Get Slide Design Ideas with PowerPoint Designer

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated April 5, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2019 or 365 (Windows)

If you have PowerPoint 2019 or are a Microsoft 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 PowerPoint Designer and its capabilities will change as well.

Recommended article: How to Make a Picture Transparent in PowerPoint (3 Ways)

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Enabling 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 use PowerPoint Designer, you must:

  • have PowerPoint 2019 or are a Microsoft 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 PowerPoint Designer and Intelligence Services:

  1. Click the File tab in the Ribbon and then click Options. A dialog box appears.
  2. Select the General category in the categories on the left.
  3. Ensure that Intelligent Services and Automatically show me design ideas are selected or checked in the pane on the right.
  4. Click OK.

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

Turn PowerPoint Designer on in the General tab of the Options dialog box.

To get design suggestions for pictures, 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.

The 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. A dialog box appears.
  2. Select the General category in the categories on the left.
  3. Uncheck ot deselect the Automatically show me design ideas check box in the pane on the right.
  4. 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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More resources

How to Animate Text, Images and Other Objects in PowerPoint

How to Compress Images in PowerPoint to Reduce File Size (10 Ways)

How to Highlight Text with Emphasis Animation

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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 have PowerPoint 2019 or are a Microsoft 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.
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Avantix Learning

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