Skip to Main Content

Microsoft PowerPoint

This guide covers the basic tools in PowerPoint and offers some information about designing good PowerPoint slides.


Photographs, ClipArt, shapes, charts, and other graphics can enhance PowerPoint presentations. 

images and illustrations

There are several options for adding graphics to your slide. To add an image, go to the Insert tab and select "Pictures", and then "Picture from file...".  In the window that appears, you can select the file to add to your slide. It will come in at its best size, but you may need to resize it to fit. Use the handle in one of the corners to resize the image proportionately, so it doesn't start to look short & squat, or tall & skinny. Also, if you reduce the size of your picture in PowerPoint, it will usually look fine, but some pictures will become “pixely” if you increase their size.

You can insert images, ClipArt, shapes, screenshots and so on by clicking on the appropriate icon on one of the various slide layouts or by going to the Insert Ribbon and then clicking on the object of your choice in the Images or Illustrations Group.

Once you insert an object, a contextual Format Ribbon will appear with additional options (see tabs in the Page Contents box for examples).

To create shapes, choose the shape from the Shapes icon – if you click and release on your slide, you will get a standard sized shape that then you can resize; if you click, hold, and drag on the slide, you will draw out the shape. They can then be resized, moved, and colored as described below. 

To create a screenshot of a webpage or another screen,

  1. Open that window (for example, a web page) and leave it up, and then go back to PowerPoint.
  2. Click on the arrow below the Screenshot icon and choose screen clipping.
  3. Your display will jump to the other window, and if you wait a few seconds, the screen will turn white with a black crosshair.
  4. Click and drag a box around the content you wish to capture - when you release the mouse, you will pop back to PowerPoint, and that image will now be on the PowerPoint slide. You can manipulate it (resize, effects, etc.) as you would any image.

SmartArt is a special form of shape, and is described in more in a separate tab, as are the Chart tools.