How to create a self-running presentation

We usually think of PowerPoint as being used by a live presenter who stands in front of a live audience. But PowerPoint can be used in other ways:

  • PowerPoint is often used an an elearning tool. In this situation, the learner controls the presentation.
  • PowerPoint is also used as a marketing tool to give to potential clients. In this situation, the presentation often runs itself.

powerpoint-tips-self-running-presentation-1How do you create a presentation that others will run or control?

Add narration

Usually, this type of presentation is narrated. You can use PowerPoint’s narration feature (see “Secrets for successfully narrating a presentation“) or insert audio files that you recorded separately on each slide. (Choose Insert> Audio or Sound from File.)

  • If you want the presentation to advance automatically from slide to slide, typical of a marketing presentation that you send to others, add slide timing. On the Transitions tab, in the Timing group, set a time under the Advance Slide section after the After label. If you click the up arrow, each click will increase the slide timing by 1 second. A setting of 00:03.00 advances the slide after 3 seconds. For a more advanced technique, see my post, “Create a video effect.”
  • If you want the viewer to control when the slides change, you can just let the person click or add hyperlinks for navigation. You can use the provided Action buttons because they have Next and Previous buttons that most people instantly understand.

Add navigation for people to move through your presentation

Here are the steps for adding an Action button to the next slide:

  1. Go to Home tab> Shapes> Action buttons and choose the one you want, such as the right-facing arrow Next button. The Action Settings dialog box automatically opens.
  2. On the Mouse Click tab, the Hyperlink To option is selected and set to Next Slide. If you want, you can change this, but it usually works well.
  3. Click OK.
  4. Format the Next button any way you want.
  5. Go into Slide Show view and test your button. Note that clicking off the button will also get you to the next slide.

You can add navigation to the previous slide and the first slide as well. You can even put action buttons on the Slide Master.

Disable clicking to advance slides

If you don’t want users to be able to click from slide to slide but only to use the navigation, you can turn off mouse clicking to go to the next slide. Here are the steps:

  1. Go into Slide Sorter view (View> Slide Sorter).
  2. Select all of the slides.
  3. In PowerPoint 2010 and 2013, click the Transitions tab. (In PowerPoint 2007, click the Animations tab. In PowerPoint 2003, choose Slide Show> Slide Transition.) In the Advance Slide section, uncheck the On Mouse Click checkbox. (This is where you would add slide timing if you want the slides to advance automatically after a specific amount of time.)

Another thing you can do to disable clicking is to set the presentation to run in kiosk mode. This mode is specifically meant for self-running presentations (running in a kiosk or computer at a trade show or company lobby, for example). Go to Slide Show> Set Up Slide Show (or Set Up Show). In the Set Up Show dialog box, under Show Type, choose Browsed at a Kiosk (full screen) and click OK.

Save the presentation as a show

Finally, you can save the presentation as a “show. This simply means that the presentation opens immediately in Slide Show view. Choose File (or Application button)> Save As. (In PowerPoint 2013, you then have to choose your location.) In the Save As dialog box, click the Save as Type drop-down list and choose PowerPoint Show (.ppsx or .pps). Note that a savvy user will know how to change the presentation name’s extension from .ppsx to .pptx and get access to the presentation, so don’t think of this as a measure to secure your content from being edited.



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