PowerPoint Power Tips

Posted by Barry Flanagan on Mar 16th, 2008
Mar 16


Here are two powerful tips for making more effective use of PowerPoint when you use it to support your presentations -


  1. Presenter’s View – PowerPoint has had a Presenter’s View for several years. The PowerPoint Development team has improved this tool a great deal in PowerPoint 2007. Here is how this feature is described at Office Online

    • You can use thumbnails to select slides out of sequence and create a customized presentation for your audience.

    • Preview text shows you what your next click will add to the screen, such as a new slide or the next bullet in a list.

    • Speaker’s notes are shown in large, clear type so that you can use them as a script for your presentation.

    • You can darken or lighten the screen during your presentation and then resume where you left off. For example, you might not want to display the slide content during a break or a question and answer (Q and A) period.



    This can be a very useful feature. Many speakers swear by this feature. Despite the ability to see your slides notes and upcoming slides, it is very important that you do not use this feature to increase your dependency on PowerPoint as a crutch.


  3.  ZoomIt -Zoomit is a fantastic tool for use with slide presentation, especially when you need to zoom into visuals, screen shots, videos, or demos. The developer, Mark Russinovich (of Sysinternals fame for those in the computer industry) describes ZoomIt like this -


ZoomIt is screen zoom and annotation tool for technical presentations that include application demonstrations. ZoomIt runs unobtrusively in the tray and activates with customizable hotkeys to zoom in on an area of the screen, move around while zoomed, and draw on the zoomed image. I wrote ZoomIt to fit my specific needs and use it in all my presentations.

ZoomIt works on all versions of Windows and you can use pen input for ZoomIt drawing on tablet PCs.


I found a great ZoomIt overview video on YouTube. This video is made by Alik Levin at PracticeThis.





If you have any great power tips for PowerPoint, please post them in the comments or sent me an email form the Contact page above.






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7 Responses

  1. Simon Raybould Says:

    Interesting to see this feature coming into Powerpoint now. I’m a presentation skills trainer, so as you can imagine I make presentations-a-plenty. We use Keynote, generally (or OpenOffice’s Impress) and this feature is one of the things I use most heavily when I’m presenting.

    Good call to remind people not to use it as a prop, though!

    Just one word of caution: I’m sure it’s not a common problem, but I have seen people try and use this feature on older computers and the result has been a bit ugly…..


  2. alik Says:


    What a great resource for public speaking skills development.

    I like it.

  3. Barry Flanagan Says:


    Apparently some version of the feature has been around since at least PowerPoint 2000. The 2007 version of this is by far the best, however.

    I can imagine this could be resource intensive. Good thing to remember, however.

  4. Barry Flanagan Says:


    Thanks for the feedback, and the great video of Zoomit!


  5. Lisa Braithwaite Says:

    Regarding notes pages, I usually recommend not using them. They chain the speaker to the computer and make for a stiff performance.

    It’s just one more way for a speaker not to be prepared, but instead of reading directly from slides, now they’re reading directly from the notes pages.

    See my recent post about it here:

  6. Barry Flanagan Says:


    Whenever I give a non-technical presentation, I agree completley with you. I never use notes for those types of presentations.

    For many technical and scientific presentations, however, notes either on the slides on in a document are essential to getting your facts right. If you have ever needed to provide detail on a Windows registry key that is seven levels deep OR the exact syntax for a set of commands in a VB script, you would definitely want some sort of note to ensure you get it right.

    I prefer a hand out or other document, but many tech speakers want everything in one document for convenience (especially those of us who travel a great deal). Using the slide notes also gives you the ability to use the slides as a handout after the presentation without the need to include alot of text and details on the slides. If you use a wireless remote (which I always recommend) you can walk back to your laptop to verify the notes for a specific detail then resume moving in front of the room to directly engage the audience.

    Of course, this can be abused, so it is a fine line. For many tech speakers, this is the first step to letting go of the need to cram everything you know into the actual slides.

    Thanks for the comments!

  7. Australian Toastmasters Champion Says:

    Another great idea with PowerPoint is to print all your slides out and stick them to teh wall. If they all ‘look the same’ try freshening them up a bit!


    Darren Fleming
    Australia’s Public Speaking Coach

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