Powerpoint is the bane of existence for many of us in computerland, but like it or not, we have to use it because… Bill. Unfortunately many of the tasks most often performed in Powerpoint are buried 2 or 3 levels deep in the menus or "ribbon" bar. For decades Microsoft has been notorious for violating this 80/20 rule in many of their desktop applications, but I'm here to show you how to take control and be a master of your own keyboard shortcut domain.
So I've got just the tip for you nerds. Myself included.
In this example, I'll be showing how to create a shortcut for the popular task of inserting an image into a powerpoint slide. On a mac, this is found in the menu path shown here:
Insert > Photo > Picture from File…
(It can also be found on the Home ribbon in the Insert section by clicking the Picture dropdown button and choosing Picture from File…)
In each instance, powerpoint forces the user to click multiple times. Here's how to create a keyboard shortcut (for Office 2011 for Mac) to get it down to just one step:
1. Go to System Preferences
2. Choose Keyboard
3. Go to the Shortcuts tab
4. Select App Shortcuts from the list on left side
5. Click the "+" button to add an application
6. Select Microsoft Powerpoint. If Powerpoint is not listed it may be within the Microsoft Office folder in Applications. Select Other… at the bottom of the dropdown list to find Powerpoint in Finder.
7. In the Menu Title box, type the command you would like to make a shortcut for. In this case it's:
Picture from File…
Copy and paste Picture from File… into that box. If you type it out, it must be entered exactly as shown above: case sensitive, with spaces, and the ellipsis.
8. Type in the keyboard shortcut you'd like to use. I use command D like the InDesign default for placing an image.
9. Click Add and you're done!
See? That wasn't so bad, plus it'll save you gobs of time and frustration. Of course this can be done for any menu command you want, for any program you have as long as it's doesn't conflict with any default Apple system commands. So hopefully this helps you use Powerpoint faster so you can be done with Powerpoint sooner so you can be doing something that's not Powerpoint. Enjoy!
More Nerd Tips to come…