Insert a shortcut that will quickly end your PowerPoint presentation

If rushed for time, you can use this technique to quickly end a presentation, without looking like you've shortchanged the audience.

If a presentation needs to end suddenly, you can click through the remaining slides, without stopping to comment on them, but there's a smoother and quicker alternative to get to the last slide - a technique that's so effortless that your audience will never know that they've missed part of the presentation. To illustrate this shortcut technique, we'll add a custom action button that links to the final slide in a presentation. By adding this action button to the Slide Master, the button is available on all slides so you can click it at any time.

Jump to the end

To get started, open a presentation - any presentation will do, but I'll be working with a presentation that comprises four blank slides and a final slide that contains a list of rolling credits. To add the action button to every slide, do the following:

  1. Click the View tab and then click Slide Master in the Master Views group (Presentations Views group in 2007)  to open the slide master. In PowerPoint 2003, choose Master from the View menu and then select Slide Master.
  2. Click the Insert tab. Then, in the Illustrations group, click the Shapes download. From the bottom of the gallery, choose the Custom action button. In PowerPoint 2003, action buttons are in the AutoShapes dropdown on the Drawing toolbar and the custom button is the first button.
  3. Drag across the slide, where you want to position the action button. Doing so will launch the Action Settings dialog.
  4. Click the Hyperlink To option.
  5. Choose Last Slide from the dropdown.
  6. Click OK.

In your presentations, you can be more selective. You might want to render the action button invisible or use a graphic element that's part of the design instead of an action button. Instead of choosing the Last Slide option, you could choose the next to last or second from the last if you have more than one closing slide.

Return to the Slide Master ribbon and click Close Master View. Now you're ready to run the presentation and try the new button. To do so, press [F5]. When PowerPoint displays the first slide, you'll see the button.

Don't click the slide to progress to the next slide. Instead, click the button, which will jump to the last slide and immediately start rolling the credits.

Once you know the technique, you can customize it to fit other needs. For instance, you could add the hyperlinking element to a specific slide rather than all of the slides in order to bypass detailed information intended for a specific audience. That way you could use the same presentation for two different audiences.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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