If you have PowerPoint 365, by now you should have a major new feature, icons. Icons are vector files, just like PowerPoint drawing objects are, so you can resize them and they never get pixelated — unlike bitmap images such as JPGs and PNGs.
Let’s talk about whether you have this new feature, what you can do with icons, and why you might want to use them.
Do you have PowerPoint 365?
You have PowerPoint 365 if you see this when you choose File, Account. That means that you pay monthly instead of 1-time. The advantage is that you get new features pretty much every month. In addition to icons, some of the major new features in the past few months are:
- Morph: Interpolating animation
- Designer: Slide layout suggestions when you insert an image or bulleted text
- QuickStarter: Gives you research and design suggestions when you choose a topic
- SVGs: You can insert SVG files (also a type of vector file)
- Zoom: Automates the creation of a menu summary slide that uses a zoom animation to link to other slides
- Ink highlighter: Lets you highlight text, just like you can in Word
In informal polls I have taken, about 20% of users have PowerPoint 365. That percentage will grow significantly, I believe.
At the end of this post, I give some options for icons if you don’t have PowerPoint 365.
Why use icons?
Icons are VERY popular these days in 2D design. You seem them a lot on websites and on mobile devices, but also in other marketing materials. Icons may take the place of text labels or be included along with labels.
- They help organize a page or a slide, giving the audience or reader a clearer understanding of complex material.
- Icons are usually minimalist, so they look modern. Often they are one color and many are gray or black.
- Because they are vector images, you can resize them without that grainy look.
How do you add icons in PowerPoint?
To add icons, choose Insert, Icons. Then the Insert Icon dialog box opens where you can select the icons you want. You can scroll down or choose a category. You can select multiple icons at a time. Here you see the People and Technology and Electronics categories.
What can you do with icons?
When you select an icon on a slide, the Graphics Tools Format tab appears, as you see here.
Basically, you can do everything with icons except ungroup and use the Merge Shapes commands on them. Here’s a 6-second video of some animation I created showing the concept of people leaving their department bubbles and reaching out to others. I used this slide in a training webinar I gave on animation techniques that help audiences to understand and remember concepts.
What if you don’t have PowerPoint 365 yet?
You can use another vector format, especially WMF and EMF files. Or you can create your own icons in PowerPoint. Here’s are some other blog posts and resources for icons:
Recently, Microsoft withdrew support for one type of vector file, EPS. They did this because EPS files can contain scripts and were actively being used to infect computers. Here’s more information.
Are you using icons?
Have you noticed the icon trend? Are you using more icons? Where to you find them? Leave a comment and please share this post with others using the Share icons.