Interactive elements are a dynamic way of creating visually engaging presentations in PowerPoint.

From hyperlinks to embedded videos, these features can support different types of presentation. The savvy Assistant will know what’s available in the toolkit and how to make best use of it.

Video and audio add an extra dynamic to speakers’ presentations. Hyperlinks, forms and quizzes make for more engaging and participatory presentations – to be shared or read by individuals, for training, information and learning.

Why Interactive Elements are Used in PowerPoint Presentations

Interactive elements help to turn the audience from observers into participants.

People feel more involved in the presentation if they have something to do. People are more likely to be engaged, understand and retain the content. People can explore content at their own pace and in their own way, which is highly desirable for training and learning purposes.

Interactive elements can also be shared with team members, project colleagues or group members when collaborating in PowerPoint and delivering presentations virtually.

Dynamic presentations allow people to click, explore and engage with the presentation content in a way that’s missing from static slide decks.

3 Quick Tips for Creating PowerPoint Presentations with Interactive Elements

As with all PowerPoint creations, my advice is to follow good design principles and best practices for slide design. Here are three quick tips for getting it right with interactive elements.

1. Keep it simple – Avoid over complexity. If you make the navigation difficult or add return paths it can become a time-consuming effort to put all the necessary elements in place.

2. Plan carefully – Think about the purpose of the presentation, the content to be included and any interactivity or participation you want from the reader or audience. This helps you to know the structure required for the presentation.

3. Learn time-saving tips – The savvy Assistant knows the value of time. Knowing shortcuts helps to be more efficient and productive. For example, if you are going to be using ‘Next’ and ‘Back’ navigation buttons with hyperlinks, add these to the Slide Master (to save having to add the elements manually to each slide every time).

Introducing Types of Interactive Element in PowerPoint

There are a number of features and tools available to enhance the engagement levels of presentations. Here are ones the smart VA, PA or EA will probably have in their PowerPoint locker.

Hyperlinks

Hyperlinks allow people to navigate a presentation and explore additional resources.

The inclusion of hyperlinks is particularly useful in presentations designed for individual or group training, learning and sharing information. Not so much for presentations delivered ‘live’ to an audience, unless access to the slide deck is made available – for example, via a QR code – during the event.

You can create an index slide with hyperlinks that take the viewer to specific content areas, like a book reader jumping to a new chapter. This is very useful if the presentation covers several topics, different parts of one topic, or you are sharing a big resource that cannot be subdivided.

You can add a hyperlink to a text box, image or photo. You can also custom create using the drawing tools inside PowerPoint. The hyperlink can take people to a website, document, specific part of a document or to an email address.

Buttons

Buttons are an alternative visual way to represent a hyperlink (instead of the standard underlined or coloured text link) or even to create a quiz or survey.

An action button encourages the presentation user to follow your command or guidance. A ‘Next’ button can take people to the next slide, run an application, play a sound or show a video clip. Simply pick a button shape and assign the action you want a click to take.

Triggered Animations

Triggered Animations work in a similar way to what I described in my recent blog about using animations and transitions for polished presentations.

You can show or hide content until a user clicks on another object or slide. It is a useful way of helping the reader move step-by-step through a sequence, flowchart or pathway.

Forms, Surveys and Quizzes

Within a PowerPoint presentation you can share a survey, opinion poll, feedback form or quiz via email, OneNote, Teams or other Microsoft Office applications. This could be with an audience, team members, project group or membership group, for example.

It’s an engaging way to get real-time feedback, test audience knowledge and gain insights.

Share the interactive form, survey or quiz then collect the responses and analyse the results. This can be a very handy internal communications tool for an organisation. Make up your own questions or use Copilot by typing your requirements in the prompt box. Survey style can be multiple choice, (star or number) ratings or a mix.

QR Codes

The savvy Assistant can add QR codes to a presentation to improve audience and user engagement with content.

If a presentation is being delivered on a big screen in a large room, a QR code on an early slide allows people to access the slide deck on their personal device. Or add the QR code to an end slide for access once the presentation is finished. An end slide QR Code might also direct people to a website, or other branded web page or document.

A QR code can link to more detailed information (such as a study, report or research paper) or give people access to a quick live poll, post-presentation feedback, email sign-up page or other opportunity.

Using Embedded Media in PowerPoint for Better Presentations

PowerPoint allows the savvy Assistant to insert screenshots, and embed video and audio into a presentation.

Screenshot

You can insert a full screenshot, or a screen clipping of specific area of the screen, into a slide.

Video

Video is a powerful visual media. Thoughtful inclusion of video in a PowerPoint presentation can help the audience to engage with and remember the content.

You can embed a video from your own files or from YouTube or Vimeo, to support the idea or message in a slide in PowerPoint. Embedded files increase the size of the presentation. Linked videos have a smaller file size but the downside is links can break.

Videos are best embedded full screen at 1080p resolution. You can play videos with no narration, allowing the presenter to speak to it in real time. Presenters also use short video clips as B-roll, supporting the idea or message they are conveying.

Audio

PowerPoint also allows you to add audio to the mix – in the form of music, narration or sound bites. Embed something already recorded or record your own.

A clip from an interview could be used to support a message or open thinking, questions and discussion about an idea.

Be Intelligent About How You Use Interactive Elements in PowerPoint

There is so much more to PowerPoint than giving you a slide deck of static text and images. Interactive elements and embedded media, such as video and audio, can enhance any presentation.

The audience wants to be engaged, wants to be informed but also wants to be entertained and feel they are part of the presentation experience.

Surveys, snap polls and quizzes allow people to have their say and take part in a presentation. Videos add a different dynamic and can help an idea or message stick in the memory. Audio encourages the audience to listen. QR codes give people rapid access to information or an opportunity.

The savvy Assistant will think about the purpose of a presentation and consider carefully what interactive elements or embedded media will serve that purpose (rather than just throwing in interactive elements that distract from the message).

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