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When you give your next PowerPoint presentation, how would you like to have your slide notes on your laptop screen in front of you, while your audience sees just your slides? How would you like to like to see the next slide or two ahead of time?
You can do that with Presenter View. On the ribbon (PowerPoint 2007 or later), click on the Slide Show tab, then check the box for Use Presenter View.
Now, when in Slide Show mode, you’ll be armed with your own special view, showing your notes, and upcoming slides, as well as the slide that the audience is currently seeing.
A word or warning here. If you work with large dual monitors at your desk, those screens typically have more real estate than your average laptop. When you step up to the lectern to give your talk, PowerPoint shrinks all of the above panels down, but leaves the font size of your notes the same. If your notes are lengthy, they will spill off the bottom. Oh, you’ll get a scroll bar in the notes panel, but scrolling is a little awkward while you’re talking, especially using the laptop’s touch pad because you likely won’t have a mouse up there.
How do I know this? Uh, … been there, did that.
You can check to see if your notes will fit by undocking your laptop and connecting just one of your dual monitors directly to the laptop. There’s no harm in duplicating the slide and putting half of your notes on one slide and the other half on the other. Just don’t use any fancy transitions between those slides or your audience will wise up to you.
Another warning. Always bring printed copies of your notes as a back-up. At larger events, instead of a laptop on a lectern, your “speaker’s display” may be a large flat panel on the floor between the stage and the first row. Sometimes these won’t work with presenter view because they are a secondary display, and the primary computer is up in the A/V technician’s booth. Also, some conference rooms won’t have a “speaker’s computer”, but a desktop PC in a closet, and the only display is the projector – you may not have a laptop on front of you.