Solution: Fix PowerPoint Design Ideas MISSING - If Possible

About this lesson

Is your PowerPoint Design Ideas MISSING? Learn if this can be fixed or confirm that your version of PowerPoint does not support Design Ideas.

This is the companion video of “Is Design Ideas Grayed Out?” But this time, we dig into why your Design Ideas Icon is not even showing. Learn which versions of PowerPoint support Design Ideas and if they will work on tablets or smartphones, including specifics for IOS and Android.

And learn why NOT to hack your computer registry to fix this issue.



00:24 What is The Issue?
01:46 The Troubleshooting Matrix
02:27 Is the Icon Grayed Out?
03:33 Lost Internet Breaks Design Ideas
03:55 How to See If Your Version Runs Design Ideas
05:35 Is It Blocked by Your Employer?
06:16 Did an Upgrade Break My PowerPoint?
06:44 Do NOT Change Your Computer Registry!
06:58 Instead, Do a Software Repair
07:13 Will My Tablet or Phone Run Design Ideas?
08:28 When Did Microsoft Introduce Design Ideas?
09:18 How Many PowerPoint Versions Are There?
12:18 The Design Ideas Feature List Timeline


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility It is complicated and we discuss all versions


Course Completed

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



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Is the tool called Design Ideas in your PowerPoint completely missing? This recurring pain point has been raised in our YouTube comment section. Hi, I’m Les from Power Up Training where I bring my decades of experience to you for free. People see visually compelling slides made by the PowerPoint Design Ideas tool, and they go looking for the feature in their own PowerPoint software. And they become frustrated because they can’t find the tool. So what’s going on? The issue is that the Design Ideas tools, or as Microsoft calls it, the PowerPoint Designer tool is completely missing from many computers. When clicking on the Design ribbon tab, and looking for the Design Ideas icon is nowhere to be found. I have an earlier tutorial explaining why the Design Ideas icon is just grayed out. But in this video, I’m going to focus on when you can’t even find the icon. buckle in as this will get bumpy, with so many versions of Microsoft Office and all the variations and the rule exception, such as is not going to work on an iPhone, but it will work on an iPad. It will work on Office 365 Unless you have the German version. Oh my what a mess. But I’m going to try to guide you to the answers to the questions of does my version of PowerPoint support this feature in my installation? Or is it broken? Using YouTube to troubleshoot a complex environment can be a challenge in itself. A troubleshooting matrix like this may help. But you may only care about a few items. So if you want to investigate just a specific portion, I’ve got some good news. And that’s the YouTube chapter features. Look at the bottom on our YouTube play bar. And if you hover your mouse there, you’re going to see the chapters listed for each of these decision boxes. Hover over the choice to find the video chapter to jump to or just watch the full troubleshooting video for a complete understanding of the problems with some possible solutions. So let’s dive in and walk through the Decision Matrix. The critical question is did this feature ever work on your problematic device? If it did work, and this is important, and you see just a grayed out icon, then you’re wrestling with that quirks of PowerPoint Design Ideas, the tool exists is just isn’t available in that moment. There are many variables for our grayed out but available action icon as it could be a number of objects on the slide or the type of objects or the design template and much more. This is a case Design Ideas grayed out it is not that the tool is missing me no icon in this scenario. See this video to switch over to understand the when and the when not the Design Ideas will work. One of the common issues is a temporary broken PowerPoint Designer. Because of the lost internet connection. This tool must be connected to the internet for it to work its magic. So if the internet is not available or blocked, then the tool will fail to make suggestions. Connect it back up to the internet and Design Ideas will come back to life. My best tip might be this one. The core questions you have is “does my version of PowerPoint support Design Ideas?” The best way to know is to look at your PowerPoint settings in the options portions of the software. If the option shows an entry for PowerPoint Designer, then your software is equipped to use the tool. The Windows and Mac steps will vary. Starting with the steps for Windows, and with PowerPoint up and running. Go to the File Ribbon Menu, look for options. And then inside go find the General section and search for PowerPoint Designer settings. If this tool is part of your version of PowerPoint, it will be listed in this section. So you’re in great shape! Just make sure the checkbox are turned on.

If it’s not listed, hang in there and I will discuss which version should have designed it And while remote, it is possible to potentially fix some of these versions that are entitled to the Design Ideas. Now over for Mac users, go to the PowerPoint menu, look for preferences and check on general, there used to see the PowerPoint Designer, if it’s listed or not. If it’s not there, then I’m 98% positive that your version does not support this capability. But if it is there, do confirm that the check marks are on and turn them on, and you’ll be good good to go. Also, your version of the software might be eligible for Design Ideas, but it’s still not working. If this is a work computer, it is worth checking with your co workers to see if their version of PowerPoint is also missing the Design Ideas features. While not typical, it’s possible for your employer to be blocking the tool. If you believe your version of PowerPoint is eligible, but you and your co workers don’t have access to the tool, do not try to hack the system. Instead, bring the issue up with your help desk to see if you might get an exception. At this point, I have to admit, there are too many variations to tackle in a single YouTube video. I’m just one person. And there are millions of PowerPoint installations with 1000s of variations. Researching support forums, Microsoft Help, Reddit subgroups, there are many many theories, including the possibility of an upgraded version, failing to include the tool. One thing I do not endorse is the crazy idea of hacking the registry. Don’t go that deep into your computer setup, or your risk even more damage. But what you might consider if you believe you should have the tool is to perform a software repair to office here are the Windows 10 settings. But the steps will vary with your computer operating system. And talk of millions of installations. There’s also so many different platforms that PowerPoint now runs on and write me my platform is whether you’re using a desktop, be it a Mac or Windows. And on these desktop and laptop platforms, you’re going to get the most complete set of the features. But if you’re working with a tablet, or the web, or a phone, the capabilities of Design Ideas will vary or be non existent. Here’s a Microsoft support document for the various platform scenarios. Under the web section, if you’re saving your files on OneDrive, or SharePoint in Office 365, then you will get Design Ideas using your web browser. If you’re working with iOS, you’re gonna find that the iPads do work, but not on iPhone. And the same thing with Android with many of the Android tablets working, but no it’s not going to work on an Android phone. And to re emphasize, even if the tool is available on a non desktop environment, you may see reduced functionalities. If you’re on a more mobile environment. There is a clear line of when the Design Ideas tools does not work. Prior to office 2016. For both Windows and Mac, the tool did not exist. If you’re in that camp, then your solution is that it will just not work. End of story! The original tool was called PowerPoint Designer. And the division before and after, gets a little murky around the 2016 timeframe. After the tool was introduced by Microsoft, it provided incremental improvements over time, not all the features were always there. And some subsets so often were missing. And the Mac, as it often is, trailed the enhancements over time.

But the 2016 version became a little more murky, because there were even more different versions of Microsoft Office plus other variations. Let’s go and see if we can walk through this. Let’s start off with the free Microsoft Office a web version, which will run the limited Ms. Microsoft Office apps on the internet web. It does require that you have a account that you can set up and it will have a limited set of features for Design Ideas. But hey, it’s free. Adding to the confusion is that the corporate SharePoint web office version, which may or may not support design ideas. So there’s more confusion there If you’re working from a corporate environment, another class of Microsoft products is this standalone products, which is when you buy the software suite, or the individual components once, and you own it forever. However, in this case, typically, the feature sets are frozen based on what version you brought, as I stated, PowerPoint Designer showed up in office 2016. At that time, it had some basic capabilities. But it was not as smart as it is now in office 2019. And the most recent version of Office 2021, which was released in October 2021, the tool is pretty well formed. But once again, the feature set is typically set once you purchase the software. If you want to always have the latest and coolest tools or toys, then Microsoft will recommend the full Office 365 subscription service. This is where you will always find the latest tools, plus some bonus capabilities, like a large amount of online storage with OneDrive and other applications. But once you go this route, it will require annual payments to Microsoft. To make it more complex, I must point out that there are variations within Office 365 subscriptions, there are the student versions, not to be confused with the education versions. And then they’re the Small Business version versus the enterprise and the government editions. So the variables expand beyond all that we can cover here. But for the most part, this is by should be good for the vast majority of users. And for the more specialized situations, you probably have access to your organization’s help desk, so that you can consult with them. If Microsoft was funding this YouTube channel, and no they’re not, they would say, always buy the annual subscription service to get the greatest updates, and pay and pay and pay, which I do, because I do get value out of the Microsoft Office every day. But that’s your decision or your company’s decision. One of the last variables is the variety of capabilities. Here is the official list of features on the Windows version, as when I recorded this tutorial in October 2021. And on the right side are the designer toolset features for the Mac. Let me go ahead and zoom in. And we’re going to see that for the most part, Microsoft gives us a complete list of features as they were introduced on the Windows side had no such detail for the Mac, come on Microsoft hit with it. An interesting side note is to focus on the version numbers. For example, the Design Ideas for a single photo was introduced with version 1511. And that number, the 15 is the key number, which is basically indicating the year or the approximate year. So this was introduced in 2015. And the addition of multiple photos was added in 2016 version, the SmartArt Graphics also in 2016 based off these versioning numbers. So to wrap up in this follow-up video, I have tried to explain where some of the problems are, and which software version the PowerPoint are missing the tool or how to make the more recent versions work again. Hopefully, this was helpful, and if so, go ahead and like and subscribe. If you found other solutions that were not discussed here. Do leave them in the comment sections below. And this can be a future resource for others to find solutions. Also, do look for our additional videos on how to maximize Design Ideas. And if you want to see all of our in-depth PowerPoint tutorials, visit us at our free PowerPoint school website of So till next time, go power up!