A subscriber reminded me about the Selection pane and I realized that I don’t have a tip on it. The Selection pane is so useful, especially for complex editing and for animating slides, that I decided to immediately write a tip on it.
The selection pane was introduced in PowerPoint 2007. To find it, click the Home tab. In the Editing group at the right, choose Select, then Selection Pane. You’ll see something like the image at the right, listing the objects on the slide. Of course, your list will be different. In this example, you see the following:
- Title 1: That’s the title placeholder
- Rectangle 4, Up Arrow 5: These are shapes that I’ve added to the slide
- Picture 10, 9, etc.: These are images that I’ve added to the slide
- Slide Number Placeholder 2: This is the slide number. (I don’t know why it’s numbered 2 rather than 1)
Notice that the pane is actually called Selection and Visibility.
Visibility: Decide what you see
Do you find yourself moving objects to see what’s underneath? Click the Eye icon next to any item to hide it. For example, here’s a slide that is covered with a white rectangle. I’ve animated the rectangle to move off the slide, but while it’s there, it’s hard for me to work on objects that are underneath.
To remedy that situation, all I have to do is click the Eye icon next to the rectangle, and now I can work on the other objects on the slide. To quickly find the object I need, I can simply click the rectangle to select it and it is now highlighted in the Selection pane.
Now, the slide looks like this:
That’s much better, if I want to work with the photo or the arrow!
Warning! Hiding objects in the Selection pane hides them in Slide Show view as well as when you print. Sometimes, you may want this result. For example, printing the above slide with the white rectangle on top would make it meaningless. You could also use this feature to create variations–one for projecting and another for printing. In this situation, I might have a duplicate title with white text; I could hide the white text and show the black text when I project the presentation and use the animation. Then, I could hide the black text (which doesn’t show up well on the photo) and show the white text when I print.
Name your objects
Notice that the default names of the objects aren’t very helpful. You can now rename your objects anyway you want! Click any item, then click again to make its name editable. After renaming my objects, the Selection pane looks like this:
Much more helpful!
For complex animation, the Selection pane is almost a miracle. After renaming your objects, you’ll see their names in the Animation pane. While this slide’s animation is fairly simple, when you’re animating many objects, having useful names will help you a lot!
Of course, it wouldn’t be called the Selection pane if it didn’t help you select objects. You can click any item in the Selection pane to select it on your slide. Now, if you have overlapping objects, you can easily select just the object you want to work on.
Try using the Selection pane and let me know if you like it by leaving a comment! Or let readers know how you have found the Selection pane useful.
Great tip. PPT feature I was not aware of so will give it a try. Thanks.
You’re right – this pane’s a real timesaver. At work, we use Articulate Presenter to create elearning using PowerPoint. The selection pane’s really handy for renaming pictures that we animate in PPT, because then their names also appear on the timeline in Audio Editor in Articulate. That way, we can fine-tune the syncing between the animations and the audio, and we see the proper names of the pictures instead of things like Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3, etc etc etc! Sometimes the Selection pane can also be handy for checking or changing the layering of the objects on a… Read more »
Why don’t we delete unwanted parts instead of hiding them in a slide?
Usually, the reason for hiding objects is to you can work on other, overlapping objects. Then you’ll generally display them again. You use this feature for objects that need to be on the slide but are obstructing you from working on the slide at the moment.
Great Tips, I never knew this was there. I am doing some compelex animations and this will allow me to do that much easier. Thank you! Studio1620
I’m using Windows 7 & PowerPoint 2010 all up to date. Problem is that in the selection pane, I cannot rename objects, and that when selected they do not highlight the specific object. When I double click the object the Effects dialog is presented. Also, the object is not selected (dotted lines) in the slide. This happens with inserted shapes, smart art animations, clip art, etc.
Any idea what i am doing wrong?
Make sure that you click the border of an object to select it so that the border becomes solid, not dashed. Does it happen even with a new presentation with one object that you create? Other than those, I have no suggestions. I suggest posting the question on Microsoft’s PowerPoint forum at http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/powerpoint?tab=all. Good luck!
Thanks for the response. The issue is that when I am in the animation pane, selecting an item in the animation pane, it does not identify the object in the slide view. Also, I can not double click an item in the animation pane to change the name. I checked your link and could not find a response. I will follow up there. It happens on new presentatins, old presentations, ones created from blank, or from a template, etc. I did find a work around. Opening Home Tab > Editing Group > Selection Pane opens a pane NEXT TO the… Read more »
Has anyone tried the hide function with screen reader assistive technology? We want to provide some instruction text for assistive needs but not show it to sighted participants. Right now we are using a text box and changing the type color to white. I see that the hide function in the Selection Pane hides the text but will a screen reader read the hidden text in the order I set (also via the Selection pane)?
Hello Screen Reader,
I don’t think a screen reader will read hidden objects. Having said that, why don’t you drag the text box off the slide as opposed to changing the text to match the background? It’s a simple and effective trick.
I hid all objects with the selection pane, but now I can’t unhide them. I can’t even add any more objects because the selection pane is grayed out.
I’ve never seen that and just tried hiding everything on a slide, but the Selection pane is still active. Perhaps try closing and opening it? Closing and opening the presentation?
Hi Ellen, thanks for your helpful website. Is there a keyboard shortcut to hide a selected object?
Is there an easy way to restrict people from displaying a hidden object? If i was to put a Unique ID on the slide in a text box and hide it, i’d like no user to be able to edit that text box. Thank you.
Thanks i have found it usuful. Appreciated 😀
is there any way to force PowerPoint to open the selection pane automatically when opening the program? This would help a lot.
Thanks for your assistance.
Mike, not that I know of — I don’t know of any way to keep any pane open. The Selection Pane is annoyingly difficult to get to and for that reason, many people don’t know it exists. You can put the Select command on the Quick Access Toolbar — you still have to click it and choose Selection Pane from the drop-down list. Another option is Alt (key), HSLP. Try it!
I wonder if it is possible to have a text (for assistance purposes) within the ppt slide that can be seen by the presenter but hidden from the slide show (digital data show) so participants will not be able to see it.
It depends on the reason. If you want some notes to look at as you’re presenting, use Presenter View. See this post: http://www.ellenfinkelstein.com/pptblog/presenter-view-your-secret-presentation-tool/ If you want some text in Normal view — perhaps just some notes to indicate where you got data from, for example — you can put that in the Notes pane. Sometimes, people need text for legal reasons in the document but don’t want them to show — you can add them in a text box and then animate them to immediately disappear. They’ll show up when you print or send the slides, which solves the legal… Read more »
I’m using Word 2010. I inserted a PNG graphic file. Went to the Selection Pane and noticed that the “eyeball” is dimmed in the Selection and Visibility box.
What did I do wrong? All the other object icons are functional except that one.
im using powerpoint 2013 is it possible to have objects running on the slide but have one hidden till an exact point ive tried with the animation tab but the picture still shows. could it be because im using a custom path ( need the custom path)
ill do a demo 0 =object —- =custom path
0——————(now it hides) now the pic appears 0————
I’m not sure exactly what you mean but try starting with a Disappear animation, then the motion path and finally the Appear animation.
Is there any way to unhide all hidden objects in my presenation without doing it slide by slide? Sometimes I hide items and then forget about them, and it is hard in a big presentation to find where I might have hidden objects. I’m looking for an easy way just to unhide everything…
Wooowwww! Years of using Powerpoint, struggling with -or avoiding altogether- complex animations…. I hope you read this… I am thrilled of what you taught me today, thank you, Ellen!
I have a 2010 pptx with 235 slides and only 70 useful for me. So, I have hidden 165 slides. I would like to know if it is possible to select the hidden slides in one click, to delete them.
Martial, not that I know of. But of course, you can use Ctrl+Click or Shift+Click to select them and then press delete. For 165 slides, that will probably take only 2-3 minutes.
Is there in Powerpoint the possibility to make a certain element not selectable? I have a very complicated drawing with text boxes and arrows connecting them. I’d like to move the boxes around and each time I risk moving an arrow instead, losing its associative points. I’d like to be able to select only text boxes. Is that possible? Thank you for your attention.
You can’t make a certain type of element not selectable, but you can hide individual objects, which makes them not selectable. You do that in the Selection pane. I have a blog post on i tat http://www.ellenfinkelstein.com/pptblog/the-wonderful-selection-pane-lets-you-easily-hide-objects-select-them-and-even-rename-them/.
Is there a way to hide text in edit mode and show it in Slideshow?
Not that I know of. Why do you want to do that?
Is there a way to delete an overlapping object? I’m using a previous slideshow as a template and when I insert a new photo the old photo gets hidden, which I suppose is fine, but I’d rather just get rid of it.
Why not just select the old photo and press the Delete key?
Also, you can replace a picture instead of inserting a new one on top of the old one. Right-click the existing image and choose Change Picture, From a File.
Using PP 7 Pro. I want to update an old presentation. That involves changing the names of certain objects. So, in Selection Pane, if I want to change the name of certain objects, the simple way would be to change one, copy it and paste it over all the others that need changing. It appears as if this is supposed to be possible. You ‘left click’ an object, ‘highlight’ it, then ‘right click’ shows that you can Cut and Copy the ‘name’. But, the Paste option is grayed out. Can’t Paste. Can you help me figure out why this is… Read more »