Make a PowerPoint presentation beautiful with the Designer function

Do you want to make a PowerPoint presentation beautiful, but are you not so strong in terms of graphics, then PowerPoint has a welcome function: Designer. While you work, the program regularly gives suggestions from a sidebar, which you can apply with just one mouse click. This is undoubtedly the fastest way to improve the quality of your presentation. We explain here what you can do with it.

PowerPoint Designer cannot be found in an older version of PowerPoint. You must also have an Office 365 subscription and have PowerPoint 2016. Moreover, this function does not work offline; the computer running PowerPoint must have an active internet connection.

The PowerPoint Designer has been around for a while and yet the function is not well known. That is a shame, because it is a useful feature to give your presentation a more professional look. The function is based on Office Intelligent Services. To work with it, you must first activate the PowerPoint Designer feature. To do this, open PowerPoint and via File you go to the Options. In the group General find the part PowerPoint Designer. There must be a check mark next to it Automatically display design ideas and Automatically display suggestions when I create a new presentation.

From now on you will receive professional design proposals based on the content. Click on a design that you like and the current slide will immediately apply the design. Of course you can still make changes manually. You will also see that the Design ideas function further adjusts to your choice. That way, your slide becomes more beautiful.

Not always active

PowerPoint Designer is different from a set of ready-made themes. This is an intelligent function that you call up when you want to receive suggestions for a professional layout. So you don’t have to keep the panel in view all the time, because then it looks like a professional designer is constantly looking over your shoulder and constantly comes up with suggestions. Eventually this will irritate. Once you are on track, you can quietly close the window with design ideas to only bring out when you can use some design aid.

Images and text boxes

If you use Designer, PowerPoint will analyze the slide to propose a color scheme, theme and different formats based on the content. For example, you can start with a blank slide and then add an image via Insert, Images. You then navigate to an image that is somewhere on the hard drive, select it and click Insert. When the image appears on the slide, you will immediately see a set of proposals that look nice in the Design ideas bar.

You do not even have to position the image you are adding in the right place. PowerPoint shows how the image looks full screen and how the text boxes appear. Often the program also indicates how the image looks in black and white.


See what happens when you add a text box to the slide in the next step. For this you use the tab Insert where you get the position Text box select. You don’t (yet) have to worry about the position of the text box, drag it somewhere on the slide and type the text. At this stage you don’t even have to record a font, uppercase or lowercase letters, font color or font size.

Once you have entered the text, Designer will again make a number of proposals. Click on the design that you like and possibly change the color of a word or certain letters. You can duplicate the slide and choose an alternative format for the duplicate. To do this, select the slide that Designer has just designed and use the tab Start. Click on that Layout, so that different formats appear again.

Again, Designer will respond immediately to your choice and provide a set of suggestions based on the selected basic shape and the content that is now on the slide.

Format multiple images

What Designer does with multiple images on the same slide is even stronger. The function makes beautiful compositions in an instant without losing time scaling, aligning or editing. Place a new blank slide and navigate via Insert, Images to the location where the image files are located. With the Ctrl key pressed, select all the images that should appear on the slide and then click the button Insert. As a result, all images appear on the screen in random order in a stack.

It takes time and inspiration to scale all those images and then evenly distribute them over the slide surface. Fortunately, you also get a helping hand here. If you look in the Design ideas column, you can see that Designer has already compiled a number of compositions.

To design

Sometimes Designer places a different background or beautiful dividing lines that are all perfectly aligned. The colors that Designer uses for the design ideas for the background, dividers and shapes are based on the images you have added. In this way the design stays in harmony. If one of the images has been cut out unhappy, right-click on the image and choose Format image. Then a new sidebar appears, where you click on the right button at the top so that you can make the settings for Crop adjusts.

Remember the 6-1-1 rule. Designer can process a maximum of 6 images, 1 table and 1 graph. For example, if you want to place 2 graphs on a slide, you will not receive any proposals for this. Moreover, Designer does not work if you work on the basis of your own template. If there are no design ideas for a particular slide, we recommend copying the graphic elements on the slide for a moment and then pasting them onto a new blank slide.

Context sensitive

The Designer is context sensitive. The function interprets and understands the content of text boxes to a certain extent. When we add a new slide with a text box in which we type the title “Problem-solving Thinking”, Designer creates a background with thought balloons in Design Ideas.

When we go further and place a new text box in which we type a summary of the five steps of problem-solving thinking: “Problem, Stop, Plan, Execute, Check”, the design ideas even include designs where these terms are provided with the matching icons. For example, the word Problem has a pictogram with a question mark, Stop a stretched hand, and so on.

Context sensitive

If you are not satisfied with a suggested icon, right click on it and choose Change graphic. You then have three options. Do you want to select a graphic file on the hard disk, do you want to use one from online sources or do you choose one of the icons from the PowerPoint library? You will see that Designer will include this new icon in the options from then on.

What Designer does with tables and graphs can also be seen, see the image above. You use the best in the tab Insert the assignment Table, where you indicate how many rows and columns the table should consist of. But again Designer gives some stylish suggestions.

It becomes totally beautiful when you add a scheme in SmartArt. Even then you will often have the feeling that the artificial designer comes up with a more professional layout than you would imagine.


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