Understanding Insert Object in PowerPoint

In the last post, we saw how to use PowerPoint Actions to open a linked or embedded file during the presentation.

Although this method works with inserted objects as well, there is a practical problem there. In fact there is a psychological problem.

The problem

Insert Object is used in two situations.

To package a collateral file with the presentation

This is usually done when you are going to send or upload the presentation for others to view it offline. You insert the related files as objects on relevant slides. In this case, others are supposed to see the icon so that they can double click on it to open the file (in edit mode) or add an Action for opening it during presentation mode. There is no problem in this scenario.

To be prepared to answer queries

Inserted Object is shown as an icon. You use it when you DON’T want to show any data from your Excel file upfront. You just want to describe the situation. And in case someone asks for details, you want to be prepared. That is why you have done Insert Object and add the Open Action.


In this case, you know that you have access to the detailed data. But the problem is that, the audience can also see the file icon. If they see it, they will naturally ask you what it is. This is not desirable. Why not? Because opening the file may lead the presentation on an unwanted tangent.

Therefore, you want to have the ability to open the file on demand (if you are in trouble) but you don’t want others to view the icon to arouse their unwanted curiosity.

These are paradoxical requirements. How do you manage this?

NO problem. Little bit of ingenuity will help you here.

When you add the object, don’t show it on the slide. Just take it beyond any of the corners of the slide.

Insert Object

What is the benefit?

Nobody can now see that you have a file inserted. But you know that it is there. Anytime you want to open the file, you just have to go to that corner blindly… make sure the cursor has changed to the hand icon and click…. voila …. the file opens!

That is best of both worlds!

The psychology part

Although Office is a technology, its usage is driven by psychology. When you are presenting, you want to be in control. You should think like the audience would and then take corrective action.

If people see something, they can ask you questions about it. If they cannot see it, you are better off.

In fact, the art of presenting effectively is all about understand how audience will react and then tweak your presentation to get the desired response and influence the audience.

I always say “PowerPoint is all about manipulating the minds of the audience rather than animations and transition!”

Of course, I am not suggesting that you use it in an unethical or illegal way. But all said and done for every presentation there is an objective. Selling, Teaching, Convincing and so on. It is your job to align the audience with your objective. That is psychology!

Next article – How about 24 clipboards?

We always had ONE clipboard. You copy something, it does into the clipboard. The original clipboard is overwritten every time you copy. But that is not the case.

You can get 24 clipboards to play with… sadly, this great feature has been there for 24 years I think Sad smile

We will explore it in the next article.

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