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PowerPoint Action Buttons: One-Click Wonders

PowerPoint action buttons work like hyperlinks but require fewer steps. Using this function allows you to automatically define where you want your button to lead.

You can set it to jump to any specific slide. It can also prompt a video or sound clip to play on your browser, or on a different program. While the more recent versions of PowerPoint – 2010 onwards – have multimedia options that don’t require you to go outside the slide, hyperlinking still proves beneficial for those who prefer an easier PowerPoint design experience.

This tutorial offers you a quick guide on how to use this convenient PowerPoint tool.

Different types of PowerPoint action buttons

Start by clicking on the Insert tab and click on the Shapes button. You’ll see a selection of different shape types. At the bottom of the drop-down box, you will see the different action buttons that you can use:

powerpoint action buttons 01

  • Back or Previous
  • Forward or Next
  • Beginning
  • End
  • Home
  • Information
  • Return
  • Movie
  • Document
  • Sound
  • Help
  • Custom

Creating a command with action buttons

Choose the kind of button you want to use and draw it on the slide. This will automatically prompt a dialogue box to appear:

powerpoint action buttons 02

Here, you can create commands for your action button. You can link to a specific slide, a different PowerPoint presentation, a URL, or any file saved in your computer. You can also prompt a sound file to play. You can choose from sound files available on PowerPoint or use your own.

For this tutorial, I’m going to create a button that will link to the SlideGenius contact form. To do that, I selected Hyperlink to and chose URL from the list of options. After that, I pasted the URL into the dialogue box that appeared and clicked OK.

powerpoint action buttons 03

Since you’re essentially working with a shape, you can also customize these action buttons any way you want. I chose to change its background and outline color to match the rest of my presentation.

powerpoint action buttons 04

The Final Word

There you have it! In just a few steps, you can make action buttons and have a PowerPoint presentation that’s easier to manage. It can help you give a more streamlined presentation. If you’re building an interactive deck, it can also add a more enriching experience.

If you’re building an interactive deck, it can also add a more enriching experience.

Need more help with your PowerPoint designs? Read our previous tutorials, or contact us to work with professional presentation designers.



Multimedia – PowerPoint, Presentations.” Indezine. Accessed September 4, 2014.


Featured Image: Eric Kilby via Flickr

Using PowerPoint Shape Tool to Create Powerful Presentations

The Shapes tool in PowerPoint is very useful for creating diagrams, graphics and other visual elements for your presentations. Its large collection of shapes allows you to add balloons, borders, arrows, and other shape designs in your presentations. This functionality also helps create custom shapes depending on your design requirements.

Working with PowerPoint Shape tool is very easy. It’s as simple as locating the Insert tab and clicking on Shapes. Doing so will launch a popup window where you can choose any shape that you need. To give you an idea, here are a couple of ways you can manipulate shapes in PowerPoint Slides:

Adding Text to Shapes

Draw a shape and then start typing to add text. By default, the texts will be centered on the shape, but you can change alignment by selecting them and using the contextual mini-toolbar.

The text will not auto-re-size, however, to stay within the shape’s borders. It simply adjusts the shape as you continue typing.

To control this, right-click on the shape and select Format Shape. Then, click Text Options and after that, Text Box. Depending on your preference, change it to either “Shrink text on overflow” or “Resize shape to fit text,”

Naturally, putting so much text on a shape is not exactly a great idea but at least you know how to work around it. As you create them, both text and the shape become part of the same object.

Deleting the shape will also delete the text. If you want text to be separate from the shape, redraw the shape and use the Text Box tool when you type the text. If you need to move them together, you may choose to group them.

Changing a Shape into Another Shape

Let’s do this with the arrow shape. Choose the arrow from the Shapes menu and add it to your slide.


Clicking on it will cause two yellow diamonds appear on its opposite sides. These diamonds indicate the areas of the arrow that you can edit.



Click and hold the diamond on the left portion of the arrow. Then, try dragging it for a bit in a downward direction. You will see that this lets you control the width of the arrow’s frame. Click and hold the other diamond at the top of the arrow. Drag it to the right. Doing so allows you to manipulate the size of the pointer.


As you control the yellow diamonds, you can change the way the arrow is shown on the slide.

These are just some of the ways you can play with PowerPoint’s Shape functionality. We’ll be doing some more demonstration in the following days, so stay tuned.