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How to read notes while presenting in PowerPoint

This feature has been there for over 18 years. But only with 2013 version did it become easy enough for everyone to use it. You will need it someday – read this and be prepared.

The Need: Presenter View

Often, we have a complex presentation to deliver and many objectives to achieve. Writing down everything on the slides is a bad idea. Nobody reads crowded slides. Besides there are things you can NEVER put down on the slides – like answers to tricky questions. Some things you wanted to mention at some point of time – if the need arises. Often we have confidential information like competitor details, pricing details, discount limits, shortcomings of our products, your cheat sheet, your checklist of things to cover …

Basically we are talking about anything which cannot go on the slide itself but you need to refer to it WHILE you are presenting.

Yes paper is the best option. But if we want to store things RELATED to specific slides, paper becomes cumbersome. That is why PowerPoint provides notes.

But notes cannot be read during a regular presentation. You are WRONG!

To view notes WHILE you are presenting – you must use the Presenter View option.

Practice first – never try on stage for the first time

This feature may sound so simple that you may become over-confident and try it in a live presentation. DON’T. You will fail. Practice it first – WITH A PROJECTOR attached.

How to view slides while hiding them from audience

Here the assumption is that the projector (or plasma screen or video conferencing output) is attached to your laptop / tablet.

Just before starting the presentation, go to Slide Show tab and
choose the option: Use Presenter View.

presenter view

NOTHING happens. Why? Because this option means Use presenter view when you start presenting.

So start presenting. And then you will see something different.

Laptop and Projector show DIFFERENT things

Presenter View is just a window showing you many things including slide notes. That window is shown on your laptop. But the audience can see only the final presentation. They cannot see the notes.

Best of both worlds. Simple and Effective.

Using the Presenter View

It shows you current slide, next slide, notes and some more buttons. It also starts a timer automatically.

How to use Presenter View

Now you control the presentation from here and the end result is seen by the audience.

Using notes

As you can see here, the notes are not fitting. There is a scroll bar.

Other option is to reduce the font size. But beyond a point, smaller font size will not be visible.

Notes are NOT a substitute to lack of knowledge!

If you do not know the topic – do not present.

These notes are just for quick reminders of things to cover, points which you often miss, related topics and so on. Ideally notes should be a few words or phrases. Not paragraphs.

Presenter View is just a window

Double click on the title bar of this window to resize it. What does it mean? Not only can you see the presenter view on your laptop, you have your ENTIRE laptop with all its software loaded available to you. Whatever you do here will NOT be visible by the audience.

That is NOT all. In fact that is a minor benefit.

The REAL benefit is that you have all applications available on your laptop at your disposal. So you may want to check the price list, read some FAQ document on your web site, check something with your colleague or boss on chat, look at the LinkedIn page of some senior person in the audience – whatever you want you can do.

Of course you have to maintain eye contact with the audience and not get totally distracted. THAT IS WHY I am asking you to practice this view. Once you practice it, it is like carrying two laptops – one for presentation and one for everything else!

What if I forget to activate presenter view

No problem. Right click anytime during the presentation and choose Show Presenter View. The switch between laptop to projector screen will happen even if you started in the CLONE (duplicate the screens) mode.

Panic! Presenter view got reversed Smile

Yes – sometimes you see the presentation and the audience can see the Presenter View – complete with your cheat sheet displayed in full glory… ha ha.

Learn from this: No notes on first few slides!

But if it does reverse DO NOT PANIC. Move the mouse BEYOND your laptop screen – usually on the right edge – only then it will appear on the projector screen.

Now – while looking at the projector screen – choose the menu option Display Settings on the presenter view – and select Swap Presenter View.

What did I learn

If you have only one monitor – how do you try presenter view? No problem – it is WRITTEN in the tooltip of the Presenter View checkbox.

PowerPoint 2013 Presenter View

Hats off to Microsoft Office Team!

Did you like presenter view? Post your experience here.

If you like this feature, share it with your team and loved ones. Gift them some knowledge!

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