PowerPoint 2016 for Mac :: Selection Pane Added!

Office 2016 for Mac was updated on January 12th, 2016. One of the great, new features that they’ve brought into this update is the Selection Pane in PowerPoint! Moving from Windows to Mac, it was hard for me, at first, to not have this feature to help build my PowerPoint slides. Along the past few months, I’ve found myself regularly missing it.

PowerPoint Mac 2016 :: Selection Pane

With the Selection Pane back, you can now:

  • Rename objects and object groups
  • View object hierarchies in groups
  • Easily change the Z-order of objects, by dragging items up or down in the list
  • Toggle visibility of objects, when making edits to complex slides
  • View the updated object names in the Animation Pane

This improvement makes it significantly easier to work with complex slides, that have lots of animations! The Windows version of PowerPoint has had the Selection Pane for quite some time. On the Mac version, the only work-around for renaming objects, and changing other attributes, has been to write macros. In fact, I wrote one such macro last week, at great cost to my time. Furthermore, the macro editor experience has been reduced to almost nothing, amid many complaints from the community. Hence, we are kind of at Microsoft’s mercy to add new features at this point.

How do I access the Selection Pane?

To access the Selection Pane in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, go to the Home tab, and then choose Arrange –> Selection Pane (all the way at the bottom).

How do I rename PowerPoint objects?

Double-click the object name in the Selection Pane, and type the new object name.

How do I change the Z-order of objects?

Drag-and-drop the objects vertically, in the desired order. The top-most object in the list is the top-most object on the slide, and will cover and “lower” objects.

How do I toggle visibility of objects in the Selection Pane?

Click the “eye” button next to each object that you want to hide. The icon will change to a dash, which indicates that it is hidden. Click the dash to make it visible again.

PowerPoint 2016 for Mac :: Selection PaneHere’s an animated GIF that demonstrates renaming an object, and toggling visibility of objects and object groups.


I’m really excited that Microsoft has added this feature into PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, and I’m looking forward to the other improvements that they make to Office 2016 for Mac as a whole!

  • Kelly D

    I love this feature but I can’t seem to find it after the updated – any ideas. I go to Home and don’t see Arrange at all … I’m at 15.18 (160169)

    • Hey Kelly,

      I’m not sure what is going on there — I would say maybe try re-installing (I know, not ideal)? I just checked, and I’m running the exact same version as you. I’m not aware of any way to customize the ribbon, in the Mac version, so I’d kind of expect it to show up.

      Trevor Sullivan

  • Kelly D

    Are you able to send me a screen cap and show me how you got it – from the action menu perhaps?

    • Kelly,

      Of course, I’ll send you an e-mail with a screenshot.

      Trevor Sullivan

      • Kelly D

        You are my hero … thanks mate.

  • BigFish

    Love this feature! BTW, it only shows up in the ribbon, you can’t access it from the Arrange Menu. They should have included it in the Arrange Menu or the View Menu. But otherwise, so happy to finally have this!

  • Courosh Mehanian

    Selection pane is missing. How do I access this feature?

    • Iorek

      You have to update your PP 2016 – it appeared on my version after I updated to 15.36 version. Cheers.

  • Iorek

    I am currently downloading Update 15.36 of PP 2016 for Mac. Unless the selection pane has been introduced in such version, on my current PP there is no selection pane. What version are you using?

  • Rebecccaaaa

    How the hell do I have 15.38 and still don’t have this? >:( Is the Office 365 version different perhaps?