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Using Outline View in PowerPoint 365 for Windows

Learn how to use Outline view in PowerPoint 365 for Windows. This view shows the structure of your PowerPoint presentation and reveals slides with missing titles.

The Outline view in PowerPoint 365 for Windows provides access to your presentation's text outline through the alternating Slides and Outline panes on the left side of the PowerPoint interface. The Outline view displays all the text contained within the title and text placeholders of your slides, and is one of the ten views in PowerPoint 365 for Windows.

Here's a walkthrough of Outline view:

  1. First open a presentation which has at least a few slides populated with text. Then access the View tab of the Ribbon and click the Outline View button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1.

  2. Figure 1: Outline View button within Presentation Views group
  3. You can use the Ctrl + Shift + Tab shortcut key to switch between Normal view and Outline view.
  4. PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts

    Do you want more keyboard shortcuts?

    Explore our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences Ebook that is updated for all PowerPoint versions.

  5. This opens the Outline pane on the left side of PowerPoint 365 interface (highlighted in red within Figure 2, below). Note that this replaces the Slides pane that shows up in Normal view. As you can see in Figure 2, below, the Outline pane displays a list of the slide titles and text placeholders in an outline format. You can drag the Outline pane to resize it so that it occupies a larger part of the onscreen area.

  6. Figure 2: Outline pane within PowerPoint interface


  7. No Text in the Outline Pane?

  8. If you cannot see any text in the outline pane for some or all slides, then those slides may have no slide titles or even text placeholders. Explore our Text Placeholders vs. Text Boxes in PowerPoint tutorials to understand more.
  9. Do you see slide titles in the Outline pane, but not on the slides? Look at our Hiding Slide Titles in PowerPoint page to know more.
  10. Within the Outline pane, you can see the title and text content of the slides, as shown in Figure 3. Also, you can use the scroll bar to move and navigate up and down the Outline pane, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3.

  11. Figure 3: Scroll bar within Outline pane
  12. Also, many Outline options can be accessed from the right-click menu within the Outline pane, as shown in Figure 4. These options are explained in our Outline Pane Options tutorial.

  13. Figure 4: Outline view edit options

Why Use Outline View in PowerPoint?

Many users are not even aware that Outline view exists in PowerPoint, and even among those who are aware, there is general misconception that working in outline view is not needed. However, did you know that not using Outline views is among the worst decisions you can make? Let us explore why should not ignore Outline view.

1. Prevent distraction from PowerPoint elements

For many users, PowerPoint can sometimes be akin to how a candy store relates to a 5-year old. All the candy types are there, such as distracting transitions, moving animations, text colors of all types, never-ending font choices, and so much more. Outline view offers a simpler view, devoid of these distractions and lets you work more on the textual content of your slides.

2. Don't miss out on the flow

Typically, when you move from one slide to another, you may look at visual continuity. On this journey to achieve cohesion of design, it's easy to forget the continuity of your message. This is one area where Outline view shines, because it shows you all the text, as it appears in successive slides. The ability to read all text together may also help you identify inconsistent terms you may have used, and allows you to quickly correct any such inaccuracies.

3. Identify slides that lack titles

Many times, we may create slides that use pictures that cover the entire slide area. Or you may have a chart that's large enough to fit the entire slide. In such slides, we may forget to add a slide title, or even delete it altogether. However, slide titles serve a purpose, even if you do not need them. They are helpful when you are searching for a particular slide, or when you are using these titles to identify slides you need to add in a Custom show. Also, if you use third-party slide management tools, you may discover that slide titles are essential to catalog slides effectively. To learn more about slide titles, read our Hiding Slide Titles in PowerPoint post.


See Also:

01-07-04 - Views: Using Outline View in PowerPoint (Glossary Page)

Using Outline View in PowerPoint 365 for Mac
Using Outline View in PowerPoint 2019 for Windows
Using Outline View in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
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Using Outline View in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows