How to Start and Navigate a PowerPoint Slideshow

Getting Started

To start a slideshow in PowerPoint, you have a few options:

  • On the Slide Show tab, click From Beginning or From Current Slide
  • Press F5 to start from the beginning
  • Press Shift + F5 to start from the current slide
  • Press Alt + F5 to start in Presenter View

Once the slideshow begins playing, you can navigate through the slides in several ways:

Navigating with the Mouse

  • Click to move to next slide
  • Right click to see navigation options
  • Scroll wheel to move forward/backward

Navigating with the Keyboard

  • Right Arrow = Next slide
  • Left Arrow = Previous slide
  • Page Down = Next slide
  • Page Up = Previous slide
  • Spacebar = Next slide
  • Shift + Spacebar = Previous slide
  • Home = First slide
  • End = Last slide

Jumping to a Specific Slide

Type the slide number + Enter to jump to that slide instantly.

Presenter View

Presenter View displays speaker notes and other useful tools for presenting:

  • Timer and slide number
  • Next slide preview
  • Speaker notes
  • Pen/highlighter tools

Activate it with Alt + F5 or the checkbox on the Slide Show tab.

Navigating with On-Screen Tools

Laser Pointer

Highlight areas of interest on your slides with the laser pointer:

  • Ctrl + L to turn on/off
  • Left click and drag to point out details

Pen Tools

Draw attention and annotate your slides:

  • Ctrl + P to activate the pen
  • Choose pen type and color
  • Left click and drag to draw
  • Ctrl + A to switch back to arrow


Magnify areas of your slides:

  • Ctrl + Shift + > to zoom in
  • Ctrl + Shift + < to zoom out

Slide Zoom

Zoom in and pan around your current slide:

  • Shift + > to zoom in
  • Click and drag to pan
  • Shift + < to zoom out

Ending the Show

To end the slideshow, use any of the following:

  • Right-click, choose End Show
  • Press Esc key
  • Select End Show in toolbar

Customizing Slide Navigation

Further customize navigation using the Slide Show tab:

  • Rearrange slide order
  • Set up slide transitions
  • Rehearse slide timings
  • Set up custom slide shows
  • Present with dual monitors
  • Add animation schemes

With a few handy shortcuts and tools, you can navigate smoothly through your presentation and deliver with confidence!

Tips for Creating Better Slideshows

Here are some key tips for making great PowerPoint presentations:

Design Principles

  • Choose a simple, clean design theme
  • Use consistent fonts/colors
  • Limit text – focus on visuals
  • Leave plenty of whitespace

Content Tips

  • Keep it simple and concise
  • Use bullet points instead of paragraphs
  • Limit each slide to one key point
  • Use high-quality graphics

Presentation Delivery

  • Practice your presentation
  • Make eye contact with your audience
  • Use a clear, audible voice
  • Time your slides appropriately


With these handy instructions for playing, navigating, and ending a PowerPoint slideshow presentation, you can deliver smooth, professional presentations. Customize your navigation further or follow the design principles for creating even better slide decks.