We are used to the traditional laser pointers. But PowerPoint has a built-in laser pointer which is useful and powerful.
Read on to find out how to use it.
Estimated reading time 3 min.
Advantages of traditional laser pointers
I am sure you have used laser pointer pens or those which are built into the clicker. Those are useful.
- These are bright and sharp.
- Using them to point at specific items on the screen helps you attract the attention of your audience.
- You can also move them fast to create a sense of movement .. underline something or encircle something for example.
- I have also seen some presenters / teachers use the pointer to point to a specific person in the audience – to ask question or to pull up some student who is disturbing the class
- These cost money … yes little money. But still.
- Unless you carry your own, there is no guarantee that you will get it at the customer’s place or the conference you are presenting at.
- If you have a multiple screen setup, the pointer can physically point at only one of the screens!
- It is transient – you cannot record the pointing as a part of the presentation itself
- It is easy to misplace them
- Most lasers are red in color. If your presentation theme is predominantly red, a laser pointer which is red in color has less impact.
- Finally, it can always run out of batteries. Rare, but it does happen.
PowerPoint Laser Pointer
Since version 2010, PowerPoint has its own laser pointer. It is of course, a simulated laser pointer.
Usually when you are presenting, the mouse cursor is not visible. It does become visible when you move the mouse a little. You can also move the cursor using the laptop track-pad.
But the mouse cursor is a standard black and white arrow. You can make it bigger and more prominent by changing the Control Panel Mouse settings. But it is not as effective as a laser pointer.
Press CTRL key and drag mouse
Now we have a better choice. Press the CTRL key and then move the mouse pointer to the location you want to highlight. Now click the mouse and drag it. It is converted to a laser pointer. It is red circle with a semitransparent halo around it.
Once it becomes a laser pointer, you can leave the Ctrl key. When you stop dragging, the laser pointer disappears and it becomes regular mouse cursor again.
CTRL L is also a shortcut to change the mouse pointer to a laser pointer.
What are the benefits?
First of all, you don’t have to pay for it!
Secondly, you cannot misplace it.
If PowerPoint 2010 or above is present, it is guaranteed to be there.
It does not run out of batteries.
The most important benefit is that if you record the presentation, it gets recorded along with the presentation itself. This way you can create high impact reusable presentations by recording your voice, PowerPoint slides, animation along with laser pointer movement.
Read this article for more details :
Creating reusable, narrated training content using PowerPoint
What if the color of the presentation is also red?
This was a problem with RED laser pointers.
But Microsoft has thought of this issue already.
If you know that your presentation predominantly uses red color, you can change the laser pointer color!
Before you start the presentation, go to Slide Show tab and choose Setup Slide Show button.
In the dialog, you can change the color of the laser pointer. Blue or Green colors can be chosen.
Using PowerPoint laser pointer from presenter view
If you use Presenter View, laser pointer can be activated using the button shown below.
The only problem with laser pointer usage in presenter view is that once active, the laser pointer will be always ON. If you use CTRL drag option, you can turn it on or off only when you reach the desired location of interest.
We will cover presenter view in another article.