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.