How-To Geek

Navigate Your PowerPoint Slides Easier with These Simple Tips


Have you ever find yourself frantically clicking your mouse to get to the right slide that your audience ask you? If you do, we have some simple tricks that you can use to move between slides easily.

To accomplish this, we’ll show you how to create a sidebar navigation and slide numbers to get to the right slide.

Sidebar navigation

A sidebar navigation is our own fancy word for a section on our slide that shows each slide title.


We can use anything to create a side bar. Our personal favorite is the “Shapes” library in Powerpoint. Pick a shape that fits your slides, for us we chose a white rectangle.


Once we have placed the sidebar container onto our slide, we need to put our slide title onto the sidebar container. There are two options for us to create text: the text tool, or the word art. We recommend that you use the word art, because PowerPoint will create an ugly blue text with underline when you apply a hyperlink to a text in a text tool.image

Put an appropriate text that best describe the topic of your slide.


Highlight the title, and insert a link to the title, so that we can move between slides by clicking the title.


Powerpoint lets us place a hyperlink to a webpage, or a slide within our powerpoint presentation. Make sure that you choose the correct slide title for your hyperlink.


You do not have to create a sidebar for each of your slide; you can copy the sidebar that you just created, and copy it on every slide in your presentation. You’ll find that the sidebar not only give you a quick way to move between slides, it also become a visual guideline that shows the topic of your slides to your audience.


Although clicking the sidebar title can be convenient to some of us, wouldn’t be great if we can move between slides using a single keyboard press. To achieve that, we’ll use slide numbers.


Slide Numbers

Slide numbers are not only great to show where we are at in our presentation, slide numbers are useful for jumping to slide by pressing the number keys on our keyboard.


Select the slide number checkbox, and click “apply to all”, and your Powerpoint should have a page number on the bottom right corner of the slide.


If you are interested to know what these slides is all about, you can read our article on how to create pixel art avatar in Photoshop or GIMP.

Feel free to share other Powerpoint tips that you know with the other fellow readers in the comments section.

Zainul spends his time trying to make technology more productive, whether it’s Microsoft Office applications, or learning to use web applications to save time.

  • Published 03/21/11

Comments (7)

  1. Hatryst

    That’s a really clever trick, I must say :)
    And just think of the possibilities that we can have with this technique. Animating the sidebar, adding visual effects (that’s animation as well !), and giving it a nice look. Sure it does consume some of the slide’s space, but that can also be fixed…

    Another tip. Right click during slideshow, select ‘go to slide’ from the drop down menu, and select the slide number from the list. The list shows slides labelled with slide numbers, and also with the title of the slide (if there is a title on the slide)

  2. Hatryst

    Just tried something else. Under the ‘shapes’ library, look for ‘action buttons’. These are buttons that can hyperlink to another slide, any program, or to any other file. Just make a contents slide with links to all the slides in the presentation, and program the action button, so that when it is pressed, it jumps to the contents slide. Finally, put that action button somewhere on the slide master, so that it is automatically available in every slide.
    For aesthetics and style, make sure the button doesn’t look awkward in the slide, make it a bit transparent (semi-opaque), and tweak it to style. Unlimited possibilities ;)

  3. Greg Toland

    I often use the company logo which tends to appear on every slide as the hyperlink to the contents page. You can then make it invisible, but alway sknow where it is.

  4. Spydarr

    I’m a huge fan of the Presenter View, but it does require you to use two seperate displays. Since I’m usually running a laptop and a projector, that’s not been a problem for me.

    The PV allows me to navigate using the bottom row of slides and shows me my current slide and notes. Plus, I never have to turn around to check on the annimations.

  5. Don Ebberts

    I use Greg’s method sometimes and other times I just put in a box, with no fill and no line and use that as a hyperlink. Another thing that I do, sometimes I have presentations that have song lyrics but I don’t know what order the song leader is going to go in, so I just print out a sheet listing the songs and the slide number where they first appear. Then when running the show, if she wants the song that starts on slide 20, just press “20 Enter” on the keyboard.

    I do like the ideas presented in this article for certain presentations and honestly hadn’t thought of it. Thanks for the info.

  6. David

    Like Don Ebberts I press the number keys and then enter to jump to a slide, like “20 enter”. However instead of printing out a list of songs I set the computer to use the projector as a second monitor, displaying the presentation only on the projector, and have Powerpoint in the Slide Sorter view on the computer so I can see thumbnails of all the slides.

  7. MIke

    Interesting! is there a way for me to email this article to someone?

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