If you create presentation slides or even manage presentations for your company, you’ve likely wanted to find a slide or graphic in an old presentation that you or a colleague has created. Reusing slides versus creating new ones helps drive productivity, promotes knowledge sharing, and aligns communication across your team.
However, scanning through dozens of files in a variety of locations (e.g Box, email attachments, SharePoint) to finally find the slide you want to use only to copy-and-paste it into your new PowerPoint presentation is extremely frustrating. Depending on the number of presentations you have and how sharp your memory is (like you could remember the exact location of the Gantt chart you created 3 years ago), this process could waste a significant amount of time.
Thankfully, it’s no longer necessary to copy-and-paste slides from a previous presentation into the new one you’re working on. PowerPoint offers a “Reuse Slides” feature to appease this issue.
In this article, we will evaluate the pros and cons of PowerPoint’s Reuse Slides tool, show you how to use it, and highlight a few other Microsoft features.
Benefits of Reusing Slides in General
It’s no secret that it’s a waste of time and energy to duplicate efforts. There are a few benefits of reusing the PowerPoint slides that you’ve already created.
Don’t Waste Your Time – Work Smarter not Harder
Reusing slides that you already took the time to create is a no-brainer. Don’t duplicate efforts.
Align Communication Across Your Team
By using SharePoint and OneDrive you can make sure your whole team is able to access presentation slides and PowerPoint templates easily in one place. Sharing slides helps ensure your team is using a consistent voice when communicating internally and externally.
How to Use PowerPoint’s Reuse Slides Feature
- In PowerPoint, open the presentation you want to work on.
2. Whatever slide you want to insert will be inserted after the slide that is selected. Click on the appropriate slide.
3. Under the ‘Home’ tab, click the ‘New Slide’ dropdown menu
4. At the very bottom of the menu, click ‘Reuse Slides’. A new pane will open on the right-hand side
5. PowerPoint offers a basic version of Reuse Slides and an enterprise version. The basic version will only allow you to choose a file. The enterprise version will allow you to actually search for the slide you are looking for.
For the basic version,
Click ‘Browse’ and choose if you want to ‘Browse Slide Library’ or a file. If you use SharePoint and have a slide library set up, then this may be the best option to select. If you don’t use SharePoint, then you can browse the PowerPoint presentation files on your computer
Select the PowerPoint presentation file that you want to search and click ‘Open’
For the enterprise version,
Search for any slide on your PC, OneDrive, or SharePoint. The Reuse Slides pane will show you a preview of the first slide in the presentation that has slides that match your search. Select the title slide for the file you want to explore further.
Note: Reuse doesn’t surface the exact slides that match your search. It only provides the first slide in the file/presentation. You have to follow the steps below to manually find the slide
6. The file that you selected will be opened within the Reuse Slides pane and will be displayed as slide previews. Click on the slide you want to insert.
Note: If you want to keep the source formatting of the slide you are inserting, check the box at the bottom that says ‘Keep Source Formatting’. Otherwise, the inserted slide will take on the formatting of your current presentation.
7. Right-click on a slide to see more options
Ta-da! You have now utilized PowerPoint’s Reuse Slides feature and have saved a bit of time. Now Let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons of Reuse Slides. Was it really worth your time?
What are the Pros of PowerPoint Reuse Slides?
There are certainly some obvious pros of using Reuse Slides but let’s spell them out:
Search & Save Time
The enterprise version of Reuse Slides allows you to search for slides and presentations, which is much more helpful than the basic version where you have to manually browse and open a presentation.
Slide Search Connections
Reuse Slides can connect to SharePoint & One Drive so you don’t necessarily have to have the file on your computer.
What are the Cons of PowerPoint Reuse Slides?
Not a Slide-level Search Tool
When you search for a term, let’s say “sales”, Reuse Slides will show you the title slide of the presentation file that matches the search term NOT the actual slide in the Reuse Slides pane. So you have to actually click into that file to see the slide previews and determine if it contains the “sales” slide that you were looking for.
You are very limited in your search by only being able to search for a term. There are no filters for date, SharePoint columns, or other metadata (e.g. author).
It Doesn’t Always Work
Sometimes the “Browse” option on Reuse Slides will completely go away, most commonly after updates. A common search on Google is “PowerPoint reuse slides not working” – red flag alert! Microsoft moderators state that the reason people can’t select files or browse files is that you have to have Office 365 for the enterprise version of Office. A workaround “solution” is to run PowerPoint in Safe Mode.
It Only Connects to Microsoft solutions
The enterprise version of Reuse Slides only connects to solutions created by Microsoft – so that leaves you with SharePoint and OneDrive. If you don’t use either of those solutions and use Box, Egnyte, Dropbox, etc. you are out of luck if you want to use PowerPoint’s Reuse Slides.
On the enterprise level, Reuse Slides does not take into consideration who has access to different files which can cause difficulties in finding the slides you’re looking for.
You are unable to search for images in Reuse Slides, only PowerPoint presentation slides.
Changes to Microsoft Products
No More Slide Libraries
In 2013, Microsoft discontinued slide libraries in SharePoint due to a “Design limitation in SharePoint Server”. As a workaround to this inconvenience, Windows suggests that PowerPoint users insert slides from PowerPoint files using their Reuse Slides feature.
Microsoft Tap feature
In 2016, Microsoft rolled out a new feature for Microsoft Word and Outlook called Tap. Tap lets users quickly select documents, presentations, and spreadsheets that are frequently used by you or your coworkers so you don’t have to leave Word or Outlook to find them. This feature is not yet available to use in PowerPoint.
The bottom line is this: If you don’t have a ton of PowerPoint presentations on your computer or in a drive, reuse slides could be a helpful solution if you have the enterprise version. The basic version is not really a helpful tool. But in the case of large marketing and sales teams that have thousands of presentation slides, this feature may be more of a pain than it’s worth. Especially since there are other, better slide management solutions out there.