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Live Preview in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how Live Preview works in PowerPoint 2016.


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016
OS: Windows 7 and higher

Editing slide objects works almost the same way, irrespective of what you are actually editing -- you select the object you want to edit and change some attributes -- you then get to see what your changes have caused -- and then you either undo your changes (if you are not too happy with them) or just accept them and start working with another object. What if you could see/preview how an actual change will look on the slide object before you decide to accept or decline that change? PowerPoint 2016's Live Preview allows you to do just that -- this feature was first introduced in PowerPoint 2007, and continues being available in newer versions.

Since Live Preview is more of an interactive option than an interface element, it's not part of the visible PowerPoint 2016 interface -- this option only gets active within some of the options such as Themes, Fonts, Quick Styles, etc. Follow these steps to use Live Preview:

  1. Open any presentation in PowerPoint 2016. Insert a shape on your slide and keep it selected -- this brings up the Drawing Tools Format contextual tab on the Ribbon, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1.

    Drawing Tools Format tab
    Figure 1: Drawing Tools Format tab
  2. Select the Drawing Tools Format tab and click the down-ward pointing arrow within the Shapes Styles option (highlighted in blue within Figure 1, above) to see the drop-down gallery that you can see in Figure 2.

    Shape Styles drop-down gallery
    Figure 2: Shape Styles drop-down gallery
  3. Now hover the mouse cursor over any of the styles in the gallery -- as you move over different styles, the selected shape shows you a Live Preview. Place your shape in the area that is not covered by the Shape Styles drop-down gallery so that you can see the live preview properly, as shown in Figure 3.

    Live Preview of Shape Styles
    Figure 3: Live Preview of Shape Styles

    If you have selected a style you don’t want to use, take the cursor away from it and place it on another style. Previewing the styles this way does not modify your original shape. You can safely preview and play with various styles within the Shape Styles drop-down gallery until you find the style you want.

While the Live Preview feature works great most of the time, some older computers may not have the processing power required to show live previews in real time -- this might lead to sluggish performance. Fortunately, you can easily disable Live Preview by following these steps:

  1. Access PowerPoint Options by choosing File menu | Options. This brings up the PowerPoint Options dialog box that you can see in Figure 4.

    PowerPoint Options dialog box
    Figure 4: PowerPoint Options dialog box
  2. Make sure that the General tab is selected in the sidebar. Now, deselect the Enable Live Preview check-box, as shown highlighted in red with Figure 4 above. You can enable the Live Preview the same way -- just select the check-box.
  3. Click OK to get back to the PowerPoint interface.

See Also:

Live Preview in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Live Preview 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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©2000-2016, Geetesh Bajaj. All rights reserved.

since November 02, 2000