PowerPoint – Presenting Your Slide Show


Once your slide show is complete, you’ll need to learn how to present it to an audience. PowerPoint offers several tools and features to help make your presentation smooth, engaging, and professional.

Optional: Download our practice presentation.

Watch the video below to learn more about presenting your slide show.

Presenting a slide show

Before presenting your slide show, you’ll need to think about the type of equipment that will be available for your presentation. Many presenters use projectors during presentations, so you might want to consider using one as well. This allows you to control and preview slides on one monitor while presenting them to an audience on another screen.

To start a slide show:

There are several ways you can begin your presentation:

  • Click the Start From Beginning command on the Quick Access Toolbar, or press the F5 key at the top of your keyboard. The presentation will appear in full-screen mode.
    clicking the Start From Beginning command on the Quick Access Toolbar
  • Select the Slide Show view command at the bottom of the PowerPoint window to begin a presentation from the current slide.
    Switching to Slide Show view from the Status bar in the lower-right corner
  • Go to the Slide Show tab on the Ribbon to access additional options. From here, you can start the presentation from the current slide and access advanced presentation options.
    starting a presentation from the Slide Show tab

To advance and reverse slides:

You can advance to the next slide by clicking your mouse or pressing the spacebar on your keyboard. You can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move forward or backward through the presentation.

You can also hover your mouse over the bottom-left and click the arrows to move forward or backward.

hovering the mouse to access navigation buttons in Slide Show view

To stop a slide show:

You can exit presentation mode by pressing the Esc key on your keyboard. You can also click the Slide Show Options button in the bottom-left and select End Show.

ending a slide show

The presentation will also end after the last slide. You can click the mouse or press the spacebar to return to Normal view.

returning to PowerPoint after the final slide

Presentation tools and features

PowerPoint provides convenient tools you can use while presenting your slide show. For example, you can change your mouse pointer to a pen or highlighter to draw attention to items in your slides. In addition, you can jump around to slides in your presentation or access other programs from your taskbar if needed.

To show the taskbar:

Sometimes you may need to access the Internet or other files and programs on your computer during your presentation. PowerPoint allows you to access your taskbar without ending the presentation.

  1. Locate and select the Slide Options button in the bottom-left corner.
  2. Select Screen, then click Show Taskbar.
    showing the Taskbar
  3. Your taskbar will appear. Choose a program you want to open, like a web browser. When you’re done, close the window or click the PowerPoint icon on the taskbar to return to the presentation.
    selecting another program on the taskbar

Slide options

You can also access any of the menu items above by right-clicking anywhere on the screen during your slide show.

opening the Slide options menu

To skip to a nonadjacent slide:

You can jump to slides out of order if needed.

  1. Locate and select the See All Slides button in the bottom-left corner.
    clicking the See All Slides button
  2. Thumbnail versions of each slide will appear. Select the slide you want to jump to.
    switching to another slide
  3. The selected slide will appear.

To access drawing tools:

Your mouse pointer can act as pen or highlighter to draw attention to items in your slides.

  1. Locate and select the Pen Tools button in the bottom-left corner.
  2. Select Pen or Highlighter based on your preference. You can also choose a different color from the menu. 
    selecting the Pen tool
  3. Click and drag the mouse to mark your slides. You can also press Ctrl+P on your keyboard to access the pen tool while presenting your slide show.
    using the pen tool

You can also use the laser pointer feature to draw attention to certain parts of your slide. Unlike the pen and highlighter, the laser pointer will not leave markings on your slides. To use the laser pointer, select it from Pen Tools, or press and hold the Ctrl key and the left mouse button.

selecting the Laser Pointer

To erase ink markings:

  1. Locate and select the Pen Tools button in the bottom-left corner.
  2. Select Eraser to erase individual ink markings, or select Erase All Ink on Slide to erase all markings.
    erasing ink on slides

When you end a slide show, you’ll also have the option to Keep or Discard any ink annotations made during your presentation. If you keep ink markings, they’ll appear as objects on your slides in Normal view.

deciding to keep or discard annotations

Presenter view

If you’re presenting your slide show with a second display—like a projector—you can use Presenter view. Presenter view gives you access to a special set of controls on your screen that the audience won’t see, allowing you to easily reference slide notes, preview the upcoming slide, and much more.

To access Presenter view:

Start your slide show as you normally would, then click the Slide Options button and select Presenter View. You can also press Alt+F5 on your keyboard to start the slide show in Presenter view.

opening presenter view

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about using Presenter view.

Presenter View

Slide show setup options

PowerPoint has various options for setting up and playing a slide show. For example, you can set up an unattended presentation that can be displayed at a kiosk and make your slide show repeat with continuous looping.

To access slide show setup options:

  1. Select the Slide Show tab, then click the Set Up Slide Show command.
    clicking Set Up Slide Show
  2. The Set Up Show dialog box will appear. From here, you can select the desired options for your presentation.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn about various options for setting up and playing a slide show.

setting custom options for slide show playback

To advance slides automatically, you’ll need to customize the slide timing on the Transitions tab. Review our lesson on Applying Transitions to learn how.

setting automatic slide advancement


  1. Open our practice presentation.
  2. In the Set Up Slide Show options, change the pen color to purple.
  3. Start your slideshow, then access Presenter view.
  4. Advance to slide 8.
  5. Use the pen tool to circle the fundraising amounts for the 2015-2016 school year. These are the amounts over the green bars.
  6. When you’re finished, your screen should look something like this:
    Presenting Challenge