Although PowerPoint has always been a desktop program, Microsoft has made impressive strides in porting the
entire program to function as a web based program -- and even more amazing is the fact that PowerPoint Online on
OneDrive (previously known as SkyDrive) is completely free
for anyone to use. Here's a quick walkthrough of the PowerPoint Online interface. Do note that to a large extent,
the PowerPoint Online interface mimics the PowerPoint desktop interface. However, there are some differences as
well, as you will understand better from this tutorial.
into your OneDrive account, as shown in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1: Signed in within OneDrive
Note: Unlike a desktop application, both OneDrive and PowerPoint Online are constantly
evolving -- the interface you see within the screenshots on this page may differ from what you see when you log
Now click the down-arrow button (highlighted in red within
Figure 1). This brings up the drop-down gallery you see in Figure 2, below. Click
the PowerPoint Online option, as shown highlighted in blue within
Figure 2: PowerPoint Online option
This opens PowerPoint Online within a new browser tab or window. Notice that the
Let's get started splash screen opens with three options (see Figure 3, below).
Figure 3: New blank presentation option
These options are:
The New blank presentation option (highlighted in red within
Figure 3) opens a blank presentation within PowerPoint Online, as shown in Figure 4.
The Browse templates option lets you browse the templates and Themes available online -- and create
a new presentation based on a chosen template.
The Recent documents on OneDrive option brings up the list of all the recently opened/edited files.
Figure 4: The PowerPoint Online interface
The PowerPoint Online interface, as marked in Figure 4 is explained below:
Application Area: Within this section, you can open other applications. When you click the
down-arrow button (highlighted in red within Figure 1, earlier on this
page), you bring up a drop-down gallery with various applications icons (refer to Figure 2, shown earlier
on this page).
Also you can click the name of the open presentation and type in a name (or new name) -- as shown in
Figure 5, below.
Figure 5: Name or rename your presentation
You can also Share the opened presentation -- learn more in our
Share PowerPoint Presentations
on Social Sites (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) using OneDrive tutorial.
File Menu and Backstage View: When you click the File menu, you see the
Backstage view that contains all the creation, save, share, and print options for your presentations
(see Figure 6).
Figure 6: The Backstage view
Ribbon is a strip-like
area that has tabs which in turn contain groups of buttons for various options (see Figure 7) --
some groups also contain galleries (for example galleries for Themes and Theme Colors). The Ribbon within PowerPoint
Online has less options compared to the desktop versions of PowerPoint.
Figure 7: The Ribbon within PowerPoint Online
Apart from the Ribbon tabs, you will find a Tell me what you want to do box (highlighted in red within
Figure 7, above) which works like a live tutorial. You also get an
Open in PowerPoint option (highlighted in
blue within Figure 7, above) - which opens the current presentation into PowerPoint desktop.
Slides Pane: Located on the left side of the interface, the Slides pane shows
thumbnails of all the slides in the open presentation.
Slide Area: Displays the active slide and this is where you work the most -- typically
through adding and editing slide objects.
Notes Pane is located right below the active slide. Here the speaker notes are written for
the current slide. Note that none of the content within the Notes pane is visible on the actual slide while presenting.
Status Bar: A horizontal strip (see Figure 8) that provides information about
the opened presentation like slide number, view options. The View buttons are explained below from
left to right, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 8, below.
Figure 8: The View buttons
Essentially there are three view buttons on the Status Bar:
Editing View: If you are in Reading view, click the Editing View button on
the Status bar to switch to Editing View -- this is the same as
Normal View in desktop versions of PowerPoint.
Reading View: Click this button to switch to Reading View.
Slide Show: Show the presentation as a full screen slide show from the current selected slide.
Other than the interface elements explained earlier, here are some other elements that are not always visible:
- Mini Toolbar: This toolbar is a floating toolbar that is available instantly with a right-click
(highlighted in red within Figure 9).
Figure 9: Mini toolbar
- Contextual Tabs: These are special tabs in the Ribbon that are not visible all the
time -- they only make an appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited using
special options. Notice the Drawing Tools Format tab (highlighted in
red within Figure 10) -- this is a contextual tab. Make sure that you
click on the contextual tab to activate it.
Figure 10: Contextual tab