PowerPoint 2013: Creating and Opening Presentations

Lesson 5: Creating and Opening Presentations



PowerPoint files are called presentations. Whenever you start a new project in PowerPoint, you'll need to create a new presentation, which can either be blank or from a template. You'll also need to know how to open an existing presentation.

To create a new presentation:

  1. Select the File tab to go to Backstage view.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the File tab
  2. Select New on the left side of the window, then click Blank Presentation or choose a theme.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Creating a new presentation
  3. A new presentation will appear.

To open an existing presentation:

  1. Select the File tab to go to Backstage view.
  2. Select Open.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking Open
  3. Select Computer, then click Browse. Alternatively, you can choose OneDrive (previously known as SkyDrive) to open files stored on your OneDrive.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking Browse
  4. The Open dialog box will appear. Locate and select your presentation, then click Open.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Opening a presentation

If you've opened the desired presentation recently, you can browse your Recent Presentations instead of searching for the file.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Recently Presentations

To pin a presentation:

If you frequently work with the same presentation, you can pin it to Backstage view for easy access.

  1. Select the File tab to go to Backstage view. Click Open. Your Recent Presentations will appear.
  2. Hover the mouse over the presentation you want to pin. A pushpin icon will appear next to the presentation. Click the pushpin icon.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Pinning a presentation
  3. The presentation will stay in Recent Presentations. To unpin a presentation, simply click the pushpin icon again.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The pinned presentation

You can also pin folders to Backstage view for easy access. From Backstage view, click Open, locate the folder you want to pin, then click the pushpin icon.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Pinning a folder

Using templates

A template is a predesigned presentation you can use to create a new slide show quickly. Templates often include custom formatting and designs, so they can save you a lot of time and effort when starting a new project.

To create a new presentation from a template:

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view.
  2. Select New. You can click a suggested search to find templates or use the search bar to find something more specific. In our example, we'll search for Business presentations.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Searching for templates
  3. Select a template to review it.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Selecting a template
  4. A preview of the template will appear, along with additional information on how the template can be used.
  5. Click Create to use the selected template.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Creating a new presentation with a template
  6. A new presentation will appear with the selected template.

It's important to note that not all templates are created by Microsoft. Many are created by third-party providers and even individual users, so some templates may work better than others.

Compatibility mode

Sometimes you may need to work with presentations that were created in earlier versions of PowerPoint, such as PowerPoint 2003 or PowerPoint 2000. When you open these types of presentations, they will appear in Compatibility mode.

Compatibility mode disables certain features, so you'll only be able to access commands found in the program that was used to create the presentation. For example, if you open a presentation created in PowerPoint 2003, you can only use tabs and commands found in PowerPoint 2003.

In the image below, you can see that the presentation is in Compatibility mode. This will disable some PowerPoint 2013 features, such as newer types of slide transitions.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Compatibility mode

To exit Compatibility mode, you'll need to convert the presentation to the current version type. However, if you're collaborating with others who only have access to an earlier version of PowerPoint, it's best to leave the presentation in Compatibility mode so the format will not change.

You can review this support page from Microsoft to learn more about which features are disabled in Compatibility mode.

To convert a presentation:

If you want access to all PowerPoint 2013 features, you can convert the presentation to the 2013 file format.

Note that converting a file may cause some changes to the original layout of the presentation.

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the File tab
  2. Locate and select the Convert command.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Converting the presentation to the newest file type
  3. The Save As dialog box will appear. Select the location where you want to save the presentation, enter a file name, and click Save.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Saving a new version of the workbook
  4. The presentation will be converted to the newest file type.


  1. Create a new blank presentation.
  2. Open an existing presentation from your computer or OneDrive.
  3. Pin a folder to Backstage view.
  4. Create a new presentation using a template.