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We’ve identified the top 50 PowerPoint shortcuts used by consultants around the world and ranked them in order of their usefulness. Don’t forget to enroll in our FREE slide building course to get your own PDF copy!
Unlike most shortcut lists, this list focuses on using PowerPoint how it’s actually used at places like McKinsey, Bain, and BCG. You won’t find any shortcuts for adding clipart into your presentation, or adding slide transitions. Instead, you’ll learn the exact PowerPoint shortcuts that top-tier consultants actually use to build world-class presentations for their clients.
Once you’ve read through the list, be sure to also download the full cheat sheet of all 50 PowerPoint shortcuts. In addition to being used as a quick reference as you build slides, this cheat sheet can also be used as a study guide to help in boosting your PowerPoint skills.
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Shortcut #1 | Undo / Redo
This first one might be a bit boring, but it’s still incredibly useful. To use it, just hit Control Z to undo your last action and Control Y to redo the same action.
PC: Control + Z / Y
Mac: Command + Z / Y
Shortcut #2 | Quick Copy
This one lets you quickly copy an object. Select the object, then hold control and drag it away with your mouse. You can do this as many times as you want, and this can be faster than hitting Control C to copy and Control V to paste (or Control D to duplicate).
Pro tip: Combine this with Shortcut #8 to duplicate objects in a straight line.
PC: Control + Mouse Click
Mac: Control + Mouse Click
Shortcut #3 | Select All (texts, objects, or slides)
Hit Control A to select all the objects, slides, or text in a given area. This can be useful when wanting to make a change to multiple things at once (too obvious?).
Pro tip: Combine this with shortcut #7 to make quick font size changes to your text, even if that text is in different boxes.
PC: Control + A
Mac: Command + A
Shortcut #4 | Open Align / Distribute / Group Menu
This is actually less of a shortcut and more of a group of shortcuts. Hit Alt, H, G, then A to open up a full menu of incredibly useful shortcuts that let you align, distribute, and group objects on your slide (incredibly helpful for data or text heavy slides).
Pro tip: Add this shortcut to your Quick Access Toolbar to save even more time.
PC: Alt + H + G + A
Mac: Not Available
Shortcut #5 | Copy / Paste Formatting
Just like you would copy and paste a whole object, this shortcut lets you copy just the formatting of an object. Hit Control + Shift + C to copy the formatting of an object, then Control + Shift + V to paste the formatting onto another object.
Pro tip: Use this to ensure consistency across your presentation.
Super pro tip: Use this when two objects look just slightly different, but you don’t want to go looking for the problem (e.g. margins are incrementally different).
PC: Control + Shift + C / V
Mac: Command + Shift + C / V
Shortcut #6 | Select Multiple Objects
Quickly select multiple objects on your slide by holding the Control Key and clicking on each object.
Pro Tip: Use Control + A to select all the objects on a slide, then hold the Control key and “Deselect” the objects you don’t need.
PC: Control + Mouse Click
Mac: Command + Mouse Click
Shortcut #7 | Increase / Decrease Font size
Quickly increase the font size of your text by hitting Control + Shift + > and decrease your font size by hitting Control + Shift + <. This isn’t the only shortcut to change your font size, but it’s definitely the most intuitive (“greater than” sign means a bigger font, “less than” sign means a smaller one).
Pro tip: Use this to bring all font sizes up one level (even for text that is at different sizes).
PC: Control + Shift + > / <
Mac: Command + Shift + > / <
Shortcut #8 | Move Shape Directly up or Across
Use this one to make sure your objects stay on the same horizontal or vertical line. When moving the object, just hold Shift and it will move in an exact straight line. Even if you push the Shift key after you’ve moved the object, it will snap into place (like magic!).
Pro tip: combine this with shortcut #2 and quickly copy your objects in a straight line.
PC: Shift + Mouse Click
Mac: Shift + Mouse Click
Shortcut #9 | Enter / Exit Shape
When you have a shape selected, PowerPoint won’t let you edit the text unless you are “inside” that shape (definitely not the technical term). Enter the shape by hitting F2, and exit the shape (while keeping it selected) by hitting Esc.
Semi-pro tip: Use the Enter key instead of F2 if that’s more intuitive.
Pro tip: Use the same shortcut combination in Excel to enter and exit cells.
PC: Enter / F2 / Esc
Mac: Enter / F2 / Esc
Shortcut #10 | Duplicate Slide
Quickly duplicate your slide by hitting Control + Shift + D.
Pro Tip: Use it to duplicate your slide even if you have other objects on your slide selected.
Super Pro Tip: Duplicate your slide multiple times while building a deck to give yourself multiple versions to compare and revert back to.
PC: Control + Shift + D
Mac: Command + Shift + D
Shortcut #11 | Highlight Sentence / Word
Once you start using this one you will wonder how you did without it. Just hold the Control, Shift, and Arrow Keys to highlight words or sentences quickly.
Pro tip: Use the Down Arrow to highlight the whole paragraph.
PC: Control + Shift + Arrow
Mac: Command + Shift + Arrow
Shortcut #12 | Next / Previous Slide
If you already have an object selected, hitting the down arrow will just move that object. But if you’d like to move to the next slide, use the Page Down key to get there (even if something else is selected). Likewise, use the Page Up key to go to a previous slide.
Pro tip: If you work in a job that requires heavy use of PowerPoint (or Excel), buy a keyboard that has easy-to-access Page Up, Page Down, Home, and End keys.
PC: Page Up / Page Down
Mac: Fn + Up / Down Arrow
Shortcut #13 | Copy / Paste‘
This is a classic shortcut that works in many other applications outside of PowerPoint. Just hit Control C to copy an object or text, then Control V to paste.
Pro tip: If you’re just copying a single object on a slide, use shortcut #2 it’s much faster!
PC: Control + C / V
Mac: Command + C / V
Shortcut #14 | Group / Ungroup
Hard to really show the value of this shortcut here (check out our advanced courses for that). But when used correctly this one can really help your slide building efficiency, while making for a much cleaner slide.
Just hit Control + G to group multiple objects, or Control + Shift+ G to ungroup the objects.
PC: Control + (Shift) + G
Mac: Command + Option (Shift) + G
Shortcut #15 | End Slide Show
This is an easy one. When in Presentation mode, just hit the ESC key to exit the presentation.
Pro tip: Check out shortcuts 21, 47, and 48 for more presentation tips!
Shortcut #16 | Repeat Previous Command
This shortcut is a sneaky one. Yes, it can be good for repeating your previous command (just hit F4). But it’s best used when copying multiple objects one after another because it will space them apart perfectly.
Pro tip: Use this in combination with shortcuts #2 and #8.
Super pro tip: Check out this post to watch this shortcut used in action!
Mac: Command + Y
Shortcut #17 | Resize Object
Quickly and easily change the size of your shapes using this simple keyboard shortcut. Just hold the shift key and use the arrows to resize horizontally and vertically.
This one is especially helpful because it lets you resize objects from the center (i.e. it doesn’t move the box in only one direction).
PC: Shift + Arrow Key
Mac: Shift + Arrow Key
Shortcut #18 | Duplicate Object
In case you decide not to use Shortcut #2, this one can be useful for duplicating objects quickly, especially if you’re trying to duplicate a single object multiple times. To use it, just hit Control + D.
PC: Control + D
Mac: Command + D
Shortcut #19 | Open Text Box Option
Shortcut #19 is what we call a ribbon shortcut, where you’re actually just accessing a command in the ribbon. To open the text box options, hit Alt + H + AT + O. There you’ll find various options for adjusting your margins, vertical alignment, and more.
Pro tip: To close the box, just hit Control + Spacebar and then C (two separate actions). Sometimes you need to have the box in focus first by hitting F6.
PC: Alt + H + AT + O
Mac: Command + Options + M
Shortcut #20 | Save
Before the introduction of Autosave, this shortcut was critical. Now it’s less important, but can still be really handy for those who prefer to have Autosave turned off (including some Analyst Academy instructors!). To save your presentation just hit Control S.
PC: Control + S
Mac: Command + S
Shortcut #21 | Start Presentation from Current Slide
Hit Shift + F5 to start the presentation from the slide you’re working on. This can be handy when you need to quickly check how the slide you’re editing looks in Presentation View.
PC: Shift +F5
Mac: Shift +F5
Shortcut #22 | Start Presentation from Beginning
Similar to shortcut #21, this one lets you quickly jump into Presentation View. Just hit F5 (no Shift key need) and you’ll be on your way.
Shortcut #23 | Bold / Underline / Italicize
Most people are familiar with this dynamic trio. Hit Control B to bold, Control U to underline, and Control I to italicize your text.
PC: Control + B / U / I
Mac: Command + B / U / I
Shortcut #24 | Enter Slide Sorter View
If you are doing a lot of storyboarding or if you’re trying to make sure the flow of your presentation looks good, Slide Sorter View is a really easy way to make that happen. Just hit Alt, V, D to be able to quickly change the order of the slides in your deck.
PC: Alt + V + D
Mac: Command + 2
Shortcut #25 | Make a Straight Line
Make your lines completely straight by holding the Shift key when adding them to your slide and avoid untidy slides that would disappoint your mother.
Pro tip: Add the “Insert Line” command to your Quick Access Toolbar for… wait for it… quicker access.
PC: New Line + Shift
Mac: New Line + Shift
Shortcut #26 | Insert New Slide
Avoid using your mouse by hitting Control + M to insert a new slide. Note: the slide will be created from the template you already have in place.
PC: Control + M
Mac: Control + M
Shortcut #27 | Find / Replace
Use this handy shortcut to find and replace words throughout your deck. Hit Control + F to search the presentation, or hit Control + H to find and replace.
Pro tip: use this to search for sensitive data before sharing the deck with clients or other stakeholders.
PC: Control + F / H
Mac: Control + F / H
Shortcut #28 | Left / Right / Center Align Paragraph
This shortcut is really three shortcuts in one. Use it to Left, Right, or Center align your text with the shortcuts Control + L, Control + R, or Control + E.
PC: Control + L / R / E
Mac: Control + L / R / E
Shortcut #29 | Move Slide
With the slide selected in the Navigation Pane, just hold the Control key while selecting the up or down arrows. Use this shortcut to quickly navigate through the presentation without having to use the mouse or enter Slide Sorter view.
PC: Control + Up / Down
Mac: Command + Up / Down
Shortcut #30 | Zoom In / Out
This shortcut finally lets you put that mouse wheel to use! Just hold the Control key and scroll the mouse wheel to zoom in or out.
Pro tip: Zoom out to assess the overall look and design of your slide. Zoom in to make pixel-perfect micro adjustments (it will zoom in on whatever object you have selected).
PC: Control + Mouse Wheel
Mac: Command + Mouse Wheel
Shortcut #31 | Hide Ribbon
This shortcut is less well known but can be really handy in the right situation. Just hit Control + F1 to hide the ribbon completely. Use it to increase your workable area if you’re working on a design-heavy slide, or if you just don’t like looking at the ribbon!
PC: Control + F1
Mac: Option + Command + R
Shortcut #32 | Create Footnote
Simultaneously hitting the Control, Shift, and Equals Sign keys (AKA Control and the Plus Sign) will let you create footnotes quickly and easily. No more searching for footnotes and copying them into your presentation!
PC: Control + Shift + =
Mac: Command + Shift + =
Shortcut #33 | Open Slide Master View
Enter into Slide Master view by using the ribbon shortcut: Alt, W, M. This lets you edit the underlying structure of your presentation and can be a real timesaver if you use it right. Check out our Advanced PowerPoint course to learn how you can really use this feature to your advantage!
PC: Alt + W + M
Mac: Command + Option + 1
Shortcut #34 | Send Objects Backward / Forward
This shortcut is a bit difficult to understand without really diving into the layering feature of PowerPoint, but essentially it allows you to move the objects on your slide on top of or below each other. Just hit Control + Shift + [ to move backwards, and Control + Shift + ] to move forwards.
Pro tip: If you forget this shortcut, just right click on the object and select from the menu options.
PC: Control + Shift + ] / [
Mac: Not Available
Shortcut #35 | Delete Entire Word
Control and Backspace or Control and Delete will help you delete an entire word, which can be really helpful when editing text. Using the Backspace key will delete the closest word to the left of the cursor, and using the Delete key will delete the word to the right of the cursor.
PC: Control + Backspace / Delete
Mac: Command + Delete
Shortcut #36 | Move to End / Beginning of Line
This one takes some getting used to, but is helpful once it’s burned into your muscle memory. Use the End key to quickly jump to the end of the line, and the Home key to quickly jump to the beginning.
PC: End / Home
Mac: Command + Right / Left Arrow
Shortcut #37 | Move to End / Beginning of Text Box
Similar to shortcut #36, this shortcut will help you move to the end or the beginning of a text box quickly. Hit Control + End to go to the end, or Control + Home to go to the beginning.
PC: Control + End / Home
Mac: Command + Down / Up Arrow
Shortcut #38 | Nudge Object
Hold the Control key and then hit your Arrow keys to nudge an object across the slide. Note: how this command performs will depend a little bit on the grid settings of your slide.
Pro tip: enable the “snap to grid” option (in the View tab) to make moving objects on your slide a little easier (warning: some people don’t like this).
PC: Control + Arrow
Mac: Control + Command + Arrow
Shortcut #39 | Insert Line Break
File this shortcut under the list of shortcuts you didn’t know you were looking for. When editing text, hit Shift + Enter to start a new line (but not a new paragraph). This keeps the spacing between the line above it small.
Pro tip: use this when you want to add a new line underneath a bullet point (without adding a new bullet).
PC: Shift + Enter
Mac: Shift + Enter
Shortcut #40 | Keep Shape Proportioned
This beautiful shortcut lets you keep objects proportioned as you make them bigger or smaller. Just hold the Shift key as you resize the object with your mouse.
Pro tip: Use this when resizing photos to keep them from becoming distorted.
PC: Shift + Resize Shape
Mac: Shift + Resize Shape
Shortcut #41 | Resize from Center
To resize an object from the center, hold the Control key as you make the object bigger or smaller. This lets you keep the object in place instead of it extending in a different direction (similar to shortcut #17).
Pro tip: Combine this with shortcut #40 to keep it proportioned and have it extend from the center.
PC: Control + Resize Shape
Mac: Control + Resize Shape
Shortcut #42 | Move Bullet Up / Down
Here’s one many people don’t know. To easily move your bullet points up or down, just put your cursor on the line you want to move and hit Shift + Alt + Up / Down.
Pro tip: do this one in front of your boss because it’ll blow their mind (or they’ll pretend they already know it which we both know isn’t true).
PC: Shift + Alt + Up / Down
Mac: Not Available
Shortcut #43 | Move to Previous or Next Section / Object
This shortcut allows you to quickly cycle between the different objects on a slide. Just hit the Tab key to move forward through the objects, or Shift + Tab to move backward through the objects (they are in order of when they were placed on the slide).
Pro tip: this shortcut works pretty much everywhere on the internet (helpful when you’re filling out a form!).
PC: (Shift+) Tab
Mac: (Shift+) Tab
Shortcut #44 | Change Case of Selected Text
This one doesn’t come in handy as often as you’d think, but can still be really helpful at times. It’s a nice party trick, but if you’re having PowerPoint parties you might have other issues.
Just hit Shift + F3 and watch your text cycle through different cases (all caps, all lowercase, first letter capitalized).
PC: Shift + F3
Mac: Shift + F3
Shortcut #45 | Enter Normal View
Jump back into Normal View with this simple ribbon shortcut. Hit Alt + V + N if you’re in another view (e.g. Presentation, Slide Master) and it’ll drop you right in.
PC: Alt + V + N
Mac: Command + 1
Shortcut #46 | Duplicate Presentation
Duplicate your entire presentation with this seldom used but still periodically useful shortcut. Hit Control + Shift + N and avoid having to navigate through the file itself to copy your presentation.
Pro tip: create multiple versions of a presentation (or slides) when you’re editing and you want to see a range of “looks”.
PC: Control + Shift + N
Mac: Not Available
Shortcut #47 | Go to Slide (number) During Presentation Mode
Jump ahead during a presentation to a specific slide by typing the slide number then hitting Enter while in Presentation View. You’ll have to know the number of the slide you want to go to ahead of time, so make sure you write down important slide numbers before the presentation.
Pro tip: right click on the presentation to open up a menu of options to navigate around the presentation.
Super pro tip: use Control + S to open a dialogue box of all the slides.
PC: (Number) + Enter
Mac: (Number) + Enter
Shortcut #48 | Make Screen Black / White during presentation Mode
This is really helpful when you’re in presentation mode. Just hit the B key to turn the screen all black (and hit ESC to get out). To turn it completely white, hit the W key.
PC: B / W Key
Mac: B / W Key
Shortcut #49 | Open Thesaurus
This is a perfect example of a shortcut you think you’ll never use but then end up using all. the. time. Open the thesaurus quickly and easily by hitting Alt + R + E.
Pro tip: When you have bullet points it’s best to avoid using the same starting word on more than one bullet. Avoid this travesty by double clicking on the repeat word, hitting Alt + R + E, then selecting a new word from the selection pane.
PC: Alt + R + E
Mac: Command + Option + Control + R
Shortcut #50 | Toggle Between Outline Pane and Thumbnail Pane
Use this shortcut to quickly and easily edit the storyline of your presentation. Hit Control + Shift + Tab to edit the titles of each of your slides directly without having to click on each slide individually.
Pro tip: use this when building an outline from scratch.
PC: Control + Shift + Tab
Mac: Control + Shift + Tab
You can watch a video version of this article on YouTube.