By default, the PowerPoint window is divided up into several panes. The middle pane shows a preview of the slide, which you can edit in various ways. The pane on the left is for an outline of the show; it has two tabs that you can select, one ("Slides") showing thumbnail views and the other ("Outline") containing a text outline that you can edit. The pane on the right is the task pane, which allows you to make certain selections, such as how you want to create a new presentation. There is also a small pane near the bottom of the window for entering speaker's notes if you wish.
In the lab, you create a new presentation from a design template. This is probably the most common method, but note that you can also start with a blank presentation, use the AutoContent Wizard, or import from some other types of files, such as simple text outlines. There are a number of templates installed with PowerPoint and available for use, or, if you are a little more advanced, you can create your own template and access it by clicking on "Browse" at the bottom of the task pane.
Using a design template allows formatting of text to be done automatically as you type into the outline; you do not have to position and select size and color for each item individually.
If you want to add graphics or other special material to a slide, you need to work in the central pane. For some more common types of slide layout, you can choose from the layout options given in the task pane. For more specialized effects, you can choose a blank layout and then insert objects into it as you prefer. Note that none of the material inserted in this way will turn up in the outline. For most kinds of insertion, you can use either the main menu or the drawing toolbar at the bottom of the window.
A PowerPoint presentation can include live hyperlinks. When a hyperlink is clicked on during a show, PowerPoint may jump to another slide, open a Web page in the default browser, run a program, or play a sound (if sound effects have been installed), depending on what has been specified.
Various simple animation effects can be applied to the objects on a slide including growing or shrinking and following a custom path.