Think of PowerPoint’s Presenter View like the cockpit of an aeroplane (or airplane for our American readers!). Like an experienced pilot, you have all the controls you need at your fingertips when you’re navigating your slides, whether you’re presenting online or in person, helping you give a seamless presentation and leave your audience seriously impressed.

Presenter View in PowerPoint works best if you have two monitors. On one monitor, you can display your slides for your audience to see. On the other, you have your own private view (which isn’t visible to your audience), where you can see your notes and the upcoming slide while you’re presenting.

How to start using Presenter View in PowerPoint:

– Open your presentation.
– Select Slide Show in the top ribbon.
– Make sure Presenter View is selected in the Monitors section.
– Choose from the dropdown menu which monitor you want your presentation to appear on. (Presenter View will automatically appear on whichever monitor you don’t choose.)
– When you’re ready to start presenting, click From Beginning in the Start Slide Show section of the PowerPoint ribbon, or click the Slide Show icon in the bottom right of the screen, or hit the Alt + F5 keys on your keyboard to start your presentation in Presenter View.

Screenshot of Presenter View in PowerPoint with numbers corresponding to the blog text to show its different functions

PowerPoint Presenter View’s most useful features (by number!):

  1. This is your current slide. This shows you what your audience can see. This should be the same content that is displayed on your other monitor. The timer in the top-left corner lets you keep an eye on how long you’ve spent on the slide so far, helping you to pace your presentation. You can pause or reset the timer using the icons to the right.
  2. Here you can see your speaker notes. While we don’t generally recommend that you read out your speaker notes like a script (because it can make you sound like a monotonous robot and make your audience disengage very quickly), it can be useful to have some prompts in the speaker notes so that you know what happens with each mouse click and so that you don’t forget the key points on each slide. You can use the font icons in the bottom left of this panel to make your speaker notes larger or smaller.
  3. The tracker shows you how far through your presentation you are. Click the forward or back arrows to navigate to your next or previous animation. Hitting the forward or back keys on your keyboard will do the same thing.
  4. This is a preview of your next animation or next slide. This shows you what’s coming up next, which helps you to transition seamlessly from one slide to another.
  5. Here you have the toolbar, which includes:
    • The Pen and laser pointer:  This allows you to write on or highlight a particular part of your slide as you present. Adding ink annotations while you’re presenting won’t change your original slides – you can choose whether to keep or discard your annotations when you end your slide show.
    • The See all slides tool: Click this to view thumbnails of all the slides in your presentation without your audience seeing. This means you can jump straight to a specific slide without flicking through all the slides in between.
    • The Zoom tool:  Use this to magnify a specific part of your slide. This is handy if you need to draw your audience’s attention to a particular detail.
    • The Black or un-black tool:  Use this to blank out the screen the audience sees. This is helpful whenever you want to release your audience’s attention from the slide content and back to you (e.g., during a Q&A). You can choose whether you want the blank screen to be black or white by clicking on the More slide show options icon at the far-right end of the toolbar.
    • Toggle subtitles:  Use this to turn automated subtitles on or off. You can adjust subtitle settings (such as language and where the subtitles appear on your slide) by clicking on the More slide show options icon.
  6. Click Show taskbar to open another program on your private monitor. This can be useful if you need to pull up another document without changing what your audience sees.
  7. Select Display settings to swap the monitors your slides and Presenter View appear on.
  8. Click End slide show when you’ve finished presenting. Hitting the Esc key on your keyboard will also close Slide Show mode and Presenter View.

And there you have it! Now you know everything there is to know about PowerPoint’s Presenter View. Give it a try next time you present – you might find it helps you to navigate and deliver your slides more confidently.

And for more tips on presenting, check out our ULTIMATE guide to presentation skills.

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Written by

Katy Golder

Communication consultant

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  1. Image of Vlad. Bugaev (pptxman) Vlad. Bugaev (pptxman) says:

    Also you can resize the sections (next slide preview, notes etc) if necessary:
    https://imgur.com/a/2NnYECf

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