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.

There Are 22 Comments

  1. Oooooh yeah, I forgot about that feature…. I used to use PowerPoint a lot a while ago, and in my last job I didn’t have much use for it. In my new job, I began using it again, and forgot all about this view. Thanks a LOT for the reminder!!

  2. Nice feature, I will have to check this out for my next presentation!

  3. It’s actually one of my favorite features in PowerPoint, and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t written about it on the site before. I’m glad that it will be useful for you guys!

  4. The latest Presenters View has some serious shortcomings compared to 2003. They removed the “next up” window that let you know abou the next slide or animation. They made scolling through notes and animations much harder. Before arrows ran the animations and page up/page down scrolled the notes. Now you have to be on the section to perform the functions. The normal screen lets you write notes and add enhancements but none of the enhancements show up in presenters view. For complicated lectures you need to put cues in your notes as to the animation and they really don’t have a good method for doing this. In 2007 you do get bigger note fonts.

  5. Nice feature but it doesn’t allow you to practice in presenter view if you dont have another monitor connected. I just want to see presenter view on one screen so im prepared when I do connect my other monitor.

  6. You forgot to mention that depending on the laptop you’ll need to extend the desktop in order for the computer to mirror properly.

  7. This function is also in PowerPoint XP, the version prior to 2003.

  8. thank you, thank you, thank you

  9. Unfortunately you can’t mark up the presentation with a pen-based tablet in PowerPoint 2003 in Presenter’s View. I suppose you can in 2007 since I see they’ve added a pen.

    • I’m having trouble with presenter mode too. If using a projector plugged into the laptop does that class as the presentation monitor so that I get the slides and notes on the laptop screen?

      Many thanks

    • Maybe you solved the problem but here’s what I did. I had the same problem of the slides appearing on my laptop and the presenters view showing up on the monitor that the students see. I had to work with my laptop command, Function key + F5, and hit F5 until I hit the ‘switch monitors’ display command. I have to do this every time I set up the Presenter’s view as the laptop causes the screens to be reversed each time.

  10. Ah – works on my Win7 Laptop.

    Normally presenter view doesn’t work without a second screen. I found this annoying – I wanted the presenter view for studying my presentation – with just my laptop and no second screen coupled.

    This is how I solved:
    Press Windows + P: Choose ‘Extend’ for screen options. You can now switch the full size presentation to the ‘Monitor 2′ (which is complete invisible) and have the presenter view onto your main laptop screen.

    Thanks for the tip & I gonna study my presentation now,

    • Does anyone know how you can display presenter view on Macbook (running windows xp) without the second screen?

  11. holly cow!
    Thanks dude — I’ve dreamed about this approximately 500 times over the last years… Gosh, I thought I knew PowerPoint well enough!

  12. I can’t get the Presenter View to work when using LotusLive. LotusLive viewers see my view rather than the Presenter View. Any ideas to resolve this?

  13. For those of you having trouble with the monitor and laptop having the screens switched. I had this problem too. Go to your display settings and change the primary monitor. Make sure you check mark “extend this to my despktop” for both of them. This should work. If not then change the settings in powerpoint. You should be able to select which screen you want.

    The issue I am having in presenter view is that the laptop slides do not appear until after text begins to appear on the secondary monitor. Any suggestions?

    Also I am having issues getting a video link to play on the secondary monitor, but plays fine on the laptop.

  14. Thank you thank you thank you! Now only I can see my notes.

  15. I have an issue…. I use the presentation mode all the time and love it. My question is , When I have a DVD to show in my presentation , It will not play on the second screen in presentation mode. I have to go back to clone display mode to see it on the second screen.
    Am I missing something? I have to blank screen between views.
    It would look so much better if I could just start DVD with a click of a button.
    Please reply to

  16. Perhaps you can help with a problem I’m having? The presenter screen sometimes gets stuck on a slide, even though the notes and 2nd monitor screen move forward. If I click on the preview slide below to try to pull up the correct slide on the presenter screen, the presenter screen slide goes black (even though the notes and 2nd monitor stay on the correct slide). If I click on the forward arrow, everything moves correctly to the next slide. It’s inconsistent when this happens, but it happens quite often. Thanks.

  17. If this helps anyone with the same problem, I just solved my own problem above. I updated my PowerPoint for Mac software, I removed all the transitions (which I believe was the real problem), and I deleted about 50 slides from our 265 slideshow. Seems to be working fine now in Presenter mode.

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