How to Make a Computer Screen Go Black With PowerPoint

Making the screen go black during a PowerPoint presentation can be an effective way to create dramatic pauses, transitions between topics, or breaks. With a few simple steps, you can make the screen go completely dark or white whenever needed.

Use the “B” and “W” Hotkeys

The easiest way to make the screen go black or white in PowerPoint is to use the “B” and “W” hotkeys:

  • Press “B” on your keyboard during the presentation to make the screen go black instantly.
  • Press “B” again to return to the presentation.
  • To make the screen go white instead, press “W” on your keyboard. Press “W” again to resume the presentation.

This works in most modern versions of PowerPoint on both Windows and Mac. The benefit of using the hotkeys is that you don’t need to interrupt your presentation to click buttons or menu options – just press “B” or “W” whenever needed.

Insert a Black or White Slide

Another option is to directly insert a completely black or white slide into your PowerPoint presentation:

  1. In PowerPoint, click “New Slide” to add a new slide to your presentation.
  2. Right click on the slide thumbnail and select “Layout”.
  3. Choose the “Blank” layout to insert an empty slide.
  4. With the blank slide selected, go to the “Design” tab and click “Background Styles”.
  5. Select the black or white background option to make the slide completely dark or light.

When you present the slideshow, the black or white slide will display as a blank screen. You can add multiple dark/light slides at transitions or pause points throughout your presentation.

Use Presenter View

If you’re presenting from a laptop while projecting to a larger screen, you can black out the projection without affecting your own display:

  1. Set up Presenter View in PowerPoint. This shows your notes and next slides privately on the laptop while projecting only the current slide.
  2. During the presentation, press “B” on your keyboard. This blacks out only the projected slide, allowing you to view your presenter notes on the laptop.
  3. Press “B” again whenever you’re ready to resume projecting the presentation.

Presenter View gives precise control over blacking out the audience display while retaining a view of your speaker notes and upcoming slides.

Right Click the Slide

Finally, you can black or white out the screen by right clicking on any slide during a presentation:

  1. Right click on the current slide and select “Screen” > “Black Screen” or “White Screen”.
  2. The display will change to black/white.
  3. To resume, right click again and choose “Unblack Screen” or “Unwhite Screen”.

This method works if you don’t remember the keyboard shortcuts and need to quickly blank the display.


Blacking or whiting out the screen is an easy way to create impactful pauses and transitions in your PowerPoint presentations. With the built-in hotkeys, slide layout options, Presenter View, and right click menus, you have all the tools needed to instantly blank the display at any point during your slideshow. Experiment with the techniques to find which approach works best for your presentation style and situation.