How to add macros to PowerPoint 2016 and 2019 slides?

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
  • Getting rid of unused slide master templates that bloat your presentation
  • 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. Therefore,  you’ll need to create one manually using Visual Basic for applications (VBA), which is a relatively simple programming language used to extend Microsoft Office. That said, the process is not complicated , just follow along the instructions below.

Create a macro enabled presentation

First off,  let us create a backup of  your 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 MyPresentationMacro, and make sure to pick the file format .pptm (Powerpoint Macro presentation) as your file type.

Then, if you don’t see the developer button in your Ribbon, you should go ahead and enable the development menu.

Inserting 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.

Running your 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.

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

Assign a button to your Macro

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 primer.


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