Text Basics

Learn how to cut, copy, paste, and format text, including using a PowerPoint text box, for strong PowerPoint presentations.

Introduction

Lesson 3

It's important to know how to perform basic tasks with text when working in PowerPoint. In this lesson, you'll learn the basics of working with text, including how to insert, delete, and move text; how to work with text boxes; and how to format text.

Text basics

Video: Introduction to Text in PowerPoint 2010

Launch video!Watch the video (2:26).

If you're new to PowerPoint, you'll need to learn the basics of working with text so you can add and arrange text on your slides. You'll need to know how to insert, delete, move, and format text, as well as how to use text boxes.

Optional: You can download this example for extra practice.

To insert text:

  1. Click the placeholder or text box where you want to insert text.
  2. The insertion point appears.
    Text insertion pointText insertion point
  3. Type directly into the placeholder or text box.
    Typing in a placeholder or text boxTyping in a placeholder or text box

Some placeholders automatically format your text in a bulleted list. This is because bulleted lists are frequently used in PowerPoint. To remove the bullets, deselect the Bullets command in the Paragraph group on the Home tab.

To delete text:

  1. Place the insertion point next to the text you want to delete.
  2. Press the Backspace key on your keyboard to delete text to the left of the insertion point.
  3. Press the Delete key on your keyboard to delete text to the right of the insertion point.

To select text:

  1. Place the insertion point next to the text you want to select.
  2. Click the mouse button. While holding it down, drag the mouse over the text.
  3. Release the mouse. The text will be selected. A highlighted box will appear over the selected text.
    Selected textSelected text

When you select text in PowerPoint, a hover toolbar with formatting options appears. This makes formatting commands easily accessible, which can save you time. If the toolbar does not appear at first, try moving the mouse over the selection.

Hover toolbarHover toolbar

To copy and paste text:

  1. Select the text you want to copy.
  2. Click the Copy command on the Home tab. You can also right-click your selection and choose Copy.
    Copy commandCopy command
  3. Place your insertion point where you want the text to appear.
  4. Click the Paste command on the Home tab. The text will appear.
    Paste commandPaste command

To cut and paste text:

  1. Select the text you want to cut.
  2. Click the Cut command on the Home tab. You can also right-click your selection and choose Cut.
    Cut commandCut command
  3. Place your insertion point where you want the text to appear.
  4. Click the Paste command on the Home tab. The text will reappear.

You can also cut, copy, and paste by right-clicking your slide and choosing the desired action from the drop-down menu. When you use this method to paste, you can choose from four options that determine how the text will be formatted: Use Destination Theme, Keep Source Formatting, Picture, and Keep Text Only. You can hover the mouse over each icon to see what it will look like before you click it.

Right-click Paste OptionsRight-click Paste Options

To drag and drop text:

  1. Select the text you want to copy.
  2. Click, hold, and drag your mouse to the location where you want the text to appear. The cursor will have a rectangle underneath it to indicate that you're moving text.
    Moving textMoving text
  3. Release the mouse button, and the text will appear.

If text does not appear in the exact location you want, you can press the Enter key on your keyboard to move the text to a new line.

Find and Replace

Find and Replace is another technique that can be used to edit text. Find and Replace allows you to search all of your slides for a specific word or phrase (English, for example), then replace it with another word or phrase (British, for example). To learn more, visit the Find and Replace lesson from our Word 2010 tutorial.

Working with text

Video: Working with Text in PowerPoint 2010

Launch video!Watch the video (3:22).

As you create your presentation, you can add text boxes to help organize your slides. You'll also need to know how to format text to create the look you need.

To add a text box:

Text can be inserted into both placeholders and text boxes. A placeholder is a kind of text box, but it's unique because it is part of the slide layout and often contains formatting specific to the slide (a larger font size for the title of your presentation, for example). Inserting an extra text box allows you to add to the slide layout so you can include as much text as you want.

  1. From the Insert tab, click the Text Box command.
    Text Box commandText Box command
  2. Your cursor will turn into an upside-down cross text box cursor.
    Text Box cursorText Box cursor
  3. Click the area on your slide where you want to add a text box. A text box will appear with an insertion point inside.
    A text boxA text box

To move a placeholder or text box:

  1. Click the box you want to move.
  2. Position your mouse on the border of the box so it changes to a cross with arrows cursor with directional arrows.
    Mousing over the border of the boxMousing over the border of the box
  3. Click and hold the mouse button as you drag the box to the desired location.
    Moving the boxMoving the box
  4. Release the mouse button. The box will be moved.

To rotate the box, click and drag the green circle at the top of the box.

To resize a placeholder or text box:

  1. Click the box you want to resize.
  2. Position your mouse over any one of the sizing handles that appear on the corners and sides of the box. The cursor will become a pair of arrows resize cursor.
    Mousing over the resize handleMousing over the resize handle
  3. Click, hold, and drag your mouse until the text box is the desired size.
    Resizing the boxResizing the box
  4. Release the mouse button. The box will be resized.

Formatting text

You can help your text stand out on the slide by changing its formatting, including font size, color, and style.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn about the different commands in the Font group.

labeled graphic

Font Color

Open the drop-down menu to change the font color.

Change Case

Quickly change the case of the selected text.

Character Spacing

Adjust the spacing between characters using the drop-down menu.

Font Styles

Use the font style commands to apply bold, italic, underline, shadow, or strikethrough to the selected text.

Clear All Formatting

Click to remove all formatting from the selected text, leaving only plain text.

Increase or Decrease Font Size

Use these commands to increase or decrease the size of the selected text to the next standard font size.

Font Size

Choose the size of the selected text using the drop-down menu here.

Font Face

Click the drop-down menu to change the face of the selected text.

Show the Font Dialog Box

Click the arrow in the bottom-right corner to access many of these formatting options.

To learn more about using the Font commands, visit the Formatting Text lesson from our Word 2010 tutorial.

Modifying text

To insert a bulleted list:

  1. Select the text box or specific text you want to format as a bulleted list.
  2. Click the Bullets command in the Paragraph group on the Home tab.
    Bullets commandBullets command
  3. A bulleted list will appear.
    Bulleted listBulleted list

To change horizontal text alignment:

  1. Select the text you want to modify.
  2. Select one of the four alignment options in the Paragraph group.
    • Align Text Left: Aligns all of the selected text to the left margin
    • Center: Aligns text an equal distance from the left and right margins
    • Align Text Right: Aligns all of the selected text to the right margin
    • Justify: Aligns text equally on both sides to the right and left margins; used by many newspapers and magazines


      Alignment commandsAlignment commands

The alignment commands align the text within the placeholder or text box it is in, not across the slide.

To change vertical text alignment:

  1. Select the text you want to modify.
  2. Click the Align Text command in the Paragraph group. A menu will appear.
    Align Text commandAlign Text command
  3. Choose to align the text at the Top, Middle, or Bottom of the text box.
    Choosing from the Align Text menuChoosing from the Align Text menu

To change text direction:

  1. Select the text you want to modify.
  2. Click the Text Direction command in the Paragraph group. A menu will appear.
    Text Direction commandText Direction command
  3. Choose for the direction of the text to be Horizontal, Rotated, or Stacked.
    Choosing from the Text Direction menuChoosing from the Text Direction menu

Challenge!

  1. Open an existing PowerPoint presentation. If you want, you can use this example.
  2. Insert text in a placeholder or text box. If you are using the example, add a title to slide 2.
  3. Insert a text box, then move and resize it.
  4. Delete text. If you are using the example, delete the last bullet from slide 3.
  5. Select text and try the Copy, Cut, and Paste commands.
  6. Modify text so it is a bulleted list. If you are using the example, bullet the list on slide 8.
  7. Experiment with horizontal and vertical alignment.
  8. Change text direction. If you are using the example, modify the word STAR on slide 8 so it is stacked.