PowerPoint is pretty robust on its own — but it also plays well with others! And the ability to integrate PPT with other programs can provide a lot of added value.

Here are some simple ways to turbo-charge productivity and jazz up presentations by “mixing and matching” three MS Office workhorses — Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

1. Speed up development by outlining in Word. A recent post on Surprising Ways to Use PowerPoint showed how to create quick training materials by exporting from PPT to Word. Let’s flip it around and see how Word can streamline creation of a presentation. This method isn’t worth the effort for creating simple presentations from scratch. But if you either already have information in a Word document that needs to be converted into a presentation, or you need to build a big and/or complex presentation (say, more than 30 slides), outlining in Word can save a lot of time. Here are the steps:

Create a Word document. Put your slide titles in the document. Every slide title should have a Heading 1 style. Add bullet points beneath the titles. Every bullet point should have a Heading 2 style. It looks like this:


Save and close the Word file. In PowerPoint, choose Open, change the file type to All Outlines, and choose your Word file.


PowerPoint will build slides from the outline, like this:


Now all you have to do is apply a theme (two clicks), and your presentation is well on the way:


2. Enhance a presentation with information graphics from Excel. You can make tables and graphs inside PowerPoint—but don’t. Don’t even use the Insert, Table, Excel spreadsheet choice. These functions do not work well.

Instead, just open Excel and make your chart or table there. Select the chart or table, copy, and paste into PowerPoint. Voila.

Here’s the magic. If you create a chart in Excel, then paste it into PowerPoint, PPT will automatically adjust the chart style to match the presentation theme. So if you copy this chart in Excel:


You get this chart when it’s pasted into PowerPoint:


Tip: You can override this feature if you want to retain the original Excel chart design. Just select Keep Source Formatting from the Clipboard icon that appears when you paste.

Tables do not automatically reformat, but you can easily change them by selecting the table after you paste it into PowerPoint, and then using one of the Quick Styles available from the Table Tools, Design ribbon. For example—the table shown in the slide above looked like this when originally copied in Excel:


The reformatting required two clicks.


Important: DO NOT paste your table into a text or content placeholder. Set the slide layout to Blank, so there are no placeholders when you paste—then you can reset the layout if need be.



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