Microsoft’s Best Kept Secret : Presenter View
I will let the readers in on one of the best kept secrets of Microsoft Corporation – yes readers its ‘the Presenter View’ that runs in PowerPoint which is amongst the most special products in Microsoft’s prized brainchild: Microsoft Office. This magnificent presenter view in PowerPoint is the solution for presenter anxiety, time management, and it allows you access to your notes right in front of you so you have your hands free to express yourself. So what the audience of your presentation see is the slide projected in front of them and one by one the slides unfold in front of their eyes as you progress with your presentation. However, what you see on your computer screen is your screen divided into parts – you see the slide itself, the notes in one part, the flow of slides so that your next slide does not come as a surprise to you, and a clock (literally) clearly displaying the time you have spent presenting.
This view is so incredible that when people experience it once they are converted forever. A case in point is that of a colleague of mine who felt almost nauseated out of anxiety before a presentation. I asked her if she knew about the presenter view in PowerPoint and despite the fact that she has gained exposure in good universities and worked in the industry for years making important presentations in front of clients, she looked rather quizzed. I introduced it to her and from there on she was hooked to it.
Well if it is so awesome, how come so few people use it? Even more amazing is the fact that people who use it often find themselves in trouble while using it and here is the catch. Not only is it one of Microsoft’s best kept secrets for no obvious reason, it is also difficult to use. I teach Marketing at a University and I teach 3 classes in one day. I tried all sorts of things to set the presenter view up and I have experience with it so even with a new laptop and/ or multimedia, it shouldn’t be tough to do it in principle, but practice in this case differs. So here are snippets of my dialogue with my Sony VIAO while trying desperately to set up the presenter view on the last day I lectured this week:
SYMA: Ok, lets set you up on the presenter view
LAPTOP: I am ready. Lets do it.
SYMA: Hmmm lets set up the Extended Desktop.
POWERPOINT: I cannot detect another screen so no presenter view for you today
SYMA: I just plugged in the chord of the multimedia. What is the problem? Lets restart the multimedia.
POWERPOINT: I am not in the mood to detect anything.
SYMA: Come on… please… try harder to detect it. Its right there. Don’t make it so difficult for me. I have some brilliant notes in there.
POWERPOINT: You really have to find a way at getting me in the mood. You are not a pro at using me yet now are you!?
SYMA: You were supposed to be user friendly!!! This whole thing should have been easier! Really dude, this is no good!
LAPTOP: Sweets, I’m not a Mac.
If some of you are wondering how it really works, I have already asked Ahmed Shuja (our Experience Design guru) to write a blog post about making presenter view work for you. Ahmed will help the mystery unravel soon on this blog!