Wednesday, November 29, 2006

PowerPoint Tip - Detailed Handouts without Packed Slides

One reason presenters pack slides with too much text and information is that they claim that since they will be printing the slides as their handout, they will need the audience to have the detail for future reference. But what happens is that the barrage of information on the slide overwhelms the audience and the presentation is a failure.

There is a better way. Instead of overloading text on your slides, design a slide file that has both detail slides and properly designed visuals that can serve both show and print purposes. Here's how you can do it.

For each topic, create two slides. The first one you will display during the presentation and it should be visual, not packed with text. The next slide should contain any detailed information you want the audience to have to refer to after the presentation. This second slide will never be shown during the presentation. It is there for printing purposes only.

Then, for each of the detailed slides, click on Slide Show - Hide Slide. This stops the detailed slide from being seen during the slide show. When you are running your slide show during practice sessions, make sure that the detailed slides are not shown.

To print a handout of slides that includes both the display slides and the hidden detail slides, check the Print hidden slides checkbox on the print dialog box. You will then get a printout with each of the detailed slides beside or below the display slide. Your audience can quickly see that they have more detailed information and can take notes that are appropriate to their own situation.

When you are presenting using this type of handout, it is a good idea to mention how the handout is structured at the start of your presentation. This lets the audience know that they do not need to take copious notes and can be more engaged in what you are saying. It also frees you from feeling that you have to plow through a lot of detailed slides in order to finish on time.

This is one way to provide a handout that is more customized than the usual handout that most presenters provide. If you want to create an even more customized handout using your slides as graphics in Word, you can get detailed instructions in my ebook "Guide to Advanced PowerPoint Techniques" at


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