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Building a Presentation Outline in PowerPoint 2010

  1. Understanding the Relationship of the Outline to Slides
  2. Working with the Outline
  3. Adding Text in the Outline Tab
  4. Working with Outline Contents
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This chapter from Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 Plain & Simple shows how to use PowerPoint's outline for organizing your thoughts and information to include in your presentations.

In this section:

  • Understanding the Relationship of the Outline to Slides

  • Working with the Outline

  • Adding Text in the Outline Tab

  • Working with Outline Contents

A tool for organizing your thoughts and information that has been around for quite some time is the outline. An outline breaks down information into multiple headings and subheading levels.

The outlining feature in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 helps you use this valuable tool to enter text, reorganize it into topics and subtopics, and reorder the contents of your presentation.

You access the outlining feature from the Outline tab in the Slides/Outline pane in Normal view. If you are focused on entering a lot of text and not as much on the look of individual slides, it can be faster to enter that text in the Outline tab rather than on each individual slide.

When you enter text on a slide, the content is reflected in the outline, and vice versa. As you work in the outline, the slide that corresponds to the text you’re working on appears in the Slide pane, so you can see how changes to the outline affect the slide.

Another nice aspect of the outlining feature in PowerPoint is that you can cut and paste an outline you create in a Microsoft Word document into the Outline pane, where it can form the basis of your presentation. You can also copy text in the Outline pane of PowerPoint and paste it into a Word document to create a written report or a useful audience handout.

Understanding the Relationship of the Outline to Slides

Different slide layouts contain different placeholders, such as title, subtitle, text, and content placeholders. You can enter text in the placeholders on a slide or in the Outline tab of the Slides/Outline pane. When you enter text into title, subtitle, or text placeholders in the Slide pane, the text also appears in the outline. When you enter a top-level heading in the outline, PowerPoint creates a new slide, and that heading appears in the slide title placeholder. Any text that you enter at an indented level in the Outline pane becomes a bullet point in a text placeholder on the slide.

Graphics do not appear in the outline. Text that you enter in text boxes (which are drawing objects that are different from text placeholders) also doesn’t appear in the outline.