Tutorial: Interactive PowerPoint Presentation Slide Technique with Zoom

About this lesson

Learn the cool trick of the Zoom tool to create emphasis on objects within PowerPoint Slide Show Presentations. Use interactive clicks to highlight different parts of a slide to focus the attention of your audience.

This tutorial for Windows and Mac will teach how to use the illusion of the Zoom tool to create interactive slides that perform different tasks based on the hotspot clicking in the slideshow. Great for bringing the focus on spots of a slide when needed.


  • 00:00 Intro
  • 00:07 Question: How To Create an Interactive Slide
  • 00:41 The Preview of Project
  • 01:14 How It Works – An Overview
  • 02:05 Step 1: Design the Base Slide
  • 02:32 Step 2: Duplicate the Slide, as many as needed
  • 03:07 Keyboard Shortcuts for Duplicating Slides
  • 03:15 Step 3: Customizing Slide for Emphasis
  • 04:02 Trick: Painter Format Tool to Copy Shape Attributes
  • 04:14 Trick: Move Object with Keyboard, not Mouse
  • 04:41 Step 4: Apply the Zoom Action
  • 05:43 Trick: Launch Slide Show from Current Slide
  • 06:24 The Context-Aware Menu of the ZOOM TOOL
  • 06:39 Windows vs Mac Zoom Toolbar Difference
  • 07:03 Get Zoom to Return Back to Starting Slide
  • 07:16 Turn Off Zoom Transition
  • 07:54 Turn Zoom Hotspot Thumbnail into an Invisible Object
  • 08:25 Use a Transparent blank image as a Placeholder
  • 09:35 Adding All Zoom Slides at Once
  • 10:32 Removing Zoom Thumbnail Border to make Invisible Hotspot
  • 11:20 Fix the Order of the Zoom Slides in Slide Deck
  • 11:57 Windows Shortcut: Quick Add Slides as Zoom Object
  • 12:50 Wrap-Up


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility Mac and Windows


Course Completed




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Hi, this is Les McCarter from Power Up Training with another of our series called “YouTube Subscriber Questions.”

KGS wants to be able to on-demand, highlight a row or column on a table during a slide show and be able to jump to any row or column in any order to focus the attention on the specific set of data.

The question came from our PowerPoint 365 Animation for the Apple Mac tutorial, listed above.

Our solution will work for both Windows and Mac, and once you see it, the technique should open your ideas to many other creative use of the PowerPoint Zoom tool.

Let preview the solution

Here we have a table and should our audience have a question about column 2, we can click and have it highlighted

When done, we can click anyone on the slide and return back to the main table and be ready for the next questions, such as for column 4 or Row b. All of this is adhoc and can be repeated or when done, go on to the next slide.

But let’s not worry about the steps, they will come naturally in a few minutes, instead, lets peek behind the curtains and see what happens.

Here is our main slide and on it, there are seven hidden hotspot click spots. When you click on the hot spot, it will jump to the matching slide with the highlight for that row or column and when done, it returns back

Now don’t worry about writing down this list of steps, I will be providing a link to this cheatsheet PDF at the end of the tutorial.

We will work with an existing sample presentation that you can see in the slide sorter view.

And I will double-click on a slide with a similar table from our first example.

So step #1 is critical. Make the focus slide EXACTLY how you want it to look. Once you do this effect, it is hard to update as you want this slide to look exactly the same all seven soon to be duplicated slides.

Change your mind later, and have to make the same edit on all the seven other slides.

So make sure it is right.

Step 2 is to duplicate the slide for as many times as want hot spots to focus on. In our case we will need three more duplicates for the rows and four more for the columns if we want to be able to dynamically highlight any data set.

While this duplication process can be done in a variety of methods, I like to visually see the collection on my screen, so I will bring up the slide sorter view from the bottom right corner

Now with the target base slide selected, duplicate 7 times with the keyboard shortcut.
For Windows, CTRL + D and for the Mac it is SHIFT + COMMAND + D

Now on to step 3, customizing the duplicated slides. Here you can creatively decide how to highlight the individual item for each of the 7 slides. I will create a circle from the insert shapes, and then make the center fill color set to none and finally make the exterior line of the circle bright red with a bigger border.

With that done, I can now copy my circle highlight tool and go to each of the six next slides and position them of each of the hot data sets I will later want to highlight if needed.

I will speed this up. But do note that for the rows, I am going to use a rectangular shape inserted and then use the trick of using the format painter tool to replicate the formatting on the rectangular. Look above for our YouTube tutorial on tis types of shortcuts.

The other shortcut I am using is once the object is pasted, I am using my keyboard arrow keys to move the objects to make sure they stay aligned.

So to check our progress, we used the original table slide as our focus slide and then duplicated it seven times with changes on each of the other seven focusing on a different part of the slide.

That means we are ready for the magic of ZOOM.

So we have set the stage and now we can go into normal slide view mode, working on our original base table slide, and go to the INSERT menu on the ribbon menu and select the drop-down box next to ZOOM. This is the same for Windows and Mac. On that dropdown menu, we will select the last item called SLIDE ZOOM>

This will present all of our slides to choose from, and for this demo, I will just select one. We will come back in a few moments for the others with a pro-speed trick.

Once selected, the target slide literally shows up as a live thumbnail that is a clickable hot spot. I say live, because if it is changed in the future, the thumbnail will change.

Now I will drag it above the FRUIT column as this will be our clickable hotspot and then resize it so that it is just above the column.

To see this work, we need to run the slide show, but if I click th top left shortcut slideshow icon, it will start from slide 1, I want to start on slide 5, so here is another pro-tip, use the screen icon on the bottom right corner to launch into the slide show from the current slide.

ANd here is the slideshow with the visible hot spot, click it one and it ZOOMs via a growing transition to the highlighted slide of column 1. Not exactly our goal, but close.

And one more issue, when clicked again, it does NOT return back to the original slide but moves to the next one of the PETS column.

So we have two things to fix!

All of the Zoom modifications are found in a context-aware menu. Context-aware means that when you click the object, a very specific menu pops up that is specific to the object, in our case the ZOOM tool.

One more thing, there is a VERY SMALL difference between the Windows version and the Mac OS version and that is simply the WORDING. the Mac version calls it the ZOOM TOOL and Windows calls it simply ZOOM. Everything else is exactly the same.

To be clear, I will call it the ZOOM TOOL menu to distinguish from the actual zoom objects.

Now let’s fix our two problems. The first being is that we want the highlighted slide to return back to our main slide after showing it, and that is a simple click of the RETURN TO ZOOM checkbox. Turn it on.

And our second issue is that we don’t want to zoom into the slide with a transition, we want to jump straight to the modified dataset focus slide, so we turn OFF the ZOOM TRANSITION.

Let’s test it out in the slide show.

So now when we click the zoom hotspot, it takes us straight to the slide without the zoom transition visual effect, giving the appearance that the click made the red circle pop up on fruit.

And for our second change, when we are done with this slide view, a click has us jump BACK to the original base slide.

We have another clean-up action to perform at that is to make our zoom hotspot disappear and leave an invisible hotspot. The way we do this is to change the image to an invisible object.

With the zoom object selected, we click the ZOOM TOOL context menu and then select CHANGE IMAGE.

We can turn it into almost anything, but here is our situation. My current background is not a solid color, so I can’t select a solid color square icon. I need an invisible object, and that is something called a transparent image. Do a google search for “transparent empty png” or look for our cheatsheet for a link.

So I will change the image to FROM A FILE on my computer and look for the transparent empty PNG image file that I have already downloaded onto my computer.

And once selected and inserted, our ZOOM image is now a transparent empty square.

Now when we run the slide show, we have a more natural slide without the clutter of the zoom thumbnail and we can see where our hotpot click is for us to highlight the FRUIT data set with a click and then with another click we can return.

Don’t worry, we will fix the small border outline in a few moments, but first let me zip through the steps to add all the other six hotspots.

I am speeding this up, but following all the exact same steps, with one small addition, I will be adding all the zoom slides in the first step by selecting them all before inserting.

And when the collection of zoom slides are inserted they are all selected, so we can save some time by shrining them down as a group to fit above the column widths.

With them in place, let’s test them out before adding the finishing touches.

Which means everything is working, so let’s go to the finishing touches of 1) turning off the zoom transitions, 2) turning on the RETURN to Zoom and 3) changing the image to the transparent png image file.

So the LAST step, getting rid of those image borders. I save this for last, so that I can visually see what I am working with before finalizing the setup. then click one or all of the individual transparent image hotspots and going to the ZOOM TOOL and select ZOOM BORDER and choose NO OUTLINE.

And now it would seem that we have this right. IN the slide show, we can jump to any column or row to highlight our data sets.

This is cool, but with one last problem if we are done with this slide and we proceed with our slide show, the very next slide is our FRUIT HIGHLIGHT SLIDE. Which if we think about it, that should be no surprise as that slide follows our main table slide.

But that is an easy fix, we need to make sure that all our supporting highlight data focus slides are moved to the END of the slide show, and that is easily done in the slide sorter view, where we can grab the group and move them to the end of the show.

And that should do it; except . . I have one more trick just for the windows users, but I hope that Microsoft adds this to the Mac version soon.

This is a SUPER FAST WAY to add zoom files.

On my new slide here, I want to add four slides as zoom objects, but instead of doing a INSERT and ZOOM menu, then selecting the slides. I can simply use the normal standard view and drage my desired slides from the left onto the canvas.

To get the detailed one page cheatsheet in PDF format, go to our website of power-up.training. Or see the link below in the YouTube notes.

As always, thanks to our subscribers and for the questions, they submit.

If you have a question or tutorial request, leave them below in the notes and I will see what can be done.

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