You probably already know how to use PowerPoint, but do you know how to use it well? If you want to create an unforgettable presentation, then you need to go beyond the basics and learn to use it to your full advantage.

PowerPoint is a robust software with a lot of lesser-known but incredibly helpful capabilities that elevate presentations from good to excellent. If you’re ready to take your skills to the next level, then check out five of the most valuable PowerPoint hacks around.

Convert Your Document to a Presentation
A lot of people don’t realize that they can easily convert any of their documents to a PowerPoint presentation. There are two ways to do it. The first is to open PowerPoint then click Home > Slides > Slides from outline, then select your doc. The second way is to open up Microsoft Word, hit the File menu, hover over Send To, then click Microsoft PowerPoint. Your document will convert to slides using headings and subheadings. Heading 1 style will be the title of a new slide while Heading 2 becomes the first level of text.

Remove Image Backgrounds
Clean and simple are key to a polished and professional presentation, but it’s hard to achieve that if you have a lot of busy-ness happening in the background of your images. Fortunately, PowerPoint lets you cut that out super easily. Simply select the image then click Pictures Tools > Format tab, then hit Remove Background. You’ll then see an image with a lot of purple on it—everything purple is what will be removed. You can adjust this using the tools Mark Areas to Keep and Mark Areas to Remove.

Create a Custom Template
Using a generic template is a big no-no if you want your presentation to stand out in the pack. Instead, create your own custom template that you can use for your current presentation and any presentation thereafter. First, you’ll select the Themes tab, then click Edit Master > Slide Master. Then get to editing however you see fit. Once you hit Close Master, all of your slides will automatically convert to your new custom template.

Recover Lost Presentations
Have you ever experienced the nightmare of creating and exiting a presentation without saving it? Well, it’s not a nightmare at all, actually, because PowerPoint makes it pretty simple to recover unsaved presentations. Go to File > Open and scroll all the way to the bottom. Here you’ll find a little button that says “Recover Unsaved Presentations.” Hit that button and voila! Your lost presentation is lost no more.

Reduce Your Presentation’s Size
Little is worse than spending hours creating a killer presentation only to find that it’s a gigantic document that’s nearly impossible to share. Fortunately, there’s a quick fix for this. Typically, it’s weighty images that make for a huge file size, so all you have to do is compress them. You do this by clicking on the image, hitting Format then Compress Pictures. You have the choice to do this one at a time or, if you’re done with the presentation, deselect “Apply only to this picture” to compress all of its images.

Want more ways to upgrade your presentations from good to excellent? Then check out Ethos3’s Badge Training.

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