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Edit Annotations with Ink Tools in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Edit Pen and Highlighter annotations in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows. Editing annotations lets you change their formatting, and also lets you use them as shapes.

When you use the Pen and Highlighter tools to annotate, you are provided with an option to save those annotations when you exit Slide Show view. If you do opt to save them, then you will actually open doors to new capabilities that will allow you to edit these annotations – in fact you can also change these annotations to shapes and work more with them!

Follow these steps to work with annotations in PowerPoint 2016:

  1. Open a presentation which has saved annotations. Navigate to the slide that contains annotations, as shown in Figure 1, below.

  2. Figure 1: Slide with annotations
  3. Now select any of the annotations, and you will see the Ink Tools Pens contextual tab on the Ribbon, as shown in Figure 2, below. We selected annotations done with the Pen tool.

  4. Figure 2: Ink Tools Pens contextual tab
  5. When you select the Ink Tools Pens contextual tab, the cursor will change to the Pen tool and the annotations selected previously will get deselected. Just click on the Stop Inking button (highlighted in blue within Figure 2, above) or just press the Esc key to come out of the Inking mode and then select the annotations again. Now we can change the color and thickness of the selected annotations. To change color, click the Color button shown in Figure 3, below which brings up the Color drop-down gallery. You can choose any of the options here to select a color for the annotations.

  6. Figure 3: Change the color of your annotation
  7. Tip: Learn about the options within the Colors drop-down gallery in our Add Solid Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial. You'll want to look at step 3E in that tutorial. Explore our Eyedropper Option in PowerPoint 2016  tutorial to learn more about the Eyedropper.
  8. You can also change the thickness similarly by clicking the Thickness button (highlighted in red within Figure 4), below. This brings up the Thickness drop-down gallery where you can choose to make your annotation thicker or thinner. Learn more in our Formatting Outlines for Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 -- Weight tutorial.

  9. Figure 4: Change the annotation to be thicker or thinner
  10. Now, while there is a perfectly useable Convert to Shapes button available within the Ink Tools Pens tab of the Ribbon (highlighted in green within Figure 2, shown earlier on this page), you will notice that clicking this button doesn't make any difference to the annotations. You may also find this button greyed out sometimes.

  11. A workaround for this issue is to copy your selected annotation to the Clipboard by pressing the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C, you can also access the Home tab of the Ribbon and click the Copy button.
  12. Preferably, navigate to another slide, or insert a new slide. Thereafter press the Ctrl+Alt+V keyboard shortcut, or access the Home tab of the Ribbon. Then click the lower half of the Paste button (down-arrow), as shown in Figure 5. Now click the Paste Special option.

  13. Figure 5: Paste Special option
  14. Either way, this will bring up the Paste Special dialog box shown in Figure 6, scroll down to find the Picture (Enhanced Metafile) option, select it, then click the OK button.

  15. Figure 6: Paste as an Enhanced Metafile
  16. This will paste the copied object on the active slide, as shown in Figure 7, below, note that this is no longer an annotation.

  17. Figure 7: Object pasted is no longer an annotation
  18. You can however not use this as a PowerPoint native shape. To do so, you will have to ungroup the object twice in succession (you can use the Ctrl+Shift+G keyboard shortcut to ungroup) as shown in Figure 8.

  19. Figure 8: Ungroup option
  20. The first time you ungroup, PowerPoint will ask you whether you want to convert it to a Microsoft Office drawing object (see Figure 9). Accept by clicking the Yes button. Now ungroup again for a second time.

  21. Figure 9: Do you want to convert the picture?
  22. Tip: Want more keyboard shortcuts? Get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts Ebook.
  23. Ungrouped objects will result into multiple shapes as shown in Figure 10, below, but the good news is that you can now use all Shape editing tools in PowerPoint to edit them.

  24. Figure 10: Ungrouped shapes
  25. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Edit Annotations with Ink Tools in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Edit Annotations with Ink Tools in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Edit Annotations with Ink Tools in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows