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How to create links between slides in PowerPoint

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Whenever we create a presentation, we want to captivate our audience and highlight the important information we are delivering. While many users are familiar with the basics of creating slides, many users are not aware that you can create links between slides. This process can elevate your presentation to a whole new level of professionalism and interactivity. This is especially important in presentations which are meant to be browsed at the leisure of the audience (sometimes referred to as a kiosk or interactive presentation), rather than delivered by a presenter with a live audience.

Today we are going to explore the use of links between slides in a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, and provide step-by-step instructions to help you utilise this feature.

Why include Links Between Slides?

  • The main reason is enhanced navigation. Including links between slides allows for seamless navigation throughout your presentation. Instead of users starting at slide 1 and working their way through in order, they will be able to jump to specific sections or topics which enhances the flow and organisation of your content.
  • Links provide strategic interactivity, engaging your audience on a deeper level. By directing viewers to relevant slides based on their interests or questions, you can create a more personalised and engaging experience.
  • The use of link allows you to distribute content across multiple slides and link them together for easy access. This is especially useful for presentations which contain a large amount of information.

Create links between slides

Now that you understand some of the reasons why you might include links in a presentation, let’s get to the important part of how we add links.

  1. Open Microsoft PowerPoint .
  2. Open the presentation you would like to add links to, or create a simple opening slide such as below:
  1. If you are creating a sample file, add 3 x additional slides to add a heading.
  1. For more in-depth presentations, ensure that your slides are organised in a logical sequence before adding links between them.
  2. Return to Slide 1, or the slide where you want to insert the link. This could be a title slide, agenda slide, or any other slide where you want to begin navigation.
  3. Insert an object (such as a text box, image or shape) that you want to use as a link. This could be a word, phrase, or icon that prompts the viewer to navigate to another slide. Create one for each link you plan to create.

I have inserted shapes for my links and have added text to them by right-mouse clicking each shape and choosing Edit Text from the menu. I have also chosen a different Fill Color for each from the Shape Format tab on the Ribbon.

  1. Click to select text or object, then select the Insert tab from the ribbon.
  2. Click the Link button, or you can press Ctrl + K on your keyboard.
  3. The Insert Hyperlink dialog box will appear:
  1. Select the Place in This Document option on the left-hand side.
  2. A list of available slides in your presentation will appear.
  3. Click on the slide you want to link to, then press OK to confirm your selection.

Preview the Slide Show

Now that you have added a link, you will want to test the link to make sure it works as expected.

  1. Select the Slide Show tab from the Ribbon.
  2. Choose to run the slideshow From Beginning or From Current Slide. Alternatively you can press F5 on the keyboard to run the slide show from beginning.
  3. Click and test the links work correctly.
  4. Press Esc to exit Slide Show mode.
  5. Continue adding links between slides as necessary.

Create a link back to the start

When adding links to a presentation, you may want to consider if you need/want users to be able to navigate back to the slide they came from. In my example, Slide 1 has the option of choosing between 3 links. But once a user has read each individual slide, I want them to come back to Slide 1 and choose another option.

  1. Select the first slide where you want to provide a link back to Slide 1 or the equivalent.
  2. Repeat the process and add a shape, or text box to link back, or alternatively, PowerPoint provides a Home button which will automatically link back to Slide 1.
  3. Click the Insert tab from the Ribbon.
  4. Choose Shapes from the ribbon and scroll to the bottom of the Shapes gallery to find the Action Buttons.
  1. Select the button containing the House icon.
  2. Click on the Slide to insert the action button.
  3. The Action Settings dialog box will appear:
  1. By default, the Hyperlink to option is selected and First Slide is selected. Leave as is, or if you want to link to a different slide, use the drop-down menu to change the setting.
  2. Click OK.
  3. Copy and paste the button to any other slides where you want users to be able to navigate back to Slide 1.

Save your presentation

Now that all links have been added, and tested, ensure you have saved your presentation.

  1. Select the File tab and choose Save or press Ctrl + S on the keyboard.
  2. If you have not saved the presentation before, the Save as dialog will appear.
  3. Choose a location to save your presentation.
  4. Enter a File name.
  5. Click Save.

Other Examples

Another great example of using links between slides is my Concentration Game and my Choose your own adventure game in PowerPoint.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about the use of links within a PowerPoint presentation, comment below with any questions.


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