Creating, Editing and Saving Presentations using PowerPoint Online

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated October 3, 2015

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® Online

You can access a free online version of Microsoft PowerPoint and create simple presentations on the fly or you can open presentations you’ve created in the desktop version of PowerPoint online and collaborate with colleagues. All you need is a Microsoft account (which is also free) and a password. PowerPoint Online is a light version of PowerPoint and runs in your web browser so you don’t need to install any software to use it. The free online version is available without using SharePoint and you don’t need Office 365.

Since the online version is free, it has limited functionality (for example, you can’t insert a video from your hard drive and you have limited animation options). For those already using the desktop version of PowerPoint, creating a presentation in the online version is quite similar.

PowerPoint Online is available at office.com.

PowerPoint Online start screen.

Related articles: How to Insert Screenshots in PowerPoint and Word (Part 1: Office Tools) and Are You Using These 10 Slide Show Tricks?

Accessing PowerPoint Online

To access the free version of PowerPoint Online:

  1. Go to office.com to get started.
  2. Click on the PowerPoint icon/tile.
  3. Sign in with a Microsoft account and password or create a new free account. If you have Hotmail, you can sign in with that account as your ID.
  4. Click on a template. PowerPoint creates the presentation. It is saved automatically in a cloud storage location called OneDrive.
  5. If you’re familiar with the desktop version of PowerPoint, you’ll be able to create, edit and format slides easily as the interface is very similar to the desktop version. You’ll be able to add limited animations and transitions but you won’t be able to add audio or video from your hard drive.
  6. You can change the design theme at any time by clicking on the Design tab on the Ribbon and choosing another theme.

Microsoft PowerPoint sample online presentation in training session.

Switching to the desktop version of PowerPoint

You can switch over to the full desktop version of PowerPoint (assuming it’s installed) to take advantage of all of the features in PowerPoint.

To switch to the desktop version:

  1. In a presentation in PowerPoint Online, click on Open in PowerPoint in the Ribbon. A message asks you to confirm that you wish to open the file. Click on OK.
  2. A message may appear asking you to login with your Windows credentials. Complete and click on OK.
  3. A message may appear asking you to choose the application to open the file. Select Microsoft Office and your current version, check Remember my choice for ms-powerpoint links and click on OK.

Microsoft PowerPoint dialog to launch desktop version of PowerPoint.

Saving an online PowerPoint presentation in OneDrive

Presentations created with the online version of PowerPoint are saved automatically on OneDrive, but you’ll likely want to save the file with a specific name.

To save a presentation with a specific name in PowerPoint Online:

  1. Click on the File tab on the Ribbon.
  2. Choose Save As and then click on the Save As icon and enter a name. If necessary, choose a location in OneDrive.
  3. Click on Save. The file will be saved in your OneDrive cloud storage location. All users with a Microsoft account are provided with a OneDrive storage account. The size of the OneDrive storage varies depending on the type of account.

Saving a PowerPoint presentation on a desktop computer

If you want to save your presentation on your desktop computer, you’ll need to download a copy.

To save a presentation on your desktop computer:

  1. Click on the File tab on the Ribbon.
  2. Choose Save As and then click on Download a Copy. The copy will be placed in your Downloads folder on your c: drive (if pop-ups are disabled in your browser). If pop-ups are enabled, you will be able to save a copy to a specific folder.
  3. Enter a name for the presentation.
  4. Navigate to the desired location (if pop-ups are enabled in your browser).
  5. Click on Save. You will now be able to open the file with the desktop version of PowerPoint.

Opening a PowerPoint presentation saved in OneDrive

To open a presentation saved in OneDrive:

  1. If you’re not logged onto Office Online, go to office.com and click on the PowerPoint icon/tile and then sign in with a Microsoft account and password.
  2. Click on the File tab on the Ribbon.
  3. Click on Open. A menu will appear with recent documents. Click on one of the presentations or click on More from OneDrive to choose another file. In OneDrive, click on Documents and then click on the desired file.
  4. Click on Edit Presentation in the Ribbon and then Edit Presentation with PowerPoint Online.

The free online version of PowerPoint does have limited functionality if you’re creating a presentation in that environment, but you can open a presentation created in the desktop version of PowerPoint and make minor editing changes online without losing functionality.

Note: Since this is an online version, features and functionality will change.

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