In This Chapter

Using bold, italics, underlining, and other character effects

Changing the text font, size, and color

Using bullets and numbers

Tabbing and indenting

Spacing out lines of text

Aligning text

Making fanciful text with the WordArt feature

good presentation is like a fireworks show: At every new slide, the

audience gasps, “O-o-o-h. A-a-a-h.” The audience is so stunned by the

spectacular appearance of your Slides that no one really bothers to read


This chapter gets you on the road toward ooohs and aaahs by showing you

how to format text. If you use PowerPoint templates as the basis for your pre-

sentations, your text is already formatted acceptably. To really pull out the

pyrotechnic stops, however, you have to know a few basic formatting tricks.

Many powerpoint text-formatting capabilities work the same as in Microsoft

Word. If you want to format text a certain way and you know how to do it

in Word, try formatting the same way in powerpoint. Odds are good that it


Changing the Look of Your Text

The theme that’s applied to your presentation determines the basic look of

the presentation’s text. However, you’ll often want to change that look, some-

times subtly and sometimes dramatically.


Part II: Creating Great-Looking Slides

You can control the most commonly used font settings by using the Font

group in the Home tab on the Ribbon, as shown in Figure 8-1.

Figure 8-1:

The Font

group on the

Home tab on

the Ribbon.

If the Font group in the Home tab doesn’t provide enough options for format-

ting your text, you can call up the Font dialog box for additional options. To

summon this dialog box, just select the dialog launcher for the Font Group.

(The dialog launcher is the cursor at the bottom-right corner of the group.)

Figure 8-2 shows this dialog box.

Figure 8-2:

The Font

dialog box.

Many font formatting options also have handy keyboard shortcuts. Table 8-1

lists the buttons and equivalent keyboard shortcuts.

Table 8-1

Character-Formatting Shortcuts


Keyboard Shortcut




Formatting Command



Increase font size

Chapter 8: All about Fonts and Text Formatting



Keyboard Shortcut











Formatting Command

Decrease font size

Clear all formatting




Text shadow


Character spacing

Change case

Font color

It’s true — powerpoint has many keyboard shortcuts for character format-

ting. You don’t have to know them all, though. The only ones I know and use

routinely are the shortcuts for bold, italic, underline, and clear all formatting.

Study these and you’ll be in good shape. You get the added bonus that these

keyboard shortcuts are the same as the shortcuts that many other Windows

programs use. If you’re mouse-happy and keyboard-annoyed, click away for

goodness’ sake. What matters most is that you can easily find and use what

you need.

Two ways to apply formatting

You can format text in two basic ways:

To format existing text, highlight the text that you want to format. Then,

click the toolbar button or use the keyboard shortcut for the format that

you want. For example, to make existing text bold, highlight it and then

click the Bold button or press Ctrl+B.


Part II: Creating Great-Looking Slides

To type new text using a fancy format, click the toolbar button or use

the keyboard shortcut for the format. Then, type away. The text that

you type is given the format you selected. To return to normal format-

ting, click the button or use the keyboard shortcut again. Or press


Changing the size of characters

Whether text is difficult to read or you simply want to draw attention to it,

you can make part of the text bigger than the surrounding text. The easiest

way to change the size of your text is to use the Font Size drop-down list

that appears next to the font name in the Font group on the Home tab. Just

choose among the sizes that appear in the Font Size drop-down list or click in

the Font Size box and type whatever size you want to use.

You can also change the size of your text by using the Increase Font Size

or Decrease Font Size buttons, or by using the Ctrl+Shift+> or Ctrl+Shift+<

keyboard shortcuts. These commands increase or decrease the font size

in steps.

If you type more text than will fit in a text placeholder, powerpoint will auto-

matically make your text smaller so that the text will fit within the placeholder.

Choosing text fonts

If you don’t like the looks of a text font, you can switch easily to a differ-

ent font. To change the font for existing text, select the text. Then click the

arrow next to the Font control (found in the Font group of the Home tab)

and choose the font that you want to use. If you’re allergic to the mouse, you

can get to the font list by pressing Ctrl+Shift+F. Then you can use the up- or

down-arrow keys to choose the font you want to use.

Here are a gaggle of additional points to ponder concerning fonts:

Although you can change the font from the Font dialog box, the Font

control on the Ribbon has one major advantage over the Font dialog

box: It displays each of your fonts by using the font itself, so you can see

what each font looks like before you apply it to your text. In contrast,

the Font dialog box displays the name of each font by using the standard

Windows system font.

If you want to change the font for all the Slides in your presentation,

switch to Slide Master View and then change the font. Details on how to

do so are covered in Chapter 11.

Chapter 8: All about Fonts and Text Formatting

powerpoint automatically moves the fonts that you use the most to the

head of the font list. This feature makes picking your favorite font even


Don’t overdo it with fonts! Just because you have many different font

choices doesn’t mean that you should try to use them all on the same

slide. Don’t mix more than two or three typefaces on a slide, and use

fonts consistently throughout the presentation.

If you want to set a font that is used consistently throughout a presen-

tation, the best way to do so is to set the font for the presentation’s

theme. For more information, see Chapter 9.

Adding color to your text

Color is an excellent way to draw attention to text in a slide. To change text

color, first select the text whose color you want to change. Then click the

Font Color button and choose the color that you want to use from the color

menu that appears.

If you don’t like any color that the Font Color button offers, click More Colors.

A bigger dialog box with more color choices appears. If you still can’t find the

right shade of teal, click the Custom tab and have at it. Check out Chapter 10 if

you need further help with colors.

If you want to change the text color for your entire presentation, do so in the

Slide Master View (see Chapter 11 for details). And you can refer to Chapter 9

for information about changing font colors via the theme.

Adding shadows

Adding a shadow behind your text can make the text stand out against its

background, which makes the entire slide easier to read. For that reason,

many of the templates supplied with powerpoint use shadows.

You can apply a shadow to any text by first selecting the text and then click-

ing the Text Shadow button, found in the Font section of the Home tab. If you

want all of the text on a slide to be shadowed, however, you should use the

Slide Master View to create the shadow format. For more information, peek

ahead to Chapter 11.

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