Thursday, April 19, 2007

The trouble with using a wireless mouse to change slides

I saw it again last night. A presenter used a wireless mouse as a remote device to change their slides. Initially, this sounds like a good idea. You already have a wireless mouse, and if you click the left mouse button, it is just like pressing the arrow key or spacebar to advance your slide show. But in practice, it usually doesn't work out so well.

The first thing that happens, and it did many times last night, is that when you move the mouse, even slightly, the arrow cursor moves on top of your slide. Last night the presenter was standing at a podium about 10 feet from the laptop. Every time they got a little nervous, they moved the mouse around on the podium, thinking we couldn't see it. But the arrow moved all around the screen, showing us exactly what they were doing. Movement will always draw attention, so as soon as the arrow moved on the screen, we instantly looked at the screen to see what was going on. This is very distracting for the audience.

The second thing that happens almost every time at least once is that you accidentally click the right mouse button instead of the left mouse button. This brings up a menu which you then have to exit out of. All while the audience watches.

When both of these happen, it makes you look unprofessional. So what can you do? The best choice is to buy a proper presentation remote. But failing that, when you are in Slide Show mode, press Ctrl+H to hide the pointer arrow if the mouse moves. This will at least solve the most common of the issues.


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