Create a PowerPoint presentation from an outline

Applies to: PowerPoint for Office 365, PowerPoint for Office 365 for Mac, PowerPoint for the web, PowerPoint 2019, PowerPoint 2019 for Mac, PowerPoint 2016, PowerPoint 2013, PowerPoint 2010, PowerPoint 2007, PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, PowerPoint for Mac 2011.

If you’ve already noted an outline of your presentation in Word and now require a rapid way to apply it to your slides, you can import a Word outline into PowerPoint.


Create an outline in Word

  1. Enter Word.
  1. Press View > Outline. This instantly generates an outline and opens the Outlining tools:
  • If your document includes headings (any heading levels from H1-H9), you’ll notice those headings organised by level.
  • If your document excludes headings and subheadings, the outline will display as a bulleted list with a separate bullet for each paragraph or body text. To assign or edit headings, heading levels, and set up your document structure:
  • Pick a bulleted item.
  • In the Outline Level box, press a heading Level 1 for slide titles, Level 2 for bullet points on that slide.
  • Once finished or to edit your document, click Close Outline View.

If you need help creating an outline, see Create an outline in Word.

Save an outline in Word

  • To save your document, choose Save, create a file name, and then click Save again. Choose Close to close your document.

Note: Your Word document must be closed to add it into a PowerPoint presentation.

Import a Word outline into PowerPoint

  1. Open PowerPoint, and click Home > New Slide.
  1. Press Slides from Outline.
  1. In the Insert Outline dialogue box, find and choose your Word outline and pick Insert.

Note: If your Word document contains no Heading 1 or Heading 2 styles, PowerPoint will form a slide for each paragraph in your content.

Guidelines for importing an outline

PowerPoint can import an outline in .docx, .rtf, or .txt format.

  • If your outline is a Word document   

Transfer a heading format to any text you want to add in a slide. For example, if you set the Normal style to a block of text, Word won’t transfer that text to PowerPoint.

  • If your outline is a .txt file   

Use indentation to specify heading levels. Any unindented lines of text will convert titles of new slides.

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