Shapes are the building blocks of almost anything you do on your PowerPoint slides and PowerPoint provides hundreds of shapes categorized into nine types. Among all the shape types, Action Buttons work a little differently. Action Buttons are essentially rectangular shapes that are used as navigation aids to move between slides—or even another presentation, document, or a web URL. You insert an Action Button in the same way as you insert any other shape:
- Launch PowerPoint 2010 for Windows. Most of the time, PowerPoint will open with a new slide in a presentation that you may use in this tutorial. Alternatively, you can open any existing presentation and navigate to the slide where you want to add an Action button.
- Select the Insert or Home tab of the Ribbon, and then click the Shapes button to access the Shapes gallery that you can see in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Action Buttons category within the Shapes gallery
- In the Shapes gallery, the last category is called Action Buttons (highlighted in red in Figure 1, above) in which you will find 12 variants of Action Buttons that serve different, default purposes. While some Action Buttons sport icons that remind you of VCR style Play, Rewind, or Forward buttons, others include iconography for concepts such as Home, Sound, Help, Information, etc.
- Click to select the Action Button of your choice, as shown in Figure 1 above. This will change the cursor to a cross hair as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Cursor changes to a cross hair to indicate shape insertion mode
- Place this cursor on your slide where you want to insert the selected Action Button (refer to Figure 2 above). Now, either click once on the slide to place the Action Button, or click and drag on the slide to create an instance of the Action Button in the size you desire. As soon as the Action Button is placed on the slide, the Action Settings dialog box pops up, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Action Settings dialog box with a Action Button placed on the slide
- Within the Action Settings dialog box, you can change the default behavior of the inserted Action Button. For now, just close the dialog box by clicking the OK button. Notice the new Action Button on your slide, as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Action button inserted
- Since an Action Button is essentially a shape, you can change its appearance by using techniques explained in the PowerPoint Shapes and the Fills, Lines, and Effects tutorials on this site.
- Save your presentation.
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