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Creating PowerPoint Outlines in Microsoft Word 2011 for Mac

Learn how to create outlines for presentations in Microsoft Word 2011 that are formatted for failsafe import into Microsoft PowerPoint on the Mac.


Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Product/Version: Microsoft Word 2011
OS: Mac OS X






Typically, there are three common ways in which you can create slides in PowerPoint. All these three ways can be combined with each other but it is best to start with creating an outline for your presentation in another program. Mac users can create outlines in TextEdit -- in addition you can use Microsoft Word as well. In this tutorial, I'll show how you can use Word 2011 for Mac to create an outline for a PowerPoint presentation.

  1. Launch Finder (just click the Mac HD icon on your desktop) and go to your Applications folder, where you will find an icon for Word 2011 -- double click to run this application.
  2. Launch a new Word document (see Figure 1).

    Word 2011 document
    Figure 1: Word 2011 document
  3. Now type in all the text content you want within your slide titles and text placeholders on separate lines, as shown in Figure 2. If you do not know what a text placeholder in PowerPoint is, look at our Text Boxes vs. Placeholders tutorial.

    Text content for your slides
    Figure 2: Text content for your slides
  4. Access the Home tab of the Ribbon. Within the Styles group, hover your cursor over any of the style thumbnails -- to see all the styles at the same time, click the small, downward pointing triangle (highlighted in red, see Figure 3) -- this brings up the drop-down Styles gallery (see Figure 3 again). Click on the styles you want based on the explanations provided in the next step.

    Styles gallery
    Figure 3: Styles gallery
  5. Now you can format the outline so that PowerPoint can understand which line of text is a slide title, the first level bullet, the second level bullet, etc. To do that you need to follow these guidelines:

    1. For slide titles, select the text and choose Heading 1 style.

    2. For first level bullets (or subtitles in a title slide), select the text and choose Heading 2 style.

    3. For the second level bullets, select the text and choose Heading 3 style.

    4. For any subsequent levels of bullets (fourth, fifth, etc.), select the text that you want to format, and apply the Heading style of that level (Heading 4, Heading 5, etc).

  6. Once you are done with adding styles, your outline may look like what you see in Figure 4 (compare to Figure 2).

    Text content for your slides after adding styles
    Figure 4: Text content for your slides after adding styles
  7. One aspect that I want to draw your attention to is that you can only add the text content for a presentation within an outline -- however at times, there is some very important info in a presentation that is not text -- it could be a picture, a chart, a table, or something else. In that case, you can mention that within the outline -- just make it stand out a little different as shown in Figure 5 -- you'll notice that I added some text to indicate that a table has to be added to a particular slide, and it is within parentheses.

    Indicating non-textual content within parentheses
    Figure 5: Indicating non-textual content within parentheses
  8. Save your outline within Word as an RTF file -- it is important that you save to an RTF (Rich Text Format) file rather than as a native Word document because PowerPoint for Mac can only import Word outlines saved as RTF files. To save as RTF, choose the File | Save As menu option to bring up the Save As dialog box that you see in Figure 6.

    Save As dialog box
    Figure 6: Save As dialog box
  9. In this dialog box, select the Format option (highlighted in red in Figure 6) to bring up the drop-down menu that lets you choose between different file formats that Word can save to. In this drop-down menu, select the Rich Text Format (.rtf) option as shown in Figure 7.

    Rich Text Format option selected
    Figure 7: Rich Text Format option selected
  10. This outline is now in a format that PowerPoint can import, and create new slides. To learn how to import this outline into PowerPoint 2011, look at our Import Outlines in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial. And, to learn how to import this outline into other versions of PowerPoint, look here: Outlines: Import.

See Also:

Creating PowerPoint Outlines in Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows
Creating PowerPoint Outlines in Microsoft Word 2013 for Windows
Creating PowerPoint Outlines in Microsoft Word 2010 for Windows
Creating PowerPoint Outlines in Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac
Creating PowerPoint Outlines in Microsoft Word 2007 for Windows
Creating PowerPoint Outlines in Microsoft Word 2003 for Windows

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