Add, select, and delete text in PowerPoint

PowerPoint 365
By default, every new slide in a PowerPoint presentation contains placeholders that define the type and position of objects on the slide. Usually, all slides except the presentation title/cover slide have placeholders for a slide title, one or more placeholders for a bulleted list, and one or more levels of secondary sub-lists.

PowerPoint prompts you to fill existing placeholders with text, but you can remove the predefined placeholders and place additional elements on the slides.

Placeholders in PowerPoint 365

Enter text in placeholders

In the Normal view, enter text directly into a placeholder on a slide.

In the Outline view, where the entire presentation is displayed in outline form, enter text in the Outline pane:

Placeholders in Outline view PowerPoint 365

See more about AutoFit feature.


Add text to slides

All slides in a PowerPoint presentation are based on some layout. The layout determines the size and position of placeholders on the slide and the formatting of the placeholder content. Nonetheless, you can easily change the content of a slide and even the layout of a slide.

To add text outside of the placeholder, you can create a new text box and enter text into it. For example:

Example of text box in PowerPoint 365

The text you enter in a text field is automatically formatted with the default formatting associated with text fields. See how to set the default formatting for text boxes.


Insert a text box on a slide

To insert a text box, on the Insert tab, in the Text group, click the Text Box button:

Text Box button in PowerPoint 365  or   Text Box button 2 in PowerPoint 365
  • To create a text box that expands to fit whatever you type on one line, just click the slide where you want the text box to be placed and then enter the text:
    Example of one-line text box in PowerPoint 365
  • To create a fixed-width text box, drag a box to where you want the text box to be placed and then enter the text:
    Example of fixed-width text box in PowerPoint 365

    The text field adjusts to fit the height of one line but retains the width you specify. When the text reaches the right border of the field, a new line is automatically added, and the text wraps. As the text is entered, the width of the box stays the same, but the height increases as needed to accommodate all the text.

See also how to add a WordArt text, format text, and apply text effects in PowerPoint.


Add text to a shape

Some shapes are also text boxes with the formatted outfit.

To insert a shape on the slide, on the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click the Shapes button, and then select the shape you want to insert from the Shapes dropdown list:

Shapes in PowerPoint 365

To add text directly into shapes, do one of the following:

  • Select a shape, then enter the text you want to display on the shape.

    Don't worry that there is no cursor to indicate the location of the text - it appears just after starting typing.

  • Right-click a shape and choose Edit Text in the popup menu:
    Edit text in popup in PowerPoint 365
  • Double-click the shape - the cursor appears to indicate the location of the text; start typing.
    Example of text in shape PowerPoint 365

Select text

To select one character in the PowerPoint presentation slide, do one of the following:

  • Using the keyboard: place the cursor at the beginning of the text (at the end of the text) and then press Shift+ the right arrow (the left arrow) to select a character.
  • Using the mouse: click in front of the character (after the character) and hold while you drag your cursor to select it:.
Example of selected character in PowerPoint 365

To select a single word in the PowerPoint presentation slide, do one of the following:

  • Using the keyboard: place the cursor at the beginning of the word (at the end of the word) and then:
    • Press Shift+ the right arrow (the left arrow) as many times as needed to select all the word letters.
    • Press Ctrl+Shift+ the right arrow (the left arrow).
  • Using the mouse:
    • Click in front of the first letter of the word (after the last letter of the word) and hold while you drag your cursor to select the text you want,
    • Double-click the word:
Example of selected word in PowerPoint 365

To select a line in the PowerPoint presentation slide, do one of the following:

  • Using the keyboard: place the cursor at the beginning of the line (at the end of the line), and then press Shift+ the down arrow (the up arrow).
  • Using the mouse: click in front of the first letter of the first word of the line (after the last letter of the last word of the line) and hold while you drag your cursor to select the text you want:
Example of selected line in PowerPoint 365

To select a paragraph in the PowerPoint presentation slide, do one of the following:

  • Using the keyboard: place the cursor at the beginning of the paragraph (at the end of the paragraph), and press Ctrl+Shift+ the arrow down (the arrow up).
  • Using the mouse:
    • Click in front of the first letter of the first word of the paragraph (after the last letter of the last word of the paragraph) and hold while you drag your cursor to select the text you want,
    • Triple-click the paragraph:
Example of selected paragraph in PowerPoint 365

To select a fragment in the PowerPoint presentation slide, do one of the following:

  • Using the keyboard: place the cursor at the beginning of the fragment you want to select (at the end), and press Shift+ the right arrow (the left arrow).

    To select the line, press Shift+ the arrow down (the arrow up).

  • Using the mouse: click in front of the fragment's first letter (after the fragment's last letter), hold Shift, and then click after the last letter of the fragment you want to select (in front of the first letter of the fragment).

To select all the content in the current placeholder, do one of the following:

  • On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the Select button, and then click Select All:
    Select All in PowerPoint 365
  • Press Ctrl+A.

Delete text in a slide

To delete only one or a few characters, do the following:

   1.   Position the cursor immediately to the left (right) of the text you want to delete.

   2.   Press the Delete (Backspace) key once for each character you want to delete.

To delete any amount of text, select the text you want to delete, then press the Delete key or the Backspace key.

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