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

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:

About David Tang

David Tang is an entrepreneur and management consultant. His current focus is Flevy, the marketplace for premium business documents (e.g. business frameworks, 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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  • http://www.facebook.com/will.hopkins.7965 Will Hopkins


    Ctrl + Alt + up arrow to move text up a list

    Ctrl + Alt + down arrow to move text down list

    Ctrl + D to duplicate an object

    • flevydocs

      Great tips. Thanks for sharing, Will.

  • dunro

    The Outline view and layouts in general are generally under appreciated, but once you have good templates set up they can make presentations a breeze. As a bonus, they’re easier to rebrand if you need to recycle them later.

  • Madeline Case

    Will the shortcuts you mention can be used for MOS 2010 PowerPoint?

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