3 changes you should make in the Options dialog box of PowerPoint

I’m starting to use the upcoming PowerPoint 2013 a lot and doing so has reminded me of some of the default PowerPoint settings that I hate. Here are 3 simple changes you can make that I think will make you a happier PowerPoint user. They apply to PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 as well.

No, you don’t want to automatically select the entire word!

Have you had the experience of trying to select a few characters in a word to change them? You drag across those letters, but PowerPoint jumps to select the entire word. But you don’t want to select the entire word! (This happens in Microsoft Word, too.) Grrrr!

To be more specific, this behavior happens after you select one word, then as you move the mouse to select additional letters, PowerPoint selects the full preceding or following word; you cannot easily select individual letter of the words.

If you want more control, here are the steps to take:

  1. Choose File> Options.  (In PowerPoint 2007, choose Offuce button> PowerPoint Options.)
  2. In the PowerPoint Options dialog box, click the Advanced category.
  3. Uncheck the When Selecting, Automatically Select Entire Word check box.
  4. Click OK.

powerpoint-tips-options-to-change-1

No, you don’t want PowerPoint to change the size of your text!

Let’s say that you choose a theme or format a Slide Master for a slide title of 36 points. You choose that size because you like how it fits on your slide. Then, you type a long title and PowerPoint decides to make the text smaller to fit the title placeholder.  All of a sudden, you have slide titles of different sizes and as you go from slide to slide, you don’t know what you’ll get. It looks very inconsistent.

The same automatic resizing can happen in the body text placeholder.

Here are the steps to stop PowerPoint from resizing your text:

  1. Choose File> Options.  (In PowerPoint 2007, choose Offuce button> PowerPoint Options.)
  2. Click the Proofing category.
  3. Click the AutoCorrect Options button.
  4. Choose the AutoFormat as You Type tab.
  5. Uncheck the last 2 options on the tab: Autofit Title/Body Text to Placeholder
  6. Click OK twice.

powerpoint-tips-options-to-change-2

So, what do you do when you have a longer title or your text doesn’t fit? Here are some ideas:

  1. Edit your text so that it’s shorter.
  2. Expand the size of the placeholder slightly.
  3. Reduce the placeholder’s internal margin. I explain how here.

Of course, you can manually reduce the size of the font; sometimes you have to. But reducing the font size should be a last resort, so you shouldn’t let PowerPoint do it automatically.

What options do you change?

Please leave a comment with your suggestions!

2 comments to 3 changes you should make in the Options dialog box of PowerPoint

  • Thanks, Ellen. Sometimes the value of a “feature” is enhanced by the ability to override it, isn’t it?

    The default to capitalize words in table cells drives me buggy! I disable that in the autocorrect options in the proofing section. This is especially true in Word, which I use to create zillions of word cards in tables, but a feature I prefer to disable in PPT as well.

    Keep up the good work…I learn something every time I read your posts. Thanks!!

  • That’s a great idea. I usually press Shift when I want a capital letter, so why have PowerPoint — or Word — add it when I don’t press Shift?
    I’m glad you’re learning!

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