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Alice Keeler

Office 365: Getting Started with PowerPoint

Office 365: Getting Started with PowerPoint


As 21st Century teachers we need to ensure that our students learn the new literacies. Check out Kathy Shrocks guide to the new literacies. Having students create presentations is a great way to improve their visual literacy skills and also to address the Common Core.  These tips simply get students started with using PowerPoint in Office 365.


Log into Office 365

If your students have an Office 365 account have them login at https://login.microsoftonline.com/ . If students do not have Office 365 accounts they can utilize OneDrive. Click on the “Create” button to choose PowerPoint Presentation.

Know the Home Screen

Upon launching a new PowerPoint you will be in “Edit” mode which will allow you to add slides and text.

PowerPoint online

  1. Slide Navigation: On the left hand side of the PowerPoint screen are thumbnails of the slides contained in the presentation. By default there is only one slide initially.
    1. Clicking on any of the thumbnails will advance you to that slide.
    2. Click and drag any thumbnail to reorder the slides.
  2. New Slide: Create a new slide by clicking on the “New Slide” icon in the Home Ribbon.
  3. Layout: PowerPoint offers a variety of layouts with places for images and texts. Click on the “Layout” option in the Home Ribbon to change the look of the slide.
  4. Presentation Mode: In the bottom right hand corner are icons to toggle out of edit mode and into either “reading mode” or “presentation mode.” These views allow you to see how the presentation will look to an audience.
  5. Presentation Name: Rename the presentation by simply clicking on the words “Presentation” in the top center.
  6. Share Presentation: Online Office 365 presentations are collaborative. Click on the “Share” icon at the top to allow other users to edit the presentation. Type in the email address of the collaborator into the share box.
    InviteClick on “Recipients can edit” to bring up additional sharing options. Allow collaborators to edit or to view.
    Office 365 sharing

Insert Menu

Microsoft 365 Insert

Clicking on the “INSERT” tab on the Ribbon allows you to insert graphics to your PowerPoint. Take advantage of the freely available Clip Art images that PowerPoint provides. Click on  “Clip Art” in the Insert tab and search for a keyword. When resizing an image hold down the Shift key to constrain proportions.


Office offers several image editing options. While the image is selected you can put a border around the image by clicking on the different “Picture Styles” in the Ribbon. You can also adjust if the image is in the foreground or not. Right clicking on the image gives you quick access to cropping and arranging the image.
Picture Tools Microsoft Office

Note: If the image formatting options are not visible in the Ribbon simply click on the “Format” tab to view the options.



PowerPoint offers several default themes to style the PowerPoint presentation. Notice the small arrows to the right of the “Themes” and “Variants.” Clicking on these arrows will give you additional options to choose from.
PowerPoint Themes

Transitions Menu

The Transitions tab in the Ribbon allows you to choose slide animations as you progress from one slide to the next. If you are new to PowerPoint try out all of the transitions to see how they create motion from one slide to the next. As a general rule of thumb avoid using transitions. Transitions can make a powerful statement from one slide to the next; however, when overused they can be very distracting.
PowerPoint slide transitions


Animations Menu

The Animations tab in the Ribbon allows you to animate individual elements on the slide. While it can be fun to have graphics and text swoop in and spin, these can be very distracting in a presentation. It is recommended that you avoid animations except when necessary.
Animations PowerPoint

Death by PowerPoint

These tips are intended to help students get started with making presentations. They do not necessarily help students to make GOOD presentations. In addition to helping students with the technical aspects of using PowerPoint, work with students on what makes an effective and visually attractive PowerPoint presentation.

4 C’s

The 4 C’s of 21st Century skills: Communicate, Collaborate, Critically Think, and Creativity. Using PowerPoint, Office 365 or Google Slides does not address these 4 C’s simply by assigning their use.


Communicate is to clearly communicate ideas. Too many words on a slide, distracting images, random clipart, multiple font choices, etc… detract from clearly communicating ideas.


Office 365 allows students to collaborate together on a PowerPoint. However, there is a difference between cooperate and collaborate. Cooperate is to divide up the slides and each student completes their own pieces independently.


Collaboration requires the students to work together to share ideas, task switching where students collaborating will work on the  same tasks, and reviewing material together to ensure the information flows.


Critical thinking is not inherent to a PowerPoint. Placing vocabulary words on a PowerPoint slide is a level 1 DOK activity. It is the content of the PowerPoint that addresses critical thinking. Creating a PowerPoint is NOT creativity.  To address the 21st Century skill of create students need to act creatively. This means that the end results of one students project should look different than another students project. Students are able to demonstrate creativity when creating a PowerPoint, however this does NOT come from simply having a PowerPoint. How do students creatively present the information? How do students use creativity to approach the subject in an unexpected way?


YouTube video

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