See your notes while sharing slides in Teams or Zoom; Issue #469 July 21, 2020

Last issue I shared how you can use Presenter View with two screens when sharing your slides in a Microsoft Teams or Zoom meeting so that you can see your notes and the attendees see your slides. In this newsletter I want to share three other methods you have for seeing your speaking notes.

Method 1: Print your notes

PowerPoint allows you to print Notes Pages in the print dialog.

This prints the slide image at the top of the page and your notes below. You can change the font size of the notes text by modifying the Notes Master on the View ribbon. I usually increase the font size to at least 14 point so I can see the text easily. If the notes do not fit on the page with the slide image they will continue on the next page (which will not have the slide image). Here’s what one of my Notes pages from a recent webinar looked like.

You can have these pages on the desk in front of you or, if your laptop is raised on a box or platform, you can have the pages standing up in front of that riser. When you are presenting, move the pages out of the way when you finish with each page instead of trying to slide them under the remaining pages. If you have the laptop raised, you could put the pages in a binder and prop it up, flipping pages as you present.

Try not to look at the notes pages too much as the attendees will see your eyes moving away from the webcam.

Method 2: Use your notes on the screen

Step 1: Create a PDF file of your notes

You can also save the Notes Pages as a PDF. Option 1 is to print them to a PDF. Windows and Mac both include printers or options in the print dialog to print as a PDF. Option 2 is to use the Save a Copy feature to save a PDF. Make sure you go into the options for saving a PDF and select Notes pages as what you want to publish as shown below.

Step 2: Set up the PowerPoint Slide Show in a window

Set up your PowerPoint file to display the Slide Show in the window it is in instead of in full screen mode. PowerPoint refers to this as the “Browsed by an individual” mode or Reading View. To use this mode, on the Slide Show ribbon, click on the Set Up Slide Show button. In the dialog box, in the Show type section in the top left corner, change the option by clicking on the radio button for “Browsed by an individual”.

Click the OK button to save the change and exit the dialog box. Now whenever you enter Slide Show mode, the slides are run just in this PowerPoint window, not the full screen. This way of displaying Slide Show mode does not offer all of the features of full screen Slide Show such as laser pointer or inking but includes all animations and transition features.

Step 3: Display the notes and slides on your screen

Open the PDF file you saved in step 1 above. Arrange it beside the PowerPoint window. Start the PowerPoint Slide Show and in Teams or Zoom just share the PowerPoint window, not the full screen. Move your mouse over the PDF and use your mouse wheel to scroll the notes pages. If you accidentally click on the PDF window, click on the edge of the PowerPoint window to return focus to PowerPoint so you can advance your slides.

This method keeps your eyes on the screen all the time and it will appear to the attendees that you are not looking away from the webcam.

Method 3: Use a tablet or phone for your notes

You can also use the PDF of your notes you created in the previous method to view your notes on a tablet or phone. This allows you to run your slides full screen if you prefer so you can use the laser pointer or inking capabilities of full screen Slide Show mode.

Because a tablet or phone may be a much smaller screen than your laptop or external screen, make sure the text on the Notes Pages is big enough to read. You can adjust the text size in the Notes Master as described above.

With the PDF displayed on your device, use your finger to scroll through the notes during the presentation. If you can use a device holder to position the device close to your screen you will not have to look away as much to see the notes. A phone holder on a tripod can work or a tablet stand beside your laptop. Make sure you can comfortably reach the device and you are not moving closer to the webcam every time you reach for the screen.

Use your notes when presenting in Teams or Zoom

Just because you are delivering your presentation in a Teams or Zoom meeting does not mean you can’t use your Speaking Notes associated with each slide. Use Presenter View with two screens as I described in the last newsletter or use one of the methods above.

By Dave Paradi

Dave Paradi has over twenty-two years of experience delivering customized training workshops to help business professionals improve their presentations. He has written ten books and over 600 articles on the topic of effective presentations and his ideas have appeared in publications around the world. His focus is on helping corporate professionals visually communicate the messages in their data so they don't overwhelm and confuse executives. Dave is one of fewer than ten people in North America recognized by Microsoft with the Most Valuable Professional Award for his contributions to the Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams communities. His articles and videos on virtual presenting have been viewed over 4.8 million times and liked over 17,000 times on YouTube.