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There's a category of software functionality that, despite the best intention of the designers and developers, somehow never seems to make it into general use.
Sometimes these are essential features, and that's a really bad thing because a customer's failure to find an essential feature means the developers wasted their efforts. We don't blame the customer, we blame ourselves and try to fix things down the road. Luckily we're pretty good about usability testing and don't have many of those in PowerPoint.
Other times they're not essential features, they're quick access or alternative methods for accessing functionality that is easily found elsewhere. Because users can find these features in obvious locations, the failure to find the quick access method isn't all that bad. And it's kind of fun to expose them to users, see the delight in their eyes... kind of like party tricks.
View switching in Office applications is pretty easy, especially in 2007 where the new ribbons have given views have their own tab.
You can rest assured that this Presentation Views group provides you with all the access you need to be successful in PowerPoint. The rest of this article is just about getting to these views faster, and admittedly to one or two surprise views that you may have never seen before.
For many releases now PowerPoint has had a view switching control in the status bar.
Note: Although we're showing pictures of Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, these features work for any version of PowerPoint that has the view switching control.
The view switcher group lets you, with a single click, switch between the main document views.
Very handy of course, and most PowerPoint users make use of one or more of these buttons on a regular basis.
What's not obvious to most folks is there is hidden access to multiple views in each of these buttons!
Here's where the fun starts. You can "modify" the effect of clicking on any of these buttons by holding down the SHIFT key or CTRL key while you click each button. This gives you a number of additional views you can quickly shift to. Here are the main commands.
Quick access to the Set Up Show Dialog
The Set Up Show dialog is accessible from the Slide Show tab, but getting at it by shift clicking the Slide Show button, changing a setting or two, and then using the same (un-shifted) button to launch slide show has a certain conservation of movement that you may appreciate.
Switches to the Handout Master View
Handout masters are one of the lesser-used features in PowerPoint, as the default settings are well chosen, but if you need to customize that default this is the view for you. Whether you need this style of quick access, well, again that's up to you.
Switches to the Slide Master View
Shifting between Normal and Master View quickly is one of the most useful of these "party tricks." If you find yourself making master design changes and keep flipping back to normal view to check how your modifications are working - this is a terrific time saver.
OK, now that you "get" the SHIFT-Clicking functions, let's go a step deeper. A second level of hidden switching can be reached if you hold down CTRL and SHIFT at the same time while you click the buttons.
Hides everything except the slide
This closes the notes pane and the Thumbnail/Outline pane to provide you the largest view of the current slide. You can easily bring back the hidden panes by clicking the Normal button again (without any keys).
Expands the Outline to the full window
This view isn't actually available through the Views tab, so it's one of two "bonus" views I'm showing you today. It nostalgically harkens back to PowerPoint 1.0, where the software didn't have split panes and could only show you the slide and the outline in different views. Still, if you want to isolate your work to just the text and presentation structure before working up slides, this might be the right view for you.
Displays a 1/4 screen preview of the slide show.
Note that CTRL-SHIFT-Click Slide Show just brings up the same Set Up Show dialog that Shift-Clicking activates.
Legend has it that this miniature view of the slide show was put into PowerPoint by a developer who wanted a way to quickly check some code changes he was working on. It has been in PowerPoint for many releases, but remains one of the truly hidden features in the product. The miniature view is a full featured slide show, complete with transitions and animations, all of the standard navigation and even the final "click to exit" black screen. While it is running you can click back into the normal view, make changes to the slides, and resume the show displaying those changes. I'll leave it up to you to decide whether this is actually a brilliant lost feature or simply a fun PowerPoint party trick.
Great job! But I think it would be better if you make a flash video tutorial instead of these screenshots. I saw a video tutorial of how to set the audio of the powerpoint here:
Interesting thought Sabrina. I actually considered making animated GIFs at one point. The real concen here is that the content be easy to understand, that's the pacing, and work with any browser or device, that means no dependence on installed controlls like Flash. Still, I'm interested in what others might think. -Ric
Great! I like what you have wrote!
Doesn't seem to work in PPT 2007 SP1 - any special consderations for this use?
Aaahhh ... I see: Ctrl-F5 doesn't work, but Ctrl-[Slide Show button on ribbon] does. I think I'll find this useful - thanks!
Any shortcuts to open Notes Pages?
Not that I'm aware of. It's an interesting idea though.
One of the older versions of PPT (97, maybe?) had a notes pages icon to make it easy to switch to that view. Just sayin'.
You're right. We got rid of the quick view button to take you to the notes pages in 2000 when we added the Normal view with the Notes pane. -Ric