How to Combine Two New PowerPoint Features to Boost Productivity


Creating a presentation from scratch is a lot of work, so let Word and PowerPoint work their magic to save time.

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No one wants to work harder than necessary and creating a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation from scratch can waste your time like a black hole. It’s tedious and let’s face it, a good presentation takes a bit of artistic skill, which most of us just don’t have. We know what we like, but we don’t always know how to achieve the images we see in our mind.

Luckily, PowerPoint can now create your entire presentation for you, leaving a nearly complete presentation that will only require a few tweaks on your part. In this article, I will show you how to combine Word with PowerPoint and PowerPoint’s new AI designer to create a new presentation in seconds. It’s not magic, but it certainly looks like it considering how much time you’ll save.

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First, we’ll export the contents of a Word file to PowerPoint, and then we’ll let PowerPoint’s designer take over to apply the existing slide designs. It’s quick and it’s easy.

I use Microsoft 365 and Word and PowerPoint for the web. Both of these features are only available in web apps, but you can download the resulting presentation and continue working in the desktop version. You can download the demo .docx file or work with your own Word file. Just be sure to use the built-in title styles to add a title and some subtitles.

How to export a Word document to PowerPoint

It’s not uncommon for a presentation to begin life in Word as text. Once the text portion of the presentation is complete, you can transfer it to PowerPoint:

  1. With your Word document open in Word for the web (this feature is not available in desktop PowerPoint), as shown in Figure Aclick the File tab.

Figure A

We are going to export this Word document to PowerPoint
We are going to export this Word document to PowerPoint
  1. In the left pane, click Export.
  2. In the resulting dialog box, click Export to PowerPoint Presentation (Preview) (Figure B), which connects to PowerPoint.

Figure B

Export to PowerPoint.
Export to PowerPoint.

At this point, the real magic begins.

Let PowerPoint Designer do the work

When launched, Word will display a gallery of possible PowerPoint design themes, but note that each thumbnail displays the title of your Word document! This is where built-in styles come in handy; this feature recognizes your headings and distributes the context between slides accordingly. (Use the mostly blank thumbnail when you already have a custom theme to apply.)

The first thumbnail is already selected, as shown in Figure C—look for the blue border.

Figure C

Choose a drawing.
Choose a design in PowerPoint.

However, there are many more to choose from, so take a minute to browse through the different options if you wish. The selected design is ideal for our presentation, so click Export to complete the process. Wait for the feature to prepare the slides, then click Open Presentation when prompted.

It is important to note a few limitations:

  • First of all, for now, this feature only works with the English language.
  • Second, this feature will not export tables and figures.

Now that you know what the feature can’t do, let’s take a look at what it can do – trust me, it’s awesome.

PowerPoint launches with fully designed slides and your text, as shown in Figure D. Note that the slides reflect the built-in Word title styles thanks to the new AI design component.

Figure D

PowerPoint creates a presentation based on the Word content and the design you chose earlier.
PowerPoint creates a presentation based on the Word content and the design you chose earlier.

The second slide doesn’t have a subtitle because the first two paragraphs after heading 1 (the presentation title) don’t have another title. PowerPoint displays the first text of Heading 2, Themes and Styles, on the third slide. The content is the normal text paragraph following this subheading. Similarly, the fourth and fifth slides use heading 2 text and regular text to fill those slides. In a nutshell, PowerPoint displays Title 1 text on a slide by itself. Other titles contain a subtitle and the content following that title.

At this point you can stop if you’re happy with the results, but most of the time you’ll want to change things up, at least a little.

Editing the presentation draft

In Normal mode, shown in Figure Eyou can continue to make changes to the design.

Figure E

Apply different slide designs.
Apply different slide designs in PowerPoint.

Simply select a slide and then apply a different slide design from the designer pane. With a few quick clicks, you can completely change a slide. The designer also offers changes for the other slides.

Click through the slides to see the interesting graphic layout chosen by the designer. These components are also editable. You can also customize the slide.

To update the text, simply click on the appropriate shape. As shown on the Figure Fyou can edit the text in the displayed text box.

Figure F

Edit the text.
Edit text in PowerPoint.

You can even change the colors of shapes using the Designer pane. A few of the slides contain images and you can easily swap them out for others.

The new features are only available in the web apps, but once you have the basic presentation, you can download it to your local drive and open and edit it using the desktop version of PowerPoint. Or keep working in PowerPoint for the web. It’s yours.

Someone familiar with PowerPoint might recognize your presentation as one of many existing PowerPoint designs, but they’ll secretly applaud you for taking advantage of this feature. Most won’t know about the Enhanced Designer, so your designer-created presentation that took you minutes to create will impress almost anyone. Nobody needs to know that it took minutes instead of hours!


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