PowerPoint Shortcuts That’ll Make You Less AnnoyingNovember 11th, 2010
There is no feeling of helplessness quite like that of being stuck in a terrible presentation with no possibility of escape. While the standard cause of this misery is insipid material, the misuse of PowerPoint by ostensibly intelligent scientists can also be maddening. With this in mind, I ask—nay, implore—you to do me a big favor and learn a few of PowerPoint’s shortcut functions:
1) Jumping slides. I rarely use animated transitions, but when used judiciously, I think they can be effective. What really bugs the hell out of me is when someone in the audience asks to go a couple of slides back, and the presenter ends up clicking the back arrow fifty times in order to retreat through all of the layers of animation. That. is. annoying.
Not only is it annoying, it is completely unnecessary. PowerPoint allows you to advance directly to any slide in your presentation by typing the slide number and hitting enter. Remember, if someone asks you to bring up a slide that has animations on it, you might want to jump one slide forward of it and then hit the back arrow so you don’t have to re-execute all of the animations.
2) Restarting presentations. How many times have you seen someone exit a presentation to start a video, then end up restarting the presentation from the beginning? The next ten seconds (or two minutes, if the guy loves animations) are then spent scrolling forward to get back to where the person left off.
Don’t do this. You can restart your presentation from where you left off by hitting SHIFT+F5. Hitting F5 will start the presentation from the beginning.
3) Blanking the screen. I once saw a presenter raise the screen to use the chalkboard while comically squinting under the intense illumination of the projector. If you need to use the board, you need not make a fool of yourself or shut down the projector. Simply, type “B” during your presentation to black out the projected image. Hitting “B” again toggles back to your slide. And just so you know, hitting “W” toggles a white screen on and off.
So…in the words of the great Judge Reinhold: learn it, know it, live it.