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Tell Me in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn about the new Tell Me feature in PowerPoint 2016.


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






Everyone who uses PowerPoint has faced this situation: you know what you want to do with a slide or a slide object, but you don't know where to find the related option in PowerPoint! PowerPoint 2016 has a new feature called Tell Me that will tell you what you need to do! Tell Me is a text field that you can see in PowerPoint 2016 after the last Tab of the Ribbon. Notice that it reads Tell me what you want to do, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1.

Tell me what you want to do
Figure 1: Tell me what you want to do

Within this box, you can type the words and phrases related to what you want to achieve. Here are some guidelines that will help you in using the Tell Me feature in PowerPoint 2016:

  • When you click within the Tell Me box, a drop-down menu opens that contains suggested searches, as shown in Figure 2. At this point of time, you haven’t typed a single word! If the existing results show the feature you are looking for, just click on it to proceed further.

    Recently used options within the Tell Me drop-down menu
    Figure 2: Recently used options show within the Tell Me drop-down menu
  • Let us imagine that you have a slide object selected on the slide – this slide object could be a chart, a table, a video clip, or anything else. In our example shown in Figure 3, below – we have selected a shape. Now, when you type a word or even start typing a phrase within the Tell Me box, you will be provided with a list of features related to the selected slide object. Look at the screenshot shown in Figure 3. You can see that the word 'change' within the Tell Me box already has some options within the Tell Me drop-down list.

    Options that the word 'change' brought up for the selected shape
    Figure 3: Options that the word 'change' brought up for the selected shape

    Now, look at Figure 4, where the same word 'change' is typed within the Tell Me box, but this time along with a chart selected on the slide. Notice the options listed within the Tell Me drop-down list are different (compare Figures 3 and 4).

    Options that the word 'change' brought up for the selected chart
    Figure 4 Options that the word 'change' brought up for the selected chart
  • Other than clicking an item on the populated drop-down list, you can also get help using Microsoft Office’s help documentation for the typed word or phrase. To do so, bring up the Tell Me drop-down list and select the Get Help on option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 5.

    Get Help on option
    Figure 5: Get Help on option

    This brings up the PowerPoint 2016 Help window, as shown in Figure 6. Within this window, you can click on any topic that you think can help you.

    PowerPoint 2016 Help
    Figure 6: PowerPoint 2016 Help
  • You can also perform a Smart Lookup for the word or phrase you typed within the Tell Me box. To do so, bring up the Tell Me drop-down list and select the Smart Lookup on option, as shown in Figure 7, below.

    Smart Lookup on option

    Figure 7: Smart Lookup on option

    This brings up the Smart Lookup Task Pane, as shown in Figure 8. Here you can see meanings, definitions, hyperlink to Wiki articles, and top related searches from the web on the typed word or phrase. Just scroll down the Smart Lookup Task Pane to access more options.

    Smart Lookup Task Pane

    Figure 8: Smart Lookup Task Pane

What is Smart Lookup?

A Smart Lookup is similar to the options available in the Research Task Pane in older versions of PowerPoint. You can learn more within our Smart Lookup in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.
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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