Say What?

A Guide To Common PowerPoint Presentation Words and Phrases

Whether you’re new to PowerPoint, or need a quick refresh, here are some of the technical words and phrases you might hear us use when we talk about your presentations.

We’ll try and keep it ‘non-techy’ – but sometimes we just can’t help it because it’s a part of our everyday language at work.

We hope you find this useful and, if you think something is missing, let us know and we’ll add it in!

What we say What it means
Front end


The front end is where you will create your individual slides for your presentation. You can build a slide from scratch or insert a prebuilt template (master layout) slide, adding other elements like icons, logos, imagery, text and video files as you go.
Back stage


The back stage of a PowerPoint presentation is a term that refers to a collection of Master slide layouts. These are a collection of predesigned slide layouts containing fixed (non-editable) graphic elements, as well as mobile and editable ‘Placeholder’ elements.



Placeholders are for specific elements to be added to your slides. The most common placeholders make it easy to import images, graphics and data-led content (pie charts, line graphs, etc).
Text placeholders are set with specific formatting properties where any text copied/pasted onto the slide will assume the correct font, font colour, point size and paragraph formatting.
Slide Each page of a PowerPoint presentation.



A slideshow places all your slides in the correct sequence and hides all of the menus and editing palettes. You can set your slides to advance manually in your slideshow (by clicking your mouse or hitting the enter key after each slide build). Or you can your slides to advance automatically by setting a ‘Time Elapsed’ for each slide.
Slide master The default design template is a plain, white slide with standard black text and without visually interesting or creative elements. After your presentation has been designed to your choice, all of your slides will use the fonts, colours, and graphics in the Slide Master. Each new slide that you create takes on these elements.
Slide layout / slide types










Different types of slide layouts that enable you to use them for different things to bring variety to your presentation. Slide layouts include:

·      Title slides

·      Section headings

·      Pictures and caption slides

·      Content slides for adding content, charts, pictures, and tables

·      Blank slides

·      Text only slides

·      Statistics

·      Quotes/Testimonials

·      Showcase slides (devices, monitors, etc)

·      Data-led slides

Slide view










You can view slides and slideshows in a few different ways, here’s how:

  • Normal/slide view: This is the main window of the presentation – when you see it full size on screen. in the presentation.
  • Outline view: Shows all the slides, in a list on the left of the PowerPoint screen – just the text. It’s useful for editing and you can export it out as a Word document to use as a handout if you want to.
  • Slide sorter view: Displays thumbnail versions of all your slides, arranged in horizontal rows. This is useful for making changes to several slides at once, rearranging or deleting slides.
  • Notes page view: Shows a smaller version of a slide with an area underneath for adding your speaker notes. Each slide is created on its own notes page so you can print them to refer to them when you’re delivering your presentation. Notes don’t  show on the screen during your presentation.
Transition The visual effects that appear as one slide changes to another. There are different types of transitions, including, fade, dissolve…
Animations Visual effects applied to individual items such as graphics, titles, or bullet points – not the slide itself – but elements on it to bring them to life.
Animation build Bringing one element after another, usually set up by clicks, to tell the visual story better as you’re presenting
Task pane


This is on the right of the screen and changes to show the options available for the task you’re working on. For example, for adding animations or formatting a background.
Overarching Look & Feel An initial snapshot of what your full presentation could look like.
Expanded Look & Feel A full expansion of your Overarching Look & Feel.
Full Presentation Template Build Building your Full Presentation Template.
Full Slide Build Building all of the slides for your final presentation.
Asset Deck A toolkit of the graphic elements that make up your presentation.
Icon Deck A toolkit of bespoke icons for your presentation.
Master Deck A deck of your core slides – those that you’ll use time and time again in different presentations (including those with animation).
PowerPoint Online



The web version of PowerPoint. It allows you to play a PowerPoint presentation on any computer, even one without PowerPoint installed. To use it you just need a Microsoft account or a Microsoft 365 work or school account. To view a presentation in a web browser, save the presentation to OneDrive or Dropbox and open it in PowerPoint Online.
Non-linear presentation


A non-linear presentation is built with a menu and button navigation as part of the design. Doing this enables your audience to move about and access your slides in any order that they wish. A non-linear presentation will behave more like a website than a standard presentation.