Master Your Message Blog

How To Set Up Your Presentation Computer for PowerPoint or Keynote

OK, you’re getting ready give a presentation to a corporate audience  . . . with speaker support. And you’re nervous – the last thing you need to be doing is futzing around trying to find the show button on the bottom of the screen. Click on the wrong one and it can really throw you for a loop. Nothing worse than appearing disorganized … on stage … in front of your peers. Been there, done that!

There is nothing worse than appearing disorganized at the very start of a presentation  …
on stage … in front of your peers!

a presentation in Presenter View in PowerPoint

Presenter View (PowerPoint)

Here’s a little known trick to avoid the problem altogether. If you’re using PowerPoint, save your presentation file as a “show” file. When you open the file, it will open in full screen mode and you’re ready to go. But put a black slide in as the first slide. This is a “just in case” – in case you’re not on stage and haven’t been introduced when your slide presentation gets opened. You want to have your first introductory screen synchronized to your first words, or the introduction, or whatever makes the most sense. After it opens, you or the tech crew can advance it to your title screen when you’re ready.

For Keynote, same thing … but set this up in the “document inspector.” Just click on “automatically play upon open.” Then it too will open to full screen when Keynote is launched.
But let’s go one step further. Let’s look at the computer screen set-up. If you’re presenting using a projector, you need to have your computer set up in dual screen mode (Mac) or as an “extended desktop” (Windows). That way, if you use PowerPoint, you can use Presenter View (it’s Presenter Display on the Mac).

This gives you a full screen image on the presentation screen on-stage, but what you see on your computer screen is the slide you’re on and the slide before and behind it (in PowerPoint’s version – Keynote shows you the current slide and the next one). You can also see notes on the slide that’s active.

On the Keynote side, the display is a little more customizable … and there’s a clock!

Presenter View (PowerPoint) and Presenter Display (Keynote) make you look organized, decisive, and dynamic.

A presentation in Presenter Display in Keynote

Presenter Display (Keynote)

The other way to set up your computer screens is to have them “mirrored.” This means that what you seen on your computer screen is exactly the same presentation image as what’s on the stage screen (the projected screen). In most cases, you don’t want this, as you can’t see what your next slide is before it appears on the stage screen.

What Presenter View (Display) does is to keep you one step ahead. During your presentation, you can always see the next slide so you know where you’re going. And knowing where you’re going in front of an audience … well, that’s a good thing.

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