How to View Layers in PowerPoint

In PowerPoint, no two objects are ever exactly side by side. If you drag a picture or a shape, for example, you'll find that it's always above or below other shapes, including text boxes. Opening the Selection pane makes it easy to manage these layers, particularly when you have a lot of objects, for example in a photo collage .

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The screenshots here show PowerPoint 2013; however, the process is the same for PowerPoint 2010 and 2007 .

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A PowerPoint slide with shapes and a photo.

Add some shapes or pictures to any PowerPoint slide by selecting the options in the ribbon under the Insert tab. Arrange them in any positions you please.

Open the Selection Pane.

Click the Home tab and then click the Editing icon on the far right of the ribbon. Click Select and then Selection Pane . The Selection Pane opens, listing every object in the PowerPoint slide.

Drag items up or down to change their layer position.

Click any object in the Selection Pane. The object is also selected in the slide, with a border appearing around it. Drag the object up or down in the list, or click the Arrow icons, to change its layer position.

Click the Eye to hide an object.

Click the Eye icon beside any item in the Selection Pane to hide it from view. To reveal the object again, click the empty Bar that appears where the Eye icon was. Note that there are two buttons at the top of the pane to Show All or Hide All of the objects.

Ctrl-click two objects to select them both.

Select two or more items by Ctrl -clicking them in the Selection pane. To group or ungroup the selected objects, you can right-click one of the objects or use the icons in the Picture Tools' or Drawing Tools' Format ribbon. A new Group item appears in the Selection panel.

Hide or reveal group contents by clicking the arrow.

Hide or reveal items under a Group item by clicking the small Arrow beside the group name. Clicking the Group in the Selection panel selects all of the items in that group, while clicking a single item in that group selects only that item.

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Blog / PowerPoint Tips / Layers in PowerPoint: gain control over your presentation.

powerpoint show all layers

Layers in PowerPoint: gain control over your presentation.

Navigate seamlessly through all the delicious layers in your PowerPoint cake to open up new possibilities in presentation design and build.

If one layer of cake is good, two, three, even four layers is even better, right? The principle is the same in PowerPoint. By layering slide elements, you can create  beautiful designs , complicated animations, and seamless transitions. But the more layers you have, the more difficult it is to locate and manipulate any one of them, especially if the one you need is right at the bottom of the stack.

Working with layers in PowerPoint

If you have PowerPoint, you have the luxury of the Selection and Visibility Pane. And if you’ve not heard of it before, you’re not alone. When we run our template training sessions for our clients, this is one of the many features we introduce that blows people’s minds. 

If you’re using the PC version, in the  Home  tab of the ribbon, under  Editing , click  Select , then  Selection Pane  to open the Selection and Visibility pane. Your pane should appear on the right side, just like your Animation Pane. Now you have the ability to treat individual design elements like layers, just as you would in design applications, like Photoshop.

If you’re using PowerPoint for Mac , in the  Home  tab, under Arrange, select Selection Pane to open it on the right-hand side

Getting to know your layers in PowerPoint

How do humans introduce themselves? It usually starts with a name. You should afford your layers the same courtesy, it’ll make it a lot easier to work together in the future. 

In your Selection Pane, you should be able to see the names of each of your elements, but these names might not be that useful. “Rectangle 1” and “TextBox 3” just aren’t very individual. When you start getting deep, deep into the layers, you’re not going to remember which was your first rectangle and which was your 400 th . Our advice is to rename your elements so that they each make sense to you. 

To do this,  single-click  the existing name and  type in your new one . Easy.

Giving your objects relevant names is especially useful when  constructing complicated animations . The names you give your elements in the Selection Pane will carry across to your Animation Pane in perfect cohesion. 

Move your layers around in PowerPoint

Stop helplessly clicking in the same spot thousands of times, hoping to catch a tiny part of the object that’s not blocked by another. You know what (most people think) Einstein said about insanity, right?

Definition of insanity. Einstein quote.

There’s no evidence he actually said that, but you’re still not going to get your mouse to click on the object you want. Let’s try a different tactic.

Simply  click the object’s name  in your Selection Pane, and ta-da, it’s selected. You can now manipulate it to your will. Or, if you want to reorder the contents of your slide, you can  drag the object’s name  in the Selection Pane up the list, and the on-slide element will follow suit.

Hide layers in PowerPoint

Even the most focused and brilliant designers can get overwhelmed as slide real estate starts to fill up. Sometimes, you just need to strip the clutter out so you can focus on making each individual element perfect. This is where hiding your layers comes in handy.

In your Selection Pane, simply find your well-labelled element, and  click the eye symbol  next to its name. The corresponding element will vanish from your slide. Fear not, it’s just hiding. When you want it back, you  click the eye again  and, as if by magic, it will appear again.

We’re all about making things simple

We're all about making things simple

In the Buffalo 7 studio , we like to spend our time on the things that really matter, like building client relationships and working in our squads to push the boundaries of creativity for our clients’ PowerPoint presentations. We don’t like wasting time searching through layers of PowerPoint objects. Your time is just as precious as ours, so activate your Selection Pane, and spend time sharing your big ideas with the world through the beauty of PowerPoint. 

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powerpoint show all layers

Layer objects

powerpoint show all layers

When you add pictures, shapes, and graphics, they can overlap. Change the way objects overlap in PowerPoint using Send to Back and Bring to Front  to change the stacking order. And use the Selection Pane to find hidden objects.

Move an object to the back or front

Select the object.

Right-click and select an option:

Bring to Front  - to move the object in front of all other objects.

Send to Back - to move the object behind all other objects.

Or, to move an object in-between layers:

Bring to Front > Bring Forward - to move the object in front of another object.

Send to Back > Send Backward  - to move the object behind, or in back of another object.

Use the Selection Pane to find hidden objects

If an object is hidden behind other objects, select Home > Select > Selection Pane .

In the Selection Pane , reorder the objects how you want. The front object is listed at the top. You can turn objects off/on by selection the "open eye" icon or lock them.

Change the order in which stacked objects, placeholders, or shapes appear on a slide

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How to View Layers in Powerpoint

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PowerPoint revolves around visual hooks, bringing slide show presentations to life via bulleted lists, animations, charts, videos and images. Among the other customization options offered by the program, PowerPoint allows you to layer these objects, one "atop" the other, in a single slide. Although viewing layers created by another presenter is as easy as opening and clicking through a PowerPoint presentation, you'll have to create your own layers if you want to view them in your own slide show.

Add the objects that you wish to layer to your PowerPoint slide with the “Insert” tab. By default, the most recent object added to a slide appears on the top layer of objects. PowerPoint doesn't place a limit on the number of objects you can use per slide; it's up to you to limit the number of objects to avoid confusion.

Click on a single object, or layer, to select it. You can modify its position among the other objects, which act as additional layers of your slide, under the “Drawing” tab on PowerPoint's main control ribbon. From here, click the “Arrange” button.

Select one of the four options – “Bring to Front,” “Send to Back,” “Bring Forward” or “Send Backward” – to reposition the layer you have selected. “Bring Forward” moves the object up one layer while “Send Backward” moves it back one layer. “Bring to Front” puts it on the top layer and “Send to Back” positions it on the bottom layer.

Save your presentation with layers intact as a PPT or PPTX file with PowerPoint's "Save" or “Save As” option. Open your creation in Microsoft PowerPoint or Microsoft PointPoint Viewer to see your layers in action.

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Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Word Riot, Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, Trails and more. Dan's diverse professional background spans from costume design and screenwriting to mixology, manual labor and video game industry publicity.

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FPPT

How to Work in PowerPoint with Layers

Working with PowerPoint can be daunting for beginners, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize the many possibilities its functions and features can present to you. For one, using PowerPoint templates with the Slide Master feature can allow you to create layers in your slides that will add depth and impact to your presentations. If you want to learn how to work in PowerPoint with layers , read the detailed guide below.

What even long-time PowerPoint users may not know is that you can make the most out of these layers and work better with the help of the Selection and Visibility Pane. This Pane allows you to better work with layers. It helps you to organize and keep track of the different layers and elements in your slides as you design each of them.

Work with Layers Using Selection Pane

Enabling Selection and Visibility to Work with Layers

The Selection and Visibility feature in PowerPoint is a nifty one, but not a lot of people know about it. This is perhaps why not a lot also work with layers, and thereby aren’t making the most out of PowerPoint.

This feature allows you to see your design elements or layers and identify them on a separate pane. You can enable this feature by going to the Home tab in the Ribbon. From here, go to the Editing -> Select, Then, choose Selection Pane to open a pop-up box for Selection and Visibility.

How to Work in PowerPoint with Layers

Easily Work with Layers in Your Slides

The Selection and Visibility Pane will show all the objects, or layers, in your current slide. Each of these objects has preset names that are automatically provided by PowerPoint. Names such as “TextBox 1” or “Line 4” can be renamed, however, so you can better recognize the objects you create. This is because these rather generic names can be confusing, especially if you have multiple textboxes and lines on your slide.

So, to rename each object, just click on its name in the Selection and Visibility Pane and type the name that you want. It helps to have a specific word or short phrase to describe each object as its name, so you can easily recognize it against the other objects in your slide.

By giving your objects specific and convenient names, you can better work with layers. It will also be so much easier for you to identify these objects especially when you work with complex animations, which also reflect the names you assign to the objects.

Rename Objects in Selection Pane

Access and Reorder Your PowerPoint Layers

If you’re familiar with Photoshop, then you will see how working with PowerPoint layers and using the Selection and Visibility Pane is familiar. By using the Selection Pane, you can access the objects or layers that are obstructed by other layers in your slides. This means you don’t have to dig through the many layers just to get to the one that you want, Just click on the layer’s name in the list in the pane and access it in the slide.

If you want to reorder the layers, you can also do so in the pane. Just select the name of the object you want to reorganize, then drag it up or down along the list of other layers.

You can also hide the layers if you want the objects to not show up, but you don’t really want to delete them just in case you change your mind. This can be useful if you want to declutter your slide for a while as you work with a few layers at a time.

To hide each layer, just click on the “eye” icon next to the layer’s name in the Selection Pane to hide it, then just click it again to unhide it.

Hide PowerPoint Layers in Slide

Now that you know how to work with PowerPoint layers, you can create more dynamic and complex slideshows.

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powerpoint show all layers

How to View Layers in PowerPoint

By james t wood / in computers & electronics.

The mark of an excellent presentation is that it can be given even if the power fails.

Putting things in piles isn't just the organizational system that you've been using for as long as you can remember, it's also the way virtual objects are organised in PowerPoint presentations. Whether it's a pile of pictures, stacks of text or mounds of animation effects, PowerPoint uses layers to organise what you're working with. But when you start getting several layers deep it can be difficult to select what's on the bottom or to control where things land in the pile. PowerPoint uses a "Selection pane" and an "Animation pane" to help you find what you're looking for.

  • Putting things in piles isn't just the organizational system that you've been using for as long as you can remember, it's also the way virtual objects are organised in PowerPoint presentations.
  • PowerPoint uses a "Selection pane" and an "Animation pane" to help you find what you're looking for.

Click the "Home" tab in PowerPoint and then click the "Arrange" button. Choose "Selection Pane" from the menu. The Selection pane will appear to the right of the slide, showing you all the different objects and which layer each one is in on that slide.

Click the eye icon next to one of the objects to hide that layer. Click the icon again to show the layer. Click the "Hide All" or "Show All" button at the bottom of the Selection pane to see or hide all the layers. Click to select one of the objects from the list and then drag it to a different position in the list to reorder the layers, or use the arrow buttons at the bottom of the pane.

  • Click the eye icon next to one of the objects to hide that layer.
  • Click to select one of the objects from the list and then drag it to a different position in the list to reorder the layers, or use the arrow buttons at the bottom of the pane.

Click the "Animations" tab and then click the "Animation Pane" button (the "Custom Animation Pane" button in versions prior to PowerPoint 2010). This will show you all the animation layers on a slide. The top object will appear first in the animation sequence, and the bottom object last. Drag and drop objects in the list or use the arrows at the bottom of the pane to adjust the animation layers.

Computroon

PowerPoint – Working With Layers

If you are working on a PowerPoint presentation and the slide only has 3 or 4 layers, it’s easy enough to arrange these using the Arrange button within the Home tab and use Arrange / Send to back or Bring to front.

However, if the slide is more advanced, with many more layers, you’ll want to have more control over this.

The easiest way to control this is to familiarise yourself with the Selection Pane . There are various ways to access this, the quickest is from PowerPoint’s Home tab, clicking the Arrange button and choosing the last option on the drop-down that is called Selection Pane .

Once the Selection Pane is open, you can easily manage layers by reordering them, renaming them, hiding them or locking them into position to prevent you accidentally moving them out of place when working on the slide or template.

It works in a very similar way to programs such as Photoshop.

PowerPoint layers

Keyboard Shortcut To Launch Selection Pane

You can toggle Selection Pane open or closed from view within PowerPoint by using the following keyboard shortcut:

Windows keyboard shortcut for Selection Pane in PowerPoint:

PowerPoint 2023 in Office 365 Selection Pane to sort layers.

PowerPoint Selection pane

View or hide a powerpoint layer.

Once you are in the Selection Pane, you can toggle to view icon (the little eye) to make a layer visible or not.

This can be really useful when working on other layers or hiding the layer permanently from that particular slide.

Locking a layer in PowerPoint

Locking the layer by toggling the padlock will prevent the layer from moving around while working on other parts of the presentation slide.

Rename a layer in PowerPoint

Renaming each layer is easy by slowly double-clicking on the layer name. This is incredibly useful with complex slides or templates that use many layers.

The Selection Pane in PowerPoint is a powerful tool that allows users to efficiently organize and manage objects within their presentations. This feature enables easy selection, visibility control, and arrangement of elements, making it an indispensable asset for creating professional and visually appealing slides.

Users can access the Selection Pane through the “Home” tab, and it displays a comprehensive list of all objects present on the slide. By simply clicking on the desired element within the pane, users can select, rename, re-order, hide, or unhide specific objects with utmost convenience.

With the Selection Pane’s intuitive interface, users can streamline their editing workflow, saving time and enhancing the overall productivity of PowerPoint presentations.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced PowerPoint user, mastering the Selection Pane can significantly elevate your presentation creation process, ensuring a seamless and captivating audience experience.

Video Instructions of this Article

How to Layer Images in PowerPoint

Phoebe Sanchez Avatar

Phoebe Sanchez

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PowerPoint slides have multiple objects including images that may hide or cover other objects when added. These images must be arranged to allow other objects, such as texts, to remain visible. For this guide, we look at how to layer images in all versions of PowerPoint.

How to layer images using the Arrange tool

The PowerPoint Arrange tool gives you various options to order, group, and position objects on a slide. Let’s look at how to use these options to layer images.

PowerPoint Pictures tool

  • Bring to Front : the image goes in front of all objects.
  • Send to Back : the image goes behind all objects.
  • Bring Forward : brings the image one level over other objects.

PowerPoint tool to order objects on a slide

Layer images by grouping

The “Group Objects” section allows you to select multiple images and group them as one image.

PowerPoint Group tool

You can click Ungroup if you want to separate the images.

PowerPoint ungroup images

Layer images using the Selection Pane

The Selection pane lists all the objects (including images) on a slide, making it easy to identify and arrange them. You can use this tool to layer images. Follow these steps:

PowerPoint selection pane tool

You can arrange the images according to your preference.

PowerPoint layered image

Phoebe is an HR assistant in her day job, but is also a web blogger that loves writing guides and sharing her experiences. When she is not out with her friends, she enjoys traveling or binge-watching Netflix. She graduated with a BA in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Utah, and is a chief editor at TechObservatory.

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