How to Outline Text in Powerpoint: A Step-by-Step Guide

Outlining text in PowerPoint is a breeze once you know where to look. Simply select the text you wish to outline, then navigate to the “Format” tab. Click on “Text Effects”, followed by “Outline”, and choose your desired outline color and weight. And voilà, your text now stands out with a sleek outline!

After you outline your text, it will appear more prominent and eye-catching on your slides, which can be particularly useful for titles, headings, or any text you want to emphasize.


Have you ever found yourself squinting at a PowerPoint presentation, trying to read the text that just seems to blend into the background? Or maybe you’re the one giving the presentation, and you want to make sure your audience can clearly see and understand each point you’re making. Enter the art of outlining text in PowerPoint.

Outlining text can make your words pop off the screen, providing a clear distinction from the background and ensuring your message is received loud and clear. It’s a simple yet powerful tool in making your presentation look professional and polished. Whether you’re a student presenting a project, a business professional pitching to clients, or a teacher trying to engage your class, knowing how to outline text can make all the difference. So, let’s dive in and learn how to make your words stand out!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Outline Text in PowerPoint

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s first understand what these steps will help you achieve. By following the steps below, you will be able to add an outline to your text, making it more visible and impactful on your PowerPoint slides.

Step 1: Select the Text

Begin by clicking on the text box containing the text you want to outline.

Selecting the text is the first step because you need to tell PowerPoint which text you want to modify. Make sure you click on the actual text box and not just somewhere on the slide. If you’re working with multiple text boxes, you’ll need to repeat these steps for each one you want to outline.

Step 2: Navigate to the Format Tab

After selecting the text, go to the “Format” tab on the PowerPoint ribbon.

This step is where the magic begins. The “Format” tab is your gateway to all the text formatting options PowerPoint has to offer, including the outline feature.

Step 3: Click on Text Effects

In the “Format” tab, look for the “Text Effects” button and click on it.

The “Text Effects” button is a little treasure trove of options that can make your text do some pretty cool things. But for now, we’re focused on the outlining part.

Step 4: Choose Outline

In the “Text Effects” menu, hover over “Outline” to see the outline options, and then click on your choice of outline color and weight.

The outline color is the color of the outline itself, while the weight is how thick or thin you want that outline to be. You can choose from a range of colors and weights to find the perfect look for your text.


Enhanced VisibilityAdding an outline to your text makes it stand out against the background, making it easier for your audience to read.
Professional LookAn outline can give your text a sleek, professional appearance that adds to the overall quality of your presentation.
Emphasis on Key PointsOutlining text is a great way to draw attention to important headings or points you want your audience to remember.


Can Be DistractingIf overused, outlined text can become distracting and take away from the content of the presentation.
Limited CompatibilitySome older versions of PowerPoint might not support all text outline features, which can be a limitation for those not using updated software.
Time-ConsumingFor presentations with a lot of text, outlining each section can be time-consuming if not done efficiently.

Additional Information

When it comes to outlining text in PowerPoint, there are a few extra tidbits that can enhance your experience. For instance, did you know that you can also create custom outline colors? If the default options don’t suit your fancy, simply click on “More Outline Colors” for a full spectrum of choices. Additionally, you can even apply gradient outlines for a more dynamic effect.

Another tip is to consider the background of your slides when choosing your outline color and weight. You want to create enough contrast to ensure readability but also maintain a harmonious color scheme. Also, don’t forget that you can apply transparency to your outline, which can sometimes result in a more subtle but equally effective emphasis.

Lastly, remember that less is often more. Outlining every piece of text on your slide might overwhelm your audience. Use outlines strategically to highlight the most crucial information or to make titles and headings stand out.


  1. Select the text you want to outline.
  2. Navigate to the “Format” tab.
  3. Click on “Text Effects”.
  4. Choose your desired outline color and weight from the “Outline” options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply an outline to text in all versions of PowerPoint?

Yes, most versions of PowerPoint offer the ability to outline text, but the steps might differ slightly depending on your software version.

Is it possible to outline text in PowerPoint on a Mac?

Absolutely! The steps are essentially the same as on a PC, so Mac users can outline their text with ease.

Can I remove the outline from the text later?

Definitely. Just follow the same steps and choose “No Outline” from the outline options to remove it.

Will the outline show up when I print my slides?

Yes, the outline will be visible on printed slides, making your text stand out even on paper.

Can I save a text style with an outline as a default for future presentations?

While you can’t set it as a default, you can save a text box with the desired style as a template and copy it into future presentations.


Mastering the task of outlining text in PowerPoint can give your presentations that extra oomph they need to captivate your audience. It’s a tool that, when used wisely, can take your slides from mundane to memorable.

Remember, the key to successful text outlining lies in balance. Use it to highlight, not to overshadow. With this newfound knowledge, your next presentation is sure to be a hit. Happy outlining!

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