Using the PowerPoint Selection Pane

The Selection and Visibility Pane is an extremely useful feature in PowerPoint 2007/2010. So useful, in fact, that you may wonder how you ever worked without it.

The Selection Pane keeps track of everything on the slide in a task pane on the right side of the desktop.

View the Selection Pane: On the Home Tab, choose Select > Selection Pane. You’ll see a list of everything on the slide: text, titles, objects, images, slide numbers, placeholders, etc. Any slide components that are grouped together on the slide show up as a group in the Selection Pane.

Easily select slide components: The Selection Pane lists all items on the slide by their stacking order. If a slide has many overlapping objects, it can be very tricky to select them. With the Selection Pane, simply click on an item in the list to select it on the slide. To select more than one item in the Selection Pane, hold the Control key down while you click on them.

Re-order slide components: The Re-order arrows in the Selection Pane move slide objects up and down in the stacking order. This may not be a particularly fast method if you have a lot of content on the slide (unfortunately, you cannot simply click and drag an item to a new location). However, you can select multiple items and re-order them at the same time.

Rename items in the Selection Pane: Double click on an item in the Selection pane and type a new name. Grouped items can also be renamed. In general, you probaby won’t need to bother renaming slide objects. But giving them unique names can be helpful when you’re creating custom animations. Instead of trying to differentiate between (for example) Picture 1, Picture 2 and Picture 3 in the Custom Animation task pane, give those pictures unique names in the Selection Pane. The new names will show up in the Custom Animation task pane, making it easier to keep track of your animations.

Turn visibility on or off: Click on the tiny eye icon next to an item in the Selection Pane to toggle visibility settings. Clicking the eye “off” makes the item invisible on the slide. The item still exists—it just can’t be seen, selected on the slide, printed or animated. Turning visibility temporarily off on selected slide objects also helps when you are developing complex animations and don’t want to sit through every animation just to view the one you are testing.

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