How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation

Create a basic PowerPoint presentation to share information

From grade school to professional offices, presentations communicate information in a clear, illustrated format. Several pieces of software out there create presentations, but one of the most robust (and prevalent) is Microsoft PowerPoint.

The instructions included in this article apply to PowerPoint for Office 365, PowerPoint 2019, 2016, and 2013.

Create a PowerPoint Presentation

Here are the steps to create a basic PowerPoint presentation.

  1. Open PowerPoint. The program may default to opening a blank presentation. If so, click File > New at the top left to see your options for creating a new slideshow.

    You can have Microsoft walk you through some of the most popular PowerPoint features by selecting the Welcome to PowerPoint file from the New menu to take a tour of the features of PowerPoint.

    The New option in PowerPoint.
  2. Select either a Blank Presentation or choose one of the Microsoft-supplied design themes to create your presentation. If you choose a blank presentation, PowerPoint will create a one-slide presentation that starts with a title slide. You can then click into any of the text boxes on the Title Slide to add your text.

    Themes include matching color palettes and fonts to help you create a document with a cohesive look.

    A blank PowerPoint presentation.
  3. Add more slides to your presentation by selecting New Slide on the Home tab. You can also right-click in the Slide Sorter bar on the left-hand side and select New Slide.

    The New Slide option in PowerPoint.
  4. Change the Layout of a slide if desired by selecting on Layout in the Slides group of the Home tab. Choose options for content layout in your slides, which you can resize or delete as needed.

  5. Repeat these steps until you have enough slides to finish your presentation.

Add Text and Images to a PowerPoint Presentation

Now that you've created the framework of your presentation, you can use some basic operations to make it a little more interesting.

  1. If you selected a pre-determined Layout for your slide that includes text or image elements you can simply click on any element. Selecting a text box will open it for editing, which allows you to type or paste your own content into the text box. General content boxes have icons to click to insert objects including:

    • Tables
    • Charts
    • SmartArt
    • Pictures
    • Video
    Adding text and objects to a PowerPoint presentation.
  2. Add a text box to a slide by selecting the Insert tab and choosing Text Box. Click to place the box. When you begin typing, the Home tab opens with text formatting options such as font, size, bold, italics, color, and alignment. The text editing buttons are only available when a text box is selected.

    You can resize a text box by grabbing (click and hold with a mouse) one of the adjustment handles on the outside of the text box, then dragging that adjustment handle until the text box is the desired size.

  3. You can add an image selecting the Images group of the Insert tab. You have four options to choose from:

    • Picture opens a file browser to navigate to the photo on your computer you wish to use.
    • Online Picture opens a window to search Bing for an image online or use OneDrive to access your photos.
    • Screenshot allows you to quickly capture part of your screen and add it to your presentation, which is especially handy for double monitor users.
    • Photo Album allows you to access a group of photos on your computer.
  4. Adding other objects is also done through the Insert tab. You can drag and create Shapes, SmartArt, and Charts.

Saving and Sharing a PowerPoint Presentation

Don't leave that beautiful new presentation without saving it! And chances are you'll want to share it with someone or put it out where you can access it easily.

  1. Save your presentation by clicking File > Save As.

    You also have the option to select Save as Adobe PDF from this menu.

    The Save As option in PowerPoint.
  2. If you're a OneDrive user, you can select to save directly to OneDrive for easy access and sharing.

    How to save to OneDrive in PowerPoint.
  3. Select File > Share to see options to share your presentation quickly. Depending on your other software, PowerPoint will allow you to share via OneDrive, Email, and other options.