The fabulous Selection Pane in PowerPoint 2007

This new feature in PowerPoint 2007 nearly passed me by!

As a long time user (and fan) of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere I’m very familiar with the concept of creating my work on layers. I’ve grown to love the fact that layers allow me to easily control the visibility of objects on screen so I can build up detailed images without tearing my hair out trying to select partially hidden or buried objects.

So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon the new Selection Pane in PowerPoint 2007 this morning. This neat tool mimics some of the features of Photoshop’s layer palette and allows you to select, multiselect, show, hide or change the order of objects on a slide.


You can open the Selection Pane by pressing the marvelously convoluted shortcut ALT, H, SL, then P. Or you can just choose Selection Pane from the Arrange button on the options ribbon.

So, now what?

  • With the Selection Pane visible, press TAB to cycle upwards (from back to front) through the objects on your slide, SHIFT+TAB to cycle downwards.
  • With an item selected press SHIFT+CTRL+S to make the item invisible, SHIFT+CTRL+S to make it reappear. Or press the little ‘eye’ icon next to the item(s) in the Selection Pane. The great thing here is that all items are still there, they’re just no longer visible on the slide. This is a fantastic time saver when building up complex slides.
  • You can reorder the items on your slide using the up and down arrows at the bottom of the Selection Pane
  • If you group items, they’ll be arranged together in the selection pane, but you can still independently control their visibility and order within the group.
  • You can rename items listed in the Selection Pane by slowly double clicking them. This is handy if you have lots of objects on a slide and lose track of what’s what.
    • Cool extra feature: Your renamed items will also now appear elsewhere, for example in the Custom Animations Pane. Suddenly, developing complex layered slides with flashy animation that would put Disney to shame just became a lot simpler.