understand the different views

Understand the different views in PowerPoint

Welcome back to PowerPoint Training Online. In this weeks tutorial, we are going to help you understand the different views in PowerPoint. 

***Please note that this article does not discuss Master Views, we are going to leave that for another time***

Most of us when opening PowerPoint to create a presentation, usually stay on the default view. Your workspace is the bulk of the screen, you have the sidebar of slides that you have created and you may have the notes section open too. Today I am going to show you the four other views that PowerPoint offers. 

The ‘Understand the different viewsvideo

The ‘Understand the different viewsstep-by-step guide

Before we look at the different views it is useful to know how you can change between the views. And as with everything else in PowerPoint, there are two ways to do this.  

You can work from the View Tab or the Task Bar

View Tab
Task Bar

Now that you know how to change the different views, let’s take a look at what makes it each view different. 

Normal View

understand the different views

Normal view is always the default view when you open PowerPoint. It consists of three main areas. These are:

  1. Current Slide
  2. Thumbnails
  3. Notes

This will be where you will spend most of your time as it is the main editing interface. You have a large area to work in, with a quick view of other slides in your deck. And you can quickly add and see notes for each slide. 

When in normal view you have access to the full toolbar. This allows you to insert content, add transitions and animations, set up the slide show etc.

Outline View

understand the different views

Outline view allows you to see an outline of the presentation that you are creating. You can also work within the outline view. It contains three main areas. These are:

  1. Current Slide
  2. Outline
  3. Notes

You can do everything that you can normally do within the normal view. Add text, images and add transitions and animations.

You will be able to see the slide content within the outline pane however it is important to note that you will only be able to see the text. If there is no text on the slide then it will be empty within the outline area. 

The outline area was designed to hold text only. It will break the text down as per the placeholder. If you have a heading, followed by a group of bullet points, you will see the heading then followed by a list of indented bullets. 

The beauty of outline view is that you can create an outline in a program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. This view can scare people sometimes but if you like creating checklists and bullet lists, then you will be right at home. 

Slide Sorter View

understand the different views

Slide sorter view does exactly what it says on the tin, it allows you to sort slides. The two previous views, Normal and Outline, were broken down into three areas. Slide sorter view only has one area. And that is the slide sorter area or work area. 

The main aim of the slide sorter view is to help you arrange your slides in a quick and easy way. 

When in slide sorter view you will not have access to the full set of tools within PowerPoint. The toolbar will be restricted to things you can do with a slide itself, not the content on the slide. The following list will give you a better idea as to what you can do:

  • Add/remove slides
  • Add/remove sections
  • Set up a summary zoom
  • Chose a slide design
  • Set slide transitions
  • Set up a slide show

Notes Page View

understand the different views

The notes page view allows you to view create notes that are relevant to each slide within the slide deck. You are not able to make direct changes to the slide itself but you can double-click the image of the slide to go straight to normal view. 

When you are in notes view you are able to add written notes which you can then see when you are in presenter view. If you select the notes page when in the printing options you will be able to print the notes that you write here. 

Along with text, you can also add images and shapes to the notes section. These would also be printed out. 

You cannot add or change transitions and animations within the notes page view.

Reading View

understand the different views

Reading view allows you to run through your presentation as a presentation. You cannot make any changes when you are in reading view. 

Reading view is very similar to running your presentation as a slideshow. There are only a few simple controls to run through the presentation. You can go forward and backwards. 


There we have it folks, five different views. I hope that this article helped to breakdown each view for you and help you understand the different views that you can find and use within PowerPoint.

And don’t forget, we never actually talked about the master views in this article. We will save that for another time. 

What do you think of all the views, which one do you prefer to work in, let us know in the comments below or join us on Facebook and Twitter for a chat. Or if there is something you would like to know or learn about in PowerPoint, you can always check out one of our other tutorials.

Till next time,


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