PowerPoint is an amazing program not only because it’s a great way to communicate and share ideas with others, but also because it can take content from myriad sources, and combine them all cohesively with visual unity.
There are essentially two ways in which you can bring content within PowerPoint — either by using options within the Insert tab of the Ribbon or by copying content from other programs and pasting within PowerPoint. In this post, we will explore the latter way, and also look at why you should explore the Paste Special option rather than using the plain vanilla Paste button that slide-creators typically use.
Before we proceed further, you must also use some PowerPoint shortcuts to make this copy and paste process easier. Here are some well-known and also some lesser-explored keyboard shortcuts. Mac equivalents are in parentheses:
Ctrl + C (Command + C): Copy
Ctrl + V (Command + V): Paste
Ctrl + D (Command + D): Duplicate
Ctrl + Shift + C (Command + Shift + C): Copy attributes
Ctrl + Shift + V (Command + Shift + V): Paste Attributes
Ctrl + Alt + V (Command + Ctrl + V): Paste Special
To find more keyboard shortcuts, explore our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts page.
We have provided more keyboard shortcuts than what we will explore in this post. However, they are all related and you can play around with all the shortcuts. In future posts, we will look in more detail at shortcuts for Duplicate, and Copy and Paste Attributes options.
Let us first explore how the Paste Special option is different than the conventional Paste option. When you use Paste, PowerPoint makes a guess about what would be the best format to paste your content within PowerPoint. For example, if you copy some content from Excel, should PowerPoint paste the content like an Excel embed or link, a table, or just plain text? In some cases, it may paste the content as an Excel embed or a table. Paste Special lets you decide what you want to do with the content.
Let’s continue working with our example of copying Excel content to the clipboard with this workflow:
There is one big difference when you access the Paste Special dialog box when the copied content is from PowerPoint rather than from another program, and this is true even if you are copying from another PowerPoint file.
You’ll find that the Paste Link option, which can be seen highlighted in red in Figure 4 is now grayed out, as shown in Figure 5, below.
Figure 5: Paste Link and Display as Icon options are grayed out
In addition, you will find that the Display as Icon option, which is highlighted in blue in Figure 4, shown previously on this page is also grayed out in Figure 5, above because the content being pasted was being copied from PowerPoint rather than another program.
So what do these two options do? Let’s find out:
The Paste Link option, when selected, retains a link to the original source document, and when you make a change to the area copied in the source, it is updated within the content pasted within PowerPoint. This option works best if you save both the source and destination files in the same folders, even before you do the Copy and the Paste Special processes.
The Display as Icon option, when selected doesn’t show the copied content, but places an icon representing the content, as shown in Figure 6, below. To view the actual content, you will have to double-click the icon in Normal (Editing) view and not in Slide Show view.
Figure 5: Icon representing the content
There is a workaround to make it work in Slide Show view as well, but we will explore it some other time.
So, what did we learn from this tutorial? We found that there are far more options available within the Paste Special dialog box than what you end up with when you choose Paste. So, do explore these options, and choose what works best for you.
Tagged as: Keyboard Shortcuts, PowerPoint
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Geetesh Bajaj - All rights reserved.
since November 02, 2000