One of the most common questions that has been asked about presenting PowerPoint slides in a Microsoft Teams meeting is how to use Presenter View if you only have one screen. Presenters who use this mode have been accustomed to adding their speaking notes in the Notes section below the slides. Presenter View displays the slides on a second monitor or projector and shows you your notes along with a preview of the next slide on your laptop.

With so many business professionals now working from just their laptop, the usual Presenter View doesn’t work because there is no second screen attached. When they start the slide show in PowerPoint, their notes disappear because the slide takes over the screen.

If this is your situation, first see if there is a second screen of some sort you can use just for presenting. If you can connect a TV or monitor that either isn’t being used or can be borrowed occasionally when you have to present, hook it up via cable or Miracast. If you have another laptop or desktop computer, you might be able to use the Windows 10 feature of projecting to another computer screen as a second monitor. If you have an iPad or other tablet, there may be a software/hardware solution to connect it to your laptop (this is likely the least desirable of the choices as it can be less reliable).

If you only have the one screen, here are four options you can use to see your speaking notes while presenting PowerPoint slides in a Teams meeting.

Option 1: Use a PDF of the Notes pages on the screen

PowerPoint allows you to create Notes Pages with the slide image and the speaking notes for each slide on a separate page. You can create a PDF of these pages and use this PDF to see your notes on one part of your screen while you show the slides in the PowerPoint window. Here are the steps to use this method:

  • In the Notes Master in PowerPoint, increase the font size of the text so it will be easy to read. Since the PDF will only be taking up part of the screen, not the full screen, you will need the font larger, usually at least 18 point size, in order to easily read it.
  • Create a PDF of the Notes Pages. Either a) use the Save As/Save a Copy function to save a PDF and use the Options link to specify that you want to save the Notes Pages, or b) use the Print function and the Microsoft Print to PDF virtual printer to create a PDF of the Notes Pages.
  • Set up the PowerPoint slides to show in a window instead of full screen (see option 4 in this article and video). This allows the slide show to be displayed on one part of your screen while the other part has the PDF of your notes.
  • To get ready for the presentation, open the PDF file and the PowerPoint file. Arrange them on the screen so you can see both. You may have to resize the windows of each program so you are comfortable reading each one.
  • Start the slide show mode in PowerPoint. Share that window in Teams so the audience sees your slides. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move through your slides.
  • Move your mouse over the PDF of your notes. Do not click on the PDF but use the scroll wheel on your mouse to scroll through the document as you move through the slides. This will take a bit of practice but you will quickly get the hang of it.
  • If you suddenly aren’t able to advance the slides, it is possible that the focus of the operating system has moved off of PowerPoint. Just click on the border of the PowerPoint window to get the focus back on PowerPoint. Don’t click on the slide or it may advance to the next slide without you meaning to do that.

I used this method for a webinar recently. The organization was using a different meeting platform but this photo shows how I had my notes on the left side of my screen and the slides in the meeting platform on the right side of the screen. You also see a second device I am using that is connected as a participant so I can see what the audience sees.

Option 2: Use a Word handout export of your slides and notes on the screen

This option is similar to Option 1 except instead of a PDF of the Notes Pages, you use the PowerPoint function to create a Word document of the slides and your speaking notes. PowerPoint has an Export function that allows you to create a Word document that has your speaking notes beside your slides in a long table. You can adjust the spacing and font size in Word after the export. This gives you a lot of flexibility in how you set up the slide images and notes but is more work to create and adjust.

Once the Word document is ready, you follow similar steps as in Option 1 to open both the Word document and PowerPoint presentation on your screen. You show the slide show in the PowerPoint window and scroll through the Word document to see your notes as you present your slides.

Option 3: Use a tablet or phone for your notes

If you need your slides to be bigger on the screen, your screen isn’t big enough for both the notes and the slides, or you don’t choose to run the slide show in a window, you may use a tablet or phone for your notes. Use one of the methods in options 1 or 2 to create a PDF or Word document with your notes. Open that file on your tablet or phone. Now you can use your finger to scroll through the notes on the device while you are presenting the slides full screen on your laptop. Because the screen on a tablet or phone is much smaller, make sure your text is large enough to read easily.

Option 4: Use Presenter View preview

If you really want to use Presenter View, there is a method that can work. It uses a feature that was introduced in PowerPoint a few years ago called Presenter View preview and may only be available in modern versions of PowerPoint. This allows you to see what Presenter View looks like even though you only have one screen. The trick is that PowerPoint is also running the slide show in a hidden window and you can share that with Teams. Here are the steps to follow:

  • In setting up your slide show, make sure it is using the default of displaying the show in the full screen and that you have selected to use Presenter View.
  • In PowerPoint, press Alt+F5 to start Presenter View preview at the beginning of your presentation. You will see Presenter View on your screen with the slide, your notes, and what the next slide/build will be. You will not see the controls for your Teams meeting. If you want to jump to a specific slide in the file, use the controls in Presenter View to select the slide you want to display.
  • Press Alt+Tab as many times as needed to return to the Teams control window.
  • In Teams, select to share a window. You will see two PowerPoint windows, one with the slide show and one with the editing view (this is the Presenter View window). Share the window that has the slide show. Your screen will now show the slide show, not Presenter View.
  • To get back to seeing Presenter View, press Alt+Tab as many times as you need to in order to select the Presenter View window. You see Presenter View but the audience sees the slide show.
  • To advance the slides, you need to click on the arrow key in Presenter View the first time to move the operating system focus to the Presenter View window. Then you can use the arrow keys to advance the slides. Move the cursor to the lower edge of the screen because it is visible to the audience in the slide show.

This video demonstrates this option.

Conclusion

If you use the Notes section of PowerPoint to hold your speaking notes and usually use Presenter View when presenting on a screen or projector, use one of these four options to see your notes while displaying the slides to the attendees in a Microsoft Teams meeting. I usually use Option 1 but try the different options and use whichever option you are most comfortable with.