PowerPoint’s Summary Slide made easy

Once upon a time in PowerPoint (2003 and earlier versions) it was possible, just like with Word, to create a Table of Contents with the click of a button, or two.  This feature was known as Summary Slide.  Unfortunately, it was removed from PowerPoint 2007 onwards, leaving users with a not so easy process to complete this task.

Microsoft’s solution is a basic copy and paste – click here for their instructions.  But, if you’re looking for something a little quicker (especially if you have a whole lot of slides to summarise), read on …

In situations like this, I often try searching for a magic bullet but I usually find this ends up taking more time than it’s worth.  And that’s something you don’t need, especially if you rarely create Summary Slides.  Instead, I’d recommend using your keyboard / shortcut skills to get through this task quickly.  Here’s how:

  • Insert a new slide by clicking the New Slide dropdown button (Home > Slides) – this will be your Summary Slide;
  • From the gallery that appears, choose a slide format with one large content placeholder for text. If you have a lot of slides to summarise, choose a slide layout containing two side-by-side content placeholders instead (columns are an efficient way to fit all titles onto the one slide).
  • Switch to Outline view (2007 / 2010: select the Outline tab on the left hand side of the screen in Normal view (View > Normal); 2013: click the Outline View button (View > Presentation Views);
  • Press Ctrl+A to select all outline text;
  • While hovering over the text, right click and select Collapse All from the menu – only your slide titles should now be showing;
  • Press Ctrl+C to copy the text;
  • Navigate to the appropriate place within your Summary Slide and press Ctrl+V to paste your slide titles. Select Keep Text Only to remove any formatting.

Hey presto, you have your Summary Slide in a matter of seconds!  Now, if you’d like to take it a step further and add slide numbers to your Summary Slide, here’s how:

  • Within your Summary Slide, select all slide titles;
  • Apply numbering that corresponds with your slide numbers (via Home > Paragraph);
  • Check your first slide title to ensure its corresponding slide number is correct – more than likely it will start at 1, where in fact your first slide appears at slide 2 or 3;
  • If you need to change the first number within the sequence, right click the first slide title on your Summary Slide and select Numbering > Bullets and Numbering;
  • Change the number within Start at, as required, and click OK.

This is a different take on creating a Summary Slide, but one that I hope will save you a lot of time.  So be sure to give it a try when you’re next working on a PowerPoint presentation.