Applying Line and Paragraph Spacing

Quick Shortcut to Apply Line and Paragraph Spacing

The F4 key reapplies the last action. It’s a great timesaver for those repetitive actions – an especially helpful task in customizing the line and paragraph spacing in a text box where not every paragraph gets the same spacing. Here is my sample slide with several text boxes and several paragraph spacing opportunities to improve the legibility.

line spacing f4_image01

If the formatting goal is to add some additional paragraph space between the bullets on each text box, the process unfortunately involves selecting the bulleted text in one text box, opening the paragraph spacing dialog, adjusting, closing dialog and then repeating the process in the next text box.

As a shortcut, adjust the Line and Paragraph spacing, then select the next text box and position cursor on the next bullet line. Use F4 to repeat the step automatically! F4 applies the last action made, so in this case you can go from the above sample slide to the one below in less than 30 seconds vs. several minutes selecting text boxes and opening/adjusting the Line and Paragraph dialog 6 times.

line spacing f4_image02

The F4 repeat works on virtually any command while editing slides. Another great use is formatting text in Tables – in this sample F4 was used to quickly add the text indenting for each 2nd line.

line spacing f4_image04

Also, Ctrl Y is another key command that does the same thing. So F4 or CTRL+Y repeat the last command. Test it out and see how it can save you time.

-Troy @ TLC


PowerPoint Guides: Master vs. Slide

In PowerPoint, guides help with formatting, positioning and slide-to-slide consistency.  The PowerPoint guides have evolved over the past few versions. Here is a quick overview of the three different types of guides:

Master Slide Guides (Orange by default): Editable only on the master slide and display on all layouts and slides using that master slide.

PPT Guides_1

Master Layout Guides (Yellow by default): Apply to individual master layouts only and are only editable on that particular master layout. Here an additional guide is added to the TITLE layout, so only TITLE layout slides will see this new guide.

PPT Guides_2

Slide Guides (Gray by default): These are guides added and editable on slides (in edit view, not master view or slide show). In this example, 2 new guides have been added to the slide.

PPT Guides_3

Existing guides can be adjusted by clicking and dragging them .  The easiest way to remove a guide is to drag it off the slide.

PPT Guides_4

In addition, you can change the color of guides. To change the color of a guide:

  1. Right click the guide you want to change the color of (be sure it is in an area off the slide or on an empty area of the slide)
  2. Hover over Color
  3. Select a color option

PPT Guides_5

To add PowerPoint guides to a slide or layout:

  1. Right click off slide or on an empty area of the slide
  2. Go to Grid and Guides
  3. Choose Add Vertical or Add Horizontal

PPT Guides_6

– Troy @ TLC


How to Prevent Resize Slide From Erasing Formatting (part 3)

The solution we use at TLC Creative Services is to remove the variant. The simple answer is to save the presentation as a PowerPoint template (.potx) which creates a file with no variants. Here is a quick step-by-step process:

1. Go to File>> Save As >> POTX from drop down list

  • Save to the desktop (this is a temporary file you will delete)
  • Use a file name that is applicable to the template
  • Note 1: The file name will be seen in the file properties
  • Note 2: A .potx is a PowerPoint template and it cannot contain slides, so doing this is going to DELETE all slides (which will be added back in a few steps)


2. Open the new .potx file and look at the file properties

  • Creating a .POTX removes the Default Theme ID
  • The TEMPLATE property will now list the .POTX file name
  • Note: When you open a .potx, it automatically creates a .pptx presentation file.


3. Go to FILE > SAVE AS > POWERPOINT PRESENTATION (.pptx) from the drop down list

  • Opening a .potx automatically creates a .pptx presentation file
  • Open file is most likely named “Presentation1.pptx”
  • Save presentation with a new file name – Best Practice: Name same as original file name + version # (eg. _v2)

4. Go to DESIGN tab > VARIANTS section

  • The presentation now has no VARIANTS


7. Add slides from original presentation to the new, no variant, presentation and save file

8. Delete the temporary .potx and the original presentation

9. Use the Resize option without losing template formatting!


– Troy @ TLC


Why Resize Slide Erases All Formatting (part 2)

The previous post showed how template formatting is often stripped out of a presentation when it is resized.

SlideResize-1      SlideResize-9

So here is my simple, non-tech description of what is happening inside PowerPoint (Note: If you really want details on templates and themes, I highly recommend Echo Swinford and Julie Terberg’s excellent book: Building PowerPoint Templates Step by Step with the Experts).

The resize “bug by design” will only happen with presentations and templates developed in PowerPoint 2013 and above.  Files created in PPT 2007 and 2010, even if edited in 2013, do not have the resize issue because those versions of PowerPoint do not have the troublemaking feature. With PowerPoint 2013, a new option for templates was added, VARIANTS. Variants will eventually be a great feature, but currently they are not really used and the “Super Theme Templates” they open the door to create are so difficult to develop, I only know a few designers in the world who really understand them and are willing to tackle them (and I am not one of them).

Variants, which you see in the Ribbon on the Design Tab, are basically template styling options.


When resizing slides, PowerPoint needs to use a variant. If there is not a custom variant already there from a Theme, PowerPoint reapplies the Microsoft Default Theme. The default theme, called “Office Theme,” is what you get when opening a new blank presentation (boring, white, no stylized formatting).


When the default theme, and its variants, are applied, all formatting to the master slide and layouts are replaced with this “default” setup. What this means is nicely designed slides lose their existing template styling attributes. See the previous post for a downloadable sample slide you can test and see formatting stripped.

Here are 2 ways I do a quick check to see if a provided file is going to have an issue if it needs to be resized:

1. Go to FILE > PROPERTIES > expand to see all properties > TEMPLATE

– If the TEMPLATE property is BLANK or has “OFFICE THEME,” I know it is almost 100% certain to have formatting issues if resized


2. Or I look at the DESGIN tab >> VARIANTS section and see what variants are available (Note: If there are no variant thumbnails, that is covered in part 3, and it is okay)


The next post, part 3, is a step-by-step solution to avoid PowerPoint adversely affecting slides when resized.

– Troy @ TLC


Resize Slide Erases All Formatting! (part 1)

Here is the scenario: you have a 16×9 presentation that needs to be changed to 4×3. Easy! PowerPoint has a great feature to change the aspect ratio (via Page Setup) and it keeps everything proportional (eg. circles stay round) and adjusts the position of everything to fit the new slide layout – but things don’t go as smoothly as planned.

1. Here is your 16×9 slide (download this PowerPoint 2013 Resize Test Slide):




3. Here is the disaster you get when converting to 4×3


Note: This problem is not the size selected (4×3), it happens when going from any size to another size. And this is not a bug, but by design (I really like how Echo Swinford  describes this as “a bug by design”). What you end up with is:

– Correct page size – yay!

– Custom background – gone

– Custom fonts – gone

– Custom color scheme – gone

– Any template customization – gone

Part 2 and 3 of this series detail what is happening behind the scenes in PowerPoint and a (fairly) simple step-by-step solution.


– Troy @ TLC


PowerPoint’s Image Reset Tool

How do you remove styling (drop shadow, bevel, shape, cropping, etc.) that has been applied to an image? – IMAGE REST.

1. Insert image on slide.

2. Resize image to fit slide, format and crop.

3. With the image selected, under the Format tab on the ribbon, there is the Reset Picture button with 2 options: Reset Picture or Reset Picture and Size.

4. Reset picture will remove all formatting done to the image – but the size and cropping will be left.

5. Reset Picture and Size will remove all formatting, cropping, and sizing and revert the image back to the original.

– Troy @ TLC


PPT 2013 – New Format Picure Dialog

Here is the familiar Format Picture dialog from PPT 2010:

In PPT 2013, the tools options and features remain the same, but the dialog gets a remake. The Format Picture ribbon shows the Metro icons:

Opening the Format Picture dialog opens a new pane on the right:

This new single pane is where all of the formatting options are accessed:

Select a tool and the dialog box extends to show the formatting options.

Select another tool and the box continues to extend and reveal those formatting options.

In addition, the Format Dialog pane can be detached from the UI and become a free floating dialog box. When floating, the same expanding list and organization of tools is seen. The floating dialog is not bound to the application window and can be positioned on a second monitor.

Using the icons across the top of the Format Dialog brings up the options for:
– Fill and line
– Effects
– Size and properties
– Picture

– Troy @ TLC


“Keep Source Formatting” Adds New Master Slides and Layouts

Using the previous post as the example, when a slide from another presentation is inserted, it can use the destination theme, which means use the existing master slide.

Or it can use the “Source Formatting”

Source Formatting means new master slides and layouts are being added to the presentation:

– Troy @ TLC


Theme or Source – Your Choice

When moving slides from one presentation to another, the slide formatting (based on the master slides) is your choice – if you use the Paste Dialog.

1. From any presentation, copy the slides either in the left pane or slide sorter.

2. Go to the presentation where the slides are to be added and paste them in.

3. To paste, click where new slides are to be added and right-click. From the pop-up dialog, under “Paste Options” select “Use Destination Theme.”

4. The pasted slides will take on the formatting from the master slide set in the presentation:

5. Or you can choose “Keep Source Formatting:”

6. With “Source Formatting” the new slides retain their orginal master slide and formatting:

The choice is yours!

– Troy @ TLC


Small Textures for Big Images

This is can be a great visual effect that can make large images out of very small files. The concept of using repeating pattern images to fill a large object has been used, by me, since the 1980’s for web design. It is still a valuable tool to use for presentations today. Here is an example:

1. Here is my very small image. It is a .png image, 102×102 pixels and only 2KB file size.

2. Here is the large rectagle shape on my slide.

3. I then change the fill from SOLID to PICTURE OR TEXTURE FILL, then FILE and finally choose my seamless texture image.

4. This is the first result – which is not the final result.


6. This is now the same image. It can be resized, to any size and the pattern background does not distort or loose quality.

7. In addition any of the formatting options can be applied, because it is a PowerPoint shape. Here I used the 3D Rotation and a drop shadow to create a new, very small file size, image for my slide.

– Troy @ TLC