You Can PPT Too! (Part Two): Useful Shortcuts With SHIFT

Well, the second part took longer than I thought it would. Hopefully with some downtime now, I can get the other parts out sooner.

So onto the main topic, in this article, I will talk about some useful and convenient ppt shortcut features, powered by a simple but useful key - the SHIFT key. Some of these may already be familiar to seasoned Powerpoint masters, but may not be immediately apparent to new users. If you know of any other tricks, I would love to hear from you in the comments :)

Let's start by running through the more well-known uses for SHIFT:

Selecting Multiple Objects

This should be quite straightforward. Hold down the SHIFT key and select your objects, either one by one, or click and drag across the slide canvas to cover the objects you want. To finetune your selection, you can continue holding down SHIFT and click on individual objects that you want to add into or remove from your selection.

Drawing Straight Lines

Hold down the SHIFT key and draw your line. It can be vertical or horizontal. You can verify that the line is straight by selecting the line, then under Drawing Tools > Format > Size, check that the height (for horizontal) or width (for vertical) is zero. If for whatever reason it is not zero, then just change it to zero in the corresponding height or width fields.

Picture showing how to draw and check a line is straight in ppt
How to Draw and Check Straight Lines in Powerpoint

Drawing/Resizing Objects Proportionally

Hold down the SHIFT key and draw an object (e.g. circle/square). You will get a nice circle/square instead of an oval/rectangle. Resizing proportionally works the same on any object - select the object, hold down SHIFT, then drag to the appropriate size.

Now let's talk about some other interesting uses for the SHIFT key:

Resizing Multiple Objects Proportionally

We went through resizing one object on top. However, say you tried drawing a house like the one on the left below and later realized it came out too big and needed to shrink it smaller. You could do the tedious method of resizing one by one, in which case you can stop reading now. 

Picture showing how to resize multiple objects in ppt the correct way
How to Resize Multiple Objects in Powerpoint

Or you may have tried to improvise upon what we just learned by selecting all the objects and resize. While that's a right start, you probably would end up with the result on the bottom right. What happened was that each object was resized independently of the rest, which was not what we wanted.

So let's redo this. First, select all the objects to resize. Next, under Drawing Tools > Format > Group, choose "Group". You would notice that objects would be encompassed together in a block to show they have been grouped. You can also "Ungroup" in the same menu so that all the objects become independent again. Now, you can proceed to hold down the SHIFT key and drag the objects to the appropriate size, with all the objects still retaining relative positions.

Picture showing the right way to group objects in ppt
How to Grouping Objects in Powerpoint 

Skipping a Bullet in a Bulleted List

If you are doing a bulleted presentation, pressing ENTER key brings you to the next bulleted line. Sometimes you just want it to go to the next line without a bullet. Try using SHIFT+ENTER.

Picture showing how to skip a bullet in ppt
How to Skip a Bullet in a Bullet Presentation

Switching Letter Case

To quickly change the letter case in a sentence, try SHIFT+F3. No more scrolling through each word to change the case. Unlike Word though, using this shortcut in Powerpoint does not switch to sentence case.

Speaking of which, you can use CTRL+arrow keys to scroll through each word, rather than scrolling through each character. You can also use CTRL+DEL(delete words after the cursor position) or CTRL+BACKSPACE (delete words before the cursor position) to delete whole words rather than one character at a time. This also works generally for any other software with text editing capabilities and is not just limited to Powerpoint.

Starting Slideshow On The Current Slide

You may be aware that pressing F5 starts the slideshow from the first slide (if not, now you do). If you just want to fullscreen the current slide without scrolling from the beginning, try SHIFT+F5.


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