One of my favorite PowerPoint tool is the Selection Pane. It’s a handy little tool to organize and manage the objects on a slide, such as shapes, images, textboxes, groups of objects and so on. I use it in two ways, mostly when working with slides that have multiple objects:

  1. to hide some objects in a slide
  2. to name objects so they’re easy to identify
  3. and to change the layer position. 

As usual, we will use PowerPoint 2016, but if you have PowerPoint 2013 or 2010, it will be the same. Follow these steps to get started with Selection Pane in PowerPoint (or you can watch the video tutorial on YouTube here):

First thing First!

Before we get started, we need to show the Selection Pane first. Here’s the steps.

Figure 1. Steps to show the Selection Pane in PowerPoint.
Figure 1. Steps to show the Selection Pane in PowerPoint.
  • On the Home tab (1) in the Drawing group, click the Arrange (2) drop-down menu.
  • Choose Selection Pane … (3).
  • The Selection Pane appears on the right side with a list of all objects on the slide (4).

Hiding Objects on a Slide

I use Selection Pane to hide objects in a slide. It gets them out of the way without deleting them. For example, the slide below has four object (“Speak” textbox; “whenever, wherever” textbox; “Kleidung Jager” picture; and a bag icon on the right side of the slide). When they’re all showing, the slide is really messy.

Figure 2. Messy objects on a slide.
Figure 2. Messy objects on a slide.

Based on the image above, I want to hide Kleidung Jager picture and a bag icon. In the Selection Pane, toggle the object’s visibility. Click the “eye” icon to hide the object (see image below).

Figure 3. The selected objects are now hidden.
Figure 3. The selected objects are now hidden.

Naming Objects on a Slide

When you insert an object, PowerPoint names it using the default object’s name (for example, Textbox 12, Picture 1, Rectangle 3, etc). When you have multiples of an object and you want to animate the objects, you can rename the objects on a slide to make it easy to recognize.

The slide below has three groups, one for each team, but it’s hard to tell which group is Team #1. Renaming the groups will make it easy to identify them.

Figure 4. Unnamed groups are hardly to recognize.
Figure 4. Unnamed groups are hard to recognize.

Follow these steps to rename the object’s name.

  1. In the Selection Pane, click on an object name, and click again to make the field editable.
  2. Edit the object name.
  3. Click outside the name field. The new object name appears (see image below).

Here’s what renamed objects look like in the Animation Pane. 

Figure 5. Named groups, makes easy to recognize.

Figure 5. Named objects, makes easy to recognize.
Figure 5. Named objects, makes easy to recognize.

Change the Layer Position

It’s very easy to change the layer position of an object. All you need to do is just drag and drop them to the top or to the bottom. Drag to the top of another object means that your object’s layer is on the top of that object. Drag to the bottom of another object means that your object’s layer is on the bottom of that object.

  1. In the Selection Pane, click on an object’s name, and start to drag them to the position that you want.
  2. Once you’ve done with the final position, release the mouse click.

Well, that’s it. So easy right? In the next tutorial, you will learn more about Coloring. Click here to get started. Happy editing.

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