PowerPoint 2013: Basic Slide Management

In this post I will cover six basic operations essential for managing your PowerPoint presentation:

  1. How to delete slides;
  2. How to hide slides;
  3. How to rearrange slides;
  4. How to import slides from one presentation to another;
  5. How to duplicate slides;
  6. How to create sections within a presentation.


To delete a slide or slides, select the slide(s) either in the thumbnail pane or in slide sorter view and press the delete key on your keyboard, or right-click your selection and choose Delete Slide.

Delete Slide

To select a contiguous range of slides, click on the first and then hold down the Shift key and click on the last in the range.  To select a non-contiguous group of slides, hold down the Ctrl key as you click on them.  To undo an action, like the inadvertent deletion of slides, press Ctrl-Z (hold down the Ctrl key and press Z).


A favorite technique of many presenters is to prepare slides that might be useful in answering questions after a presentation, but that will not appear in the presentation, and then hide them.  To hide a slide or group of selected slides right-click the slide or selection and choose Hide in thumbnail or slide sorter view.  Hidden slides will appear greyed out, with a diagonal line through their slide number.  They will not appear as you proceed through your presentation, but can be accessed through the slide presenter view.

Hide Slide

To unhide a slide, repeat the procedure.  There is not an “Unhide” command on the context menu, just click Hide Slide again to unhide a hidden slide.


It is easiest to rearrange slides in slide sorter view.  Select the slides you want to move and then simply drag them to their new location.  Nothing could be easier.


To import slides from another presentation into the presentation you are working on, click the drop-down under New Slide on the Home tab and choose Reuse Slides…

Reuse Slides

A Reuse Slides pane will open, with options to Open a Slide Library or Open a PowerPoint File.  Slide Libraries are only relevant if you have a Sharepoint installation.  Clicking Open a PowerPoint File will allow you to navigate to the file you want.  When it is opened thumbnails for each slide in the presentation will appear in the Reuse Slide pane.  Place the insertion point in your presentation where you want to insert slides, and then click on these thumbnails one at a time to insert them.  If you want to retain the original formatting from the slides you are inserting, check the Keep source formatting box at the bottom of the Reuse Slides pane.


Often if is easier to duplicate an existing slide (or slides) and then modify it, rather than creating a slide from scratch.  Duplicate slides by selecting a slide(s) in the Normal View thumbnail pane, clicking the Neww Slide drop-down on the Home tab, and choosing Duplicate Selected Slides.

Duplicate Slide

The shorcut for this is to select the thumbnail and press Ctrl-D.


Dividing your presentations into sections can make it easier to work on them and to rearrange them, especially if the presentation contains a significant number of slides.  Sections can be created by using the Section command on the Home tab, or by right-clicking a slide in the Normal View thumbnail pane or in Slide Sorter View, and using the context menu to Add Section.

Add Section

Inexplicably, Microsoft makes this a two-step procedure.  The new section is inserted as an Untitled Section.  You must then use the Section Command on the Home tab, or right-click the “Untitled Section” label and Rename Section in order to give it a descriptive name.

Rename Section

Once sections have been created, they can be expanded or collapsed, thus making it easier to work on a large presentation.  The section titles can be rearranged, just like individual slides, making it easy to move large groups of slides with a single drag-and-drop.

Here is a video summarizing these techniques.