PPT 2013 Templates

Our tutorial on PowerPoint 2013 templates is still very popular, but it’s “just” a tutorial. Many people want ppt 2013 templates to download, so that’s what we have published here on this web page. We have a paltry selection (four!)  free to download templates for your delectation; two are 3d, one is stylish, and one is just plain ugly – yet functional (you decide which is which!).

Blue PowerPoint 2013 Template

Dominoes PowerPoint 2013 Template

Green PowerPoint 2013 Template

Ice Cube PowerPoint 2013 Template


Each image above is linked to its PowerPoint 2013 template, so clicking on it will open up the template in PowerPoint. From there you can save it to your hard drive with a deft ctrl + s. But remember kids – these templates aren’t for republication anywhere, and you can’t pass them off as yours. It’s ok to use them for presenting or teaching your own material, though.

As an alternative to actually opening them up here in PowerPoint, you could, instead, right click on an image and select “save target as”, or similar, to save the presentation directly to your computer. Job’s a good ‘un.

We are testing the water with these free templates. If they prove as popular as we anticipate them to be then there will be more on the way!

Powerpoint Background

You need a special looking PowerPoint Background, we have a whole smorgasbord of stylish PowerPoint Backgrounds, so it’s only natural that we get together. Avail yourself of the following sumptuous selection of PowerPoint backgrounds. They are free to download and use – as long as you don’t redistribute them on your own website or website profile (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, pinterest etc.).

Celtic PowerPoint Background

I have to tell you, the images shown here are quite small. Click on any of the thumbnails on this page and the full splendour will be revealed.


You know, I look at these images and I think wtf? What was I thinking? Whatever, they are there and they are free to use, within restrictions of course.

This next PowerPoint background is biased towards the top. I was thinking that you would probably want a lot of space to hold the content of your presentation, so I put the graphics at the top. Graphics in the header, content in the middle. You decide whether that’s a good idea!


These cubes look sexy don’t they? But how would your content appear over the top of this background? I suppose you could reduce the transparency of the background, but it ain’t what you’d call a neutral background.


Dominoes. You know the domino rule don’t you? There is no rule!


Funny girder things:


We have many more weird looking Powerpoint Backgrounds, but they are beyond the pale. If we run out of decent ones they may make an appearance, but I doubt that day will ever come.


Adding A Powerpoint Background

OK, so now that you have downloaded one of our stylish PowerPoint backgrounds, how do you add it to your presentation? Open it up and then decide: do you want the background to appear on one slide or every slide?

If you want the background to appear on every slide, you need to add it to the slide master. Go to the View tab and click on Slide Master…

But that’s for another tutorial.

Align Objects In PowerPoint 2013

If you have several objects on a slide in your PowerPoint 2013 presentation, they may look messy if they are not lined up. The smart guides that PowerPoint provides are good for helping you line objects up, but they only go so far.

For our example, we’re going to line up four shapes, but the principle holds true for whatever objects you want to align.

Go to the Insert tab and click on Shapes, fine the rectangle shape and click on that.

Rectangle Shape

With the rectangle shape tool active, drag out a rectangle on your slide. Just for the hell of it, let’s put some text in it. Just start typing and your words will appear in the box. Next, select he box by clicking on one of its edges and copy/paste it (ctrl + c, ctrl + v). Notice how the box and text within are duplicated, but the second box is offset a small amount. If you ctrl + v again to paste another box, that one is offset as well.

Three Boxes

To align these three boxes, let’s first of all add some vertical space between them. Space them out by moving he second two down a little like this:


Now we need to select all three shapes, and you can do this by holding down the Ctrl key on your keyboard while you click on them. You’ll notice that the cursor changes to a “+” sign when you do this, because you are adding to your selection. Are you having trouble selecting objects?

With all three boxes selected, it’s time to align them. Because you have shapes selected, the drawing tools contextual tab will appear in the ribbon, with the format tab within. That’s precisely the tab we need as there is an Align command in the Arrange group there. Click Align > Align Left.

Align Left

Hey presto – your shapes are now lined up very neatly like this:

Lined Up

You can align to other orientations too:

  • left
  • center
  • right
  • top
  • middle
  • bottom
  • distribute horizontally – PowerPoint will space out your selections with equal amounts of space between them horizontally.
  • distribute vertically – PowerPoint will space out your selections with equal amounts of space between them vertically.

Connecting PowerPoint 2013 To SkyDrive

Microsoft SkyDrive is the area of cloud storage used by Office to store their documents. You can save your PowerPoint presentation in SkyDrive to make it accessible wherever you are. Provided you have an internet connection you can connect to SkyDrive and work on your presentation regardless of your location. This is much more convenient than storing the file on a USB stick and having to carry it around with you, or emailing the presentation to yourself.

To use SkyDrive with PowerPoint 2013 you must first sign in. On opening PowerPoint, you’ve probably seen the nagging reminder to sign in in the top right hand corner of Backstage View.

Nagging Reminder

Click on the link and you’ll commence the sign in process, starting with this screen. Just enter your log on credentials.

Sign In To PowerPoint 2013

Why Microsoft can’t provide a conventional sign in screen on which you enter both user name and password together is beyond me! Instead, you type in your email address on the first screen and then progress to the next screen where you type in your password. Duh.

Once you’ve signed in, you will see your name and avatar in the top right corner of the workspace. And now that you are signed in, you have access to your SkyDrive and all the documents stored there.

Let’s store a presentation in SkyDrive now: make sure you have a presentation open and click the File tab > Save As. You should see a screen that displays your SkyDrive, like this:

Donald Duck's SkyDrive
Click to enlarge

Ensure that your SkyDrive is selected on the left, and then click Browse. Ordinarily, the Browse button would allow you to navigate among the drives and folders on your computer. However, because you have SkyDrive selected, you navigate among the SkyDrive folders.

Save In SkyDrive

The folder/file concept used in SkyDrive is the same as that used on your hard drive, but notice the file path defaulted into the Save As dialog box. Weird huh? It looks like a URL – and that’s exactly what it is. You could copy the url displayed here, paste it into the address bar of your internet browser and explore SkyDrive using your browser. Moving on: navigate to the location in SkyDrive where you want to save your presentation and click Save.

Now, wherever you are working, whether at home, at work or at a friend’s house, you can work on your presentations.

Disable Save to SkyDrive In PowerPoint 2013

SkyDrive is Microsoft’s “cloud”; online storage where you can store your Office documents and access them anywhere. By default, when you press ctrl + s to save a new presentation, you are presented with Backstage View, where SkyDrive is just one possible place to which you can save.

Backstage View In PowerPoint 2013

Here you get to choose what type of location to save your presentation to: whether it’s somewhere in SkyDrive, on your computer’s hard drive, or another new location. However, some people will only save documents to their own computer, so this needless extra screen will quickly become a nuisance. People who work in an office environment often work on a network and share documents using that network. SkyDrive is irrelevant and redundant to them.

How To Disable SkyDrive

Fortunately, there is a quick and easy way to disable the save to SkyDrive option if you decide you don’t need it.


Click the File tab > Save:

Don't Show Backstage
Click to enlarge

Near the top you’ll see a checkbox for “Don’t show the Backstage when opening or saving files“: check that box. Now when you ctrl + s on a new presentation, you will be presented with the familiar Save As dialog window.

Save As Dialog
Click to enlarge

If you want to really speed up your save operation when you find yourself saving to the same location time after time, you can amend the Default local file location value (see image above) to be that location. Then, when you ctrl + s, the Save As dialog will open at that location. All you have to do is name the presentation and click Save.

I Can’t Select An Object In PowerPoint

Maybe you’ve been here: there are only a few objects on a slide in your PowerPoint presentation, but for some reason every time you click on the one you want to select, some other object gets selected instead. How frustrating!

There can be a couple of reasons for this, and we’re going to explore the solutions to each.

1. The Object Is In The Background

Right click on a blank area of your slide and select Format Background.

Format Background

The Format Background panel will open on the right of the workspace. Here you can specify, amongst other things, a picture to display in the background of your slide. If you set a picture background like this, there is no way that you can select it by clicking on the slide. So stop it!

2. The Object Is In The Slide Master

The Slide Master is a whole tutorial in itself (stay tuned for that one!), but here is a quick guide to help you select that elusive object. Go to the View tab > Slide Master (in the Master Views group), and on the left select the layout of the slide you are having problems with.

Slide Master

For example, if the object you are trying to select is on a Title and Content slide, find the Title and Content Layout slide master and select it. Then find your object using either the previous or next method.

3. The Object Is Hidden Among Other Objects

You don’t even need too many objects on a slide for it to become difficult to select just one of them. Having objects close to each other on a slide can cause selection difficulties. The easiest way to resolve these difficulties is to use the Selection Pane.

On the Home tab, click on the Arrange command (in the Drawing group), and select Selection Pane.

Selection Pane

The Selection Pane that opens on the right will display a list of all objects on the current slide. You can select one by left clicking on it. Even if you can’t see an object on the slide because it is underneath another object, you will be able to see – and select – it in the Selection Pane.

Selection Pane Proper

Can’t Group Objects In PowerPoint

Grouping objects in PowerPoint is a very useful tool. When you group together a number of objects, you can move them all as one instead of moving them individually, thus making the process quicker and easier. You can move them more accurately, too, especially if you’ve already spent some time aligning them first.

To group objects, you first of all select them and then, on the Home tab, click the Arrange command (in the Drawing group) > Group.

Group Objects

Group Option Grayed Out

Sometimes, however, the Group option will be grayed out, meaning you can’t select it. Why?

Faded Out Group Option

Some combinations of elements just can’t be grouped in PowerPoint. In our example, we inserted two text boxes, which we could group, and then added an additional picture. We found we couldn’t group the picture with either of the text boxes. You might think that it is the picture that is the problem. Wrong! It’s text boxes.

You cannot apply the Group command to a selection that contains a placeholder – unless all the elements are placeholders. We could group the text boxes together, because they are both placeholders, but as soon as we introduced an element that wasn’t a placeholder too – the image – the group option disappeared.

To make things more complicated, you also can’t group a table. To be more precise, when your selection includes a table, the Group command is unavailable. If you want a really unwieldy workaround, you can ungroup the table to turn the individual cells into shapes and then use the Group command.

Shortcuts For The Group Command

We used the commands in the ribbon for grouping so that we could show the grayed out Group command, but often people prefer keyboard shortcuts as they are quicker. The keyboard shortcut for Grouping is ctrl + g.

You can return a group to its constituent parts by ungrouping it. You’ll find the ungroup command using the ribbon, and, in fact, you can see that option in the images above, albeit grayed out. The keyboard shortcut for ungrouping is ctrl + shift + g.

Make A Picture Transparent In PowerPoint

There are several reasons why you might want to make a picture transparent in Microsoft PowerPoint. One reason is that you have place the image over some text and you want the text to show through the picture. Unfortunately, PowerPoint 2013 does not allow you to simply adjust the transparency of a picture you insert into your presentation. You have to do follow some extra steps.

Change The Background Of A Shape To Be An Image

First of all you will need to insert a shape onto a slide. Let’s use a bog standard rectangle: go to the Insert tab and click on the Shapes command (in the Illustrations group). Choose a rectangle:

Choose Rectangle

The cursor will change to a crosshairs shape, indicating that the shape tool is active; drag out a rectangle on your slide. Once you’ve dragged it out, you can resize it by dragging the resize handles at the corners and halfway along each edge.

Once you are happy with the size of the rectangle, right click on it and select Format Shape.

Format Shape

The Format Shape panel will open to the right of your workspace. In the Fill section, Solid fill will be selected by default.

Format Shape Panel

We need to add a picture to the background, so select Picture or texture fill. When you do, you will see different options appear in the Format Picture panel – all picture related. We first of all need to select a picture, so click on the File button, beneath “Insert picture from” (see 1, below).

Select Picture

Navigate to where your picture is located on your computer, select it and click Insert, The picture will now appear as the background to the rectangle. Now that we have the image in place, we can adjust the transparency setting (see 2, above). If you drag the transparency slider to the right, you will increase the image’s transparency and it will appear more see-through. Drag the slider to the left and the transparency decreases – the image becomes more solid. Alternatively, you can type in the percentage transparency in the input box to the right of the slider, if you know the precise setting you want (perhaps you are following a tutorial).

The rectangle you inserted may have a border on it. If you don’t want a border, click on Shape Outline (in the Shape Styles group) and then select No Outline.

No Outline

The tabs and commands referred to above can only be seen when the shape (the rectangle) is selected. They are context sensitive tabs. Hopefully this knowledge will help if you are having problems locating them.

Track Changes In PowerPoint

Unfortunately, there is still no functionality to track changes in PowerPoint. You can achieve  something similar to what track changes gives you in Word, but you have to manage comments, responses, feedback etc. yourself. Doing it this way allows you to get suggestions for changes from your colleagues, but it is the presentation owner who actually makes the changes.

A good way to capture feedback is to get your colleagues to use the comments feature in PowerPoint. Comments in PowerPoint 2013 are much improved and can initiate useful discussions about the presentation being viewed. Each comment is tagged with the name of the user who made it, so you know who thinks what.

You could email everyone in your team a copy of the presentation. However, if you do this, you will receive multiple copies back from them, all with different comments. Compiling all comments into one “master” presentation would be a nightmare. A better solution is to store the presentation in one central location and invite all contributors to comment on it. Microsoft SkyDrive is a good location to store a presentation that you want to share.

To make this work, it’s a good idea to save the original presentation somewhere on your computer. Then you will always have the original to refer to. Next, post a second copy to SkyDrive and ask your colleagues to provide feedback by leaving comments in it. You can email them with a link to the shared presentation so they know where it is. You may need to give permissions to your reviewers so they can access your presentation.

Once the feedback process is complete, it’s sometimes useful to remove permissions from the shared presentation. Doing so will stop further comments being left that you might miss.

Open both the original and the shared presentation and work through all the comments left in the shared version. The Review tab is where you need to go to view comments. Use the Next and Previous buttons in the Comments group to navigate them.

Each comment is marked by a speech bubble that looks like this:

Speech Bubble

If you read a comments that you agree with, you can make appropriate changes to your original presentation, saving the file after each one.

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.