Typically, there are three common ways in which you can create slides in PowerPoint. The first of these three ways is to create an outline, but all these three ways can be combined with each other. Having said so, it is best to start by creating an outline for your presentation in another program. Mac users can create outlines in TextEdit. You can also use Microsoft Word. In this tutorial, we'll show how you can use Word 2016 for Mac to create an outline for a PowerPoint presentation.
- Launch Finder. To do so, click the Mac HD icon on your desktop, and go to your Applications folder, where you will find an icon for Word 2016. Double click to run this application.
- Opt to create a blank, new Word document so that you end up with something similar to what you see Figure 1.
Figure 1: Word 2016 document
- 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.
Figure 2: Text content for your slides
- 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.
Figure 3: Styles gallery
- 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:
- For slide titles, select the text and choose Heading 1 style.
- For first level bullets (or subtitles in a title slide), select the text and choose Heading 2 style.
- For the second level bullets, select the text and choose Heading 3 style.
- For any subsequent levels of bullets (third, fourth, etc.), select the text that you want to format, and apply the Heading style of that level (Heading 4, Heading 5, etc).
- Once you are done with adding styles, change the view to Outline to view the outline as you see in Figure 4 (compare to Figure 2).
Figure 4: Text content for your slides after adding styles
- 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.
Figure 5: Indicating non-textual content within parentheses
- 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.
Figure 6: Save As dialog box
- 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.
Figure 7: Rich Text Format option selected
- This outline is now in a format that PowerPoint can import, and create new slides. To learn how to import this outline into PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, look at our Import Outlines in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac tutorial. And, to learn how to import this outline into other versions of PowerPoint, look here: Outlines: Import.
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