Image: iStock/gorodenkoff

There are several on and off states—true/false, open/close, yes/no, and so on. Thanks to Microsoft PowerPoint’s Mouse Over action button, moving from one state to another, seemingly without moving to a new slide is easy. In truth, you do need two slides, but the audience won’t realize it. In this article, I’ll show you how to use PowerPoint’s Mouse Over action button to turn an on button to off, and vice versa.

SEE: 69 Excel tips every user should master (TechRepublic)

I’m using Microsoft 365, but you can use earlier versions. For your convenience, download the demonstration .pptx file. The browser edition will let you add Mouse Over, but it might not play online.

How to create the buttons

Our presentation has two slides. As you can see in Figure A, one has a green GO button and the other has a red OFF button. These are extremely simple images, and once you’ve learned the technique for switching between them, you can work on creating a more sophisticated set of buttons. Or you can download something ready-made. For our purposes, the simpler the better, so we can concentrate on the technique.

Figure A

To create the green button, insert an oval from the Shapes option in the Illustrations group on the Insert tab. Hold down the Shift key while inserting the shape to make it a perfect circle. Double-click the circle to open the text control and enter ON. With the text selected, change the font and font size to Arial Black, 150. To finish the button, use the Shape Fill option in the Shape Styles group on the Shape Format contextual tab to choose green.

I’m using text, but you could use a set of images instead. In fact, a set of off and on switch plates or a set of lit and unlit lightbulbs would work well. I didn’t do this myself to avoid forcing you to download images, but you might want to try this on your own later.

SEE: How to highlight duplicate values in Excel (TechRepublic)

It’s important that the button shapes on both slides be in the same spot. It’s easier to duplicate the slide and change the text and color than to create a new slide from scratch. Right-click the slide in the navigtor and choose Duplicate Slide. Select the second slide, change the text to OFF, and then change the color to red. With both slides ready, the next step is to add the Mouse Over action buttons.

How to add Mouse Over

PowerPoint’s Mouse Over isn’t a VBA event or procedure; it’s an action button. By moving the mouse over that action button, you trigger a specified action. It’s really very simple. To get started, select the green button slide, and do the following:

  1. Select the green button (circle).
  2. Click the Insert tab, click the Shapes option in the Illustrations group, choose the last action button in the Action Buttons section (it’s a blank rectangle) and then insert by covering only the word GO, as shown in Figure B.
  3. In the resulting dialog, click the Mouse Over tab.
  4. Click the Hyperlink To option and retain the default setting, which is Next Slide (Figure B).
  5. Click OK.
  6. On the contextual Shape Format tab, click the Shape Fill option (in the Shape Styles group) and choose No Fill from the dropdown list.
  7. From the Shape Outline dropdown, choose No Outline.
  8. Select the second slide—the red Off button—and repeat these steps with one exception: In step 4, choose Previous Slide from the Hyperlink to dropdown.

Figure B

How to play the show

Let’s check our work by clicking F5 to run the show. Remember, right now, don’t click anything as you normally might. The first slide displays the green button. You can move the mouse all around the word GO, but as soon as you move the mouse over the word GO, the second button appears. That simple mouse movement changes ON to OFF. To re-display the ON button, hover over the word OFF. (If you like, you could just as easily use a Mouse Click action button.)

SEE: How to avoid a disappearing page number in Microsoft Word (TechRepublic)

Right now, you have a little loop going. To get out of the loop, click the OFF slide as you normally would to display the next slide. Hovering over OFF takes you to the previous slide; clicking moves you forward a slide. If you plan to go back and forth between the two slides, and you want the ability to exit the loop from the GO slide, add a Mouse Click action button that hyperlinks to the slide following the GO button slide.

Note: This technique is similar to the new Morph feature, and they’re both easy to implement. Use an action button when you don’t need PowerPoint to create changes on its own between slides. You can learn more about Morph by reading the following articles:

You could add sound—a simple click perhaps—to the action buttons, but I’ve found the sound a bit too slow for this particular technique. The slide moves faster than the sound plays.

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