PowerPoint Shortcuts – Finding the Hidden Gems

By Taylor Croonquist, Nuts and Bolts Speed Training

Bright and colorful gems pouring from a wooden box - path included

There are two hidden gems of shortcuts that few ever discover those that do stumble upon them, often never realize what they have discovered.

The golden rule of speed in PowerPoint is: “Never do anything in PowerPoint that PowerPoint can automatically do for you”. And these 2 hidden gems will get PowerPoint to do a lot more for you. They are:

Hidden Gem #1: Copying/Pasting Formatting
The pickup style shortcut – CTRL+SHIFT+C
The apply style shortcut – CTRL+SHIFT+V
Yes, that is 2 shortcuts and not 1, but without one, the other is useless, so I bundled them together like this.
What do they do? They allow you to quickly reuse an objects formatting and apply it to something else. On top of that, it saves your formatting so you can apply it anywhere, which is WAY better than the format painter. I’ll point that out in just a second.

Hidden Gem #2: Copying/Pasting Animations
The Animation painter shortcut – ALT+SHIFT+C
What does it do?
It allows you to copy and paste an entire sequence of animations hooked up to an object, and apply ALL of them to another object.
Why waste time rebuilding your sequence when you can simply reuse it? You shouldn’t!
And the beauty of these shortcuts is they are simple!
They aren’t much different from a normal copy and paste. You just have to throw in a SHIFT key for formatting one and an ALT key for animation one.
You can see these shortcuts in action in the YouTube video below, or scroll down the page to read more about the format painter.

See these shortcuts in action below, or scroll below to read more about them.

Why the pickup and apply style shortcuts are better than the format painter.
The format painter (on the Home tab) is like single-use chopsticks. You use it once and it’s done.
Now yes…you can lock the format painter by double-clicking it (hint, hint), but even then you are severely limited in what you can do. You do pick up the formatting styles, but you now have to move object by object one at a time and as soon as you hit the ESC key, you are done. The formatting isn’t saved anywhere.

On the flip side, if you pick up a style with the CTRL+SHIFT+C shortcut, the formatting sticks with you until you pick up a new formatting style. For example: If you are polishing someone’s presentation and they use a specific corporate formatting style for a box that you want to reuse throughout the presentation, you can:

  • Step #1: Select the box and hit CTRL+SHIFT+C to copy all of its formatting.
  • Step #2: Carry on doing whatever you want to do with the presentation.
  • Step #3: When you find a place where you want to reuse the corporate formatting, select the object and hit CTRL+SHIFT+V and poof…there’s the formatting.

And the beauty is you can do it again, and again and again (unlike the format painter) until you pick up a new style.
Mix that shortcut with defaulting your object formatting and you can really start to crank through yoru corporate presentations, but that’s a speed training tip for another day.

So those are the 2 hidden gem shortcuts and they will help you move beyond the repetitive and annoying stuff.
And remember:
“Never do anything in PowerPoint that PowerPoint will automatically do for you.”

It’s just never a good use of your time.

If you’re looking for more speed training tips you can check us out on YouTube or join our free Save 40 Hours in PowerPoint mini-series here.

About our Author:

Taylor-PortraitTaylor Croonquist is the shortcut and productivity guru for Nuts and Bolts Speed Training company, which helps companies build better PowerPoint slides in shorter time frames. Hailing from the home of Microsoft and Starbucks, he came up with the “One Armed Mouse” technique in order to be able to combine these two passions: PowerPoint-ing with a coffee in one hand and a mouse in the other.


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