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PowerPoint: How to Automatically Advance Slides and Run Presentations Continuously

PowerPoint tips, presentations, loop a presentation, automatically run, move forward automatically, run continuously, slidesBefore the start of many of my speaking and training engagements, I show a warm-up PowerPoint presentation of industry, cartoon or trivia slides to greet participants as they get settled into the meeting room. I'm often asked about two features in these presentations: how to automatically advance each slide a specific time frame and how to run the presentation continuously until the presenter stops the slide show. Let's look at the steps you can follow to customize your own presentations.

Automatically Move to the Next Slide

The key here is the Transitions feature where you can set timings. A transition is animation to introduce the next slide although a specific transition isn't needed to set timings which automatically advance to the next slide. To set up timings:

  1. Select one or more slides in a presentations. To highlight multiple slides, switch to the Slide Sorter View and hold down the [Ctrl] key as you click on each slide or press [Ctrl] + A to Select All.
  2. In PowerPoint 2010, choose the Transitions tab in the Ribbon. By the way, PowerPoint 2010 introduces some nifty new high quality transitions. In PowerPoint 2007, pick the Animations tab. If you are using PowerPoint 2003, go to Slide Show > Slide Transition to open a task pane on the right.
  3. For PowerPoint 2010 & 2007, look for the advance slide options at the right side of the Ribbon including After or Automatically After. In PowerPoint 2003, find the advance slide options near the bottom of the Slide Transition task pane at the right. Change this choice from 0 seconds to the amount of time you want the selected slides to be displayed before they advance to the next slide such as 5 seconds. The timings can vary from one slide to another.

Pick a transition if you wish and save your presentation.

When you run the slide show, the timings will be in effect although you can also manually advance forward with a mouse click or other PowerPoint shortcuts.

Caution: Automatic timings are not recommended for any presentation given live with a speaker who should always have full control over when the slides move ahead.

Run a PowerPoint Presentation Continuously

The Set Up Slide Show options in PowerPoint help you customize your options for running a slide show presentation. When you have set timings in a presentation, you can also control a presentation so it loops (runs) continuously until you press the [Esc] key. This is a great feature for trade shows, kiosks, company reception areas, and other presentations where you don't need to be actively involved in the display of each slide. To successfully use a loop, each slide should have automatic timings as covered above. To change slide show options for an open presentation:

  1. In PowerPoint 2010 & 2007, click the Slide Show tab and pick the Set Up Slide Show icon. For PowerPoint 2003, pick Slide Show > Set Up Show.
  2. Under Show options, click the choice for Loop continuously until 'Esc'. Also verify the Advance Slides option is set to Use timings, if present.

The addition of timings and the option to continuously run your presentation are great tools to enhance your use of PowerPoint. As with any other presentation, always practice running your slide show to test timings and other show options before you go live.

Bonus Tip: These slide shows are easy to run when saved on your desktop and saved as a PowerPoint Show (.pps or .ppsx) which always runs in the Slide Show view. Quick to find and launch!

Dawn Bjork Buzbee, MCT, The Software Pro

Dawn Bjork Buzbee is The Software Pro and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) as well as a certified Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Master Instructor, certified Microsoft Applications Specialist (MCAS) Instructor, and a certified Microsoft Office expert. Dawn shares smart and easy ways to effectively use software through her work as a software speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of 8 books.

This article and more can be reprinted at no charge in your publications and website with copyright and attribution.
>>Learn more about how easy it is to share these valuable tips, tricks, and techniques.

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Hot PowerPoint Tip
To advance to the next slide while running a slide show, press N for Next, [Right Arrow], [Enter] or left-click on your mouse.
Did You Know?
Text in PowerPoint presentations should only be in a readable sans-serif font such as Arial, Verdana, Calibri. A sans-serif font is without serifs, the "feet and tails" on a font. Serif fonts include Times New Roman.
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