Fix: Fix Broken GRAYED OUT Design Ideas Icon In PowerPoint

About this lesson

Is the Design Ideas Tool in PowerPoint grayed out or failing to give solutions? This tutorial will explain why it happens and how to fix it with a guaranteed way to solve the single slide problem. We explain all the ways Design Ideas might break a slide or whole presentation; plus how to avoid or fix the tool.


00:30 Tutorial Agenda
01:05 Basic Reasons It Might Be Broken
01:32 Major Reasons It Breaks
01:45 Using the Wrong View
02:50 Must be Working on Single Slide
03:13 Must Finish Editing before Results
03:40 Badly Created Slide
04:08 Solution: SUBTRACTION
04:41 Slide Layouts – Not All Work
05:40 Custom Layouts
06:02 Themes and Templates
06:40 Custom Themes
06:52 Objects – Big Issue
07:30 Adding Photos
08:50 Not Consistently Broken – Tips To Try
09:45 Troubleshooting Technique Section
10:00 Solution #1: SUBTRACTION
10:37 Solution #2: ADDITION
10:56 Solution #3: Is it the Slide Deck?
11:32 Solution #4: Fixing the Whole Slide Deck
12:02 Solution #5: Guaranteed Solution for a Single Slide


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility Office 2016 and up for WIndows and macOS


Course Completed

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



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You are here because you frustrated with PowerPoints

Design ideas features maybe because it’s grayed out or not generating ideas, whichever might be, you may be screaming at your computer and cursing and Microsoft, as you get unusable action icons or mysterious error messages, calm down. This is Les from Power Up Training and I’m going to help you out. PowerPoint design ideas may be a great asset, but can also be finicky in this tutorial. We’ll assume that your computer works with design ideas. If it never worked or stopped working, then it goes beyond our fixes and may require a reinstallation of the software. Instead, I’m going to be focusing on the why design ideas work and stop working based on a variety of quirks that may apply to a single slide or a full slide deck. And I’ll show you how to remedy these cities. Some basic requirements take full advantage of design ideas. You must have a valid office, 365 installation for either windows or MacOS.

You must be working with the latest file format, which is normal when you save a new file, but could be troublesome. If you’re using an older presentation with the PPT extension, you must also be connected, live to the internet and have no one else collaborating on the presentation. So let’s go into all the ways for design ideas to go off the rails together. We’ll see these problems as listed and some of the issues are context and some are just limitation quirks up our point. So let’s get gone first with user interface. I am working on a windows computer, but this will apply equally well to Mac iOS versions. First off the issue may not be with PowerPoint, but instead due to the view that you’re working from design ideas only show up in the normal view. You’ll see, that is not available in the slide sorter view because well, here, we’re not working on an individual slide, but viewing the whole collection nor will it work in the notes view as the idea is that you should be working on your speaker notes, not designing a slide look and not surprisingly.

It won’t work in the outline view where you’re supposed to be concentrating on building your presentation structure and not working on individual slides. Sorry, I hit the suggested design ideas. You must be in normal view, and then you can click on the design room, menu tab and click on design idea, action icons for the choices to show up. Here’s another interface issue you must be working on just a single slide. If I select one thumbnail, slide on the, and hold down my windows control key or the command key for the Mac to select a second slide. The design ideas goes dark because we’re no longer working on a single slide. And sometimes the design ideas go dark because your computer is thinking. Watch they add some text to my main bullet point section and the design ideas is waiting for me to finish editing before suggesting some various light layouts.

If you’re not patient, you could click on an empty spot on the page to signify that you’re done editing and the results may flash up a few milliseconds faster. The next issue, maybe just an overly busy slide that was created by just adding objects onto a page. See our other tutorials on the proper way to create a presentation, to keep the contents in a format that PowerPoint knows how to work with the error message here just says it has no ideas for this slide. So let me use one of our suggested techniques of subtraction. I’m taking off one element at a time waiting for a moment to see if a design ideas respond or if not deleting the next element. What I find quirky is that sometimes even with the same slide, I take off the elements in a different order and PowerPoint design ideas wakes up sooner than it did with the other steps I can even add elements back in and PowerPoint then responds is often unpredictable.

Hi, the next potential issue is based on PowerPoint slide layout. There are standards that design ideas will work with as listed here and sometimes others might or might not respond watches. I do go up to the home menu and then use the drop down list of layouts to select several different pre done layout and see how it works. Once again, patients may be required and possibly a click into an empty space that may kick PowerPoint into gear. Also note that the other lady it’s may not fit with your content and the text. So the design ideas may look bad, but the key takeaway is that you need to be aware of what layout you’re using to make sure that PowerPoint will be willing to offer up a design idea. If you subscribed to PowerUp training’s YouTube channel you’d know that we’re big bands managing master slides, which includes the ability to create your own layout.

Here’s an ugly example of a custom layout, but even still PowerPoint will try its hardest to offer up an alternative design, but there are some layouts even layouts, such as comparison that will stump point in a multi even try. Okay. Another element that could become an issue are the design templates and themes. For the most part, the standard design themes found in PowerPoint should work just fine. Although from time to time, I do find that what once worked no longer works. So I’ll need to use one of the resolution techniques that I’ll cover towards the end of this tutorial, but other themes and templates that you may have downloaded off the internet or purchased or found on your corporate organization. Communication department sites may not work either. Don’t worry, we’ll fix this in a few moments, but I want to point out that some custom themes such as this one that we created in another tutorial will work, but with only limited choices.

So I’m not sure if that really counts or helps now onto more potential picks falls objects, add very specific objects or combinations of objects or even number of objects can make design ideas, just playing, give up watches. We add in a 3d animation item and then Gar boring just throws up his hands and says, Nope, I’m not gonna do it. That will happen every time, but is there an icon or a sticker? And we’ll usually continue to work, but not always. Let’s undo Fido and work with something that design ideas often excels at, which is the arranging of photos, unless there’s too many photos on a single page I’m going to go into and we’re going to insert a collection of photos and see what happens. PowerPoint looks and says too many for me to handle. I quit and then doesn’t even try. So let’s use our subtraction technique and slowly remove the photos one by one, waiting between deletes to give the software a chance to come up with a solution.

And in this situation is not until we get down to just as single photo that PowerPoint finally says, okay, I can handle, but I know that PowerPoint is just goofing off handled two or three, or maybe even double that. Let’s try that again. But this time I’m going to only insert three photos. And now there are no complaints with some very good design layout choices, including incorporating the slide, clip art, only failing with the floating watch as you build text box, which while bad advice on this slide from an appearance perspective, it is great advice when you’re adding elements to do it one at a time and watch to make sure that the design ideas continue to function. Now under more frustration, some objects work and some don’t. And even when they don’t, it may be for other reasons, watch they add a chart item and it is a no go.

So I try to remove the clip art image. It’s still a no-go, but what if I make the charts smaller? Nope. Well, let me move it to another locations. Whoa. Then it’s a go. And now I give a double side of PowerPoint. Oh, so many variables. So you may need to resize or reduce the number of objects per page. So my upbeat suggestion is don’t give up too easily. Try different combinations to see if that kickstarts PowerPoint. Now that we understand the potential pitfalls let’s get into the troubleshooting techniques. Note, this line has no design ideas. As we’re using PowerPoints zoom tool, subscribe to the channel. If you want to learn how these following interactive slides work in a slide show, here’s our first approach subtraction in all of these tips, I recommend that you save your work in advance and make a copy of the slide or presentation.

So you can go back just in case it messes up. In this case, we’re working to fix one broken slide. So duplicate that one slide and then start removing objects one by one, like we did for the photo example. And when the design ideas comes back to life, you might experiment adding in the removed objects, in different orders and sizes we give that does not work. You need to get more radical and go to the additive approach, create an empty slide, select your desired layout first, then make sure and add in your text. Text only make sure that the design ideas is still working. Then slowly add in your extra elements, watching the design ideas with each addiltion. BUT what if it is the whole slide presentation and not just one slide. Well to confirm that this is the issue, you need to do a test by checking each slide.

If some work and others do not, then go back to our addition and subtraction techniques for each of the offending slide. But if they’re all broken, do test the computer by creating a blank presentation to make sure the design ideas are still working. If design ideas are completely broken, you may need to find another computer to work on. As you have a deeper problem with this particular computer. And if you confirm is the whole slide deck, then copy all the slides from say, inside the slide sorter view, then go create a blank new presentation, choose a different theme. Test a simple slide to make sure that design ideas is still working, then paste your copied in, but do a paste special and select use destination theme. And at this point you should be ready to go to do additional modifications, but if you only need one slide, say the title slide, then you can cheat with our last technique.

Here’s the concept. Start with a new blank presentation next, create a single slide. Then apply a design idea. Your choice. Look above for a link to our video about creating unique titles slides based on design idea roulette. Then copy the single slide and paste this time with a keep the existing format. Watch start with a blank presentation. I’m going to add in some content in this case, just some basic text of fixed my slide show with a one-page fix. Now explore the design ideas which you’ll be working with for just this single fly presentation. It should work now, apply it next. Copy the slide and go back to the trouble presentation and paste it in, but make sure to do a pay special and choose, keep the existing format. And now you have your single slide with us. Slick design. This is the fastest and easiest fix for the sometimes trouble design idea tool. I admit it’s a band-aid, but it’s a very, very, pretty band-aid that will work every time. If this tutorial was useful do like it and share it with your coworkers and friends, leave any comments or tricks you have in the YouTube comments below and do subscribe from our PowerPoint training tutorials until next time go power up. [MUSIC].