applied tips : february 2007

microsoft powerpoint : run shows like magic

Have you ever wanted to create an automated presentation that communicates would make even Houdini green with envy. Despite the fact that it's incredibly easy and efficient, you might want to set up an automated presentation to run unattended at trade shows or conventions, or on a community access cable channel. With the exception of the mouse (to click certain items) you can make most controls unavailable so users can't make changes to the presentation. A self-running presentation restarts when it's finished and also when it's been idle on a manually advanced slide for longer than five minutes.

Some things to think about

When you design a self-running presentation, you'll want to keep the setting and purpose of the presentation in mind. For example, will your self-running presentation be in a booth or in a display window? Do you want viewers to interact with your presentation (if it contains hyperlinks), or do you want to prevent them from tampering with it? Is your presentation self-explanatory, or do you need to add voice narration to it?

Several options you will want to consider when creating a self-running slide show include:

Working with the magic wand

Setting up a presentation to run by itself is incredibly easy. Let's get started.

Begin by switching to Slide Sorter View by clicking the Slide Sorter View button on the horizontal scroll bar or by selecting View > Slide Sorter from the menu. Press <Ctrl> + <A> to select all slides in the presentation.

Now that all slides in the presentation are highlighted, you need to tell PowerPoint to automatically advance the slides. Click the Slide Transition button on the Slide Sorter toolbar, and the slide transition task pane will appear. This is where you tell PowerPoint to automatically advance to the next slide(s) after a specified number of seconds have passed.

Ensure that the "Automatically after" box in the task pane is checked, then click the seconds box. This is where you will enter the number of seconds you would like each slide to be displayed before PowerPoint automatically advances to the next slide. Now click "Apply to All Slides" to apply your settings to all slides in the presentation.

If you want the next slide to appear only when the viewer clicks the mouse (a.k.a.: manual timing), click the Slide Transition button on the Slide Sorter toolbar, make sure the "On mouse click" check box is selected, and clear the "Automatically after" check box.

Now you need to decide what type of show you would like your presentation to be. In this case we will be using the "Browsed at a kiosk" option, but there are a total of three options you can choose from:

Select Slide Show > Set Up Show from the menu. Once the "Set Up Show" dialog box appears, select the "Browsed at kiosk" option to run your presentation as a self-running show. Make sure that the "Using timings, if present" button is selected under Advance Slides, and click OK.

Now that the hard part is over with, it's time to sit back and watch your presentation magically advance itself through each slide, without any operation.

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