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A Trick All Tech Presenters Should Know

I’m sitting here at the Microsoft MVP Summit this week and watching many presenters do the same thing. The sad thing, these are all Microsoft employees, many with polished decks. Here’s what they do:

  1. Launch PowerPoint
  2. Open the presentation
  3. Click the Slide Show button in PowerPoint
  4. Talk a bit using slides
  5. Press Escape to stop Slide Show mode. This returns PowerPoint to Design mode. Some even said something like, “I guess now you know what’s coming up” when we all can see upcoming slides
  6. Click a button on the Windows or Mac toolbar or launch Visual Studio or some other application
  7. Do the demo
  8. Go back to PowerPoint
  9. Click the Slide Show button
  10. Lather, Rinse, Repeat
  11. Lather, Rinse, Repeat
  12. Lather, Rinse, Repeat

In other words, they do this over and over again during their presentation. Why? Why do they do this? One reason is once you launch PowerPoint and then into Slide Show mode, there are two instances of PowerPoint running. If you Alt+Tab, you can see them, and the presenter gets confused about which one to activate when they want to go back to slides. The biggest reason is, they don’t know there’s a better way.

The first thing presenters need to remember is DO NOT LAUNCH POWERPOINT. Instead, open File Explorer. Navigate to your slide deck. Right-click. Select Show. Now, the deck will be launched in Slide Show mode and there is only one instance of PowerPoint running. When you want to go to your demo just Alt+Tab or hit the Windows key to bring up the Task Bar.

One word of caution. Do not hit Escape when in Slide Show mode because it will actually shutdown the slide show.

1 Comment

  1. Andy and I gave this as one of the first tips in our “How to be a Good Presenter” session that we gave from 2002 – 2007 at the Frankfurt Devcon. Nice to know that it has stood the test of time 🙂

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