Propel Your PowerPoint Presentations Using Presenter View

When used well, it really makes the presenter look like a superstar! But when not .... well lets just say a presenter hopes to leave that presentation with his or her tail between their legs!

PowerPoint!  The worlds most popular presentations tool.  When used well, it really makes the presenter look like a superstar!  But when not …. well lets just say a presenter hopes to leave that presentation with his or her tail between their legs!  However there is one feature of PowerPoint that is seldom used.  Mainly because most computer users just don’t understand how to or that it even exists.  It allows you to present without the need for notes.  Depending on how you setup your stage, you could look like a professional.  Its called the presenter view.

Typically, when we setup our computers or laptops and load up our PowerPoint presentation and we hit that magical “F5” button to launch our presentation into the worlds of our awaiting audiences.  But what we typically see is the full screen presentation that we also see on the projector.  So our computers become utterly useless.  To make this worse, we tend to have a stack of papers sitting next to our computers with our notes of what to say, what gestures to make, what stories to tell, where to stand on the stage, etc.  So in essence we then rely on our notes making us look amateurish and unprepared.  Now I’m not saying that notes are a bad thing, but suppose you presented without a stack of papers at your side, would that not propel you in the minds of your audience to the professional level?  It all starts with this simple change to your PowerPoint settings.  A setting known as “Presenter View”The “Presenter View” is a special window that is part of PowerPoint that shows the current slide being presented, but also what the next slide is and any notes you may have for yourself at that particular part of the presentation.  This notes section is what will eliminate the need for you to have a paper copy of your notes.  Now I’m not saying that you should keep a paper copy as a backup in case of computer malfunction, but you won’t need them if everything is working fine.  To get setup you need to do the following steps:

Step 1: You need to understand the display options on your laptop! Typically, when you get ready to plug in your laptop to your projector, you just assume that the picture that you see on your laptop screen is the same picture that you see through the projector. Not necessarily so!  Laptops are designed not only to duplicate your screen but also give you the option to give you a second desktop known as an “extended desktop”.  This makes your screen look twice its size, the downside is that you may not know where your mouse is half the time because your desktop is now so big that sometimes you’ll see it on your laptop screen and sometimes it will be on your projector screen.  Also, you could now have two programs running full screen at the same time.  One window could be full screen on your laptop and the other, full screen on your projector.  What we’re going to do is put our “Presenter View” window on your laptop screen and have our full presentation for the audience to see on our projector screen

Open your start menu and type the word “display” in the search bar.


Select connect to a projector.


Select the “extend” option.


Ensure this option is selected!

And now your computer is configured and ready for “Presenter Mode”!  When you’re done with your presentation, just follow the first three steps and select “Disconnect projector”.

Step 2: Configure PowerPoint. Now that you’ve configured your computer for extended mode, you need to tell PowerPoint just how to present itself from now on when you start up your presentations.  Open up your presentation and select the “Slide Show” tab.  Then check the “Use Presenter View” checkbox.  Finally ensure the dropdown above it selects your second monitor as the monitor to display your presentation on.  By default, sometimes it puts your presentation on your laptop and the presenter view on the projector screen and we want the reverse of it.

This is extended mode. Notice how my PowerPoint window is on the left, this is what I would see on my laptop. The graphic on the right is my desktop background and is what is seen on the projector screen.

Once you’ve selected all the right options, go ahead and try and view your presentation by hitting F5.

Finally, here is what you see during your presentation. The window on the left is what you see on your laptop. The slide on the right is what the audience sees on the projector.

Now all of my notes are on my screen but not on the audience’s screen and I present as if I never had any notes to begin with. Well there you have it, a way for you to present without the need for notes, or atleast the image of there being notes in the first place.  I invite you to try this out at your next presentation and see how easy it is to present and with such comfort.

Happy speaking!


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