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PowerPoint FAQ: Mastering Your Presentation

The Key to Success is F1

Most of us have become comfortable with using the F1 key to ask for help while we are developing something, be it a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or PowerPoint presentation. However, most of us don't know that this same helpful hint is available to us while presenting our masterpiece. What we submit to you is to familiarize yourself with this Help screen so you don't ever have to access it (especially while presenting your presentation).

The Slide Show Help Screen

This screen provides an enormous amount of help to allow you to navigate around your presentation with ease. A sample of the screen is followed by a brief description of each option. To access the screen, click on the Slide Show icon to go into Slide Show Mode. Press the F1 key. (see below)

Mastering Your Presentation

  1. Next Slide: You can click on the "N" key, "Down Arrow", "Right Arrow", "Enter" Key or the "Page Down" key to advance to the next slide
  2. Previous Slide: You can click on the "P" key, "Up Arrow", "Left Arrow" or the "Page Up" key to go back to the previous slide.
  3. Go To a Slide: This one is a keeper! How many times have you been in a presentation and someone wants to go back to a particular slide. How do I get there without messing up the animation? Easy! All you have to do is to type the slide number and press "Enter". For example: 5, Enter.


  4. Hint: To make going to a particular slide on a moment's notice easier, it is a good idea to have the slide numbers (and titles) written down and handy.

  5. Black/White the Screen: Ever wonder what to do with your presentation screen while you are on a break? How about while you are stopping your presentation to explain something on the white board? All you have to do is either press "B" or "a period" to get a Black screen, or "W" or "a comma" to get a White screen. Simply press the same key to return back to the slide you were on.
  6. Show/Hide Pointer: Press the "A" or "=" key to hide/show the pointer. Usually this isn't a problem, especially when you are trying to click on objects to start animations.
  7. Stop/Restart Automatic Show: How many times have you taken the time to automate a slide with various objects and the audience asks a question that interrupts your show? What do you do? Simple fix - just press the "S" or "+" key to stop and restart your show. The timing will continue as designed when you restart the show.
  8. Exit a Slide Show: To quit running a slide show, simply press the "Esc" key. There are other keys you can press, but why confuse the issue!
  9. Pen-vs.-Arrow: During the slide show, the default is the arrow (unless you hid it as explained earlier). If you want to have a pen available to show a flow path, highlight a point, etc., all you have to do is to press "CTRL-P" (that is the "Ctrl" key and the "P" key simultaneously). To return to the Arrow, simply press "CTRL-A". One thing to be aware of: the pen WILL NOT act as an arrow. If you try to press the mouse key to start the next animation or move to the next slide, all you are going to do are place "dots" on your screen!
  10. Erase Drawing on Screen: If you use the pen to highlight a portion of the screen and want to erase it and highlight another portion of the drawing, all you have to do is to press the "E" key. Try it out! John Madden, eat your heart out!
  11. Go To Hidden Slide: If you hide a slide in your presentation, you can access it by pressing the "H" key. Why would you go through the trouble of developing a slide and then hiding it? I'm sure there might be reasons, but I haven't used it!