The Task Pane
The Task Pane is a docked area within the PowerPoint 2016 interface that provides more options than dialog boxes. Also, unlike most dialog boxes which cover the Slide Area, you can view both the active slide(s) and the Task Pane at the same time. The Task Pane, therefore, provides a more streamlined experience. In fact, all the options within the Format dialog boxes from older versions of PowerPoint are now available within the new Format Task Panes in PowerPoint 2016.
Note that you can have more than one Task Pane visible at the same time within your PowerPoint interface. Usually, the Task Pane is not visible all the time, it appears only if you select Task Pane options like Insights, Selection Pane, Animation Pane, etc. And when these options are selected, the related Task Pane appears docked on the right side of PowerPoint interface.
In Figure 1 below you can see the PowerPoint 2016 interface without any Task Pane. Later in this page, we'll show you how you can summon the Task Pane.
Figure 1: PowerPoint 2016 interface without Task Pane
How the Task Pane Works
To make just one of the Task Panes visible, follow these steps:
- Open any presentation in PowerPoint 2016 and navigate to Review tab of the Ribbon and then click the Smart Lookup button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2.
Figure 2: Smart Lookup button
- This brings up the Insights Task Pane that you can see in Figure 3 (highlighted in red), on the right side of the PowerPoint interface.
Figure 3: Insights Task Pane
- While making edits and choosing options, you will see many options that show up within the Task Panes.
Interface Overview: Task Pane in PowerPoint (Index Page)Task Pane in PowerPoint 365 for Windows
Task Pane in PowerPoint 365 for Mac
Task Pane in PowerPoint 2019 for Windows
Task Pane in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Task Pane in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Task Pane in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Task Pane in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
Task Pane in PowerPoint Online