How to Change the Outline Level of Text in PowerPoint


Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 lets you create and display a slide show presentation. Each individual slide can include images, sound, movies and text. The text is formatted as an outline, with bullet points that you can nest under each other to give further detail to a particular point. PowerPoint includes a few simple commands that let you change the outline level of each piece of text, along with a way to adjust how far over each subsequent outline level goes.

Change Text Level

  • Open the PowerPoint slide where you want to change the outline level of your text. Select your desired slide from the list of slides on the left side of the window.

  • Click the text box that you want to manipulate. Place the cursor at the start of the first word of the text you want to alter.

  • Press "Tab" to drop the text down one level in the outline. You will see the text and bullet point move to the right. Press "Shift" and "Tab" to bring the text up one level. You will see the text and bullet point move to the left.

Adjust Outline Indent

  • Open up the PowerPoint presentation that you want to change.

  • Select the "View" tab at the top of the PowerPoint ribbon. Find the "Show" area of the ribbon; place a check mark into the "Ruler" box. You will see a small ruler appear above the slide.

  • Click the "Slide Master" button, located in the "Master Views" area of the ribbon. This brings up a list of slides on the left side of the presentation. These slides are the master templates that this presentation uses to determine how each slide will look. Select the slide on the left that contains a text box in the same size and position as the text box on the slide you want to change. The second, fourth and fifth slides from the top are the most common text slides, but there are others further down the list.

  • Click the text level that you want to alter so that the cursor is sitting on that level. All five text outline levels are listed on the slide.

  • Find the small markers on the ruler above the slide. The two arrows represent the position of the bullet point and the text for that level of the outline, with whichever one is further to the left being for the bullet point. Click and hold on one of the arrows to move the text or the bullet point to your desired location. Once you release the mouse button, you will see your changes reflected in the slide. If you want to move the text and bullet point together, click and hold on the small box directly below the lower arrow.

  • Click the red "Close Master View" button once you have each outline level in your desired position.

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