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General Program Options in PowerPoint 365 for Windows

Explore general program options in PowerPoint 365 for Windows. These options are significant, and some time spent exploring them will help you use PowerPoint better.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 365 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 10 and higher



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The General tab of the PowerPoint Options dialog box contains basic, yet some very important options related to the appearance and working of the PowerPoint interface. Changes to these options can result in a very different and more efficient workflow. The PowerPoint Options dialog box can be accessed as explained in our Backstage View: Program Options in PowerPoint tutorial.

Follow these steps to explore various options within the General tab of the PowerPoint Options dialog box in PowerPoint 365 for Windows:

  1. If you have launched PowerPoint, choose Options, as shown highlighted in green within Figure 1, below. Alternatively, if you already have a presentation open, choose the File menu to bring up Backstage view, and select Options.
  2. Access Options in PowerPoint
    Figure 1: Options tab of Backstage view
  3. Doing so brings up the PowerPoint Options dialog box, as shown in Figure 2, below. Make sure that the General tab is selected in the left sidebar, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2.
  4. General options in PowerPoint 365
    Figure 2: PowerPoint Options dialog box
  5. Options within the General tab of the PowerPoint Options dialog box are explained below, as marked in Figure 2, above:
  6. A. User Interface Options

  7. This area includes six options:
    1. When using multiple displays: The default option is set to optimize for best performance. However, if you see text and button sizes being too large or small, you can choose the alternative Optimize for compatibility (application restart required). As you can see, you'll need to shut down PowerPoint and restart it again for these changes to be implemented.
    2. Show Mini Toolbar on selection: As the name suggests, selecting this check-box will provide easy access to the Mini Toolbar when you select text on your slide. To learn more about Mini Toolbar, explore our Mini Toolbar in PowerPoint 365 for Windows tutorial.
    3. Enable Live Preview: Selecting this check-box enables Live Preview of slide objects. This option is turned on by default, and you can disable it if PowerPoint seems to be sluggish or unresponsive. To learn more about Live Preview, explore our Live Preview in PowerPoint 365 for Windows tutorial.
    4. Collapse the ribbon automatically: This option may not result in an immediate change in your interface. To see this change, reduce the size of your PowerPoint window, and you'll discover that the Ribbon area will collapse leaving only the Ribbon tabs visible. Of course, if you do not want to set this behavior to happen automatically, you can press the Ctrl + F1 shortcut key to attain the same result. Press Ctrl + F1 again to revert to the original Ribbon layout.
    5. Collapse the Microsoft Search box by default: Selecting this option hides the large Microsoft Search box within PowerPoint's Title Bar, as shown highlighted in red within the top area of Figure 3, below. This box turns into a magnifying glass icon after the Collapse the Microsoft Search box by default option is selected, as shown highlighted in red within the bottom area of Figure 3.
    6. Microsoft Search box above the Ribbon
      Figure 3: Microsoft Search box above the Ribbon
    7. When you click the magnifying glass icon, it will momentarily change to the large Microsoft Search box so that you can type your search terms.
    8. ScreenTip style: Change the style of Screen tips using this option. Click to reveal a drop-down list with three options as shown in Figure 4, below.
    9. ScreenTip Style drop-down list
      Figure 4: ScreenTip Style drop-down list
    10. Here is an explanation of these options:
    11. Show feature descriptions in ScreenTips: This is the default option. The Screen tip shows the command name and a small description, as shown in the leftmost screenshot in Figure 5, below.
    12. Don't show feature descriptions in ScreenTips: The Screen tip will show just the command name without any description, as shown in the center screenshot in Figure 5, below.
    13. Don't show ScreenTips: No ScreenTip is displayed, as shown in the rightmost screenshot in Figure 5, below.
    14. Three options for ScreenTips
      Figure 5: Three options for ScreenTips

    B. Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office

  8. This section includes options to change your User name and Initials. Do remember that the details you provide within this area will identify you in any comments, or review edits you make in your presentation, especially when multiple authors edit the same presentation. Also, you can select the Always use these values regardless of sign in to Office checkbox. Doing so will retain the same user name and initials irrespective of whether you sign in with another Microsoft Account, or even different Microsoft 365 credentials.
  9. In addition, there are two more options in this section:
    1. Office Background: Provides you with various options to change the look of your Office Background, which is a pattern applied to the Ribbon area. You click to reveal a drop-down list as shown in Figure 6, below.
    2. Office Background drop-down list
      Figure 6: Office Background drop-down list

    3. Within this drop-down list, click on any option to apply. To learn more about these options, refer to our Office Background in PowerPoint 365 for Windows tutorial.
    4. Office Theme: This option is used to change the interface color of PowerPoint 365 for Windows. Click the down-arrow to open a drop-down list as shown in Figure 7, below:
    5. Office Theme drop-down list
      Figure 7: Office Theme drop-down list
    6. Within this drop-down list, click on any option to apply. To learn more about these option, refer to our Changing Interface Color in PowerPoint 365 for Windows tutorial.

    C. Privacy Settings

  10. Clicking the Privacy Settings button brings up a dialog box of the same name, as shown in Figure 8, below. There are two top options for Required diagnostic data and Optional diagnostic data. Both options provide Learn more links that open pages with more information on Microsoft’s website. Additionally, the Optional diagnostic data area includes the Send additional diagnostic and usage data to Microsoft checkbox, highlighted in red within Figure 8. This checkbox is turned off by default.
  11. Manage your privacy settings in PowerPoint
    Figure 8: Privacy Settings
  12. You can scroll down further to see options for Connected experiences. These options are explained in our Connected Services in PowerPoint 365 for Windows page.
  13. D. PowerPoint Designer

  14. The Enable PowerPoint Design Ideas check-box, selected by default, allows PowerPoint Designer to generate a variety of ideas to make your slides look better, based on the content you add on your slide. This option may be turned on by default. Learn more about options in this area in our Disable PowerPoint Designer in PowerPoint 365 for Windows tutorial.
  15. E. Comments

  16. Microsoft has changed the commenting architecture in PowerPoint. The updated architecture is called modern comments, whereas the previous commenting system is now called classic comments. You can choose to either use the modern or classic comments in any presentations that don't have comments. For presentations that already have comments, PowerPoint will use the existing architecture or prompt you to upgrade to modern commenting. You can learn more about modern commenting by clicking the About modern comments link in this area.
  17. F. LinkedIn Features

  18. This area lets you use LinkedIn features in Microsoft Office programs including PowerPoint, although most features are now more geared towards Outlook and Word users. You can click any of the links provided to open Microsoft's website to learn more.
  19. G. Start up options

    1. Choose the extensions: You may find that PowerPoint no longer launches when you double-click a PPTX file or even you open a PPTX file received as an email attachment. To correct this behavior, you can click the Default Programs button. This will provide you with info on how you can change your default apps. To be fair, PowerPoint may just show a message and do nothing else.
    2. Tell me if Microsoft PowerPoint isn’t the default program for viewing and editing presentations: Shows a warning to this effect when you launch PowerPoint.
    3. Show the Start screen when this application starts: Shows the Presentation Gallery when you launch PowerPoint. Unchecking this option will start PowerPoint with a new, blank presentation instead.

See Also:

01 08 17 - File Types, File Menu, and Backstage View: General Program Options in PowerPoint (Glossary Page)

General Program Options in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
General Program Options in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
General Program Options in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

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