Import text from Word or Notepad

Recently, a friend told me he sometimes copied and pasted text from a Microsoft Office Word document into PowerPoint and then changed the size, color, and so on on every slide.

You should never have to do that.

You can import text from Word or even Notepad (or any text editor) to create a new presentation. This is called importing an outline. Follow these steps to create the outline:

  1. Open a Word or Notepad document.
  2. Type the content if you haven’t already done so, following the guildines below.
  3. Make sure each line, whether for a slide title or bulleted text, is on its own line. There should be no blank lines, because these come in as blank slides!
  4. Before each line of bulleted text, insert a tab.
  5. To create 2nd-level bulleted text, insert two tabs.
  6. Save the file as a .doc or .txt file.

Here’s an example:

Word or Notepad document

Word or Notepad document

To use the outline, follow these steps:

Start a new presentation.

  1. Choose File > Open.
  2. From the Files of Type drop-down list, choose All Outlines.
  3. Find your file, select it, and click Open.

That’s it! Your presentation is created! Here’s an example. The only change I made was to use the Title Slide layout for the first slide.

presentation slides created

presentation slides created

As you can see, the text comes in the appropriate size, according to the slide master.

You can also insert an outline into an existing presentation. Perhaps you have some content that you want to use for just a couple of slides. Follow these steps:

  1. On the Outline tab of the Outline pane, click the slide you want the outline content to appear after.
  2. Choose insert > Slides from Outline.
  3. Select your outline file and click Insert.

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7 comments to Import text from Word or Notepad

  • Katri Laine-Murhu


    Thank you for the advice – it was something I could not find in Office Help!

    I still have a problem: all my lines come out as page headings in Power Point no matter how many tabs I put in front on them in Word or Notepad. What could be the solution?

  • Have you tried Notepad? In Word, you can try using Heading1 (for slide titles) and Heading2 (for bulleted text). Notepad is more reliable.

  • Andrew

    I was having the same problem with my text file, (everything saving to one slide)

    I am using a Mac and changed the settings on the text file to save with Windows Line Endings (CRLF)

    After that it worked fine.

  • I’m glad you figured out how to do that. I had someone do some work for me that involved text files and she was on a Mac. The lines always ran together.

  • Sreenadh

    I have the same problem as Katri – all my text comes out as page headings.

    I tried saving to plaintext. Unfortunately, my text is not English and I save it as UTF8. Notepad opens the file fine, but Powerpoint imports it as gibberish

    Putting heading styles manually on each line in word is absurd .. there has got to be an easier way!

  • Sreenadh

    Figured it out .. you have to save as Unicode, not UTF8, for ppt to read it

    Thanks for the helpful article!

    Now I have to figure out how to use this with a ppt template.

  • James

    This was awesome, thank you!

    I also found I could adjust slides en-masse, by clicking View | Slide Master. This allowed me to center the textbox, and center the text in the textbox, with just a few clicks. But I also saw I could adjust other formatting options as well.

    Thanks again!

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