With an estimated 500 million users worldwide, PowerPoint remains a key presentation tool in many enterprises, with Microsoft recently adding collaboration tools to further enhance its utility in the workplace. However, the platform includes many features that often fly under the radar, but can give your slide decks a boost.

“We all know how easy it is to create and deliver a bad, mind-numbing presentation,” wrote TechRepublic feature editor Jody Gilbert. “Fortunately for both presenters and their hapless victims, various add-ons are available to make presentations more functional and compelling.”

Here are 10 popular TechRepublic articles with tips for becoming a Microsoft PowerPoint expert and getting the most out of the presentation program.

1. 10 steps to linking PowerPoint slides

Users can connect slides to one another in two ways: Action buttons, or links. Action buttons are AutoShape objects that link to other slides, play sounds, and perform other specific tasks, while links include hyperlinks and actions. In this article, TechRepublic contributing writer Susan Harkins explains how to add several action buttons and links to your presentation for better slide mobility.

2. Animate individual elements of a PowerPoint chart

PowerPoint allows users to animate just about anything, but the process is not exactly intuitive, Harkins wrote. Here, she describes how users can tell PowerPoint that they are working with chart elements, as opposed to the entire chart, and animate those individual pieces.

3. Creating mirror images in PowerPoint

PowerPoint users can create a mirror image of an existing object in the platform in two ways: By setting the object’s 3D rotation X value to 180, or by using a quick dragging trick. In this article, Harkins explains how to make a mirror image using each method, so you can determine which works best for you.

4. Circle an object during a PowerPoint slide show for emphasis

It may seem simple, but circling an object on a PowerPoint show during a presentation to emphasize a point can be very effective. Here, Harkins explains how you can draw a circle around an object or set of text to catch your audience’s eye.

SEE: Microsoft Office 365: The smart person’s guide

5. Pro tip: Create a callout in PowerPoint

Displaying large amounts of detailed data on a PowerPoint slide is not usually an effective use of the medium. However, when it needs to be done, creating a callout–a short string of text that’s displayed using a larger font than the rest of the printed page–can help your audience focus in on the most important details that you want to discuss. In this article, Harkins explains how to do it.

6. Five PowerPoint add-ons that go beyond ordinary slide shows

While PowerPoint offers a number of useful features, users can explore various add-ons to the program to make presentations more functional and compelling. Here, Gilbert walks users through PowerMockup, Office Timeline 2010, Perspector, VisualBee, and YawnBuster, and describes what each tool is capable of adding to your presentations.

7. Select multiple objects in a PowerPoint slide

Many users do not know that they can use Shift and Ctrl to select multiple objects in a PowerPoint slide, allowing you to move, format, and delete multiple objects at the same time. In this article, Harkins explains how to do this quickly and effectively.

8. Add a popup window to a PowerPoint slide

It can be useful to display additional information in your slides in the form of a popup window. While PowerPoint does not include a built-in feature that does this, you can still get the program to display a popup by adding a trigger that displays a callout box. Here, Harkins describes the three different ways to add popups to your work.

9. Add a looping introduction to a PowerPoint presentation

While many business users display an introductory or welcome slide at the start of a PowerPoint presentation, it’s possible to display more than one such slide at the beginning on a loop to generate more interest. In this article, Harkins explains how to add a looping introduction to your presentation.

10. How to use picture placeholders for easy placement and cropping in PowerPoint

While it’s not difficult to add a picture into a PowerPoint slide, it often requires some adjustment to get your picture to fit into the placeholder image size. However, PowerPoint 2010 and later versions include a cropping feature that allows you to quickly get the picture you want into your slide deck while retaining the position, size, and shape of the placeholder. Here, Harkins demonstrates how to do this.