HomeTechnologyNewsHow to Create Action Buttons in Microsoft PowerPoint

How to Create Action Buttons in Microsoft PowerPoint

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You can add a button to a PowerPoint slide by clicking Shapes on the ribbon and selecting one of the action buttons. After drawing the shape with the mouse, the Action Settings window will open. Use this window to choose an action for the button, such as linking to another location, running a program, or playing a sound.

There are many ways to make a presentation stand out in Microsoft PowerPoint. One way is to create action buttons. Whether it’s an arrow to move the slide forward or a play button to start a video, creating action buttons is easy. Let’s take a look at how to make these clever buttons.

Add the button and an action

Open your presentation and go to the slide where you want to add the button.

RELATED: How to Draw and Edit a Freeform Shape in Microsoft PowerPoint

Go to the “Insert” tab and select the “Shapes” dropdown arrow. At the bottom of the list, you’ll see a section for Action Buttons.

Choose the one that best suits the action you want to perform or the one you like the most.

Action buttons in the Shapes menu

When the cursor changes to a cross symbol, use it to drag and draw the shape. You can also resize it if needed by dragging a corner or border.

Action buttons shape drawn on a slide

Once you draw the action button, the “Action Settings” box opens automatically.

Use the “Mouse Click” tab to assign an action for when you click the button. Or, use the “Hover” tab to assign an action for when you hover over it.

Action settings with an action button

You can choose to hyperlink the button, have it activate a program, run a macro, or use an Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) object action.

  • hyperlink to: Use the dropdown to select what you want to link to, such as the next slide, the last slide, a custom show, a URL, or a file.
  • run the program: Use the “Browse” button to select the program you want to open.
  • run macros: Use the dropdown box and select a macro from the list. If you don’t have any macros in your presentation, this option is grayed out.
  • object action: If you have an OLE object, use the dropdown box to choose the action. If you are not using an OLE object, this option is grayed out.

Hyperlink Actions and Run Program

You can then add a sound to the action. Check the “Play Sound” box and choose one from the drop-down menu. If you have an audio file you want to use instead, choose “Other Sound” from the list and browse for your file.

Sounds for a PowerPoint action button

If the action you want to take is just to play a sound, check “None” for the action.

Be sure to check the “Play Sound” box and then choose your sound.

Action settings for sound only

When you finish setting the action, select “OK” to save it.

Use an alternate shape or image

If you want to use something different than the action button shapes above, you can choose a different shape or use an image. Add the shape or image to the slide as you normally would.

Smiley face shape drawn on a slide

Select the shape or image and go to the “Insert” tab. Click “Action” in the “Links” section of the ribbon.

Action on the Insert tab in PowerPoint

You will see the “Action Settings” box open, allowing you to choose an action as described above.

Again, you can choose between a “Mouse Click” or “Hover” action using the tabs. You can also play a sound.

smiley face with action setup

Select “OK” to apply the action to the shape or image.

Edit an action button

If you want to edit the action, select the button, shape, or image. Then go to the “Insert” tab and choose “Action”.

Make your settings and click “OK” to save your changes.

Test the action button in your slideshow

Once you add your action button, you’ll want to test it to make sure it works as you expect.

Go to the slide that contains the action button and select the “Slideshow” tab.

Choose “From Current Slide” on the left side of the ribbon.

Action buttons in a PowerPoint presentation

You will then see that your presentation starts with the slide that contains the action button.

Click or hover over the action button, depending on the settings you’ve chosen.

RELATED: How to Practice Your Presentations with PowerPoint Presenter Coach

With action buttons in PowerPoint, you can move through your presentation, open a file or program, or start playing a video or audio file with a bit of flair.

For more information, see How to use animations in Microsoft PowerPoint. You can do things like animate parts of a graph and use motion path animations.

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