How to Use PowerPoint Designer
Since its beginnings in 1987, PowerPoint has evolved to become a powerful design and presentation tool that is used worldwide.
We have watched PowerPoint go from simple text and clipart to the powerful application it is today, with the capability to create modern and innovative presentation designs. In 2015, Microsoft launched PowerPoint Designer to further elevate the potential for every-day users to create professional presentation designs.
The tool aims to guide users through creating their PowerPoint deck by providing automated recommendations for how to elevate their slide designs. It automatically generates professionally designed slide suggestions, which appear in a pane on the right side of the screen, that you can integrate directly into your presentation without having to design them yourself. This gives the average PowerPoint user access to professionally designed slides without having to do the heavy lifting themselves.
How does it work?
As you input content onto a slide, PowerPoint Designer, also known as Design Ideas, works in the background to match your content to professionally designed layouts. Suggestions will appear in a pane on the right side of the screen that you can scroll through and choose from. If, for instance, you create a slide and type “Food” as the heading, Designer will gather appropriate designs to fit that theme, while keeping its suggestions consistent throughout the rest of the presentation.
PowerPoint Designer will also provide you with formatting and design ideas for graphs and photos. When Designer is enabled, the suggestions will appear on the right side of your window, next to your slide so that you can choose from the most appropriate option for your presentation. One thing to keep in mind is that Designer doesn’t work with custom themes, so if you want to take advantage of the tool, you will be limited to options that work with the designated PowerPoint themes.
How to enable PowerPoint Designer
If you are having trouble locating PowerPoint Designer, follow the steps below to make sure it is enabled.
- Click File from the top left corner of your taskbar.
- At the bottom of the list on the left, choose Options.
- Under the General tab, scroll down until you find the PowerPoint Designer heading.
- From here, select the options you would like to enable for PowerPoint Designer. (If you only want PowerPoint to show you design ideas when you click the Designer button, select the checkbox for Automatically show me design ideas. If you want PowerPoint to automatically show you suggestions every time you open a new blank document, select the checkbox for Automatically show me suggestions when I create a new presentation.)
- Uncheck these boxes to disable Designer.
- Start Designer by selecting Design from the ribbon at the top of your screen.
- On the far right, select the Design Ideas button.
- If it is your first time using Designer it will open a permissions window. Select Turn on or Let’s go. Otherwise, you will be able to start using designer right away.
- To disable Designer, go to Design and deselect Design Ideas.
Benefits of using PowerPoint Designer
PowerPoint Designer saves time
For an experienced presentation designer, creating a PowerPoint presentation can take up to several hours. For those with less design experience it could be days before you come up with something you are happy with. Using PowerPoint Designer will save you the time it takes trying to decide on an appropriate layout and will help you maintain a level of cohesion within your presentation. Instead of clicking through trying to understand how to get that icon you want placed and sized just right, you can choose a pre-designed slide that has icons included, and all you need to do is input your data.
Professional PowerPoint layouts
When you open PowerPoint with a blank document and PowerPoint Designer enabled, all you need to do for it to start working is fill in your content. As you add in your information, Designer recommends high quality photos that reflect your text, and has them placed inside of a professionally designed layout. You can choose from the many designs PowerPoint suggests, and the application will continue to make suggestions for the following slides that fit visually into the rest of your presentation.
One of the most sophisticated additions to this tool is its ability to visualize your data so that your slides are no longer crowded with text but display your data in a way that is visually appealing. PowerPoint Designer pulls images from the Microsoft 365 icons library and incorporates them into your slides by detecting key terms and concepts in your content.
Designer can analyze your data and turn text into lists, processes, or timelines to make an easily readable graphic. If you already have these items created, it will work with those elements and create a layout that accommodates those assets.
Many of the designs that PowerPoint suggests already include icons as additional design elements, so you won’t have to scour the internet looking for the perfect image to include—it’s already there! All you need to do is enter your data and select the layout you like best.
Another way Designer helps elevate the layout of your slides is by using facial recognition with photographs. It identifies faces in an image and optimizes the position of the photo so that their faces become a focal point. This is important for the visual hierarchy of your layout as faces tend to grab people’s attention and add an extra human element to data-heavy presentations.
Designer also lifts the most visually impactful color option from your inserted picture and then applies it to your existing slide. This color extraction is based on functional design principles, such as placing light colors on top of dark backgrounds for optimal visibility.
PowerPoint Designer is a great tool if you are new to PowerPoint design, need to save some time, or if you are looking for some layout inspiration. Designer has plenty of helpful ideas for you to pull from, however, the best option if you need help refining your presentation, is to hire a PowerPoint design agency. We can ensure all your slides are branded appropriately and follow a consistent visual standard. A PowerPoint design company will have the human touch that you simply cannot get with the PowerPoint Designer software. Working with people who can make corrections and edit images to fit your branded content will elevate your presentation to a quality that goes beyond even the most sophisticated Designer suggestions.