Group Objects In PowerPoint

When you group objects in PowerPoint, it enables you to move them as a whole on your slide. This has many advantages:

  • it’s quicker and easier than moving them individually.
  • any object alignment you’ve made is retained when you move the objects.
  • you don’t need to spend time reselecting all the objects that you need to move. If it’s a complex group of objects, you would need to open the selection pane to do this.

If you have experience using an image editor like Adobe Photoshop, you probably already appreciate the advantages that grouping objects brings.

Let’s look at grouping objects in PowerPoint 2013 by following an example. Below we have two objects: a star shape, and a rectangular text box with some text inside.

You're A Star

To make things easier, let’s open up the selection pane. We can do this in a couple of ways. If you have an image selected, you should see the Format tab appear within the Picture Tools tab. In the Arrange group, click Selection Pane. Another way to open up the selection pane is to go to the Home tab > Arrange (in the Drawing group ) > Selection Pane.

Selection Pane

The Selection Pane lists all the objects that are on the current slide and allow us to select each one individually. There are two ways to select an object now: click on the object on the slide itself, or click on it in the selection pane. To select more than one object at the same time, hold down ctrl as you click on additional objects.

Let’s select both of the objects on our slide by holding down ctrl as we click on them. The Selection Pane should then look like this:

Selection Pane Selections

Rectangle 12 is the text box with our text inside and 5-Point Star 11 refers to the star shape. See our Selection Pane tutorial for more details on all the ins and outs of using Selection Panes. With both the star shape and text box selected, press Ctrl + g to group them. Alternatively, if you prefer clicking things with your mouse, click Group > Group (in the Arrange group on the Format tab). You should now see just one bounding box around both objects, instead of a bounding box around each,

One Bounding Box

Now you can click and drag the group and every object within the group is moved as one. Our example is a relatively simple one where the group contains only two objects, but your group can be as complex as you like and may contain as many objects as you wish.

Compress Images In PowerPoint 2013

If you need to email your PowerPoint presentation to other people, it’s important to get the file size down. The greatest factor in any presentation’s size is its media. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to compress images in PowerPoint 2013. Why not follow along with our example?

First of all insert an image onto a slide. If your image is selected, you will see the Picture Tools tab appear in the ribbon, with the Format tab within it. If your image isn’t selected, you can select it just by clicking on it.

Picture Tools Tab

In the Adjust group, you will see the Compress Pictures command. Click that.

Compress Pictures Command

The Compress Pictures window that opens offers you several options that we will go through now.

Compress Pictures Window

  • Apply only to this picture – do you want the picture compression to apply to all images in your presentation or just the selected one?
  • Delete cropped areas of pictures – check this box to discard the cropped areas of your pictures.
  • Target output – you have three options here:
    • Print (220ppi) – the highest pixels per inch (ppi) means the highest quality.
    • Screen (150ppi) – as the ppi value reduces so does the image quality.
    • Email (96ppi) – the lowest ppi value gives the smallest file size, which is better for emailing.
    • Use document resolution – this is the resolution set in the Microsoft Office Backstage view. By default this is set to print or 220 ppi, but you can change this default picture resolution.

PowerPoint 2013 Compress Pictures Test

We ran a compression test by creating a presentation in PowerPoint 2013 and then inserted the Windows 7 sample pictures with one on each slide. The total file size of all the eight image was 5.56 MB. The size of the presentation before we compressed the images was 5.744 MB. After compressing the images at the different ppi settings (see above), we got the file sizes down to the following:

  • Screen (150ppi) – 1.218 MB
  • Email (96ppi) – 0.420 MB.

So you can see that both of the options above reduce the presentation’s file size significantly.

PowerPoint 2013 Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio of a PowerPoint slide is the ratio the width makes with the height. For example, a slide that has a width of 4cm and a height of 3cm has an aspect ratio of 4:3. In versions earlier than PowerPoint 2013, slides were more square (for example, 4:3). However, much of the world’s TV and video display has moved to widescreen and HD formats, and so has PowerPoint. The default slide size is now widescreen (16:9).

But you can change the size of your slides.

Change The Slide Size In PowerPoint 2013

Go to the Design tab and click Slide Size (in the Customize group). Choose either Standard (4:3) or Widescreen (16:9) for a quick change.

Slide Size

Because changing the side size affects the amount of space available, PowerPoint automatically scales your content. When PowerPoint is unable to automatically scale your content, it will prompt you with two options:

Maximise / Ensure Fit

  • Maximize: Select this option to increase the size of your slide content when you are scaling to a larger slide size. Choosing this option could result in your content not fitting on the slide.
  • Ensure Fit: Select this option to decrease the size of your content when scaling to a smaller slide size. This could make your content appear smaller, but you’ll be able to see all content on your slide.

Custom Slide Size

You are not restricted to aspect ratios of 4:3 and 16:9. You can actually specify your own slide dimensions. Go to the Design tab and click Slide Size > Custom Slide Size.

Custom Slide Size

You can use the Slide Size window to specify the precise dimensions for all the slides in your presentation.

Change The Default Slide Size

There is no option in PowerPoint 2013 to change the default slide size. However, you can change the slide size in your current presentation, save it as a theme and then make that theme the current theme. I know, this “solution” reeks of after-thought.

This is a poor solution if you don’t want other aspects of the design to become default. You might be better off creating a new blank design with your preferred aspect ratio and then making that theme the default.

So, change your slide size following the directions above. Then click the More button in the Themes group > Save Current Theme.

Save Current Theme
Click to enlarge

Name the theme and save it. Then, in the Theme gallery right click on the theme you just save and select Set as Default Theme.

Set As Default Theme

Now when you create a new presentation, it will have your new theme and the slide size you gave it.

PowerPoint Borders

There are two was in PowerPoint 2013 that you can add borders to your slides: you can insert a shape (like a rectangle) and give it a stroke (nice rectangle…) or you can insert an image that has the border you want.

Insert A Rectangle

Go to the Insert tab and click Shapes > Rectangle.
Insert Rectangle

With the rectangle tool active, the cursor should look like a “+”. Drag out a rectangle so that it covers the whole slide. Now, with the rectangle still selected, go to the Format tab and look in the Shape Styles group. We don’t want a fill colour for the rectangle so click on Shape Fill and select No Fill.

No Fill

Now we have a border – but we need to style it. Click on Shape Outline, also in the Shape Styles group.

Shape Outline

Using this panel we can only change the colour (which might be all you want to do). If you want to change the style of the border, we’ll need to explore the other options. The things you’ll most likely want to change are the:

  • colour
  • weight – how thick the border is
  • dashes

Let’s follow along as we do an example. Click Shape Outline > Weight, and select from one of the different weights on offer.

Line Weights

6 pt is the widest option here, but that’s not wide enough for us so click on More Lines. Doing so opens up the Format Shape panel on the right of the workspace, positioned at Line. Here we have a lot of control over how the border is going to look.

Format Shape - Line

Let’s change the width to be 20 pt and select the second option in Compound type. This will change the border to be a double one with a bit more thickness.

The Dash type selector does just what you’d expect it to do: it changes the line into a dashed or dotted one. You can get some quite fancy results by playing with the different options in this panel.

Insert An Image

If you already have an image that has borders on, the task is much simpler. All you have to do is insert the image. Let’s use this sample image:

PowerPoint Borders
Right click to download

Right click on the borders image above and save it to your computer. Now in PowerPoint, go to the insert tab and click Pictures, in the Images group.

Insert Border Image

Navigate to where you saved the borders image, select it and click insert. The image might not cover the whole of the slide so drag on the resize handles to get it to fit.

Whichever method you choose to add borders to your PowerPoint presentation, getting them to appear on all slides requires a little bit of know how. Check out our tutorial on the Slide Master to find out the best way of doing this.