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Preparing Your PowerPoint Presentation

by Steve Burnell

We’ve all seen it – the unprepared presenter. After being introduced, the presenter opens the PowerPoint file in design mode and searches for the slideshow icon. Meanwhile the audience looks at the list of slides in the left column, perhaps reads the presenter notes at the bottom of the screen. It’s an awkward moment for all involved. With proper preparation, that scenario can be avoided and the presenter can maintain some dignity.

By default, PowerPoint saves files in the PPTX (PowerPoint Presentation) format. When your presentation is complete and ready to go, saving it in a different format will allow you to immediately fire it up in full screen slideshow mode. No more awkward moments! That format is PPSX (PowerPoint Show). To save in this format, go to Save As and change the “Save as type” drop down box from PowerPoint Presentation to PowerPoint Show.

If you make any changes to the original PPTX file, be sure to save it again as PPSX and overwrite the existing file. Otherwise the changes you expect to be in the presentation will not be there. If you have deleted the PPTX file and need to make changes, open PowerPoint and use the Open command to edit the PPSX file. If you double click the file name or icon, the file will just open full screen as intended.

Take it a step further

It’s your turn to speak but you want to address the audience before displaying your first slide. Just open your file when you’re ready to proceed, right? Wrong! Be prepared by adding a black slide at the very beginning of your presentation. A black slide is simply a blank slide with the background color set to black. Since black cannot be projected, it will appear as if the projector is off. With a single click of a remote control or wireless mouse, your first slide instantly appears making you look pretty slick in the process.

At the end of a presentation, PowerPoint displays a black slide with the message “end of slide show, click to exit” across the top. Yeah, we know it’s over. Hide this pointless message by adding a black slide of your own to the end of your presentation.

With these few simple steps, you can avoid looking like an unprepared, awkward presenter to one in control from start to finish!