10 things I can never find in PowerPoint 2007/2010

If you're having trouble tracking down features you knew by heart in PowerPoint 2003, this list will help you zero in on the options that the newest versions have scattered among various tabs.

Of all the Office 2007 and 2010 apps, PowerPoint's tab and group structure seems to make the most sense. Even though there's an initial adjustment, finding most options in the newer versions is fairly easy. Still, a few old habits are dying harder than others, and frankly, a few placements just don't make sense. Even though I'm acclimated to the product now, I still find myself moving in the wrong direction with a few options.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: 3-D Style

Taking a two-dimensional shape to the next level -- 3-D -- is a simple presto-change-o task in PowerPoint 2003. You select the shape and choose what you want from the 3-D Style options on the Drawing toolbar. Right before your very eyes, you have a three-dimensional shape. Not so fast in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010. The 3-D option isn't that hard to find, but it probably isn't in the first place you look.

First, select the shape. When the context Format tab appears, click Shape Effects. As you can see in Figure A, there's a 3-D Rotation option, but no 3-D Style or Format option, which is a bit strange.

Figure A

The 3-D Format option isn't where you might expect.
Instead of clicking the Shape Effects drop-down, click the Shape Styles (group) dialog box launcher (shown circled in Figure B). Doing so displays the Format Shape dialog box and the 3-D Format option.

Figure B

You must click the group's dialog box launcher to apply the 3-D Format.

2: Arrow Style

The option to choose a style for an arrow isn't buried deep in the hierarchy, either; it just isn't where you'd expect it. You might look in the Shape Effects option, but you won't find what you're looking for.

In PowerPoint 2007 and 2010, select the arrow you want to format. When the context Format tab appears, click Shape Outline in the Shapes Styles group. Then, select Arrows, as shown in Figure C. You can also click the group's dialog box launcher, as the options are relative to the selected item.

Figure C

To find arrow options, click Shape Outline | Arrows.

Most of the items on the old Drawing toolbar (#1 and #2) can be found by clicking Shape Outline or Shape Effects (in the Shape Styles group on the context Format tab).

3: Designs

A number of predefined slide designs are available in the 2003 Slide Design task pane. You simply select one and apply it to all slides, a group of slides, or just one slide. All of the task panes are gone in PowerPoint 2007 an 2010. You'll find the Slide Design options on the Design tab. That's kind of an easy guess, but there's a problem. They're not called designs anymore, but themes. So, you might miss them, even if you look on the Design tab for them.

You can click one of the options in the group or click the option's More button (shown circled in Figure D) to see all of the available themes. This figure shows the Apothecary theme applied to an almost blank slide.

Figure D

Click the More button to see the gallery of themes.

4: Expand All and Collapse All

In PowerPoint 2003's Outline view (click the Outline tab), you can collapse and expand each slide's text. Simply right-click the slide and choose Expand or Collapse. Expanding and collapsing all slides is just as quick click -- the Expand All button on the Standard toolbar toggles between the two states.

You can still right-click a slide and expand or collapse in Outline view. But where's Expand All? It isn't on any tab. In PowerPoint 2007 and 2010, it's a submenu of the right-click command. Right-click anywhere in Outline view, choose Expand or Collapse, and then choose Expand All or Collapse All, as shown in Figure E. It seems a natural progression, so the placement is sound, but it might take some getting used to.

Figure E

Access to Expand All and Collapse All is still quick, but it's two layers deep from a right-click.

5: Print and Print Preview

The Print option isn't hard to find in PowerPoint 2007. You click the Office button and choose Print. You set your print options, click OK, and PowerPoint prints accordingly. That's the way it worked in PowerPoint 2003 -- set options, click OK.

The change is in PowerPoint 2010 (in all Office 2010 applications). Print options are on the File tab, in Backstage View. Click Print, and you'll find a number of print settings.

The problem is the habit you've formed over the year: Choose settings and click OK. In PowerPoint 2010, you select print settings from several drop-downs. After setting all your options, you click Print -- that's the big button at the top with the word Print on it! If you're like me, you choose settings and wait for the printout that never appears, because you can't remember to click the big button that says Print. I'm cognizant of the step; I just can't seem to remember it when it matters.

Clicking Office | Print in PowerPoint 2007 is the route to Print Preview. The Preview button is in the bottom-left corner of the Print dialog box. In PowerPoint 2010, Print Preview is part of Backstage View. Click Print, and you can preview the current slide automatically. Print Preview isn't difficult to find, but it is annoying to suddenly need several clicks when one used to do. My recommendation is to add Print Preview to your Quick Access Toolbar.

6: Zoom

Zoom use to be a drop-down list on the Standard toolbar. In PowerPoint 2007 and 2010, it's on the status bar, to the right. The only reason you might miss it is because it's not a traditional icon or command. It's a slider-type control, as shown in Figure F.

Figure F

The new Zoom control is easy to use, but it's so different that you might overlook it.

The truth is, the new Zoom is intuitive and easy to use. You'll like it once you can remember where it is.

7: Grid and Guides

If you want to display gridlines and guides in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010, you're going to need a hound dog to find the options. What used to be a quick click on the View menu is now buried several levels deep. Display gridlines as follows:

  1. Click the Home tab.
  2. Click the Arrange drop-down list in the Drawing group.
  3. Select Align.
  4. Select the View Gridlines check box.
Gridlines are four layers deep -- and you haven't even found an option for guides yet. To display guides, repeat steps 1 through 3. Then, choose Grid Settings (I can hear you asking, Guides are a Grid Setting?). In the Grid Settings dialog box, shown in Figure G, select the Display Drawing Guides On Screen check box in the Guide Settings section and click OK.

Figure G

Guides are now a grid setting.

Smart Guides are new to PowerPoint 2010 and appear only when two or more shapes are aligned. You don't have to enable them, they're just there (unless you disable them, of course). In contrast, guides are stationary and you must enable them.

8: Page Setup

The Page Setup options are print options, right? At least, they use to be. Now, they're a design attribute. To set the Page Setup options, click the Design tab and then click Page Setup in the Page Setup group. Once you get use to the new placement, it makes sense, but I still head for the print options every single time.

9: Select All

This one's difficult for me to remember because I seldom use it. And like so many options, it's buried a few layers deep. It used to be on the Edit menu. In the newer versions, click the Home tab. Then, in the Editing group, click Select | Select All. Fortunately, [Ctrl]A still works.

10: Macros

Macros used to be on the Tools menu; now it's on the View tab. What running a macro has to do with viewing options is a mystery to me. Nonetheless, to run a macro, click the View tab and then click Macros in the Macros group. It's not difficult or hidden; the placement just doesn't make sense. It's one of those options you'll just have to drill into your head by rote (or a post-it note).

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