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Select One at a Time in PowerPoint

If you’re anything like me then you’re PowerPoint presentation slides may contain a lot of elements. Whether they’re stacked to use with animations or just lots of little parts to make the whole thing work, there’s a lot of objects and selecting just the right one can be a bit of a pain.

You’ve got to be wondering if there’s a better way to select a specific item then the semi-random clicking of trial and error that usually occurs when we’re faced with these situations.

Many of you know about the selection pane feature of PowerPoint 2007 but what else is available because, as anyone who has worked with the selection pane can tell you, the objects are not labeled in any useful manner.


As you can see, it uses generic names like rectangle, line, picture etc… and then just numbers them as they are placed on the slide. You want them named more specifically, no problem – you just have to take the time to name them.

Yeah, right!

So what else is available?

Well, while I’m sure that there are lots of options today I’d like to make a simple, single-key suggestion: the Tab key.

You’ll find that if you have nothing on the slide selected (click on the area surrounding the slide to be sure) and then hit the Tab key repeatedly PowerPoint will select one object at a time rotating through the entire slide’s contents.

If you accidentally go too far then Shift + Tab will move the selection backwards, or, if you keep hitting the Tab key you’ll eventually cycle back around to the top of the list.

Give it a try, the Tab key may save you some time and frustration when working on those busy slides and if it makes your day any easier than it’s definitely worth knowing about.