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Use the Selection Pane like you use Layers in Adobe InDesign

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

If you have lots of objects on a page, or there are objects overlapping each other, it can be difficult to pick the one you want to work on. This is where the Selection Pane is really useful.

I use the Selection Pane a lot in my MS Word and PowerPoint work. You can access it via:

  • the Home tab - click on the Select button in the Editing group and choose "Selection Pane" in the dropdown menu (Windows version of Word only)

  • the Layout tab - go to the Arrange group and press the Selection Pane button

  • selecting an object (e.g. a shape, table) - in that object's menu, clicking the "Selection Pane" button in the Arrange group of that tab.

If you're a regular user of Adobe software and are used to working with layers, this Selection Pane will soon become familiar. You can hide or show all or individual objects, you can rearrange their order and you can rename them.

Open the Selection Pane and click on any shape or image available on a page. In the Selection Pane, that object's name will be highlighted. Double-click the name and you'll be able to rename it to whatever you want.

Doing this is really useful if you have lots of overlapping objects; selecting an object's name in the Selection Pane will be a lot easier than trying to click on something that is partially or fully underneath another object.

If you do a lot of animations in MS PowerPoint, the Selection Pane can really save you time and frustration. The ability to temporarily hide objects so I can concentrate more on animating individual objects makes editing a lot easier. And renaming objects means their names also appear in the Animation Pane. Why is that important? Because if you have to amend an animation later on, selecting identifiable names instead of "Picture 7" or "Rectangle 2" is going to make selecting the right objects to change a lot easier, especially if you have lots of objects to work on.

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