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How to stop the screw ups when giving a PowerPoint presentation

Since, for whatever reason, PowerPoint presentations seem apt to go wrong, it’s a great idea to cut out at least a couple of extra steps; not only will your presentation look more professional, but there’s also less of a chance that something will go wrong between saving and presenting.

The answer:

Save your PowerPoint presentation as a show!

If you want to really impress people with your PowerPoint, simply save the file as a .pps. This is a PowerPoint Show as opposed to the default .pps which is called a PowerPoint Presentation.

Most people save their presentaions as this defult PowerPoint Presentation (PPT). A PPT shows all the slides and all the background work that can be done on the presentation.

By saving as a PPS (PowerPoint Show), when you double-click it, it will auto launch into the show mode. It makes it look so much more professional. I’ve always seen presentations where people open the PPT, then go to Slide Show > View Show. This cuts off all that step.

These self-running presentations are a great way to make a presentation without having to have someone available to run a slide show presentation. For example, you might want to set up a presentation to run unattended in a booth or kiosk at a trade show (such as the FHTA Dive Fiji EXPO!), or send a CD or USB stick with a self-running slide show to a customer.

You can make most of the controls unavailable so that no one can make any changes to the presentation. A self-running presentation also restarts itself when it’s finished and also when it has been idle on a manually advanced slide for longer than five minutes.

Saving your PowerPoint presentation as a slide show ensures that when the file is opened, it automatically opens as a slide show (in full screen mode).

Some of the Options for a Self-running Presentation

When you build a self-running presentation, you’ll want to keep the style of where it’ll be shown in mind — for example, whether it is for an unmanned booth at a trade show or whether there will be any supervision present. This’ll help you determine what parts you add to your presentation, how much control you give users (if any!), and what steps you need to take to prevent hiccups and people screwing with it.

Things you might want to consider when designing a self-running presentation include:

  • Automatic or manual?
    You can set it up to run by itself with auto-timings, or you can set it so that users can move through it at their own pace by using the mouse to click action buttons for navigation. If you set up a slide show to be browsed at a kiosk, mouse clicks are ignored unless they’re on objects with hyperlinks or action buttons.
  • Hyperlinks & other buttons
    You can use hyperlinks to move through the presentation or to jump to other slides and programs. Action buttons (PowerPoint’s predefined navigation buttons) can give your presentation the look and familiarity of a Web page, with buttons for Home, Help, Back, Next, and so on.
  • Voice over
    You can add recorded narration that plays with your presentation.
  • Capture input
    You can use the ActiveX controls that come with PowerPoint to create a response slide in your presentation. For example, you can add a text box in which people can enter their names and addresses to receive further information.

Here’s a great wee video to show how to do this step by step:


I don’t have any form of PowerPoint on the destination computer, what to do?

Sometimes you need to supply a presentaiton to the organisers of an event or conference and you have NO idea what platform they are running. So what to do and what to save as…

2 answers to this one, and it does depend on a couple of things as well.

Solution 1: Obtain a free download of PowerPoint Viewer 2007

To run a presentation on a computer on which Microsoft Office PowerPoint is not installed, or to distribute a self-contained presentation to an audience that might not have PowerPoint installed, use the Microsoft Office PowerPoint Viewer.

Also, to run a .pps file, you must have PowerPoint Viewer 2007 installed. The PowerPoint Viewer is a free download!

Solution 2: Package a Presentation for CD

If PowerPoint 2007 is already installed on the computer, PowerPoint Viewer is installed each time you use the Package a Presentation for CD feature in PowerPoint.

When you copy your Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 presentation to a CD or a local USB Drive/stick on your computer, Microsoft Office PowerPoint Viewer 2007 and any linked files (such as movies or sounds) are copied as well

To package a presentation for CD, do the following:

  1. In PowerPoint, open the presentation that you want to package.
  2. Click the Microsoft Office Button, point to the arrow next to Publish, and then click Package for CD.
  3. In the Package for CD dialog box, click Options, and then select the options that you want.
  4. Click Copy to Folder or Copy to CD.

PowerPoint packages your presentation to the folder or CD so that you can distribute it.

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