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Tips from a Consultant: Some Not-so-Obvious PowerPoint Shortcuts

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Storyboarding and Presentation Writing (33-slide PowerPoint presentation). You may have heard that management consultants spend the majority of their time cranking out PowerPoint slides. There is much truth to do this--and for good reason. A PowerPoint presentation is not only a great communication tool, it is also the form of most consulting deliverables--i.e. the [read more]

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Creating PowerPoint slides can be a very time consuming process.  When I first started working in consulting, some slides would take me several hours to create.  Hundreds of slides later, I can produce the same quality and complexity of slides in a matter of minutes.


How do we become much more productive?  Partly, it’s just from knowing your shortcuts.  In this article, I’ve compiled a short list of “not-so-obvious” PowerPoint shortcuts.  These are also very useful shortcuts–ones that I find myself using the most often.

Font Shortcuts

Ctrl + [
Ctrl + ]
Decrease font size
Increase font size
Ctrl + Shift + G Jump to the “Font Face” dropdown menu
Ctrl + Shift + H Jump to the “Font Size” dropdown menu
Shift + F3 Toggle among various capitalization formats: all lower case, capitalize first letters of words, all upper case
Ctrl + Alt + right arrow [->]
Ctrl + Alt + left arrow [<-]
Increase indent of a bullet by one level
Decrease indent of a bullet by one level

AutoShape/Object Shortcuts

Ctrl + arrow key Moves objects pixel by pixel (invaluable for positioning objects to the exact pixel you need)
Shift + while changing size of an object Maintains ratio of dimensions (e.g. if your AutoShape is a square, holding down the “Shift” key while resizing will keep the shape as a square–and not a rectangle)
PowerPoint 2003
Ctrl + Shift + G
Ctrl + Shift + H
PowerPoint 2003
Group objects together
Ungroup objects
PowerPoint 2007+
Ctrl + G
Ctrl + Shift + G
PowerPoint 2007+
Group objects together
Ungroup objects
Ctrl + click and move object with cursor Creates duplicate copy of the object

Use a shortcut that’s missing from our list?  Please share in the comments section below.

Speed Things Up through Automation
If you use PowerPoint a lot, take a look at our free PowerPoint plugin, Flevy Tools.  Flevy Tools allows you to quickly create common business diagrams, such as Harvey/Booz Ball diagrams, Gantt charts, and Step Box charts.  It’s been compared to similar plugins developed in-house at top-tier consulting firms and said to be better.

Of course, another huge driver to increased productivity is just having a large collection of slides that can be re-positioned and reused.

You can find tons of of customizable PowerPoint templates, diagrams, and slides here on Flevy.  Here are some specific PowerPoint templates and collections to get you started:

74-slide PowerPoint presentation
Curated by former McKinsey Consultants Unleash the Power of Storytelling in Consulting: A Step-by-Step Guide Are you ready to captivate your clients, inspire your team, and deliver compelling presentations? Introducing our comprehensive consulting storytelling step-by-step guide, a [read more]

Do You Want to Implement Business Best Practices?

You can download in-depth presentations on Presentation Development and 100s of management topics from the FlevyPro Library. FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.

For even more best practices available on Flevy, have a look at our top 100 lists:

These best practices are of the same as those leveraged by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by utilizing these best practice frameworks, templates, and tools. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with over 20+ years of experience.

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About David Tang

David Tang is an entrepreneur and management consultant. His current focus is Flevy, the marketplace for business best practices (e.g. frameworks & methodologies, presentation templates, financial models). Prior to Flevy, David worked as a management consultant for 8 years. His consulting experience spans corporate strategy, marketing, operations, change management, and IT; both domestic and international (EMEA + APAC). Industries served include Media & Entertainment, Telecommunications, Consumer Products/Retail, High-Tech, Life Sciences, and Business Services. You can connect with David here on LinkedIn.

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