Center For Practice Management, Marketing, Microsoft Office

What’s New in MS PowerPoint?

You can use a slide deck for enhancing your opening and closing statements, educating an audience, or persuading a client. The MS PowerPoint software is feature rich and you can do far more than just use it during a live presentation. Because subscribers to Microsoft 365 receive constant updates to the software here are a few new features and some older tips to get the most out of this powerful tool.

Spell Check

Like most of the MS Office products, PowerPoint will automatically identify spelling errors and mark them with a squiggly red line. Click on the word to ignore or update the spelling. However, it is a little harder to review spelling in slide decks one slide at a time when you are finalizing a deck. So, before you send your slides out be sure to run spell-check across the whole slide show. Look in the “Review” tab and click “Spelling” in the Proofing group. The spell check panel will appear. It checks text in both the slides and slide notes, as well as showing word pronunciation and suggested synonyms. If you have ever presented a slide deck with a looming spelling error on a slide you will want to run spell check for a final review. Add the Spelling tool to your Quick Access toolbar by right clicking on the button in the Ribbon and choose “Add to Quick Access Toolbar”.

Mini Contextual Toolbar

Recent updates to PowerPoint have expanded the mini toolbar to add more contextual options. The mini toolbar in PowerPoint is especially useful for reducing the need to hunt through the ribbon for formatting options, chart options, and the Picture Format toolbar. Select an object, text, or image on a slide and right click to see the mini toolbar. Depending on what you have selected your options will change. One option that appears when you select text is “Change Case”, which lets you select from a drop-down menu to quickly convert text to all UPPERCASE, all lowercase, Sentence case, Capitalize Each Word or tOOGLE cASE (useful when you accidently had CAPS LOCK on). However, sometimes the Change Case option does not appear, and it is inexplicably absent the Font group. To add this to your Quick Access toolbar click on the carat icon in the QAT, select “All Commands” from the drop-down menu under “Choose Commands From”, select “Change Case” and click the right arrow to move it to your Quick Access toolbar.

New Images and Stock Photography

Do not use stale images! And do not neglect to use some! Two (of the many) reasons PowerPoint is so maligned is that people either use a slide deck they created in 2007 with laughably stale images  and themes (remember screen beans?) or they have a slide deck full of bulleted text (or worse, text copied and pasted appearing in paragraph form). Under the Insert tab in the Ribbon, subscribers to MS 365 will find thousands of high-quality stock images, including photography, videos, illustrations, cutout people, icons, and stickers for use in PowerPoint and Word. You can search these images or browse through them. Once you have inserted an image you can use the Picture Format toolbar that lets you change the color, add artistic effects, add alt text, add frames, crop and much more. Do you miss the screen beans? Don’t worry, Microsoft is rolling out Cartoon People to MS 365 subscribers so you can “mix and match” drawings to combine different characters .

Reuse Slides

If you create a lot of slide decks you often remember you created a perfect slide that you want to reuse. You do not have to find the old deck, open it, find and copy the slide, and paste it into a new deck. Reuse slides has been in the software for quite some time, but with MS 365 it is more powerful. Whether you are starting from nothing or editing an existing slide deck, from the Home tab in the Slides group you can click on the Reuse Slides button. A panel will open and show you recent slide decks you have worked on, or an option to search or browse your local drive, OneDrive, or SharePoint. Once you have found the slide deck that has the slide (or slides) you want to reuse click on “Choose Content.”  The panel displays a thumbnail image of the slides so choosing the content to reuse is easy. You can insert a few slides or all the slides. By default, the “Use Source Formatting” is selected. This tends to be helpful, so you do not have to do extensive editing of the reused slides when they adopt the formatting of the slide deck you are inserting them into. If, however, the formatting of the slides you reuse does not look good with the new slide deck you can right click on the slide and choose “Reset Slide” from the mini contextual toolbar. This removes backgrounds and formatting so you can more easily edit the slide.

Create a Video

In PowerPoint you can go to the Insert tab and in the Media group add video or audio you have created or have access to. You can also narrate audio on a slide by clicking Audio and choosing “Record Audio” to add a narrated soundtrack. Also, in the Media Group you can create a screen recording and insert it into the slide deck. This might be useful for training a client on how to use your client portal or how to add comments to a document. If you want to add a screen recording, select all or a portion of the screen you want to capture and choose record. If you switch to a different screen or application the recording will still run. To stop it (write this down because otherwise to stop the recording you will have to close the slides and lose work) click Windows Key + Shift + Q. When you are finished produce your video by going to File – Export – Create a Video. In the drop-down menu choose “Preview Timings and Narrations.”

Alternatively, you can create the video with audio narrations and a picture in picture video of you talking through the deck. Just open your slide deck, got to File – Export – Create a Video. In the drop-down list click “Record New Video”. It will open your Slides in a Presenter view mode (it is immensely helpful to have two screens for this!) and in one screen you can show your speaker’s notes, toggle on or off your webcam, and choose your microphone. You can also annotate with drawing tools. Once you are finished presenting your slides click the X on the far right and then click “Create Video”. Your video will be recorded as a high definition MP4 file, which can be played on most any media player and uploaded to your website or to a social media channel.

Create an Animated GIF

A newer option in the Export menu is “Create an Animated GIF”. If you need to add interest to your social media or website you can create your own animated GIF.  Create a slide, add animation, and then go to File – Export – Create an Animated GIF.  If you want to add your GIF to Instagram keep in mind you will need an additional tool, like the free GIPHY Cam app, to upload your custom GIF.

Present in Teams

If you use Teams for video conferencing, you can easily present a slide deck in Teams if you are a MS 365 subscriber. Open your slides and in the upper right corner click “Present in Teams.” If you are currently in a meeting it will share your slides with the participants, otherwise you will be prompted to schedule a meeting or Meet Now and you can invite people to join you with the link that will be provided. This will take you into PowerPoint Live mode. You can annotate with pens, highlight with a laser pointer, and turn on live captions.

Share with Collaborators

If you have a MS 365 subscription, click on the “Share” button in the upper right corner. You can share your slides with multiple people and end the frustration of emailing large slide decks back and forth with co-presenters. Make sure to enable editing. Your collaborators will get an email with a link. They can comment, edit the slides in their browser, or download and edit in their installed version of PowerPoint. You can work together in real time and review versions of the slides. Where are the versions? Look in File – Info – Version History to open the Version History pane.

Add a Form or Quiz

If you are sharing a slide deck with colleagues, clients, students, or another audience you can embed Forms or Quizzes into your slides if you have a MS 365 account. In PowerPoint look in the Insert tab and click on the Forms button. You can insert an existing form or quiz or build a new one on the fly. Insert the form and save your slides as usual. You can share the slides via email, OneNote, Teams or other Office applications and the recipient can fill out the form in your slide deck. If you want the file to be read only you can save the file as a .PPSX (PowerPoint Show). The responses will appear in your form responses at


Microsoft PowerPoint can be a useful aid as a live presentation tool or used to create videos, animated graphics, and so much more. You do not need the full arsenal of Adobe Creative suite to edit graphics, get high quality stock photography, make videos and much more. Interested in learning more? Here are some resources from NCBA CPM: