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Hierarchical Guide Options in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

Learn about the hierarchical guide options in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X






Enabling Guides for your presentation slides helps ensure that your objects are easily aligned, and also in the same relative position in successive slides. But just enabling Guides is more like getting started. There’s so much more you can do, such as customizing the Guides themselves using hierarchical options.

We have already explored the Guides in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, and the options were limited to Guides on your actual slides. PowerPoint 2016 also lets you work with Guides on a higher hierarchical level within the Slide Master and individual Slide Layouts. Depending on whether you added Guides within the Slide Master, an individual Slide Layout, or even a normal slide, your Guides are color-coded for easy identification.

Follow these steps to learn how the Guides hierarchy works in PowerPoint 2016:

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, and make sure that your Guides are not enabled. To do so, access the View tab of the Ribbon, and make sure that the Guides check-box is not selected (highlighted in red within Figure 1).
  2. Guides check-box not selected
    Figure 1: Guides check-box not selected
  3. Now access the View tab of the Ribbon, and click the Slide Master button (highlighted in red within Figure 2).
  4. Slide Master button
    Figure 2: Slide Master button
  5. This brings up the Slide Master view, as shown in Figure 3. Here select the Slide Master (the larger thumbnail) within the pane on the right side (highlighted in red within Figure 3).
  6. Slide Master selected
    Figure 3: Slide Master selected
  7. Now, access the View tab and select the Guides check-box shown highlighted in red within Figure 4.
  8. Guides check-box selected
    Figure 4: Guides check-box selected
  9. This makes the default Guides visible on the Slide Master, as shown in Figure 5. Note that these Guides are red in color.
  10. Guides within Slide Master
    Figure 5: Guides within Slide Master
  11. Note: Selecting the Slide Master and making the Guides visible will influence all the Slide Layouts (and also slides) within that particular Slide Master.
  12. Now, select any individual Slide Layout within the Slides pane (such as the one highlighted in blue within Figure 3, shown earlier on this page). This will show the selected Slide Layout in the Slide Area. Now right-click anywhere on the empty Slide Area to get a contextual menu, as shown in Figure 6. Within the contextual menu, select the Grid and Guides | Add Vertical Guide option (refer to Figure 6 again).
  13. Add Vertical Guide option to be selected
    Figure 6: Add Vertical Guide option to be selected
  14. This adds an orange colored Vertical Guide right above the previous red colored Vertical Guide, as shown zoomed in Figure 7, below.
  15. Zoomed in view of the Orange Vertical Guide overlapping the Red Vertical Guide
    Figure 7: Zoomed in view of the Orange Vertical Guide overlapping the Red Vertical Guide
  16. How do we know that this orange Guide is overlapping the red Guide? That's easy, just drag the added orange Vertical Guide anywhere towards left or right to see the red Guide beneath it (see zoomed view in Figure 8).
  17. Orange Guide being dragged
    Figure 8: Orange Guide being dragged
  18. Now, go back to Normal view. Here, you will see red colored Horizontal and Vertical Guides, and one Orange colored Vertical Guide, as shown in Figure 9.
  19. Guides within Normal view
    Figure 9: Guides within Normal view
  20. Now, within the Normal view, right-click on the slide to get a contextual menu, as shown in Figure 10. In this contextual menu, select the Guides | Add Vertical Guide option (refer to Figure 10 again).
  21. Guides | Add Vertical Guide option
    Figure 10: Guides | Add Vertical Guide option
  22. You will see that grey colored Vertical Guide gets added over the red colored Vertical Guide, as shown in Figure 11. What happened to the red Guide added to the Slide Master? Let's find out next.
  23. Vertical Guide added in Normal view
    Figure 11: Vertical Guide added in Normal view
  24. If you drag the grey guide away from its default position, you will see the red colored Guide below, as shown zoomed in Figure 12. In their default position, the red Guides from the Slide Master (and orange Guides from Slide Layout) are always hidden beneath the grey Guides!
  25. Guides of all three colors visible on the slide
    Figure 12: Guides of all three colors visible on the slide
  26. To paraphrase, let us remember:
  • Red colored Guides are from Slide Master, and are placed at the bottom of the grey and orange guides.
  • Orange colored Guides are from Slide Layouts, and are placed between the red and the grey guides.
  • Grey colored Guides are for the Slides themselves, and are always placed atop the red and orange guides.
    Note: You cannot select Guides placed within the Slide Master or the Slide Layouts within the Slides in Normal view. You can also not select Guides placed within the Slide Layout on your Slides in Normal view. However all guides will allow snapping and positioning of slide objects.
  1. You can add more Guides anywhere you want based on your requirement by dragging existing Guides.

See Also:

Hierarchical Guide Options in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Hierarchical Guide Options in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

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