Enhanced Presenter View in PowerPoint 2013

Editor’s note: The following post was written by PowerPoint MVP Geetesh Bajaj

Most presenters just cram their slides with text – you may have seen such slides often, characterized by so much text that they look like a Word document repurposed as a slide – or even worse, it may appear as someone just copied tons of data from an Excel sheet and put in on a single slide! Of course, each of the slides would receive awards for competing in a “Fill-up-your-slide” contest.

OK, there’s no such contest – yet there are entrants for such contests everywhere. So the question that needs to be asked is why do presenters assume that their slides need so much text? There are several answers – and most of these get repeated each time I ask this question in my training sessions:

1. Presenters are scared – yes, this is another form of stage fear. All that text on the slides keeps them reassured that there’s something they can hold on to in case they stumble. You must have seen many such presenters – typically these are the ones who look at their slides and read aloud to their audiences.

2. Presenters expect questions – this happens mainly in internal presentations where a presenter may expect some questions from their boss or other superiors. To combat these questions, they keep all sorts of supporting content available on their slides.

3. Presenters are not prepared – most presenters seldom practice. Or some presenters never create their own slides – someone else made it for them, and although they did want to study these slides before the actual presentation, they either had no time to do so or they just procrastinated until there was no time left!

Now before we proceed, this article is about a cool PowerPoint feature that can help all presenters who are in a soup because of the reasons we just discussed. However, presenters who are confident, well versed in their subjects, and prepared can also use this cool feature – that will make them awesome presenters!

This cool feature is called Presenter View, and it allows two different views to be shown in your laptop and the projected display – let us just call these Displays 1 and 2. Remember that we will use the terms Display 1 and Display 2 for the rest of this tutorial.

Typically Display 2 is either projected or connected to a large TV – and your audience sees this view. All they can see is full screen slides typical of PowerPoint’s Slide Show view – as shown in the sample slide you see towards the right half in Figure 1.


Figure 1: Dual display is not duplicated

Display 1 on the other hand shows PowerPoint’s Presenter View, as shown towards the left half in Figure 1. In PowerPoint 2013, the options available in this view have been completely revamped:

In previous versions of PowerPoint, you had to turn on this view manually – but PowerPoint 2013 auto detects if you have two displays available, and then turns on Presenter view.
Having said so, it’s still a great idea to ascertain whether Presenter View shows up on your laptop (Display 1) or projector (Display 2). In case it shows up on the wrong display, you can swap both displays – follow these steps:

1. In Presenter view, select the Display Settings option in the toolbar at the top (see Figure 2).

2. This brings up a small menu – choose the Swap Presenter View and Slide Show option (see Figure 2, again).


Figure 2: Swap your displays

If you are connected to only a single display and still want to emulate Presenter View, you can now do that from within Slide Show view. Place your cursor over the navigation icons on the bottom left area of the projected slide, as shown in Figure 3, below. Click the last icon to bring up a contextual menu -- choose the Show Presenter View option in this menu (see Figure 3 again).


Figure 3: Notice the contextual menu with the Show Presenter View option

Now that you have explored how you can bring up Presenter View, let us explore all the options available within this view, including the new options that allow you to zoom onto a specific part of your slide – or even pan across the slide area. Additionally, you now also have dedicated Pause, Resume and Restart buttons that provide you with a better control over your presentation timings.

Look at Figure 4, below – this shows a typical Presenter View screen.


Figure 4: Presenter View

Each of the individual elements in Presenter View is marked with a number in Figure 4, above -- and explained below.

1. Toolbar: Here you find three options:

a. Show Taskbar: This lets you see your Window taskbar. One click will make your taskbar available, and another will hide it again – so, this is a toggle option. This can be a useful option if you need to access any of your open applications. For example, you may have an Excel sheet open that you want to show to your audience – clicking this option will let you easily access the Excel sheet via the Windows taskbar.

b. Display Settings: Clicking this option brings up the menu shown earlier (see Figure 2). The topmost Swap Presenter and Slide Show option swaps your displays. You can also choose the Duplicate Slide Show option – this duplicates what you see on both displays – in effect, you no longer see Presenter View even though you are using two displays, as shown in Figure 5, below. You end up with Slide Show views on both your displays (compare with Figure 1).


Figure 5: Two instances of Slide Show view, and no Presenter view
Note: If you are only using a single display, these options will not be available.

c. End Slide Show: Exits your presentation.

2. Timer: This area shows the time elapsed since your Slide Show started. PowerPoint 2013 introduces two extra buttons for Pause/ Resume and Restart.

3. Slide Preview: This shows a smaller preview of the slide that’s shown in Slide Show view on Display 2.

4. Next Slide: Provides a preview of your next slide so that you know what’s coming up next.

5. Note: Displays notes (if there are any) for the current slide.

6. Extra Controls: These five controls are placed below the Slide Preview (see Figure 6).


Figure 6: Controls, explained from left to right

a. Pen and Laser Pointer tools: Click on this button to bring up a menu that lets you choose a pen or highlighter to annotate your slides – or even a mock laser pointer.

b. See All Slides: Shows your entire slide deck (see Figure 7) – only you see this view, and your audience continues seeing Slide Show view with one slide. You can choose any slide you want to show on Display 2 to your audience. This option quickly lets you get from your active slide to any other slide in your presentation.

Figure 7: All your slides

c. Zoom into the slide: Zoom on a part of your slide and then pan around.

d. Black or Un-black Slide Show: A toggle that lets you turn your Display 2 completely black so that the audience no longer sees any slides. Click again to un-black the screen.

e. More Slide Show Options: Bring up a drop-down list with several options that will help you manipulate your presentation’s delivery better.

7. Navigation: The Previous and Next buttons let you navigate back and forth your slides. The thin bar in between shows the progress of your slides on a live thermometer style strip, along with the slide number of the active slide.

8. Make Notes Larger or Smaller: These two buttons make the text in your Notes area larger or smaller.

Presenter View is one of those options in PowerPoint that you really won’t miss unless you play with it – thereafter, you will want to use it all the time because the level of control that this amazing option provides can help any presenter be more capable and confident.

However, this is one of those PowerPoint features that needs a fair amount of practice – so first play with this view alone or when you have a few friends or colleagues in the audience. Once you are more comfortable with Presenter View, you can then use it to present like a pro in front of a larger audience or even a smaller audience that may comprise your superiors, investors, or even complete strangers!

About the author


Geetesh Bajaj is an awarded Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for over a decade now. He has been designing and training with PowerPoint for 15 years and heads Indezine, a presentation design studio and content development organization based out of Hyderabad, India.

Geetesh believes that any PowerPoint presentation is a sum of its elements--these elements include abstract elements like concept, color, interactivity, and navigation--and also slide elements like shapes, graphics, charts, text, sound, video, and animation. He explains how these elements work together in his best-selling book Cutting Edge PowerPoint for Dummies--the book has several five-star ratings on Amazon.com. He has also authored three subsequent books on PowerPoint 2007 for Windows, and two on Microsoft Office for Mac.

About MVP Monday

The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.