PowerPoint 2013's Presenter View has a new interface and several improved features to help you juggle a presentation more efficiently and seamlessly. This view lets you read notes (and more) while the slide show plays for your audience on a second monitor. They'll never know what's going on behind the scenes on your monitor.
To launch Presenter View, click [Alt]+[F5]. The first thing that you should notice, but probably won't, is the view's black background. Presenters using an earlier version often take on a ghostly glow when standing in front of their monitor in a dark room. The new black background reduces the distraction caused by this effect.
The rearranged view accommodates three resizable panes: current slide, next slide, and notes. By default, the active slide is on the left - it's large. Next slide is in the upper-right and much smaller. Notes are below the next slide pane. You can customize the view to suit the way you work. For instance, if you don't want to see the next slide, shrink that pane by dragging the separator line appropriately. You can also increase the notes pane font using the icons at the bottom of that pane. The timer at the top-left ticks off the seconds you spend at each slide. If necessary, you can pause or restart this timer.
Many tools are available in the current slide pane. For instance, click the Pen And Laser Pointer Tools icon to engage the pen, highlighter, or laser pointer to annotate and emphasize specific points during the presentation.
Click See All Slides to display thumbnails of all your slides. Using this view, you can display an out-of-order slide. Remember, only your view changes - the audience will continue to see the current slide.
The Zoom tool lets you focus on a specific area in a slide. Click the tool and then click the area you want to enlarge. You can use the mouse to move around the slide and see other areas. The Black Or Unblack Slide Show tool lets you hide (or unhide) a slide, temporarily. The last tool displays more options. If you decide to minimize the current slide pane, you can still access these tools via a right-click.
The commands at the top of the screen are just as interesting and useful. I use the Show Taskpane often. PowerPoint instructors will appreciate the Swap Presenter View and Slide Show View command (Display Settings).
Familiarity is the key - knowing these tools and settings are available will help you control the show while being flexible enough to accommodate your audience.
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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.