Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Windows 8 Shortcuts for Presenters

When you Forget Your Laptop Function-Key Combo:

Windows-P to the Rescue for Presenters

by Alan Regan

Anyone who trains professors with classroom technology has a few key items on a checklist:
  1. Do you have the correct display port, adapter, or cable to connect to the room projector?
  2. Do you have a backup copy of your presentation file (hard drive, flash drive, and cloud storage)?
  3. Do you know how to send your display content to the projector?
For #3, it's critical that a professor can confidently send the presentation to the classroom projector or display. While many modern laptops will auto-detect and enable the display capabilities once an external display is connected, this isn't always the case.  For Windows-based machines, it gets a little more complicated since since almost every manufacturer has a different set of Function (Fn) key combinations to switch on/off the presentation mode of a laptop.  For example, most Dell laptops use the keyboard combo Fn-F8 while many HP laptops may use Fn-F4.

Thankfully, there is an even easier and consistent way to push the presentation display to a projector in Windows:


"Windows" stands for the Windows key, often with the Windows logo on the keyboard.  The "P" stands for "Presentation Mode." Pressing and holding the Windows key and then tapping the "P" key will display the available options: "PC Screen Only," "Duplicate," "Extend," or "Second Screen Only."  Professors will commonly select "Duplicate" to mirror the display on their laptop to the projector or display, or "Extend" to keep their laptop content private and move selected windows to the second display. The "Windows-P" shortcut is available in Windows 7 and Windows 8.
  • "PC Screen Only" - means that the computer content will only appear on the main display, commonly the built-in display of the laptop or a connected monitor on a desktop. No information is sent to the secondary projector or monitor.
  • "Duplicate" - means that the computer content will be mirrored (appear identical) on both the main display and the external display/projector.
  • "Extend" - means that the "extended desktop" feature will be enabled. The main or laptop display will have the primary operating system interface while the external display/projector will act like extra screen space. Professors would drag an application window over to the secondary display to show to attendees. This can be helpful if the professor wants to preserve some information for his/her "eyes only" and selectively move content to the projector for attendees to view.  Advanced presenters can switch which display is the "primary" and which is the extended secondary display through the "Display" Control Panel.
  • "Second Screen Only" - means that the display signal will only be sent to the external display/projector and the main or built-in laptop display will go dark. This can be helpful is a laptop's video capabilities are poor and can only support one display at a time.


Another tip for presenters is smoothly moving from one application to another. For example, moving from a PowerPoint presentation to a web page.  Rather than exiting PowerPoint and fumbling through application windows, try quickly toggling to your destination with the keyboard combination: "Alt-Tab." Press and hold the "Alt" key on your keyboard and tap the "Tab" key. Keep holding the "Alt" key and either tap the "Tab" key to move forward, "Shift-Tab" to move back, or simply use the arrow keys to navigate the available windows. Once the desired window is highlighted, release the "Alt" key to switch to that window in a snap!

Other helpful presenter shortcuts

  • Use Presenter View. In PowerPoint, use "Presenter View" to display the slide show on the projector but have presenter details (timer, notes, slide selection) on the laptop or primary display. In the Slideshow ribbon, make sure "Use Presenter View" is selected.
  • Quickly "B"lack the screen. In PowerPoint, press the "B" key during a presentation to "B"lack the screen temporarily. The period key (".") will also accomplish the same effect. This is very helpful to focus attention to the presenter rather than the screen. Press the "B" or "." key again to return to the current slide.  (If you prefer a white screen, press "W" to "White" the screen. The comma (",") is the equivalent.)
  • Start your presentation in a jiff.  In PowerPoint, press "F5" to start a presentation from the beginning or first slide.  Press "Shift-F5" to start from the currently selected slide.
  • End your presentation like a pro. In PowerPoint press the "ESC"ape key.
  • Move through slides with ease. In PowerPoint, there are many ways to navigate your presentation.
    • Next slide: Left mouse click, Space, Enter, Right Arrow, Down Arrow, Page Down, and "N" key will all advance to the "n"ext slide or animation.
    • Previous slide: Right mouse click, Backspace, Left Arrow, Up Arrow, Page Up, and "P" will all move back to the "p"revious slide or animation.
    • Jump to slide via slide number. Press the number for the slide and then press Enter. For example "3-Enter" will jump to the third slide.
    • Jump to slide via thumbnail (Office 2013). Press the hyphen ("-") key and then use arrow keys to select a slide. Press Enter to display that slide. NOTE: Pressing hyphen again will shrink the thumbnails, pressing equal ("=") will increase the thumbnails.
    • Jump back to first slide (Office 2010 and 2013). Press and hold the left and right mouse buttons for two seconds. NOTE: Your experience may vary with this tip. On my laptop, an external USB mouse worked and the pointing stick buttons worked, but the buttons on my trackpad did not produce the desired effect. You could always press the number "1" and press Enter for a quick jump to the beginning, too.

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