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Using the Touch Floatie in Office 2013

Learn how to use the touch floatie in Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) on a touch device such as Microsoft Surface.


Product/Version: PowerPoint, Word, and Excel versions of Office 2013
OS: Windows 8

Most of you are aware of mini toolbars in PowerPoint 2013 (also in Word and Excel). These show up with several options that let you alter text or shape attributes. However, if you are using Office 2013 on a touch device such as Microsoft Surface, you'll see floaties which are quite similar to the mini toolbars -- they are different too because they have fewer options, and are also equipped with larger buttons so that you can tap on them easily.

These touch floaties provide several buttons to format your selected slide object -- and the buttons or options available within these floaties are dependent upon which slide object you have tapped over. In Figure 1, below you can see the floatie for a tapped Shape. Similarly, Figure 2 shows a floatie for a tapped Picture.

Shape floatie
Figure 1: Shape floatie

Picture floatie
Figure 2: Picture floatie

If you select text, you will see an entirely different floatie, as shown in Figure 3, below. It's a little tricky to bring up the text floatie in a program such as PowerPoint because if you just tap over a text box or placeholder, you might end up bringing up the Shape floatie (see Figure 1) -- to counter this, first select the text so that your text appears highlighted (see Figure 3) -- then tap carefully over the highlighted text.

Text floatie
Figure 3: Text floatie

In most cases, the first three options highlighted in red within Figures 1, 2, and 3 are the same. More often there also exits a fourth option Delete -- let us explore these options. Even before we do that, let us first explore how you can bring up a floatie.

Bringing Up a Floatie

There are two ways to bring up a floatie:

  • If your object is already selected, tap once on the object to bring up the floatie.

  • If your object is not selected, tap once to select it first -- then wait for a second so that your tap does not register as a double-tap. Then tap again to bring up the floatie. Remember not to tap too quickly in succession.

As far as possible, tap roughly in the middle area of your selected object, as shown in Figure 4, below.

Tap the selected object to access the floatie
Figure 4: Tap the selected object to access the floatie

Floatie Options

The first four options within the floatie (highlighted in red within Figures 1, 2, and 3) are:

  • Paste: Select this option to paste an object on your slide, document, or sheet. Of course you need something copied to your clipboard for this option to work -- in Figures 1, 2, and 3, the Paste option is greyed out indicating that no content is available within the clipboard.

    Figure 5 below shows the Paste button active, highlighted in red within Figure 5.

    An active Paste button
    Figure 5: An active Paste button

  • Cut: Select this option to cut selected objects.

  • Copy: Select this option to copy selected objects.

  • Delete: Select this option to delete selected objects.

We will look at other individual options within the Shape Floatie, Picture Floatie, and Text Floatie in separate tutorials.


PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003

Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-Book.

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-book


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