Learn About Thumbnails

Hand holding small photo
Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images 

"Thumbnail" is the term used to describe a miniature version of a slide in presentation software. It originated with graphic designers who made tiny versions of much larger images for use during planning stages of designs. A thumbnail was just a much smaller version of a larger image. It wasn't long before thumbnails were being used for navigation in digital files, which is they way they are often used in PowerPoint.

Thumbnails in PowerPoint

When you work in  Slide Sorter View in PowerPoint, miniature versions of the slides called thumbnails are displayed in a horizontal grid where you can move them around, copy and paste them, delete them and group them to apply effects.

As you create your slides in Normal View, thumbnails of all the slides appear in the Slides Pane to the left of the Normal View window, where you can select a thumbnail to jump to its slide or rearrange the thumbnails to rearrange the presentation order. 

How to Print Out Thumbnails

Thumbnails are just an easier way to visualize much larger images. In the Notes View of PowerPoint, a reduced version of a slide appears above the presentation notes. This view can be printed out by selecting Notes in the print setup box before clicking Print.