PowerPoint macros: How to automate your PowerPoint 2016 and 2019 slides?

Last updated: May 2019.

Here’s a question we got from a reader:

I have a need to automatically resize all images stored in a specific presentation I have to prepare for my management. As the slides are quite standard, this looks like something I could automate using a Macro. The thing is that I don’t find the macro recorder button in the PowerPoint development tab. Can you help?

Yes sure! There are many tasks that could use quite a bit of automation in PowerPoint such as:

  • Auto-creating periodical presentations (say quarterly reports).
  • Auto-formatting your PowerPoint slides – applying styles, fonts.
  • Working with images (resizing, adjusting to slide templates etc’).
  • Getting rid of unused slide master templates that bloat your presentation size.
  • And more…

Can i record a Macro on PowerPoint?

I would like to clarify this point, as couple of readers specifically asked for this. Microsoft PowerPoint doesn’t ship a macro recorder such as the one you’ll find in Word or Excel. Therefore,  if you want to automate PowerPoint, you’ll need to create your macro manually using Visual Basic for applications (VBA). VBA  is a relatively simple programming language used  by power users to extend Microsoft Office functionality. All that said, the process is not complicated , just follow along the instructions below.

Create a macro enabled presentation

First off,  we’ll go ahead and create a backup of  the original presentation, so you can always come back to it if needed:

  1. Open the specific presentation that you want to automate.
  2. Save your presentation using a different file name, say MyPresentationwithMacros, and make sure to pick the file format .pptm (Powerpoint Macro presentation) as your file type.

Now, you need to able to access your VBA programming user interface. If for some case you don’t see the a menu called Developer which by default appears in the right side of your Ribbon, you should go ahead and enable the development menu.

Add your Macro to PowerPoint

Your next step would be to insert your VBA code snippet into a Visual Basic for Applications Project Module. Follow the instructions below:

  1. From the Ribbon, hit Developer.
  2. Then hit the Visual Basic button.
  3. The VBA editor will open up.
  4. Now, from the project tree, highlight the VBAProject entry.
  5. Now from the header menu hit Insert and select Module.
  6. At this point you can paste your macro. A word of caution here: Always ensure that you obtain your macro from reliable resources. Copying VBA code from the web is not a good idea!
  7. Now, hit Debug and then then select Compile VBA project.
  8. If you receive no error messages, go ahead and hit Save.

Enable your macros

Your Microsoft Office installation might have VBA Macros disabled by default. If that’s the case, from the Developer tab, hit Macro Security and select Disable all Macros except digitally signed.

Running your PowerPoint Macro

  1. Close the VBA editor and return to your PowerPoint presentation.
  2. Back to your developer tab, hit Macros.
  3. Pick the Macro that you have just added to your presentation in the previous section.
  4. Hit Run.

Assign your Macro to a button

If you would like to improve the usability of your VBA Macro, you can easily assign it to a button.

Macro for PowerPoint examples – feedback needed!

Couple readers asked for some Visual basic for Applications macro examples for PowerPoint. As i will need to put some significant time to document those, and as such i would like to assess the need. Kindly drop me a comment if you are looking for specific PowerPoint VBA help.


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