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Text Boxes & Placeholders PowerPoint Tutorial

Free PowerPoint Online Tutorial
MS Office 2010 - Working with Slides

* Recognizing Text Boxes & Placeholders
* Insert & Delete Text Boxes & Placeholders
* Resizing Text Boxes & Placeholders
* Moving & Rotating Text Boxes & Placeholders
* Aligning Textboxes & Placeholders on a Slide

Text is added to slides by using text boxes and placeholders. Working with text boxes includes adding, re-sizing, moving, rotating and aligning the boxes. 

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Working with Text Boxes & Placeholders in PowerPoint Test




* Recognizing Text Boxes & Placeholders

At first glance, a slide in PowerPoint looks much like a landscape document in Microsoft Word.  However, should you try to add text to a slide, you will quickly realize it is very different. A blank slide in PowerPoint, unlike a document, is a storyboard to which you will add elements, some of which contain text.  The elements you add to a slide are called Text boxes or Placeholders. 

Study the screenshot of a slide below:

PowerPoint Tutorial - Recognizing Text Boxes and Placeholders

 
This above slide contains three separate placeholders. 
The heading and bullet points are two separate Text boxes and the sentence at the bottom is housed within the triangular shape. 

It may seem onerous at first that any content added to a slide needs to be added to a placeholder as opposed to just clicking and typing directly on the slide, but when you need to move, rotate, resize or simply be creative with sections of text on a slide, the utility of the placeholders quickly become evident.

There are multiple different types of placeholders in PowerPoint: Text boxes are the main content holders, but shapes, tables, charts, SmartArt, images, clipart and media are all content holders that contain specific types of media.

To learn more about content placeholders:

1.  Open a blank PowerPoint presentation.

2.  Under the Home tab on the Ribbon in the Slides group, click on Layout and select the Title and Content layout.

3.  In your main slide window examine the layout of a Title and Content slide.  You will note a Text Box placeholder which you can click to add a title, a separate Text Box for adding text (or bullet points) and icons in the center of the screen denoting further content types (circled in yellow in the screenshot below):

PowerPoint Tutorial - Recognizing Text Boxes and Placeholders

4.  Hovering your mouse cursor over any of the content icons (circled in yellow in the screenshot above) will focus the icon and a screen tip with its function will appear, for example, Insert Table, Insert Picture from File, etc.

* Insert & Delete Text Boxes & Placeholders

Placeholders on their own are the empty lunchboxes of the PowerPoint playground.  Without them it is impossible to construct a slide, but on their own, without content, they hold little meaning.  Printing, or a print preview of a slide containing only placeholders for text or other content, will reveal a blank page.  Placeholders are therefore the starting point of a slideshow, but by no means the end product.

To add a Text Box to a slide:

1.  Select the slide you wish to add the Text Box to.

2.  Click on the Insert tab on the Ribbon.

3.  In the Text group, click on the Text Box button.  The button will be highlighted in yellow/orange to indicate that the Insert Text Box function is selected.

4.  Move your cursor back to the region on your slide where you wish to insert the Text Box.

5.  Hold down the left mouse button and drag to create the Text Box placeholder.  Don’t worry about size, you can always resize the box at a later stage.

NB: You have to add text to a Text Box immediately after creating it or the Text box will disappear.



To create a slide with specific placeholders (create a custom slide layout):

1.  Click on the View tab on the Ribbon.

2.  In the Master Views group, click on Slide Master.

3.  In the Edit Master group, click on Insert Slide Master to add a new blank slide to the Master gallery.

4.  In the Master Layout group, click on the dropdown arrow (circled in yellow in the screenshot below) located directly below the Insert Placeholder button:

PowerPoint Tutorial - Insert and Delete Text Boxes and Placeholders

5.  From the list of available placeholders, select the one(s) to add to the slide layout:

  • * Content – use to add a placeholder that can contain any type of content.

  • * Text – use to add a placeholder that can contain text.  The words Click to add text will automatically appear in the placeholder.

  • * Picture – use to add a placeholder that when clicked, will open the Windows Picture library and allow for insertion of photos.

  • * Chart – use to add a placeholder that when clicked, will open the Insert Chart gallery and allow for quick creation of charts.

  • * Table – use to add a placeholder that when clicked will launch the Insert Table dialogue box allowing for quick insertion of a table.

  • * SmartArt – use to add a placeholder that when clicked will open the Choose a SmartArt Graphic gallery allowing for quick insertion of a SmartArt diagram.

  • * Media – use to add a placeholder that when clicked will open the Windows folder library from where you can navigate to the location where videos are stored on the computer hard drive and insert into the placeholder.

  • * ClipArt – use to add a placeholder that when clicked will launch the Office Clip Art gallery.  Use the Search for box to find relevant clip art images and click on the image to insert into a slide.

6.  Click on the relevant placeholder in the list and move your cursor back to your slide.

7.  Hold down the left mouse button while dragging to create the placeholder.  You can always resize and move the placeholder after creating it, so don’t worry too much about getting it in exactly the right spot and size.

8.  Click on Close Master View to return to your normal view.

9.  Finally, select the slide layout of placeholders you created by clicking on Layout in the Slides group under the Home tab.  The placeholders you created will be contained on a new layout called Blank under Custom Design in the Layout gallery. 


To delete Text boxes or Placeholders:

1.  Click on the outline of the Text Box or the Placeholder.

2.  Press the Delete button on your keyboard.

If you delete a Text Box or Placeholder by mistake, you can always use the Undo button located on the Quick Access Toolbar or the shortcut combination Ctrl+Z to replace the deleted Text Box or Placeholder.



* Resizing Text Boxes and Placeholders

There is nothing as frustrating as having perfectly inserted a couple of Text boxes that neatly fit on a sheet only to realize you need space to insert another Text Box or content holder.  Luckily for us, this can quickly be rectified in PowerPoint by resizing existing Text boxes and placeholders.


To resize a Text Box or Placeholder:

1.  Select the Text Box or Placeholder by clicking it.

2.  With the object selected, click and drag either the center outline marker upwards or downwards to reduce the height of the object, or select the markers on the right and left of the object and drag to increase the width of the object.  The markers to drag to increase the height and width of an object have all be circled in yellow in the screenshot below:

PowerPoint Tutorial - Resizing Text Boxes and Placeholders

3.  Use the outline markers located on the four corners of the object to increase or decrease the object’s size, both in width and height, to preserve its aspect ratio.


To set an exact size for an object, for example, when you want to ensure that objects are the same size:

1.  Select the Text Box or Placeholder by clicking it.

2.  Click on the Format Contextual tab (the tab that appears to the right of permanent tabs when an object is selected).

3.  In the Size group, type in an exact height and width measurement in the relevant box OR click on the dialogue box launcher in the bottom right-hand corner of the Size group to open the Format Shape dialogue box.

4.  In the Forma bt Shape dialogue box, ensure that Size is selected.  Use the Size and Scale settings to change the size and scale of the object and press Close to accept the changes.

You can resize multiple objects at once by holding down the Ctrl key whilst selecting the items and then using the method described above to resize all objects at once.  This is a great option if you need to resize multiple objects to the same size ratio.


QUICK TIPS: 

1.  If you need to resize an object by very small increments, hold down the Alt key on your keyboard whilst dragging to resize the object.

2.  Click the outline of an object so that it becomes a solid line when selected and then hold down the Shift key on your keyboard whilst pressing the up, down, left or right arrows.  This is a quick way to resize an object.  (SHIFT+Up/Down/Left/Right arrows).



* Moving & Rotating Text Boxes & Placeholders

Textboxes and Placeholders on a slide in PowerPoint can be likened to the furniture in a room of your home.  The layout that you start out with will often not be the layout that you end up with. Moving items around and even changing their rotation on a slide, are essential for ensuring a slide looks well-organized and/or creative.

To move an object on a slide:

1.  Select the Text Box or Placeholder by clicking it.

2.  Hover your mouse icon over the outline area of the object until the mouse cursor changes into a crosshair with four arrows.

3.  Hold down the left mouse button whilst dragging the object to a new position on the slide.

You can move multiple objects by holding down the Ctrl key whilst selecting the items and then using the method described above to move all objects at once.


Quick Tip:

If your hand and eye coordination using the mouse is not that great, you can use keyboard shortcuts to move an object:

1.  Click on the outline of an object so that it becomes a solid line. 

2.  Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the object upwards, downwards, left or right.

3.  To move the object in smaller increments, hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard whilst pressing the up, down, left or right arrows to move the object.  (Ctrl+ Up/Down/Left/Right arrows).

The ability to rotate objects on a slide may bring out your hidden creative genius!  No longer are you limited to bland horizontal Text boxes or objects, instead you are free to rotate them at any angle to add finesse to your work.

To rotate an object:

1.  Select the Text Box or Placeholder by clicking it.

2.  You will note an arm with a green marker attached to it (circled in yellow in the screenshot below) on one side of the object:

PowerPoint Tutorial - Rotating Objects
3.  Left-click on the green marker and drag your mouse to the left or right to rotate the object the desired distance. 

4.  To set a specific rotation for the object, click on the Format Contextual tab and in the Arrange group, click on Rotate.  You can select a pre-set rotation of 90° right or left, or flip the object vertically or horizontally.  Further options, which you can manually set for rotation, can be accessed by clicking on More Rotation Options.



* Aligning Textboxes & Placeholders on a Slide

Viewing a slide where objects are not lined up or spaced out properly can be painful and could even reduce the more perfectionistic amongst us to tears. It not only looks unprofessional, it could also make all your carefully thought out content appear haphazard and disorganized.

To align objects on a slide:

1.  Select the Text boxes, shapes or placeholders you wish to align by holding down the Ctrl key whilst selecting each object.

2.  In the Drawing group under the Home tab, click on the Arrange button (highlighted in yellow in the screenshot below).  From the Arrange menu, select Align.
PowerPoint Tutorial - Aligning Textboxes and Placeholders on a Slide

3.  In the screenshot above, to align the three selected objects, we could use either the Align Top or Align Bottom option to ensure the items are lined up.  We could use the Distribute Vertically option to ensure the objects are spaced out equally.

Depending on the layout of the objects you wish to align, you could experiment with the Align and Distribute options too.


Test your PowerPoint skills with the corresponding FREE Online Multiple Choice
Working with Text Boxes & Placeholders in PowerPoint Test