menu, click Help -> Show Office Assistant
  2. To use the Office Assistant, click it
  3. Type Create Presentation and click Search
  4. In the window that appears, scroll down in the list and click About Cre ating Presentations
  5. After reading it, close the HTML Help window that opened ( but don't close Microsoft PowerPoint)

MSDN and Internet Help

Online help is a separate program that provides help on Microsoft PowerPoint. If you have access to a Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) CD-ROM or DVD, which is the help system provided to programmers who use Microsoft technologies (such as Microsoft Visual Studio), it includes a section on Microsoft Office, which internally includes a sub-category on Microsoft PowerPoint. On that help system and in the left frame, you can expand the link that displays Office. Then visit links to Microsoft PowerPoint or Microsoft Office:

Although help on the Internet tends to be disparate, it is still the widest form of help available. This is provided in web sites, web pages, newsgroups, support groups, etc. As the publisher of the database environment, it is only natural to refer to Microsoft corporate web site first for help. The Microsoft web site is divided in categories. A web site is dedicated to Microsoft PowerPoint at http://www.microsoft.com/powerpoint. You can get help at http://support.microsoft.com.

Probably the most visited site of Microsoft for developers of all Microsoft products is http://msdn.microsoft.com. This last site provides a tree list that presents items in categories (like the MSDN CD-ROM or a DVD).

Microsoft PowerPoint Exit

Since Microsoft PowerPoint shares the same functionality you are probably familiar with from using other applications, you can close it easily.

  • To close Microsoft PowerPoint, from the menu bar, you can click File -> Exit
  • To close Microsoft PowerPoint from the system icon, you can either click it and click Close, or you can double-click its system icon
  • To close Microsoft PowerPoint from its title bar, you can click its Close button
  • To close Microsoft PowerPoint like any regular window of the Microsoft Windows applications, you can press Alt + F4
  • To close Microsoft PowerPoint using mnemonics, you can press Alt, f, x.

Practical Learning: Closing Microsoft PowerPoint 

  • To close Microsoft PowerPoint, on the main menu, click File -> Exit

MOUS Topics

S50 Use the Microsoft Office Assistant

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