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PowerPoint FAQ: Break/Lunch Timer

Overview

The following discusses how to utilize the provided PowerPoint break timer file (see download below). This file uses VBA and therefore requires macros to be "Enabled" when opened. The PPS file is designed to be put in the same folder as your presentation and linked as a hidden button on your Slide Master. This way you can start your break regardless of where you are in your presentation.

The PPS file has separate macros assigned to three buttons to allow the Instructor to set a 5, 10, or 15 minute break. If you are using PowerPoint 2002 or 2003, you need to ensure your Macro Security is set to "Medium". This will allow the code to be run yet still provide you protection on other presentations. PowerPoint 97 security is normally set to the required setting.

The break timer file uses a feature that redraws the screen every second showing the new time. If you are using an older computer with minimum video memory, the screen may flicker. Unfortunately, there is no way around this. If the screen flickering occurs you might want to consider another (non VBA) method to control breaks.

The presentation is also set up as a PPS file to allow the user to simply click the "Return" button on the second slide to return to your presentation. Below is the first slide of the presentation. The second slide merely has a "Return" button that closes the file.

Linking in Your Presentation

  1. Save the zipped file and extract the PTT_Sample_Break_Timer.pps to the same folder as your PowerPoint presentation file.
  2. Open your PowerPoint file, click "View", "Master", "Slide Master".
  3. Select the "Rectangle" tool on the Drawing Toolbar and draw a small rectangle in one of the corners (ensuring it is not obscured by the Slide Title or other objects).
  4. Right-click the rectangle and select "Action Settings".
  5. Click the "Hyperlink to" dropdown and select "Other PowerPoint Presentation".
  6. Browse to the folder and select the "PTT_Sample_Break_Timer.pps" file.
  7. Click "OK". This accepts the first slide as the slide to link to.
  8. Click the "Highlight click" checkbox towards the bottom left.
  9. Click the "OK" button to accept and close the Action Settings dialog box.
  10. With the rectangle still selected, click the "Fill Color" dropdown arrow on the Drawing Toolbar and select "No Fill".
  11. Click the "Line Color" dropdown arrow and select "No Color".
  12. Click the "Close Master View" button on the Slide Master View toolbar.
  13. Save your presentation.

Running the Break Timer

  1. Open your presentation and go to Slide Show Mode.
  2. Hover your cursor over the "hidden" button when ready to take a break and single-click (cursor should turn to a "pointing" cursor) your mouse.
  3. Click the "Enable Macros" button when asked.
  4. Click the desired "Break Timer" button depending on the amount of break you want to give. The time will appear in the text box showing how much time remains.
  5. When the time expires, the second slide will appear providing you with a "Return" button to click. Click "Return" to return to your presentation on the slide you were last on.

Hint: If you stop the break before the last slide appears by pressing the ESCAPE key, you will get a dialog box asking if you want to save changes. This is due to the fact that code has changed variables in the break timer presentation. Merely click "NO" to return to your presentation.

Download Files

To download the Break Timer zipped file, click here. To download the 30 Minute Lunch Timer zipped file, click here. If you would like to learn how PTT, Inc. can create other custom shows using VBA, contact us at info@pttinc.com. Be sure to check out our game samples at http://www.pttinc.com/ppgame.htm.