Turn presentation slides into a study guide in PowerPoint

january 9, 2024

Hi there! I'm Ivana Okaro, a student and content creator who’s passionate about sharing study tips that boost productivity and help students shine. Today, I'm excited to walk you through a cool and useful trick: turning a Microsoft PowerPoint deck into a helpful study guide. This technique is perfect for anyone who uses PowerPoint or wants to learn.

Why start with a presentation?

When we think about creating study guides, we might be tempted to create one from scratch. But here's an idea: Why not start with a PowerPoint presentation instead?

More specifically, why not start with your instructor’s lecture slides? (It’s common for professors and teachers to email these out to students after the lecture is over. If yours doesn’t, ask!). These presentations are often packed with essential information, carefully curated by educators or subject matter experts, and organized in a way that’s logical and easy to follow. They also tend to have a clear beginning, middle, and end, providing a cohesive narrative that can really help with understanding and recalling information. They've done the work to structure the learning for you, and that's something you can leverage. Let’s explore how to turn these presentations into a study guide that's tailored just for you.

Step 1: Get started with PowerPoint

Open your presentation: Open PowerPoint and choose the presentation you want to work with.

Switch to Outline view: In the upper tab, navigate to View and select Outline. This mode strips away images and videos, leaving you with just the text from your slides. It’s super handy for focusing on the key points and getting a big picture understanding of the structure.

Step 2: Edit your outline and add helpful points

Add subpoints: Notice a missing detail? Want to add a helpful example from lecture? Easy fix. Click on the slide in the outline and press enter. This creates a new slide. Now, navigate to Home and select Indent More, and add your point. Or, simply hit tab on your keyboard to indent and create a subpoint.

Collapse for a clearer view: If you’re working with a large presentation, you might find yourself wanting an even briefer outline. Right-click on a slide and select Collapse to hide the details, showing only the slide titles. For an even broader overview, select Collapse All. To see the details again, right-click and choose Expand or Expand All.

Step 3: Print or save your study guide

Printing your outline: Once your outline looks just right, you can print it directly. Select Print, and under Layout, choose Outline. This will give you all the key points in a neat, condensed format.

Saving as a PDF: Prefer a digital copy? Save your outline as a PDF so you can easily review the material when you’re on-the-go.

And there you have it: Your very own class slides, transformed into a compact study guide. This PowerPoint hack lets you leverage a familiar tool to create a structured, information-rich, and personalized study companion. And it just might transform how you interact with information and engage with your study material.

Best of luck with your exams!

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