PowerPoint 2013: Getting to Know PowerPoint

Lesson 4: Getting to Know PowerPoint



PowerPoint 2013 is a presentation software that allows you to create dynamic slide presentations. Slideshows can include animation, narration, images, videos, and much more.

Opening PowerPoint 2013

When you open PowerPoint 2013 for the first time, the Start Screen will appear. From here, you'll be able to create a new presentation, choose a template, and access your recently edited presentations.

  1. From the Start Screen, locate and select Blank Presentation.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Creating a blank presentation
  2. A new presentation will appear.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013A blank presentation

Getting to know PowerPoint 2013

PowerPoint 2013 is similar to PowerPoint 2010. If you've previously used PowerPoint 2010, PowerPoint 2013 should feel familiar. But if you are new to PowerPoint or have more experience with older versions, you should first take some time to become familiar with the PowerPoint 2013 interface.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to become familiar with the PowerPoint 2013 interface.

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Working with the PowerPoint environment

If you've previously used PowerPoint 2010 or 2007, PowerPoint 2013 will feel familiar. It continues to use features like the Ribbon and the Quick Access toolbar—where you will find commands to perform common tasks in PowerPoint—as well as Backstage view.

The Ribbon

PowerPoint 2013 uses a tabbed Ribbon system instead of traditional menus. The Ribbon contains multiple tabs, each with several groups of commands. You will use these tabs to perform the most common tasks in PowerPoint.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The Ribbon

Exploring the Ribbon

You'll need to move between tabs to perform common tasks in PowerPoint. Knowing where to find the right command will make PowerPoint easier to use.

Click the arrows in the slideshow below to learn more about the different commands available within each tab on the Ribbon.

  • Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

    The Home tab gives you access to the most commonly used commands, including copy and paste, formatting, and the New Slide command. The Home tab is selected by default whenever you open PowerPoint.

  • Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

    The Insert tab allows you to insert pictures, charts, tables, shapes, and videos, which can help you communicate information visually and add style to your presentation.

  • Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

    You can apply themes from the Design tab. A theme is a predefined combination of colors, fonts, and effects that can quickly change the look and feel of your entire slide show. Different themes also include different slide layouts.

  • Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

    You can apply slide transitions from the Transitions tab. Transitions are the movements you see between slides when presenting your slide show.

  • Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

    The Animations tab allows you to animate text and objects such as clip art, shapes, and pictures. Animations can be used to draw attention to specific content or make the slide easier to read.

  • Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

    When you're ready to present your slide show, the Slide Show tab gives you tools to make your presentation smooth and professional, including the option to rehearse timings and record narration.

  • Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

    You can use the Review tab to access PowerPoint's powerful editing features, including spell check and comments. These features make it easy to review and collaborate on presentations.

  • Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

    The View tab allows you to switch between several different views for your presentation, including Outline View, Slide Sorter, and Slide Master. These views can help you prepare and organize your slide show.

  • Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013

    Contextual tabs will appear on the Ribbon when working with certain items like tables, shapes, and pictures. These tabs contain special command groups that can help you format these items as needed.

To minimize and maximize the Ribbon:

The Ribbon is designed to respond to your current task, but you can choose to minimize it if you find that it takes up too much screen space.

  1. Click the Ribbon Display Options arrow in the upper-right corner of the Ribbon.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Ribbon display options
  2. Select the desired minimizing option from the drop-down menu:

    • Autohide Ribbon: Autohide displays PowerPoint in full-screen mode and completely hides the Ribbon. To show the Ribbon, click the Expand Ribbon command at the top of screen.
    • Show Tabs: This option hides all command groups when not in use, but tabs will remain visible. To show the Ribbon, simply click a tab.
    • Show Tabs and Commands: This option maximizes the Ribbon. All of the tabs and commands will be visible. This option is selected by default when you open PowerPoint for the first time.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Auto-hiding the Ribbon

The Quick Access toolbar

Located just above the Ribbon, the Quick Access toolbar lets you access common commands no matter which tab is selected. By default, it includes the Save, Undo, Repeat, and Start Presentation commands. You can add other commands depending on your preference.

To add commands to the Quick Access toolbar:

  1. Click the drop-down arrow to the right of the Quick Access toolbar.
  2. Select the command you want to add from the drop-down menu. To choose from more commands, select More Commands.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Adding a command to the Quick Access toolbar
  3. The command will be added to the Quick Access toolbar.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The command added to the Quick Access toolbar

The Ruler, guides, and gridlines

PowerPoint includes several tools to help organize and arrange content on your slides, including the Ruler, guides, and gridlines. These tools make it easier to align objects on your slides. Simply click the check boxes in the Show group on the View tab to show and hide these tools.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The Ruler, Guidelines, and Grids

Simply click and drag to move the horizontal or vertical guides to a new position.

Backstage view

Backstage view gives you various options for saving, opening, printing, and sharing your presentations.

To access Backstage view:

  1. Click the File tab on the Ribbon.
    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Clicking the File tab
  2. Backstage view will appear.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about using Backstage view.

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You can review our lesson on Working with Your Microsoft Account and OneDrive to learn more about using OneDrive.


  1. Open PowerPoint 2013 and create a new presentation.
  2. Click through all of the tabs and review the commands on the Ribbon.
  3. Try minimizing and maximizing the Ribbon.
  4. Add a command to the Quick Access toolbar.
  5. Navigate to Backstage view and open your Account settings.