How to View Notes in PowerPoint While Presenting

Giving presentations can be nerve-wracking. Even if you know your content inside and out, it’s easy to get flustered when all eyes are on you. Having speaker notes in PowerPoint can be a lifesaver to jog your memory or keep you on track.

The good news is PowerPoint makes it easy to add notes to your slides. The even better news is that you can view those notes privately while presenting so the audience only sees your slides.

Here is a step-by-step guide to adding speaker notes in PowerPoint and viewing them during your presentation.

Step 1: Add Notes to Your Slides

The first thing you need to do is add notes to the slides you want to reference during your presentation.

Here’s how:

  1. Open your PowerPoint presentation and select Normal View.
  2. Click on the slide thumbnail where you want to add notes. The notes pane will open underneath.
  3. Click where it says “Click to add notes” and type your notes.

You can add quite a bit of text in the notes pane. It will automatically wrap and include scroll bars if needed.

Pro Tip: Don’t write full sentences in your notes. Use short phrases or bullet points as memory joggers instead.

Step 2: Start Your Presentation in Presenter View

Once your notes are added, it’s go time! Starting your presentation in Presenter View allows you to view your speaker notes privately on your computer screen. The audience will only see the slides on the projected screen.

Here’s how to enable Presenter View:

  1. Select the Slide Show tab.
  2. Check the box for Use Presenter View.
  3. Click From Beginning or press F5 to start the slideshow.

A Presenter View panel will open on your computer screen. You’ll see your current slide, a preview of the next slide, a timer, and your speaker notes.

Step 3: View Notes While Presenting

Now that you’re in Presenter View presenting your slides, your notes will be readily available to you.

Here’s how to view them:

  • Click the Notes button on the bottom left of the Presenter View panel. Your notes will pop up in a separate panel.
  • Scroll through your notes using the up and down arrows or by dragging the scrollbar.
  • Click the Notes button again to minimize the notes pane.

Your notes will stay hidden from the audience’s view on the presentation screen.

Pro Tip: Make sure your notes text size is large enough to read quickly. Use the plus and minus buttons in the bottom left corner of the notes pane to adjust text size.

Step 4: Use Other Presenter View Tools

In addition to speaker notes, Presenter View gives you other useful presentation tools:

  • Laser pointer – Click the pen icon then choose the laser pointer. Click and drag it on your slide to point things out to your audience.
  • Highlighter – Select the pen icon then choose the highlighter. Click and drag it on your slide to highlight important points.
  • Slide thumbnails – Click the thumbnail icon to see all your slides in one view. Click a slide to jump directly to it.
  • Screen blackout – Select the screen icon to temporarily black out the presentation screen. This shifts focus back to you as the presenter when needed.
  • Zoom – Magnify parts of your slide using the magnifying glass icon. Click and drag to move around the zoomed area.
  • Slideshow controls – Use the onscreen controls to jump between slides, pause the timer, end show, etc.

Step 5: Swap Displays (Optional)

If you connect a second monitor, you can choose which screen shows your speaker notes in Presenter View and which one projects only the slides to your audience.

Here’s how to swap the displays:

  1. Open Display Settings on your computer.
  2. Select the monitor icon representing the display you want Presenter View to appear on.
  3. Check the box for Make this my main display.
  4. Return to PowerPoint. Presenter View will now appear on your selected monitor.

And that’s it! With these simple steps, you can privately view your speaker notes during a PowerPoint presentation. No more fumbling around with printed notes or trying to memorize every word.

Spend less time worrying about what to say, and more time engaging your audience with these public speaking tips. Before you know it, presentations will be a breeze even without those trusty notes as a backup!