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