PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts

I follow several LinkedIn groups related to PowerPoint and presenting (and started one of my own, Great Communicators! Effective Presenting & PowerPoint). Sometimes, you can find gems of useful information. The PowerPoint Stuff group (which was started by Geetesh Bajaj, owner of Indezine.com) has been running a great discussion on PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts, so I thought I’d put them all together here. Plus, I added a few of my own. I’ll continue to update this post as new shortcuts come in.

Windows shortcuts

These shortcuts apply to all Windows programs and you probably know them already, but if not, you should. They’ll make your work go a lot faster than using the menu or ribbon!

Copy (to clipboard) Ctrl+C
Cut Ctrl+X
Paste Ctrl+V
Save Ctrl+S
Open Ctrl+O
Print Ctrl+P
Alt+Tab Displays an icon for each open application. Press and hold Alt while repeatedly tapping the Tab key to cycle through them. Release the Alt key to display that program.
Alt+Esc Cycles through open applications without displaying the icons.

Microsoft Office shortcuts

These shortcuts apply to one or more other Office applications. Most of these shortcuts you can also use in Word, for example. But some of them are especially useful in PowerPoint because they help you create and edit shapes and other objects.

Start a new presentation/document Ctrl+N
Open Print Preview Ctrl+F2
Cycle text case Select some text. Then press & hold the Shift key and press the F3 key repeatedly. They text will cycle among ALL CAPS, Inital Caps (Title Case) and no caps.
Increase text size Ctrl+Shift+>
Decrease text size Ctrl+Shift+<
Paste Special Ctrl+Alt+V (opens the Paste Special dialog box)
Line break Shift+Enter. Useful for controlling where the text breaks in a slide title.
Minimize ribbon (2007 & 2010) Ctrl+F1. This is a toggle.
Copy & Paste formatting Ctrl+Shift+C to copy formatting and Ctrl+Shift+V to paste formatting. “The benefit here is that unlike when using the Format Painter button, you can paste the formatting at any time (not just while the Format Painter button is active)….and this is unaffected by how many times you perform a regular Copy and Paste between copying format and pasting format, because it uses a separate clipboard.”
Cycle through objects to select the one you need Select any object. Repeatedly press the Tab key to select each object, one at a time. If you pass what you want, hold Shift while repeatedly pressing the Tab key and the selections will be made in reverse order.
Constrain movements to horizontal or vertical Select object. Press and hold Shift while dragging objects (not as big a deal in PowerPoint 2010, with the built-in guides).
Draw a line exactly horizontal or vertical Press and hold Shift while drawing (assuming you have the service pack for 2007 where Microsoft fixed the bug).
Copy a shape horizontal or vertical to an existing one Select the existing object. Press and hold Ctrl+Shift and drag with the mouse.
Scale an object from the center (rather than from an edge or corner) Select object. Press and hold Ctrl while dragging on one of the handles.
Snap to grid while editing objects Press and hold Alt. This is a toggle, so if Snap Objects to Grid is turned off, it snaps objects to grid; if Snap Objects to Grid is turned on, it lets you move objects anywhere, without snapping to the grid.
Paste Special Ctrl+Alt+V (opens the Paste Special dialog box)
Repeat last action F4. When you have applied a special effect to a picture or shape, just repeat F4 on all other objects to maintain consistency.
Select multiple items Select object. Press and hold Shift while clicking other objects.
Copy object with the mouse Select object. Press and hold Ctrl and move the mouse cursor to the desired location.

PowerPoint Normal view shortcuts

These shortcuts are unique to PowerPoint, as far as I know. They’ll save you lots of time!

Insert a new slide after current one Ctrl+M. The slide layout will be the same as the current slide.
Duplicate a slide Click the slide in the left slide pane. Ctrl+D
Switch to Slide Show view (first slide) F5
Switch to Slide Show view at current slide Shift+F5 (Useful when you are preparing a presentation and want to see how your new edit looks.)
Open a file in Slide Show view from Windows Right-click the file’s icon on the desktop or in Windows Explorer and choose Show.
Change text vertical position Shift+Ctrl+Alt+> makes text smaller, then moves it up as you continue to press the > key. Shift+Ctrl+Alt+< also makes text smaller, but moves it down as you continue to press the < key.
Toggle grid lines on and off Shift+F9
Create evenly spaced objects Select original object. Press Ctrl+D to duplicate. Use arrow keys or drag with the mouse to move the first copy where you want it. While that copy is still selected, press Ctrl+D repeatedly. Each subsequent copy will be spaced the same way to the previous copy as the first copy was to the original.
Move objects slightly (nudge them) Select object and use arrow keys to move objects in the desired direction. To nudge them a much smaller distance, press and hold Ctrl as you use the arrow keys.

Slide Show view shortcuts

These shortcuts work only in Slide Show view.

Black out slide B key. This is a toggle.
White out slide W key. This is a toggle.
List of keyboard shortcuts F1
Ctrl+P Change pointer to a pen.
Go to next slide Enter, Spacebar, Up arrow, Right arrow, Page Down
Go to previous slide or previous animation step Down arrow, Left arrow, Page Up, Backspace
Go to 1st slide Home (or 1 + Enter)
Go to last slide End (Great for skipping slides when you’re running out of time.)
Go to any slide Type the slide’s number and press Enter.

One unique suggestion: “I never use any of the Office commands. For years I’ve been using a very small, free program called PureText (http://www.stevemiller.net/puretext/) which works across any application. It sets you up with a ‘hotkey’ (Windows key+V, for example) and whenever you want plain text, you just paste with that instead of Ctrl+V. It’s one of my all-time favourite programs!”

Thanks for everyone in the group who contributed!

What’s your favorite PowerPoint keyboard shortcut? Leave it in the comments!

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29 comments to PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts

  • Hi Ellen –

    Thank you for posting this handy list of PowerPoint Shortcuts (with comments).


  • Thanks so much for compiling these, Ellen.

    Happy New Year!

    Dr. Debby

  • Yves Morin

    Of course those shortcuts work well in the french version of PowerPoint.

    But one shortcut I would sherish more is in the animation part. There, I have hundreds (almost)of rectangles… circles… pictures… And I’m looking for that circle that is the start of the chain reaction. A lot of time this circle, that is already selected on the screen and in the animation section, as to be found in the hundreds of objects you’ve already created. Sooo time consuming… Surely, Microsoft must have though of a shortcut… for the object and the action that is already selected.
    Why, when I right click and animation does it give me only 7 choices… It would be great to have 8 choices. The 8 choice would be : You’re the starting block of the chain reaction. And why not a 9 choices. The 9 th choice would be to send at the end the animation you’ve just created.
    Choice 8 would save me 2-3 hours of work a week…
    Choice 9 would save me also 2-3 hours of work a week…
    O but I’m retired… So I’ve got plenty of time… Still…

  • Dr. Nabil William Mourad

    Hi Ellen:
    There are several categorizations to shortcuts, among them: Those who are most common, those who are task related, those who work across different office applications, those who use 2 Keys, those who use 3 Keys…etc. To these various categorization methods I add one that is uniquely mine and I published it in a book 7 years ago Called: (“Control Alphabet”) which is 26 shortcuts for each Office application (word, excel, PP,…) using the “Control” Key + one letter of the alphabet (A, B, C, D,….Z) sorted in ascending order.
    This method is unique in being memorable and you see the same key combination performing different tasks across various applications.
    Here is the “Control Alphabet” combination for PowerPoint.
    Ctrl+ A –> Show Arrow Pointer (in Slide show).
    Ctrl+ B –> Bold Formatting.
    Ctrl+ C –> Copy selection.
    Ctrl+ D –> Duplicate Selection (or Slide).
    Ctrl+ E –> Center Paragraph Text.
    Ctrl+ F –> “Find” dialog box.
    Ctrl+ G –> Group shapes (Guide Settings in 2003).
    Ctrl+ H –> Hide Pointer (in Slide Show).
    Ctrl+ I –> Italic Formatting.
    Ctrl+ J –> Justify Paragraph.
    Ctrl+ K –> Insert Hyperlink.
    Ctrl+ L –> Left Alignment.
    Ctrl+ M –> Insert New Slide.
    Ctrl+ N –> New Presentation.
    Ctrl+ O –> Open Presentation.
    Ctrl+ P –> Show Pen Pointer.
    Ctrl+ Q –> Quit Power Point.
    Ctrl+ R –> Right Alignment.
    Ctrl+ S –> Save Presentation.
    Ctrl+ T –> Font Dialog box (when selecting text).
    Ctrl+ U –> Hide Pointer after 15 sec (in Slide Show).
    Ctrl+ V –> Paste selection.
    Ctrl+ W –> Close Presentation.
    Ctrl+ X –> Cut Selection.
    Ctrl+ Y –> Redo last action.
    Ctrl+ Z –> Undo Last action.

    One final thing I would like to add that is shortcutkeys (in most of the cases) work through the different versions of the application (I wrote my book on version 2000 and they still work on 2010 version)that helped many persons including myself when we felt the nostalgia when migrating from office 2003 to Office 2007!!
    Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about shortcut keys in brief but in my book I explain the whole application through Shortcuts (I have it in PDF format)
    Best regards
    Nabil William Mourad
    MOS – Master Instructor (2000- XP – 2010)
    MCAS – Master Instructor (2007)

  • Nabil,
    There isn’t a link. The discussion is in LinkedIn. If you aren’t a member, you need to join (www.linkedin.com). If you are, just search for the group called PowerPoint Stuff and you can join it to see the discussion.

  • Nabil,
    Thanks for such a thorough comment with all of those shortcuts!

  • Yves,
    It sounds as if you’re doing some complex animation! In PowerPoint 2007 & 2010, you can name objects and that will help you know which one is the first and last. You do that by going to Home tab> Editing group> Select (drop-down arrow)> Selection pane. When you create an object, go to the Selection pane and select the object. It will highlight in the pane. Click its name (such as Oval33) and type a new name. Use something that helps you, such as :1st circle of ball animation.” Would that help you?

  • Dr. Nabil William Mourad

    To Yves Morin
    I always have the same problem with complex animations and I got the habit of naming the objects in the selection pane (as Ellen said) but I also find it very practical to add 2 special toggle buttons to the QAT (Quick Access toolbar):
    – Animation Pane Icon
    – Selection Pane Icon
    Of course you do that by selecting “Options” from the File Tab and you proceed customizing the QAT.

  • Jane

    Nice post, thanks 😀 there are a few Windows shortcuts you missed at http://www.usingcomputers.co.uk/tutorials/useful-windows-shortcuts.php. take a look.

  • I have a handy guide to the essential powerpoint shortcuts, which can be laminated in A6: http://viper-blue.co.uk/freebies


  • Thanks for the tips. I knew quite a few of these but there were definitely some I did not know about.

  • Hi Ellen –

    I just publshed my 2nd chart of “Popular Keyboard Shortcuts.” This time I cover Microsoft Word. Here is the link to the post where you – or anyone – can downlard this chart as a PDF. I am offering it for free and I encourage people to share this resource with anyone who you feel will benefit from it.


    Inside this post, I include a link to my 1st chart – a PDF for Excel Keyboard Shortcuts.


    Danny Rocks
    The Company Rocks

  • Katie

    The instructions for adding cad drawings into my presentation was great, but I want the slide containing the DWFs in the middle of my slide show and none of the shortcuts to switch to the next slide from the cad slide, seem to work. How do I go to the next slide from the slide with the dwf? All I can find is that hitting esc ends the show.

    Thank you!!

  • As long as the DWF doesn’t take up the entire slide, you can click on a blank area of the slide to move to the next slide.

  • Debbie

    I’m a MAC user – do I substitute CMD for Control key?

  • Debbie, Yes, Cmd is the equivalent on the Mac.

  • Dave

    In PowerPoint 2007, you can get movable gridlines by using keyboard shortcut ALT + F9. Initially, one horizontal and one vertical line will be displayed. Hold CTRL and “drag” a line to duplicate.

    In PowerPoint 2007, if you hold the CTRL key while clicking on the slide show button in the status bar, you get a small slide show display while still in the edit mode. Move through the slides using the arrow keys. Press ESC to close the window.

  • Dave, thanks for those shortcuts! I have a post on the “small slide show display” at http://www.ellenfinkelstein.com/pptblog/display-a-quarter-size-slide-show-view/

  • Martin Nadar

    Hi Ellen,

    I want to know, is there any shortcut in powerpoint 2007, which can be used during slide show, skip all the animation in a single slide and view all the data at once

    Thanks in advance

  • I’m not aware of a way to do this for an individual slide, although it’s a good idea. But if you want to play an entire presentation without animation, you can. Before you start, in Normal view, go to the Slide Show tab and click Set Up Slide Show. In the dialog box, check the Show without Animation check box. I’m sure you could do it with some VBA code, but that’s not something I can do myself.

  • Martin Nadar


    Thanks for your reply. I know how to deactivate the animation. I thought there should be some option or shortcut key to display all the data. Lets see if Microsoft do this in their upcoming version


  • Thanks a lot! shortcuts ‘during’ the slideshow are the most important I think

  • Emily

    I was wondering if there was any way in powerpoint to nagivate around a slide that is zoomed in without using the scrolling bars. I generally use Powerpoint to make large-scale maps with many pictures and figures and when zoomed in up to 350%, I can’t simply move around the slide to see things. I was wondering if there’s a way to turn off selecting objects as the cursor moves over them.

    Any thoughts?
    Thanks in advance

  • PowerPoint doesn’t have a “pan” feature. But for moving up and down, I use the mouse’s wheel, which is quicker than the vertical scrollbar for short distances. I hate using a laptop touchpad, but did just discover that you can use one to scroll horizontally and well as vertically. This might depend on the specific laptop. This feature is along the bottom of the touchpad (horizontal) and along the right (vertically). There may be mice that have a horizontal scroll button.

    I don’t know what you mean by selecting objects as the cursor moves over them. You have to click an object to select it.

    Which version of PowerPoint are you working with?

  • Emily

    Yes, the mouse wheel works but with several high quality pictures present, it’s VERY slow and ineffective. I am using the 2010 version. And what I mean by selecting objects as the cursor moves – when you put your cursor in a space on the slide that contains an object, the cursor has a cross symbol behind it indicating that if you click, you’ll select the object. What i’d ideally like is if there was a pan feature, or a hand feature that will move your view of the slide over instead of selecting and moving objects.

    I’m pretty sure this feature doesn’t exist so thanks very much for your input!

  • nichole

    Can you please add also the steps or shortcuts of FORMAT PAINTER…..please..

  • Nichole, I’m not aware of any keyboard shortcuts. Just select an object, click the Format Painter button, and click a second object.

  • brioliver

    I would like to create a keyboard shortcut to insert a text box on the slide. Do you know if this is possible? I have a macbook and powerpoint2011


  • PowerPoint Tips To Navigate Presentation Prep Smoothly

    […] There’s a host of shortcuts you can do using your keyboard, but here’s a list from Microsoft’s websites with the ones that you’ll likely want to memorize. You can also learn a few other shortcuts from Ellen Finkelstein’s PowerPoint blog. […]

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