Use the Selection Pane in PowerPoint to Work With Multiple Objects
by Avantix Learning Team | Updated March 12, 2021
Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2013, 2016, 2019 or 365 (Windows)
One of PowerPoint’s most useful tools is the Selection Pane. You can use it when you’re working with multiple images and objects that are stacked on top of each other on a slide. With the Selection Pane, you can select, reorder, rename, show and hide objects on a PowerPoint slide.
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Displaying the Selection Pane
To display the Selection Pane:
- Select a picture or shape.
- Click the Drawing Tools Format, Drawing Format, Shape Format, Picture Tools Format or Picture Format tab in the Ribbon. You can also click the Home tab in the Ribbon, choose Select in the Editing group and from the drop-down menu, choose Selection Pane. The Selection Pane appears.
To display the Selection Pane using the keyboard, press Alt + F10.
If the Selection Pane is displayed but does not have the focus, you can keep pressing F6 until it has the focus.
Objects are listed in the Selection Pane in their stacking order. Items at the bottom of the Selection Pane are at the bottom of the stack of objects.
The following screenshots are from PowerPoint 365 (unless noted otherwise) so the Selection Pane may look slightly different if you are working on a different version.
In the example below, 6 objects on the slide appear in the Selection Pane (1 picture, 3 shapes and 2 placeholders):
Selecting objects in the Selection Pane
To select objects in the Selection Pane, click the object you want to select. To select multiple objects in the Selection Pane, Ctrl-click each object.
If an object is selected in the Selection Pane, you can also press Tab to move through the other objects. If the Selection Pane has the focus and you prefer to use a keyboard, press the up and down arrows on your keyboard to move through objects and then press Enter to select an object.
Reordering objects in the Selection Pane
To reorder objects (which is comparable to using Bring to Front and Send to Back):
- Select an object in the Selection Pane. If you want to select multiple objects, Ctrl-click them in the Selection Pane.
- Drag the object(s) up or down in the Selection Pane to change the stacking order. Alternatively, you can click the Reorder arrows at the top or bottom of the Selection Pane.
You can also use keyboard shortcuts to bring objects forward or backward (on a slide or in the Selection Pane):
- With an object selected, press Ctrl + Shift + [ to send backward by object.
- With an object selected, press Ctrl + Shift + ] to bring forward by object.
If an object is selected in the Selection Pane, you can use the following shortcuts for bring forward or send backward:
- With an object selected in the Selection Pane, press Ctrl + Shift + B to send backward by object.
- With an object selected in the Seleciton Pane, press Ctrl + Shift + F to bring forward by object.
Showing or hiding objects using the Selection Pane
To show or hide objects using the Selection Pane, click the eye icon to the right of an object in the Selection Pane (a line is drawn through the icon or a line appears depending on version). To show hidden objects in older versions, click the line to the right of the object in the Selection Pane.
In the following example, 2 objects are hidden:
Renaming objects using the Selection Pane
To rename an object using the Selection Pane:
- Select the object in the Selection Pane until a box appears around the name. You may need to click twice.
- Delete the text, type a new name and press Enter.
Benefits of renaming objects
When you rename objects in the Selection Pane, they are more easily identifiable to select, reorder or animate them. The renamed objects also appear in the Animation Pane with the new name.
To display the Animation Pane:
- Select the Animations tab in the Ribbon.
- Select Animation Pane in the Advanced Animation group. The Animation Pane appears.
Once you animate an object, it will appear in the Animation Pane and use its name from the Seleciton Pane.
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