How to Create a Table of Contents for a PowerPoint Presentation

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How to Create a Table of Contents for a PowerPoint Presentation
Image Credit: PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/GettyImages

Microsoft Word automatically creates a table of contents from section titles in a document and updates it as you add content. You might expect Microsoft PowerPoint to provide a similar function to automatically create a table of contents from slide titles in a presentation, but it doesn't. There is also no table of contents template provided with PowerPoint.

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The workaround recommended by Microsoft is to manually create a summary slide by copying and pasting the title of each slide. You can add a hyperlink that jumps from the title on the summary slide directly to the referenced slide. In newer versions of PowerPoint, a Slide Zoom can be inserted to serve as a table of contents.

Creating a PowerPoint Table of Contents

Add a table of contents to the beginning of a PowerPoint presentation by inserting a new slide. Type the title of each slide in the presentation or go to each slide, copy the title and then paste it on the table of contents summary slide. When you paste by clicking on the right mouse button, you can choose to either keep the text formatting or use the formatting in use on the table of contents slide.

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Turning on Outline View from the View tab provides a faster way to copy titles to the table of contents slide. You'll see a list of slide titles in the thumbnails pane on the left. Select the titles and then use copy and paste to add the titles to the table of contents slide.

Add a hyperlink to each title in the table of contents by selecting the title and using the Hyperlink command located in the Links area of the Insert tab. The Insert Hyperlink dialog is displayed. Choose Place in This Document as the type of link and then select the slide associated with the title from the Slide Titles list. Click OK in the dialog to create the link.

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Table of Contents With Zoom in PowerPoint

Starting with PowerPoint 2019 and PowerPoint for Office 365, the new Slide Zoom feature can be used to create a table of contents using slide images. A Slide Zoom is a collection of slide thumbnails that are linked to the slides they represent. Click on Zoom on the Insert tab and then select Slide Zoom from the menu to display the Slide Zoom dialog. Select all the slides you want to include in the table of contents and click Insert to create the Slide Zoom.

By default, PowerPoint Slide Zoom uses thumbnail images to represent slides. You can replace a thumbnail with another image. First, select the entire Zoom to activate the Zoom Tools Format tab. Click Change Image to display the Insert Pictures menu. Options on the menu allow you to specify an image file on your computer or use Bing image search to find an image on the web to use in place of the thumbnail image.

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The Zoom Styles command on the Zoom Tools Format tab lets you modify the look of a Zoom. Options include changing the border around the Zoom, changing the background and adding visual effects. The main benefits of using a Zoom for a table of contents is that the link between a slide and its Zoom representation is created automatically, so there's no need to add a hyperlink. Unfortunately, there is no simple way to replace the Zoom thumbnail with text, so a Table of Contents created this way must consist of images rather than text slide titles.

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