Issue #119 October 3, 2006

PowerPoint Tip – Customizing tricks

The days of canned presentations are over. Oh, they’ve been over for a while now, just some presenters haven’t realized it yet. So how can you quickly customize your presentation to exactly what the audience needs with little effort each time? Use these two simple tricks. First, many presenters have a large file of slides and select only the ones they want for each presentation. This is a smart idea. But instead of copying out the ones you want each time, here is another approach. Hide the slides you don’t want to show. To hide a slide, right-click on it in the list of slides on the left side of the screen. In the sub-menu that appears, click on Hide Slide. You will now see the slide number in the list has a diagonal line through it. This means that the slide is still there, but it will not be shown in Slide Show mode. This way, you show only the slides you want without a lot of effort. If you are going to print the slides as a handout, make sure you uncheck the Print Hidden Slides option so your audience handout doesn’t contain the slides you wanted to skip over. To unhide the slide for next time, simply right click on it and click on Hide Slide again. Hiding slides and printing hidden slides is also a technique presenters use to add detailed information for a handout in the same file as their slides. They hide the detailed slides so they don’t show, but print them so the audience has additional detail for reference. The other customization technique is to create different slide shows for different topics. Then, in a master slide show, you create hyperlinks to each of the topic files. If the audience wants to talk about a particular topic, you simply activate the hyperlink to show those slides, then end that set of slides and go back to the master slide show to see where they want to go next. This linking technique is an example of what I call non-linear presentations, where the audience controls the topics and order so that they get exactly what they need from the presentation. I believe it is the future of presentations, that’s why I did a one hour web tutorial on this topic earlier this year demonstrating the techniques and then showing exactly how to create your own audience focused non-linear presentation. To learn more and get your copy of the web tutorial, see .