Text Basics

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

Introduction

Video: Text Basics

Launch "Text Basics" video!Watch the video (5:36).

If you're new to PowerPoint, you'll need to learn the basics of working with text. In this lesson, you'll learn how to cut, copy, paste, format, and find and replace text.

Optional: Download our practice presentation.

To select text:

Before you can move or arrange text, you'll need to select it.

Copying and moving text

PowerPoint allows you to copy text that is already on a slide and paste it elsewhere, which can save you time. If you want to move text, you can cut and paste or drag and drop the text.

To copy and paste text:

  1. Select the text you want to copy, then click the Copy command on the Home tab.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the Copy command
  2. Place the insertion point where you want the text to appear.
  3. Click the Paste command on the Home tab.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the Paste command
  4. The copied text will appear.

To cut and paste text:

  1. Select the text you want to move, then click the Cut command.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the Cut command
  2. Place the insertion point where you want the text to appear, then click the Paste command.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the Paste command
  3. The text will appear in the new location.

You can access the cut, copy, and paste commands by using keyboard shortcuts. Press Ctrl+X to cut, Ctrl+C to copy, and Ctrl+V to paste.

To drag and drop text:

  1. Select the text you want to move, then click and drag the text to the desired location.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Dragging and dropping text
  2. The text will appear in the new location.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The moved text

Formatting and aligning text

Formatted text can draw your audience's attention to specific parts of a presentation and emphasize important information. In PowerPoint, you have several options for adjusting your text, including size and color. You can also adjust the alignment of the text to change how it is displayed on the slide.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn about the different commands in the Font and Paragraph groups.

labeled graphic

Font Size

Choose the font size of the selected text from the drop-down menu, or use the Increase and Decrease Font Size commands to increase or decrease the size.

Text Direction

This command allows you to change the direction of your text.

Font

Use the drop-down menu to change the font of the selected text.

Font Style

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

Horizontal Text Alignment

You can use these commands to align your text to the left, center, or right of a placeholder or text box.

Font Color

You can use this command to change the text color.

Change Case

Here, you can quickly change the case of the selected text.

Character Spacing

Here, you can adjust the spacing between characters.

Bulleted and Numbered Lists Styles

Some placeholders format text as a bulleted list by default. Click the Bullets or Numbering commands to create a new list, or click the drop-down arrows to choose the list style.

Align Text

You can use these commands to align your text at the top, middle, or bottom of a placeholder or text box.

Using Find and Replace

When you're working with longer presentations, it can be difficult and time consuming to locate a specific word or phrase. PowerPoint can automatically search your presentation using the Find feature, and it allows you to quickly change words or phrases using the Replace feature.

To find text:

In our example, we'll use the Find feature to look for specific dog breeds in our presentation.

  1. From the Home tab, click the Find command.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the Find command
  2. A dialog box will appear. Enter the text you want to find in the Find what: field, then click Find Next.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking Find Next
  3. If the text is found, it will be selected.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The found text
  4. Click Find Next to find further instances. If none are found, a dialog box will appear. Click OK.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking OK
  5. When you are finished, click Close to exit the dialog box.

You can also access the Find command by pressing Ctrl+F on your keyboard.

To replace text:

At times, you may discover that you've repeatedly made a mistake throughout your presentation—such as misspelling someone's name—or that you need to exchange a particular word or phrase for another. You can use the Replace feature to make quick revisions. In our example, we'll replace with word pounds with the abbreviation lbs.

  1. From the Home tab, click the Replace command.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the Replace command
  2. A dialog box will appear. Type the text you want to find in the Find what: field.
  3. Type the text you want to replace it with in the Replace with: field, then click Find Next.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking Find Next
  4. If the text is found, it will be selected. Review the text to make sure you want to replace it.
  5. If you want to replace it, select one of the replace options. Replace will replace individual instances, and Replace All will replace every instance. In our example, we'll use the Replace option.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking Replace
  6. The selected text will be replaced.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The replaced text
  7. PowerPoint will move to the next instance of the text in the presentation. When you are finished replacing text, click Close to exit the dialog box.

You'll need to be careful when using the Replace All option. In the example below, changing the word Pounds to lbs. would have been incorrect in this context. You can click Find Next to skip to the next instance without replacing the text.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Reviewing text before replacing

Challenge!

  1. Open an existing PowerPoint presentation. If you want, you can use our practice presentation.
  2. Select some text, and try the Copy, Cut, and Paste commands.
  3. Try applying different formatting to the text.
  4. Experiment with horizontal and vertical alignment.
  5. Try using the Find and Replace commands. If you are using the example, change the word Likes to Enjoys.