Although PowerPoint does include options to use pictures, SmartArt, charts, sounds, and even video clips, we rarely see presentations that have no text at all. Nothing conveys a message better than text, and even pictures do need captions in the form of text. In PowerPoint, several slide objects can include text. These include text placeholders, text boxes, shapes, tables, SmartArt, charts, etc. In this tutorial though, we are only exploring selecting and editing text within text placeholders, text boxes, and shapes.
Selecting the Text
PowerPoint provides plenty of ways in which you can edit text, but selection is important since you first need to select any text you want to edit. Note that selecting text is different from selecting the containers that include text:
- If you click the edge of the placeholder, text box, or shape. You select the entire placeholder, text box, or shape, as shown in Figure 1, not just the text it contains. Note that the selected placeholder, text box, or shape is surrounded by a solid line with selection handles. In many ways, this sort of selection is akin to selecting a shape.
Figure 1: Entire Placeholder is selected
- If you click within the placeholder, text box, or shape that contains text, and then select the text as per the guidelines in the next paragraph, the text gets highlighted as shown in Figure 2. This means you selected that text. Note that when you select only text, then the placeholder, text box, or shape which contains selected text is surrounded by a line of small dashes with selection handles.
Figure 2: Text selected within the text placeholder
Here are some guidelines for selecting text in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows:
- Click anywhere in the text, you end up creating a text insertion cursor, any text you type now will show up after the text insertion cursor. This does not select any text. To select text now:
- Highlight text before or after the text insertion cursor by dragging in the direction you want. This selects the text (refer to Figure 2, above).
- Press Ctrl+A to select all the text.
- Double-click anywhere in the text, you end up selecting the entire word within which you double-clicked.
- Triple-click anywhere in the text, you end up selecting the entire sentence, or bulleted list level within which you triple clicked.
After you have learned how to select the text, follow these basic techniques of changing text on the slide:
- Open any presentation which has a slide with some text content, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: A slide with plenty of text
- Click inside the text placeholder (or a text box, or even a shape) to select the text you want to edit. We explained selection techniques for text earlier on this page.
- Now, just type the new text to replace the selected text.
- Make sure to save your presentation often.