In this article you will learn how to use the selection pane tool in PowerPoint. The tool is extremely useful for working with complicated graphics or animations with multiple layers.
Let us say you want to create a photo frame graphic like the one below:
Photo Frame with Multiple Layers
There are 5 layers of objects arranged one on top of the other including:
- Wooden frame
- Semi-transparent sheen
- The background mount
- The designer outline
- The image itself
It is not easy to maneuver the layers with just the ‘Bring Forward’ and ‘Send Backward’ options in PowerPoint. Even if you do manage to work with the picture frame graphic somehow, you will surely get frustrated when you want to work with a bit more complicated graphic like this filter diagram:
Filter Diagram from PowerPoint Charts CEO Pack
You need an option that lets you handle each layer of objects with accuracy and ease. The magic tool that lets you do this is – ‘Selection Pane’. In PowerPoint 2013, the feature is improved to make the control even easier.
Using Selection Pane
We will understand the working of selection pane better when we do a small exercise. We will try to reorder the objects as shown below:
Step 1: Open the Selection Pane and Name the objects
The first step is to open the selection pane by going to ‘Select’ option in the PowerPoint ribbon:
The pane opens up on the right slide with the four objects on the slide:
It is not easy to differentiate the objects from the generic names in the pane. So, let us rename the objects by double clicking on the names:
The top most layer is shown in the forefront of the slide. The bottom most layer is shown at the back of the slide. The rest of the layers are arranged from front to back depending on their order from top to down in the selection pane.
Step 2: Reorder the objects
To reorder the objects you can either use the up or down arrows in the selection pane or you can select a layer and drag them up or down.
Reordering objects in Selection Pane
Reordering stacked objects
What if all the layers are stacked one on top of the other and hence not visible? This situation can occur when you are trying to animate multiple objects in the same location.
You can click on the eye shaped radio button to show or hide objects on the slide:
If there are a lot of objects, you can click on ‘Hide all’ button to hide all the objects and click on the radio button of just the object you want to see.
Thus, you can have total control over the slide objects with the ‘Selection pane’ tool and can create some highly sophisticated diagrams.
Example of using selection pane:
1. Multiple layered and animated objects
In this animated template below, for example, to add content to each of the notes, you would need to use Selection Pane. This will help in entering the information one by one without moving the animated shapes.
2. Edit / enter text in hidden objects
An easier option for busy business presenters:
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