One of the most useful things about PowerPoint is its compatibility with other programs, even programs that aren’t made by Microsoft. This makes PowerPoint a versatile platform for compiling and manipulating all sorts of multimedia. Let’s explore the ways to import design assets from Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and your web browser.

Importing From Adobe Illustrator

Importing assets from Illustrator is quite simple and a great way to access vector files when you don’t want to use PowerPoint shapes. First, open your vector file in Illustrator and select the object you want to import. Click Edit, then Copy, or use the Ctrl + C shortcut to copy your object.

Now go to your PowerPoint file to the slide you want to paste your asset into and click Paste. This will copy your Illustrator object in as a Graphic. You’ll see the Graphic Format tab open in your top menu. You can further format your object here such as change its colours and size.

However, if you want more editing options, such as amend the object’s anchor points or separate its layers, you’ll have to first convert the object to a PowerPoint shape. You can do this through the Convert to Shape tool in the Graphics Format tab, or by right clicking the object and selecting Convert to Shape from the popup menu, which will raster the object to the nearest PowerPoint equivalent shape.

Now, this for the most part is fairly accurate and generally won’t change the overall object. Once the object has been converted, it will become a grouped shape. If you want to see this visually, open your Selection Pane to you can see all the individual pieces in the group. You can choose to ungroup the object for access to layers and individual segments, or simply double-click within the shape to select the parts you want to edit. From there, you are free to edit as if it were a normal PowerPoint shape, including editing anchor points, colours, and transparency.

While importing Illustrator objects to PowerPoint is, for the most part, quite seamless, there are a few instances where it doesn’t convert well.

The first is transparency. Any transparent layers or objects you’re importing from Illustrator will usually appear as a flat colour graphic in PowerPoint. This is because the programs calculate and use transparency in different ways. It is usually good to avoid moving transparent graphics over at all, recreating it later in PowerPoint if needed. If you have imported an object with transparency and are alarmed at how it looks in PowerPoint, you are usually able to delete that transparent layer by converting it to shape, selecting, and deleting it. The rest of your object should transfer over fine.

The second potential problem is layer effects, such as multiply or opacity. Since PowerPoint doesn’t have these settings, those objects won’t convert well. Again, it is best to avoid these and replicate in PowerPoint later if needed.

The other challenge that might occur is if your vector illustration seems to break up after converting to shape in PowerPoint or seems to have gaps between shapes where it doesn’t in Illustrator. This is a common problem when the canvas size in Illustrator is much smaller than the PowerPoint slide its being imported onto. To rectify this, resize the Illustrator graphic larger first, then copy it over.

Another way to avoid any differences in appearance is to not paste the object in as a graphic, but as a picture. You can do this by using your Paste options and selecting Paste as Picture. However, this will remove any editability that comes with an Illustrator graphic, and the resolution of the image will depend on the original size of the object you’re importing.

Importing From Adobe Photoshop

Moving assets from Photoshop into PowerPoint is also possible without the need to export files. However, be aware that individual layers can’t import in, so you need to either merge your layers first, or copy over each layer individually.

First, open your Photoshop file to the layer you’re importing into PowerPoint. You can either select all of it by clicking Select, then All, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + A. Alternatively, you can also select only a section of the layer using other select tools if you wish.

Then click Edit, and Copy, or use the Ctrl + C shortcut to copy the selection. Now go to your PowerPoint file to the slide you want to paste to and click Paste. Now your Photoshop image will be pasted in.

Using this Paste method will actually paste the image in as a Photoshop link. If you double-click on the image, it opens up Photoshop again so you can continue editing. These edits will be reflected in your PowerPoint copy.

Alternatively, you can also Paste as Picture using your Paste options. This will save more file space but won’t keep the Photoshop link.

Importing From a Web Browser

This is a handy little trick that can copy images from a web browser without having to save that image first.

First open your web browser to the image you want to copy. Then open your PowerPoint file over it in a smaller window. Now you can simply click and drag the image straight from the web page to your PowerPoint file and it will copy in!

You can even do this from Google images previews. Just be cautious of the files you import in case of sketchy files or potentially low quality images that will be impossible to export in high quality.

Now that you’ve got an understanding of how importing assets into PowerPoint works, why build from scratch? We’ve got PowerPoint templates that are easy to edit and import your own design assets. Download the free template here.