Tutorial Thursday

I’ve sat through a lot of PowerPoint presentations before, and one thing that always struck me as interesting was how many people don’t take advantage of PowerPoint’s special “Presenter’s View.” It’s been around since at least Office 2003, and I’ve found it to be an incredibly valuable tool when making presentations myself.

Note: The Presenter’s View (a.k.a. presentation mode) is only available when you’re giving a presentation using a computer that supports multiple monitors. I think most laptops fall under that category these days, and that’s what a lot of people are using to give their presentations.

In the Presenter’s View the audience will see the presentation just as they would normally, but on the presenter’s screen is some extremely useful information. Instead of having a full screen presentation it is scaled down so that a scrolling timeline of the slides is shown along the bottom, and the notes from each slide is shown along the right side. The timeline at the bottom is great for getting a peek at what’s coming up next. Here’s what the Presenter’s View looks like in PowerPoint 2007:

powerpoint presenting
(Click to Enlarge)

This will be a real gem if you’re given time constraints for your presentation. Underneath where it shows the current slide there is a running stopwatch to let you know how long you’ve been presenting, and it also has the current time according to your system’s clock. That way you’ll be able to see if you’re going too fast or too slow, and adjust accordingly.

Forget your laser pointer? No problem, use the marker tool located underneath the current slide to draw on the presentation in real-time. If you’re using a mouse it might not turn out to be very pretty since you’re hand will probably be jittery, but it works.

So how do you setup the Presenter’s View? Here are the instructions for PowerPoint 2007 and PowerPoint 2003:

–PowerPoint 2007 Instructions–

  1. In PowerPoint, under the Slide Show tab, locate the Monitors section:powerpoint presenter view
  2. Check the box labeled Use Presenter View.
  3. In the Show Presentation On menu click the monitor you want the slide show presentation to appear on.

–PowerPoint 2003 Instructions–

  1. In PowerPoint, on the Slide Show menu, click Set Up Show.
  2. Under Multiple monitors, select the Show Presenter View check box.
  3. In the Display slide show on list, click the monitor you want the slide show presentation to appear on.


Once you have the Presenter’s View enabled in PowerPoint it will automatically start when you begin your presentation. After you’ve used this presentation mode one time I think you’ll see first hand just how useful it really is.

Remember: Your computer has to support multiple monitors in order for this to work.