Renaming Clip Art Images When Creating Triggers in PowerPoint 2007 (Or… Using the Selection Pane)

In the IT Training & Education workshop at IU called PowerPoint: Customizing a Presentation, we show participants how to create a trigger from a clip art image. A trigger allows you to “set off” or start another animation by clicking on an element on a slide.

For example, you might have a question on a slide and then have several potential answers. You might set things up so that when your audience clicks on an answer, they get additional feedback. Perhaps a textbox appears that says, “Great job. This is the correct answer!” or maybe they hear a sound that tells them whether their answer is correct or incorrect. In this case, each of the text boxes that contains an answer is a trigger that starts another animation when clicked.

A trigger allows you to activate an animation whenever you want to see it. This means that you don’t have to use the trigger at all, if you find that you don’t need it during your presentation. The example used in our workshop is a practice problem. If a presenter is using the same slide show over and over again with different audiences, he may want to be able to access additional practice problems or examples for some groups but not others.

Creating triggers is not difficult and there are many good online tutorials that will walk you through the process. There is one step in the process, however, that workshop participants always have questions about. After you have added the supplemental information and the animation that brings it to the screen, you must set up the trigger. If you decide to use a clip art image for your trigger and you have more than one image on the slide, it is very difficult to pick out the image that you need from the list on the drop-down menu.

Why? Because Microsoft does not give descriptive names to the images. Instead, they are simply called Picture 2, Picture 3, Picture 4, etc., based on the order from which they were added to the slide. What if you don’t remember which picture was added first, second, third, etc.? That’s where the rub comes in.

Luckily, PowerPoint 2007 has a new feature that allows you to rename these images. This makes it much easier to work with them. However, the renaming process is not at all intuitive. Most people try to right-click the image on the screen, hoping that there will be an option in the drop-down menu that will allow them to rename the clip art image. Wrong! Other workshop participants look for a properties dialog box that will allow them to rename the images. This, too, is logical, but apparently the developers at Microsoft didn’t think of it.

To rename clip art images in PowerPoint 2007, follow these steps:

  1. Select the clip art image on the slide.

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  2. Click the Picture Tools Format tab on the Ribbon.


  3. From the Arrange Group on the Ribbon, double-click the Selection Pane button. The Selection Pane opens on the right side of your screen. The selected image will be highlighted in gray.

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  4. Double-click the default name of the selected image in the Selection Pane. A text box appears, and a blinking cursor indicates that you can now edit the text.

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  5. To rename the image, press and drag the text and then type in a new descriptive name for the object. Press the Enter key on your keyboard.
  6. Now when you are trying to specify which clip art image you want to use for a trigger, the drop-down menu in the animation options dialog box will display the descriptive name you have given the image.

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NOTE: You can also rename content placeholders, sound clips, video clips, shapes, etc., by using this same process.

NOTE: If you click on the eye icon that is next to the object in the Selection pane, the object will temporarily disappear on the slide. This can be useful if you have lots of objects on the slide and you need to isolate a specific one in order to work with it.


  1. Volker

    Hello Donna,

    a big GREAT THANK YOU!!! (Sorry I couldn’t type any bigger)
    I searched so much for this solution, and I’m so happy I found your site.
    Thanks again, it makes my work with a quiz I do for my dad’s 70th birthday a lot easier (can you imagine if you want to show all the pictures from sons, daughters and grandchildren, and first only the ones taken with age 1 or 2, and, triggered by those, the “grown up” ones, when all you’ve got is “picture 2” seven times etc.!) – so THANK YOU one more time!

    (IT professional)

  2. Lisa Lacombe

    I’m trying to put together my first eLearning project in PowerPoint and I have not only up to 20 pictures and textboxes, but multiple versions of them–a confusing disaster. I couldn’t figure out how to rename them for the life of me. Much thanks. And I’m going to tweet this Web site.

    Lisa Lacombe
    (formerly Director of ITS Training Services @ Penn State)

  3. Bert

    In PPT 2010, it’s even worse, all my pictures were named ‘Picture 2’. The revelation of the hidden renaming feature save me lots of time. Thank You

  4. Dan

    Thanks, I was certain renaming them was possible but you pointed me in the right direction.

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