Display Design Ideas with PowerPoint Designer

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated July 19, 2019

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 365 (Windows)

If you are an Office 365 subscriber, you can use PowerPoint Designer to get design ideas for slides. Designer takes advantage of Microsoft’s Intelligent Services for suggesting layouts for images. It can also help with the design for slides containing other types of content.

Since PowerPoint 365 is using artificial intelligence (AI), features are constantly changing so Designer and its capabilities will change as well.

Recommended article: How to Make a Picture Transparent in PowerPoint

Accessing PowerPoint Designer

The first time you launch PowerPoint, it will ask for your permission to provide you with design ideas. If you want to use PowerPoint Designer, click Let’s go or Turn on. You need to turn on Intelligent Services so that Designer can provide you with design ideas when you add images to your slides.

In order to access PowerPoint Designer, you must:

  • be an Office 365 subscriber
  • have enabled Microsoft Intelligent Services
  • be connected to the Internet

If design ideas are not displaying in a task pane, you may need to turn on PowerPoint Designer or Intelligent Services.

To turn on the Designer or Intelligence Services:

  1. Click the File tab in the Ribbon and then click Options.
  2. In the dialog box, click the General category on the left and ensure that Intelligent Services and Automatically show me design ideas are checked in the pane on the right.
  3. Click OK.

Below is the Options dialog box in PowerPoint 365 where you can turn Intelligent Services and PowerPoint Designer off and on:

Options dialog box in PowerPoint to turn PowerPoint Designer on.

To get design suggestions, you should use images in one of the following formats: JPG, BMP, GIF or PNG. You should also make sure that the size of the image is larger than 200 x 200 pixels. Otherwise, you may not see design ideas.

Also, PowerPoint Designer can be turned off through the Design tab in the Ribbon.

To use PowerPoint Designer with pictures:

  1. Insert a picture or pictures onto a slide. The Design Ideas task pane should appear.
  2. Scroll through the suggestions in the Design Ideas pane.
  3. Click to select the design you want or close the task pane. If you click on one of the ideas, your slide will change.
  4. If you change your mind, press Ctrl + Z or select another idea.

If you are not seeing the Design Ideas task pane, ensure a single slide is selected and you are in Normal view.

Below are some designs suggested by PowerPoint Designer when 3 images were inserted on a slide in Normal view:

PowerPOint Designer displaying design suggestions for 3 images.

Different design ideas for different objects

PowerPoint Designer is able to detect charts and tables on a slide. It will provide you with suggestions to arrange these types of objects. For charts and tables, there should only be one chart or table on the slide.

Designer is also able to convert text like timelines, lists or processes into SmartArt.

If you have bulleted lists, you may  receive suggestions for an icon to be used for each bulleted item. If you don’t want to use the suggested icon, you can keep the original icon.

Designer also looks for concepts and key terms. If it detects the term, it will display icons in different layouts. These icons are stored in the icons library in Office 365.

Turning PowerPoint Designer off

If you decide that you don’t want to use PowerPoint Designer, to turn it off:

  1. Click the File tab in the Ribbon and then click Options.
  2. In the dialog box, click the General category on the left and then uncheck the Automatically show me design ideas check box in the pane on the right.
  3. Click OK.

Why is PowerPoint Designer not working?

Because PowerPoint Designer is using AI, it keeps changing. If it doesn’t seem to be working, that may change in the future as the tool develops.

If design ideas are not appearing, the following may be the cause:

  1. You’re not connected to the Internet. PowerPoint Designer needs to go online to generate design ideas.
  2. You haven’t enabled Intelligent Services or design ideas through File Options.
  3. You are using a theme that doesn’t work with the Designer (PowerPoint’s default themes will work with the Designer but other themes may not).
  4. Your slide is not using a layout that works with Designer (you can apply layouts using the Layout drop-down menu on the Home tab in the Ribbon).
  5. You are not in Normal View and have not selected one slide.
  6. You are using more than six photos (in JPG, PNG, GIF or BMP format) per slide.
  7. Your photos are smaller than 200 x 200 pixels in size.
  8. The slide has a shape or text box on it.
  9. You are using more than one chart or table on the slide.
  10. More than one person is editing the same slide at the same time.

PowerPoint Designer can be very helpful if you need ideas to help lay out your slides. Watch for new features rolling out such as Branded Templates which will work with Designer.

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Summary
How to Get Slide Design Ideas Using PowerPoint Designer
Article Name
How to Get Slide Design Ideas Using PowerPoint Designer
Description
If you are an Office 365 subscriber, you can use PowerPoint Designer to get design ideas for slides. Designer takes advantage of Microsoft’s Intelligent Services for suggesting layouts for images. It can also help with the design of slides containing other types of content. If PowerPoint Designer is not working, there may be several reasons why.
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Publisher Name
Avantix Learning Inc.

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