Powerpoint Presenter View

powerpoint presenter view: you see your speaker notes on the laptop as you project but your audience does not
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When it comes to techie tips, I’m a junkie. Hopefully there is something new for everyone in this weekly series or at least one special “Ah ha, so that is how you do it” when it for Outlook, Excel, Word, Acrobat, etc.

Thanks in advance to Google, my colleagues, and the exasperated IT guys over the years who have all contributed to expanding my geeky knowledgebase.


My Speaker Notes

A few years ago I gave my first presentation at a professional conference. I was in unchartered territory but happily, friends helped me out with my powerpoint template, slidedeck review and edits, and lots of mock run-throughs; for all that support, I am grateful.

What they didn’t show me was ‘Presenter View’.  I memorized all my speaker notes and printed out little cheat sheets in case I got lost (the papers were clumsy and impossible for me to use and remain composed.  Printing my speaker notes was also really tricky).  It would have been easier if I had projected the presentation and used the dual monitor function and ‘Presenter View’ to reference my speaker notes on the laptop at the podium without the audience seeing them.  Lesson learned, and now Powerpoint ‘Presenter View’ is today’s timesaver tip.

Why would anyone want to use Presenter View?

View your speaker notes Privately - Microsoft.

View your speaker notes privately – Microsoft.

‘Presenter View’ is brilliant because you get a window split into three re-sizable sections: 1) a view of your presentation 2) a pane to the right with all your notes and 3) a slide sorter view along the bottom you can use for easy navigation (you can also access the pen and pointer functions easily).

Added bonus, none of your email popups or other private desktop info will be broadcast to your audience on the extended projector display.

Did I mention the timer that shows below the slide? So helpful!

Item #8 below the slide is an elapsed time counter

How do I split my presentation into 2 views?

First plug in the projector.

Next, you want to “Extend the desktop” to the second screen.  On my laptop I hit Funtion+F8 (my last laptop used F5 – just look for the little picture of two monitors) or the little windows button to the left of the mouse + ‘X’.  You can also turn on multiple monitor support under ‘Control Panel->Display’.Extend the Desktop

Then go to your ribbon and the Slide Show functions.  Ensure the Presenter View checkbox is ticked (if it is grayed out you still need to plug in your projector and extend the desktop – no skipping steps, please)Ribbon with presenter view ticked

Now just start the show and your speaker notes are on your laptop for you and the audience only sees the presentation in full-screen view via the projector.

Don’t you have a projector to practice with?

Yeah, me neither. Good news though, you can trick Powerpoint into allowing the Presenter View function by using the “Extend Your Desktop” trick.  Even if you don’t have a second monitor or projector plugged in to your laptop you can still tell Windows to “Extend your Desktop” and the ‘Presenter View’ function will now be available to enable.

F5 starts the show – break a leg!

More Computer Timesavers Again Next Tuesday

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About The Author


Nadia Bracken, lead contributor to the Lead CRA blog and the ClinOps Toolkit blog, is a Clinical Program Manager in the San Francisco Bay Area.

1 Comment

  • Lorraine Mercer


    July 17, 2013

    Great tip! I was not aware of the presenter screen. I am looking forward to trying it out. Thanks

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