All About: All About Design Ideas in PowerPoint Tutorial

About this lesson

The Design Ideas tool in PowerPoint is a must-know tool and this tutorial will explain all about how to maximize the visual impact it brings to your slides.

This is an amazing tool if you are running some of the later versions of PowerPoint.  Make your slides look beautiful.


01:20 Course Contents
02:12 Version Requirements for Design Ideas
03:53 Decisions that Impact the Whole Slide Deck
04:11 Change Font Typography for Design Ideas
05:43 Change Color Schemes for Design Ideas
06:53 Design Ideas working with Design Themes
08:42 Object that Impacts Individual Slides
09:12 Words Matter in Design Ideas
10:50 Design Ideas Roulette
11:57 Design Ideas and Word Density
12:58 Action Words and Matching Action Icons
13:44 Changing Action Icon
14:12 SmartArt and Design Ideas Together
16:16 Creating a Timeline in PowerPoint
18:25 Recognized Text for Timelines
18:50 Slide Layout and Design Ideas Interaction
20:20 Design Ideas are Limited to Specific Layouts
21:25 Charts & Tables with Design Ideas
22:04 Limit to One Table or Chart per Design Ideas
22:53 Photos and Design Ideas
23:30 Multiple Photos
24:09 Limit to Six Photos per Design Ideas
24:52 Design Ideas Focusing on Faces in Photos


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility Windows and macOS from PowerPoint 2016 up to the most recent versions


Course Completed

PDF Files There are not any files associated with this lesson.



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Welcome to all about PowerPoint Design Ideas. The Ultimate Video Guide for one of Microsoft’s coolest design tools. Take a dull slide like this and transform it with Design Ideas, with a couple of mouse clicks, you can add visual pizzazz to your slide presentation that will look fresh and unique to your ideas. The tool generates almost unlimited variations that may at first seem somewhat random. But in this deep dive tutorial, we will understand the underlying logic for the various looks so that you can generate a variety of different looks to choose from. And if you’re watching carefully, you may have noticed that the last four Slides that we’ve just seen, were with identical content, but with PowerPoint presenting different layouts. And here comes another slide for us to see what might fit our presentation. Let the tool do the idea generation. And it’s up to us to choose the right look to freshen up our slide deck. Hi, this is Les from Power Up Training, where I bring my decades of presentation experience to you for free. Now, let’s power up to all about Design Ideas. Here is our course outline shown in a basic black and white of a generic PowerPoint slide. So this does not fit our agenda. Let’s jazz it up quickly. Breaking out of the presenter mode. I’m clicking on the Design Ribbon Menu, and the Design Ideas action icon and selecting the first slide redesign all in under 10 seconds. In our tutorial, we’re going to cover the concepts of Design Ideas, including the bizarre random roulette table results, plus the required version of the PowerPoint. And you must have the correct version, then dive into explaining how the tool works at the slide deck level, and diving down deeper into how it impacts the specific Slides. So that you can remove the randomness and take control of Design Ideas. Here’s a quick explanation of what is Design Ideas. This look is not going to get it. So another quick transformation with the Design Ideas tool that is subject to this trading session. Okay, that looks better. Design Ideas was introduced with the most basic of features with PowerPoint 2016. And over the five plus years, more and more capabilities have been added with all the best enhancements done in the Office 365 versions for desktops. But the standalone PowerPoint 2019 and 2021 have many of the capabilities just not all the best. As long as you have the latest version, the tool works equally well on Windows and the Mac OS. But you must be connected to the internet, no connectivity, and no ideas will be generated. Should you not see the tool and you believe you have the rights to it. Then check the video listed above. For troubleshooting. of missing Design Ideas icon. Design Ideas work at the individual slide level, it does not format a full slide deck with a click of a mouse, you have to transform the Slides one at a time. And as we’ll explore, there are situations where the slide design tool will not work and will work together to witness the frustration of Design Ideas roulette, which is when you see a great design that you like. And when you refresh the tool, the look is nowhere to be found. It seems to be lost. Okay, let’s get going. I’m going to begin with exploring the complete slide deck elements that will be impacted by all future Design Ideas. These are the three things that you want to change up front. And we’re gonna start off with font typography. All slide decks have a foundation typography family. This apply to all the Slides. Yes, you can deviate from the foundation font type, but all future text starts with the default font family. In this slide deck, we are using Calibri. And when we apply the design idea, it will build all the proposed designs based on this Calibri font. See, but like all elements in PowerPoint, we can choose a different font family to fit our vision. Here. I’m selecting design from the Ribbon Menu. And then over on the right there’s a drop down arrow next to variance. And there I can choose fonts. For this tutorial I We’ll select Franklin Gothic, a saref type of font with different spacing, even when using the same font size. This messed up our Design Ideas with the obvious broken look of the word typography, which is now too long to fit in the graphic element. It’s an easy fix by just regenerate a new design idea. But it doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to realize that if we had formatted our whole slide deck with one font choice, and then changed our minds, after applying a bunch of design elements, that our work would have to be repeated all over again. So choose your font typography upfront, the concept is exactly the same for color schemes. A selected color scheme is applied across the full slide deck, and Design Ideas generate much of its looks based on the color choices. Here we have blue warm tie to our presentation. And this selected Design Ideas have this muted blue and gray and black look. But if I go to the Design Ribbon Menu, and choose the variants drop down arrow, and they’re all fine colors, I’m going to choose red, orange. And our design proposals take on a whole new set of color hues, various shades of red, and orange, and blacks. And I go back to change the color schemes to green yellow, all the recommended Design Ideas get regenerated again to match these colors. To learn more about color schemes, see our tutorial listed above. Now for the last of the design decisions you should do up front before generating Design Ideas, design themes. design themes have been with PowerPoint from the very beginning, he was almost the original Design Ideas as if you selected a look, it transforms the whole presentation with a standardized look of design elements plus a color scheme, and the font typography family. Watch as I go to design and choose design template called integral. See how the Slides all follow the Design Ideas now incorporate not just the blue look, but the fancy circular object shapes to keep the Design Ideas in sync with the overall design theme. Let’s try another design theme of eon. And the colors and the repeating elements of the red objects shows up on all of our Design Ideas. And one way to modify a theme is to select a variant. And here we go with red. And sure enough, the Design Ideas will follow our lead to transform all of its future recommendations. And as a footnote, the design themes include not just the preset background elements, but also a set of fonts and color schemes that matches as we discussed earlier, these will impact your Design Ideas. If you need to better understand themes and templates. Look at this tutorial. For the rest of the tutorial, I want to reset the theme back to the basic office blank theme, so that we don’t get distracted with the influences of a design theme. So to recap, set your colors and font typography family first, before experimenting with Design Ideas. And this holds equally true for selecting a design template upfront. Now to the specifics of the elements that impacts individual Slides, Design Ideas must be connected to the internet, as it taps the artificial intelligence of cloud Microsoft to generate the ideas, and the tool inspects the individual elements to make the recommendations. It looks at the words, the concepts, the images, and tries to intelligently recommend specific solutions for that specific slide.

Let’s start off with words and the meaning of words as they relate to your specific slide design. Yes, words do matter. And the reason is not just for powerful presentations to persuade your target audience, but also for Design Ideas. Microsoft will use this artificial intelligence in the cloud to attempt to find keywords and turn them into Design Ideas. Our first example does make PowerPoint a little conflicted. Design Ideas starts by focusing in on the words matter and interprets it as a scientific word as in the physical substance or molecules, but it also offers up designs for words with when designed using book pages, and another comic word balloons. Let’s provide PowerPoint, some focus by removing the matter. And now we get the same book image plus a slide with a jumble of alphabetic letters, replacing the single word of words with matter. And now PowerPoint goes all in with molecules and gases, not for something different sales goal. And it seemed to have focused on the word goal with a soccer goal, or an arrow and a target. The single word of sales now just shows that it believes we’re a business looking and gives us some designs of charts and trends. The single word of goals surprisingly gives us a different set of reaching our target goals. This brings us up to the idea of Design Ideas roulette, as you never know what will show up. Sometimes you win. Sometimes a Miss look at the business slide based on the longer title of last quarter sales report and change it completely to weather forecasts, we get a weather theme, but it seems like either weather is just blue skies or tornadoes. Looking at travel agenda, it falls a bit short. As we saw before, two completely separate concept words can confuse PowerPoint. But if I added some details to the title of travel agenda to Europe, I get some very specific results, including this photo of a European city destination. So play with your words to get different images. But after finding the right look or image, do not hesitate to go back and edit the word title to more accurately match your presentation topic. Remember, Design Ideas are just that brainstorming suggestions, you can always alter the final slide as you desire. The next design idea word topic has to do with word density. Design Ideas, does a great job with fewer words. As a general rule, having fewer words per page is a great PowerPoint Maxim to live by. People’s eyes will glaze over with too many words on a page. Design Ideas will typically fall short when there are too many lines of text. See these examples here and here. And here, as the text font is just too small. But look at this suggestion. The use of colors, boxes and words dramatically improves the Slides readability. As I said before, you can go back and edit the slide after picking a design idea. Here I’m just changing the linebreak in the title. But I would go back probably and move the title up a bit and make the core slide design a bit larger. Back to the meaning of words, and the use of action words. When I prompt PowerPoint for design idea, there’s something pretty clever working here. Some of the design suggestions have action icons to match the action words, see the cleverness of the words being emphasized with a matching icon. And just to prove how clever PowerPoint can be, we’re going to focus on changing the word by removing the assemble a team which has the icon of three people and replacing it with buy materials. I did undo this slide to make the change. But look at the new recommendations. The three people icon was replaced with a shopping cart for our buy materials. If you didn’t like that recommendation, then just click the Select the icon. Right click to find the menu of change graphic. And I’m going to select from stock images and then click on icon. So to match I’m going to search for money and pick a new icon. Pay attention. The icons are shown as black, but when dropped into our slide, the new icon follows the color scheme of the slide.

Let’s look under the hood to see how Design Ideas implements some of the Slides redesigns. Often PowerPoint examines the Slides and decides that a suitable SmartArt layout is used to re envision the data. SmartArt is another powerful tool for presenting data that combines words and shapes into a single tool. Look when I click on the redesign and uncover the Smart Art interface. On the left is where the text is entered, and the use of outline indents decide where to locate inside the graphics. See how the first topic has four sub points and PowerPoint represents them into four smaller boxes aligned under the main title. You can edit the SmartArt either on the left side in the outline, or by clicking directly on the graphic to type in the text and make your changes. You could also go back and browse other SmartArt layouts by hovering your mouse on a Windows computer or clicking on any one of the layouts to try them out. There are over 200 SmartArt, layouts, yes 200 layouts. And this is where Design Ideas shines. It typically does a pretty good job of pre selecting one of those 200 layouts to match your data. But you can experiment with other layouts. And once perfected, you go back and you’re able to update the color scheme with a preview set of choices to explore, and then go on to look at the style of the boxes on how they’re presented. So you have unlimited choices to enhance your single slide. This is a fabulous tool. And if you want to learn more about SmartArt, I have a half a dozen tutorials. But best to start here with the above listed class on SmartArt. Creating a timeline is a specialized type of PowerPoint slide that can be hard to do. But Design Ideas might help. With this slide of tasks listed in order Design Ideas does offer some nice ways of displaying the list, and the even throws in the calendar. But it is not a timeline. But, if I use the same list and just add dates at the end of each task, then, wow, I do get several timeline choices. This looks visually nice, but do pay attention that this is more pretty than completely accurate. The timeline is not time accurate, meaning that the length of time is not accurately portrayed, such as the timescale of December punch list walkthrough to February moving items are represented as the same distance between buy material and hirer workforce, which takes place in the same month. So do keep the timescale in mind. And you may need to reveal that to your audience. So as not to deceive them. Let’s take a bit deeper on the formatting of the text to get timelines because it is quirky. Our previous example had the action and the time reference on the same line. But here I have the action and then the date as a sub bullet. And when looking at the Design Ideas, we get no timelines. Now look at the next slide. It has the exact same data, but I swapped the position. The action and the date are now on the other ends with a date on the top and the action as a sub bullet. Looking now we get timeline recommendations. Pay attention that we use days of the week, this time, not like the earlier example of month. And here, as PowerPoint recognizes dates in many different formats. And here’s a third example, where I’m using full dates of MONTH, DAY and YEAR to generate the timeline Design Ideas. To summarize, here’s a list of various time formats that PowerPoint will recognize and attempt to transform to timelines, you may need to experiment with the task and the dates and their positions on the same line or in a bullet sub bullet relationship.

Let’s leave words behind and switch to another variable that greatly impacts our Design Ideas. Slide Layouts. Unrelated to Design Ideas, PowerPoint has a variety of layouts for different types of Slides. A typical layout is the slide title layout for the first slide of a presentation. If Design Ideas recognizes the layout, it gives you different results. Look at this title slide and it has bolder designs, plus some new and special items to give the title some actions and moving videos. If you look at the bottom corner of the design suggestions, you may see a small video camera indicating that that design idea has a motion video or a small star with a bullet lines indicating the the words will be animated in this slide design. Let me select the dog title slide and jump into the slide presentation to show how it would appear. Note that if I were to go back in and select this design idea and then change the layout, the dog video remains but just the placements get rearranged. The two most common layouts are the Title, which we saw a moment ago, and this one called Title and contents, with the title at the top, and typical bullets in the center of the slide, but there’s a bunch more layouts in PowerPoint. However, Design Ideas only recognizes a subset of them. The way you change the layout is in the Home Ribbon Menu, and the drop down box for layout. Here, I went back to the title layout. Design Ideas will only work with the layouts listed here. But they are typically the most common. And as you do switch layouts, Design Ideas works hard to find the match design idea. Watch when I change between the two layouts that seem similar, here’s the title and two contents layouts with the title and underneath two separate text bullet placeholders. Design Ideas works. But if I switch to compare with add a box title above each of the bullet placeholders, Design Ideas gives up and says no Design Ideas for this slide. If you want to see more scenarios where Design Ideas, fails to generate suggestions, and how to fix that problem, look for this troubleshooting video listed above. Now time to move on to objects that do work with Design Ideas. This will be quick as the first three are extremely similar charts and graphs, you add a chart to your slide, then that object should be the main focus. Idea design is aware of that goal, and typically will just add some subject enhancements, keeping the chart front and center or I should say the center of attention. The same is true for tables, insert a table and let Design Ideas recommends ways to accentuate your table. But here’s a potential issue. A single slide can only have a single table or chart. If you add a second element, then you’re going to get the dreaded Sorry, no Design Ideas for this slide. So the rule is one chart, or one table per slide.

An ink drawings can also be incorporated into Design Ideas. Here’s a quick nonsensical doodle. And sure enough Design Ideas can work it into our theme. However, I’ve seen it fail for more elaborate drawings, so you may need to combine the things into a single group. To learn how and more about drawing and inking in PowerPoint. See this tutorial listed above photos. We’ve seen Design Ideas introduced images to our Slides. But watch how more powerful a slide can become when you add a specific targeted image. Here, I’m working in the insert Ribbon Menu, and under pictures, I’m going to select stock images. Then I’m going to look for a supply chain transportation image by searching on transportation. The cargo ship is an excellent choice. And look at the variety of Design Ideas I’m presented with. This is excellent. Well, let’s explore with what happens if I drop in more than one image because that failed with charts and tables. However, when I searched for city and randomly choose five images, they all get dropped on top my slide, stacked on top. But Design Ideas to the rescue. It does a fabulous job as I cycled through some of the suggestions. This is another spot where Design Ideas shines, working with multiple pictures and introducing some new and very unique design looks. So if five pictures look great, what about six or more. I’m gonna sift through searching under industry and choosing not five, but six photos and dropping them into the slide. Once there I select Design Ideas and wait for a moment and six photos work. However, if I now go to seven photos in super super fast mode, we find that Design Ideas will throw up his hands and say sorry, no Design Ideas for this slide. So we found the limit of photos to be six Max. Note that Microsoft keeps incrementally improving Office 365 So maybe this will change in the future. One last photo trick. When you add multiple photos, Design Ideas will sometimes need to creatively crop or cut out some of the image to fit on the page. For inanimate objects that may be okay, but not for people we want to see faces. So one of the more recent updates is for Design Ideas to look for the main face to center the crop around. I’m going to select a variety of people have images here. And note that the main head may or may not be in the middle, or on the side or there’d be multiple people within each pictures. Let’s see what Design Ideas does to intelligently layout the slide centered around people. Let me freeze it right here. Note the dress-shirt man with a dark frame glasses is on the left of this one photo with other autofocus people on the right in this picture. Now let’s see how Design Ideas creatively people crops. This is amazing. dress shirt man is in the center of that image. And faces tend to be shown dead center of each cropped image no matter where they were located in the original photos. There’s even one where PowerPoint elected to center on to people picking them out of the crowded photo of others. This new enhancement of photos with faces is fantastic. So in summary before you begin any Design Ideas enhancements to setup the slide deck font family, the color scheme, and if you wish, select a design theme. Then go through and add visual punch to all your Slides that contains a variety of objects. And now that you know the how and why of Design Ideas, you can leverage this tool to make all of your Slides sing. Here at Power Up Training. We have over 100 tutorials just on PowerPoint alone, so that you can become an expert on all aspects of this tool. Here are just some of the tutorials that you’ll find. If this was helpful, do like this YouTube tutorial, share it with friends and co workers and subscribe so as encouraged me to make more free videos for you. To see all of our tutorials, visit our free PowerPoint training school at So until next time, go power up