The 10 Most Common PowerPoint Terms

PowerPoint Terminology Quick List

man giving presentation
simonkr/E+/Getty Images

Here is a quick list of the 10 most common PowerPoint terms, which is a great resource for those new to PowerPoint.

1. Slide - Slide Show

Each page of a PowerPoint presentation is called a slide. The default orientation of the slide is in landscape layout, which means that the slide is 11" wide by 8 1/2" tall. Text, graphics and/or pictures are added to the slide to enhance its appeal.

Think back to the days of the old fashioned slide show, using a slide projector.

PowerPoint is an updated version of that kind of slide show. Slide shows can be comprised of text and graphic objects or be completely covered by a single picture, as in a photo album.

2. Bullet or Bulleted List Slide

Bullets are small dots, squares, dashes or graphic objects that begin a short descriptive phrase.

The Bulleted List slide is used to enter key points or statements about your topic. When creating the list, hitting the Enter key on the keyboard adds a new bullet for the next point you want to add.

3. Design Template

Think of design templates as a coordinated packaged deal. When you decorate a room, you use colors and patterns that all work together. A design template acts in much the same way. It is created so that even though different slide types can have different layouts and graphics, the whole presentation goes together as an attractive package.

4. Slide Layouts - Slide Types

The terms slide type or slide layout can be used interchangeably.

There are several different types of slides / slide layouts in PowerPoint. Depending on the type of presentation you are creating you may use several different slide layouts or just keep repeating the same few.

Slide types or layouts include, for example:

  • title slides
  • bulleted list slides
  • content slides (for adding a chart, picture or table for example)

    5. Slide Views

    • Normal View - is also commonly known as Slide View. It is the main working window in the presentation. The slide is shown full size on the screen.
    • Outline View - shows all the text of all slides, in a list on the left of the PowerPoint screen. No graphics are shown in this view. Outline View is useful for editing purposes and can be exported out as a Word document to use as a summary handout.
    • Slide Sorter View - is a window in PowerPoint that displays thumbnail versions of all your slides, arranged in horizontal rows. This view is useful to make global changes to several slides at one time. Rearranging or deleting slides is easy to do in Slide Sorter view.
    • Notes View - shows a smaller version of a slide with an area underneath for notes. Each slide is created on its own notes page. The speaker can print these pages out to use as a reference while making his presentation. The notes do not show on the screen during the presentation.

    6. Task Pane

    Located on the right side of the screen, the Task Pane changes to show options that are available for the current task that you are working on. For example, when choosing a new slide, the Slide Layout task pane appears; when choosing a design template, the Slide Design task pane appears, and so on.

    7. Transition

    Slide transitions are the visual movements as one slide changes to another.

    8. Animations and Animation Schemes

    In Microsoft PowerPoint, animations are visual effects applied to individual items on the slide such as graphics, titles or bullet points, rather than to the slide itself.

    Preset visual effects can be applied to paragraphs, bulleted items and titles from a variety of animation groupings, namely Subtle, Moderate and Exciting. Using an animation scheme (PowerPoint 2003 only) keeps your project consistent in the look, and is a quick way to enhance your presentation.

    9. PowerPoint Viewer

    The PowerPoint Viewer is a small add-in program from Microsoft. It allows for a PowerPoint presentation to be played on any computer, even those that do not have PowerPoint installed. It can run as a separate program on your computer and can be added to the list of files when you choose to package your presentation to a CD.

    10. Slide Master

    The default design template when starting a PowerPoint presentation, is a plain, white slide. This plain, white slide is the Slide Master. All slides in a presentation are created using the fonts, colors and graphics in the Slide Master, with the exception of the Title slide (which uses the Title Master). Each new slide that you create takes on these aspects.