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Creating PowerPoint Outlines in Microsoft Word 2013 for Windows

Learn how to create outlines for presentations in Microsoft Word 2013 that are formatted for fail-safe import into Microsoft PowerPoint 2013.


Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Product/Version: Microsoft Word 2013
OS: Windows 7 and later






An outline encompasses the text content within your presentation slides. In some ways, this text is the story of your presentation. In a less poetic description, you may just describe the outline as the sequential structure of text content that you use in a presentation. Whatever description you prefer, the outline does form an ideal starting point for a bunch of slides! PowerPoint can import outlines created in many applications and we have already shown you how you can  create outlines  for PowerPoint presentations in  Word 2010 and  Word 2007. In this tutorial, we'll explore the procedure of creating a structured outline in Word 2013.

Follow these steps to create an outline for your PowerPoint presentation using Microsoft Word 2013 for Windows:

  1. Launch a new Word document, as shown in Figure 1.

    Word 2013 document
    Figure 1: Word 2013 document
  2. 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 don't know what a text placeholder in PowerPoint is, look here.

    Text content for your slides
    Figure 2: Text content for your slides
  3. Now, access the Home tab of the Ribbon. Then within the Styles group, click the dialog launcher, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3.

    Dialog launcher within the Styles group
    Figure 3: Dialog launcher within the Styles group
  4. This brings up the Styles pane, as shown in Figure 4.

    Styles pane
    Figure 4: Styles pane
  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 the Heading 1 style.

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

    3. For the second level bullets, select the text and choose the 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 applying styles, your outline may look like what you see in Figure 5 (compare Figures 2 and 5).

    Text content for your slides after adding styles
    Figure 5: Text content for your slides after adding styles
  7. One aspect that we 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 may be some important, non-textual info in a presentation -- this could be a picture, a chart, a table, or something else. In that case, you can indicate a reference within the outline -- just make it stand out a little different as shown in Figure 6 -- you'll notice that we added some text to indicate that a table has to be added to a particular slide, and it is within parentheses.

    Indicate non-textual content within parentheses
    Figure 6: Indicate non-textual content within parentheses
  8. Save your Word file. This outline is now in a format that PowerPoint can import, and create new slides – we show you how you can import outlines in PowerPoint 2013. And, to learn how to import this outline into various versions of PowerPoint look here: Outlines: Import.

See Also:

Creating PowerPoint Outlines in Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows
Creating PowerPoint Outlines in Microsoft Word 2011 for Mac
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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