Skip to Main Content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

PowerPoint: Tips & Tricks

A guide to design choices for PowerPoint presentations.

Graphing with Excel

PowerPoint allows you to insert a chart based on data that you enter into an Excel spreadsheet. To insert a chart select: Insert > Chart > choose the kind of chart you prefer from the options presented. Click OK an Excel spreadsheet will open in a separate window for you to enter your data. The data will be immediately transferred to your PowerPoint presentation, so you can observe how your chart will appear as you make changes to your spreadsheet.

Powerpoint 2016 Chart Tab


Audio and Video

To insert an audio or video file into your presentation, select Insert > Video or Audio

After selecting Video you will be prompted to choose:

Powerpoint 2016 Video and Audio tab

Video - Online Video or Video on my PC.

Taking a video from your personal computer will upload the file. 

Inserting an Online Video will bring up the option to embed a video. Take the embed code (usually under a 'Share' option on most sites) and paste the embed code where instructed. 

Inserting an Online Video will also give the option to search for a YouTube video in PowerPoint itself. This will require an internet connection.

If you select Audio, you will be given the option to either add audio from your computer, or record new audio.

If you choose to record new audio for your presentation, you must have a recording device connected to your computer.

You also have the option to make a screen recording.

Screen recordings are useful when describing steps for software programs, but are usually very large files. Use them sparingly!


Internal Linking

Custom Show used to make Web Navigation

To make a slide with links to other slides in your PowerPoint: Select the text you would like to make into a link > right click > select Hyperlink. (Then you will see the Image below). Choose Place in This Document on the left > choose the corresponding slide > OK. Repeat these steps for each item you would like to link to other slides in your presentation.

Image of the Insert Hyperlink Options Box


To make a Custom Slide Show: Slide Show > Custom Slide Show > Custom Shows > New > select the slide you made with your navigation links on it > and Add it to Slides in custom show > OK.

Make a master link: On the web navigation slide as described in the first step, select your title (Web Navigation in this case) > right click > select Hyperlink > in Select a place this document choose Custom Show > check the box that says “Show and return” > OK.

Now when you get to this slide you will click on the master link (Web Navigation in this case) which will start the custom show and the links will work like they do on the web.

Double click anywhere on the slide to resume normal playback.


Timing is everything when it comes to a presentation.

You will most likely have a strict time limit when presenting before a group, so it is important to time your presentation to know exactly how long it will go.

PowerrPoint has an excellent tool for that, called "Record Slide Show"

Under the "Slide Show" tab, you can select "Record Slide Show". Click this option will all you to decide if you want to include the time of your Animations and Transitions, and whether to start time from the slide you're on, or from the beginning.


In any type of professional setting, it is important to provide references to any content that is not your own. This includes quotations, ideas and images. There are many different options to provide citations in PowerPoint, but it is also important to observe others in your field to get a sense of what is best practice in your own field.

Some options for citations include:

  1. Adding footnotes on a single slide. Go to the Insert Menu > Text Box. Simply move the text box to the bottom of the page and insert your footnote text.
  2. Adding footnotes field for all slides:  View Menu > Master > click Slide Master. Then, on Insert menu, click Text Box and arrange the box where you want your footnotes to appear
  3. Add Endnotes or a Works Cited page at the end of your presentation. You can even link to each note using internal linking capabilities.