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Edit Annotations with Ink Tools in PowerPoint 2013

Learn how to edit your pen and highlighter annotations in PowerPoint 2013.


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Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
OS: Windows 7 and higher






When you use the Pen and Highlighter tools to annotate, you are provided an option to save those annotations when you exit Slide Show view. If you do opt to save them, then you will actually open doors to new capabilities that will allow you to edit these annotations – in fact you can also change these annotations to shapes and work more with them!

Follow these steps to work with annotations in PowerPoint 2013.

  1. Open a presentation which has saved annotations, as shown in Figure 1, below.

    Slide with annotations
    Figure 1: Slide with annotations
  2. Now select any of the annotations -- and you will see the Ink Tools Pens contextual tab on the Ribbon, as shown in Figure 2, below. We selected an annotation done using the Pen tool.

    Ink Tools Pens contextual tab
    Figure 2: Ink Tools Pens contextual tab
  3. Now we can change the color and thickness of the selected annotation -- to change color, click the Color button shown in Figure 3, below which brings up the Color drop-down gallery -- choose More Ink Colors option.

    Change the color of your annotation
    Figure 3: Change the color of your annotation

    Tip: Learn about More Ink Colors option in our Add Solid Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial -- you'll want to look at step 3E in that tutorial. Explore our Eyedropper Option in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial to learn more about the Eyedropper.
    You can also change the thickness similarly by clicking the Thickness button, as shown in Figure 4, below. This brings up the Thickness drop-down gallery where you can make a choice to make your annotation thicker or thinner.

    Change the annotation to be thicker or thinner
    Figure 4: Change the annotation to be thicker or thinner
  4. Now while there is a perfectly useable Convert to Shapes button available within the Ink Tools Pens tab of the Ribbon (highlighted in red within Figure 5), you will notice that this is often grayed out.

    Grayed out option to convert annotations to shapes
    Figure 5: Grayed out option to convert annotations to shapes

    A workaround for this issue is to copy your selected annotation to the Clipboard by pressing the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C -- you can also access the Home tab of the Ribbon and click the Copy button.
  5. Navigate to another slide optionally. Thereafter press the Ctrl+Alt+V keyboard shortcut -- or access the Home tab of the Ribbon. Then click the lower half of the Paste button, as shown in Figure 6. Now click the Paste Special option.

    Paste Special option
    Figure 6: Paste Special option
  6. Either way, this will bring up the Paste Special dialog box shown in Figure 7 -- scroll down to find the Picture (Enhanced Metafile) option -- select it, then click the OK button.

    Paste as an Enhanced Metafile
    Figure 7: Paste as an Enhanced Metafile
  7. You can see this pasted object in Figure 8, below -- note that this is no longer an annotation.

    Object pasted is no longer an annotation
    Figure 8: Object pasted is no longer an annotation
  8. You can however not use this as a PowerPoint native shape. To do so, you will have to ungroup the object twice in succession (you can use the Ctrl+Shift+G keyboard shortcut to ungroup). The first time you ungroup, PowerPoint will ask you whether you want to convert it to a Microsoft Office drawing object (see Figure 9) -- accept by clicking the Yes button. Now ungroup again for a second time.

    Do you want to ungroup?
    Figure 9: Do you want to ungroup?

    Tip: Want more keyboard shortcuts? Get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts Ebook.
  9. Ungrouped objects may break up into more than one shape as shown in Figure 10, below -- but the good news is that you can now use all Shape tools in PowerPoint to edit them -- for more info, look at our Shapes index page.

    Ungrouped shapes
    Figure 10: Ungrouped shapes
  10. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Edit Annotations with Ink Tools in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Edit Annotations with Ink Tools in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003 for Windows
PowerPoint 2016 and 2011 for Mac

Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences ebook.



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