On the Ninth Day of Christmas, the Waffle Brings to Me: Professional-Looking Slide Decks 

December 15, 2023
5 min read

Next on our holiday digital trek countdown through the 12 Days of Microsoft Magic, let me introduce you to my little friend, PowerPoint Designer. If you are creatively challenged, like me, this here feature is a game-changer for your presentation woes. 

So, what's the scoop with PowerPoint Design Ideas, you ask? Imagine having your very own presentation stylist. It’s that whisper in your ear, offering snazzy design suggestions to spruce up those slides. Part of your trusty Microsoft 365 arsenal, this little gem might just be the ace up your sleeve when you need to dazzle people with your brilliance but lack a graphic designer at your beck and call. 

Because this series is focused on all things Waffle, let’s wander over to PowerPoint, browser version, in Microsoft 365. Find that waffle button in the top-left corner (marked as number 1 in Figure 1) and select it from the options. Not spotting it? Click on "Explore all your Apps" (2) and rummage through the apps.  

Screenshot of the Waffle menu with step indicators for the App Launcher and Explore all your Apps. Apps listed include Outlook, Word, SharePoint, Bookings, and OneDrive.
Figure 1: Explore Your Apps Using the App Launcher (Waffle button). View Full Size

This should land you in your PowerPoint home where ALL your slide decks in M365 are rounded up for you. Let’s put this Designer thing to the test and start with a Blank presentation, as shown in Figure 2, flagged by the number 3. 

Screenshot of the PowerPoint home page with previews of recent files and a step indicator for the Blank Presentation option, numbered 3. Other options include Geometric color block, Minimalist sales pitch, and Universal presentation with an option to show more themes.
Figure 2: The PowerPoint home page centralizes your content from across Microsoft 365. View Full Size

Here’s where the magic happens. Without giving it ANY context once you’ve clicked on the Blank presentation option, check out those beautiful title slides in the Designer panel, as shown in Figure 3 with the step number 4. 

Screenshot of a Blank Presentation slide deck with preview images of suggested designs in the Designer Panel to the right of content and step indicators for the Design table and Designer button. There are six options for colors and fonts, and four relatively blank designs with colors pre-assigned.
Figure 3: The Designer Panel creates suggested layouts based on the content of your slide. View Full Size

ProTip: Don’t see the Designer Panel? Click the Design Tab (4) and toggle it open with the Designer button (5). 

Time to make your ideas come to life. This is where the magic happens. I’ll start by clicking on the slide to add a Title (6) as shown in Figure 4. 

Screenshot of the updated presentation with step indicators for the title “Traveling in Italy” (6) and one of the suggested slide layouts in the Designer panel (7). The options in the Designer panel include photographs of beautiful places around the world.
Figure 4: Add content to your slides to see additional design options. View Full Size

Presto! A flurry of design suggestions is tailored just for you, as you can see in Figure 5. Colors, fonts, layouts—consider it your virtual stylist offering fashion advice for your slides. Need some more graphics? Let’s go to the Insert tab and add several pictures (8) to see what happens. Expand the Insert Picture From drop-down option and select a source (9).  

ProTip: Need some freebie images? Use Stock Images from the Insert Pictures drop-down. Microsoft has already paid for you to use these. 

Screenshot of the updated slide with step indicators for the Pictures menu (8) and source options (9). The Pictures tab has been expanded (9) and options in the drop-down include Stock Images, This Device, Mobile Device, OneDrive, and Search on Web...
Figure 5: Insert pictures and images for eye-catching collage layouts. View Full Size

Pile them on and no need to be all OCD about it because Designer is going to crank out a bunch of options with all your pictures, as you can see in Figure 6. 

Screenshot of the slide deck with several images of vineyards added and suggested layouts in the Designer Pane. The options include multiple images and a variety of treatment of the words “Traveling in Italy.”
Figure 6: No need to arrange your images, Designer does the work for you. View Full Size

And oh, simplicity! Design Ideas keeps it classy, not flashy. It’s not about drowning your slides in bling; It’s about sleek, professional designs that speak volumes. 

Last but not least, here’s time-saving genius! Let Design Ideas do the heavy lifting. No more agonizing over every font or color choice: Let the wizard work its charm while you focus on content and not on fluff. 

Curious to learn more about Designer and more tips for Professional Presentations? Join me on January 15, 2024 from 1pm-2pm MTN for the "Creating Professional Presentations” session of our Kick Start 2024 emPOWER!Hour series. https://poweruplearning.com/2024-kickoff/     

Stay tuned for the next tip in our 12 days of Christmas. Until next time, I’m Shortcut Shari and it’s my job to make your job easier. 

Shari Oswald

Shari Oswald

Shari is known as Shortcut Shari because she believes we should all work smarter, not harder, and she loves to share keyboard shortcuts. Shari has been using SharePoint since before it was called SharePoint and is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with those who are as excited about technology as she is. Shari's focus is the “People Side of Change.” As a Microsoft 365 Solutions Architect and Consultant that grew up right along with SharePoint, her practical knowledge of the Microsoft Productivity stack coupled with her passion for empowerment via learning makes Shari an excellent resource as a consultant and evangelist for Microsoft 365. Her philosophies for information architecture and SharePoint design are centered on solving business challenges with technology and ensuring usability and adoption for the organization. Shari is a Microsoft Certified Trainer, a Microsoft Certified Specialist Master, consultant, presenter, author, and evangelist. When she is not architecting SharePoint magic as a consultant, Shari is in the classroom or creating online learning for LinkedIn Learning, ClipTraining.com, and Pluralsight.