Presentation tools and tips

Since giving presentation is an essential skill, I would like to share some technical ideas to make one more successful on the stage. These features exists in the common presentation programs e.g.: PowerPoint, Keynote etc.

  1. Aim for 1024×768 resolution
  2. Modern displays are capable of higher¬† resolutions, however most of the beamers are limited to 1024×768. This means that the figures in the slides can get pixelated, small and crappy. Here it is shown, where the resolution can be changed and also the presenter view can be turned on.

  3. Use Presenter View (for reading the notes and checking the time)
  4. Nothing is more annoying during a presentation when the speakers talks for 50 minutes instead of 30 minutes as it was scheduled. Moreover it is a common error that speakers use slides as note for themselves and reading them loudly. Presenter View helps to solve this issue by showing notes, elapsed time on the speakers monitors, and the next slides.
    In order to access this functionality, mirroring has to be turned off in display settings, and extended display option has to be chosen. More info here: Windows 7, Mac OSX

  5. Zooming on text
  6. I am used to attend coding and hacking session, where the size of text is important. Hopefully modern operating systems include a built-in tool for zooming. E.g. Windows XP/7 has the Magnifier tool by default:
    While Mac OSX uses the following key combinations for launching the zooming functionality:
    However I recommend for Windows users a tool called ZoomIt. As addition to the default zooming capabilities, it allows the presenter to write anywhere on the screen or to draw on the presentation. Very handy!

  7. Give yourself 15 minutes to set up the laptop and a the display

Compatibility between different technical equipment is not always perfect. It is better to reveal the technical issues sooner, than to solve them in front of the audience.