PowerPoint 2003: Using the Set Timing Feature

PowerPoint 2003 includes a useful feature called “set timing” that allows you to control how long each slide appears during a slideshow presentation. This can be helpful for creating self-running presentations that automatically advance through the slides.

What is Set Timing?

The set timing feature allows you to specify the amount of time that you want each slide to remain on the screen during a slideshow. For example, you may want slide 1 to display for 10 seconds, slide 2 to display for 5 seconds, and so on.

Here are some key things to know about set timing in PowerPoint 2003:

  • It allows you to rehearse timings and record how long you spend on each slide
  • You can manually enter specific timings for each slide
  • The timings can be saved with the presentation file and will play back automatically

How to Use Set Timing

There are a couple of ways to add timings in PowerPoint 2003. Here are the steps for each method:

Rehearse Timings

  1. Select Slide Show > Rehearse Timings
  2. Click through your presentation, advancing slides by clicking the mouse or pressing the right arrow key
  3. PowerPoint will record the timings automatically based on how long you spend on each slide
  4. When finished, select Yes to save the timings

Manually Set Timings

  1. Select the slide(s) you want to set timings for
  2. Go to Slide Show > Slide Transition
  3. Check the box for Automatically After
  4. Enter the number of seconds for each slide to display
  5. Click Apply to All if you want the same timing for all slides

Using Set Timings in a Presentation

Once you’ve set up the timings, there are a couple of options for using them:

  • Present Automatically: Just start the slide show and it will advance through the slides based on the timings
  • Present Manually: Go to Slide Show > Set Up Show and uncheck the Use Timings box. This will allow you to manually control slide advances.


Here are some additional tips for working with set timings:

  • Display slide timings in Slide Sorter view to verify they are set correctly
  • Rehearsing lets you practice and record natural timings for each slide
  • Manually setting timings gives you precise control over each slide change
  • Unchecking Use Timings turns off automated advancements
  • Set timings to 0 seconds if you want slides to advance instantly

Using PowerPoint 2003’s set timing feature can be helpful for unattended presentations at a trade show booth or when you want your slides to automatically cycle through at a specific pace. Just be sure to practice the slide show with timings enabled to ensure the pacing feels right.

Troubleshooting Set Timings

If you run into issues with getting set timings to work properly in PowerPoint 2003, here are some things to check:

  • Verify the total presentation time is correct in Slide Sorter view
  • Make sure Use Timings is checked in Set Up Show
  • Check for transitions after the last slide that add extra time
  • Test on multiple computers to rule out hardware/software conflicts

Re-rehearsing and saving new slide timings can also help resolve issues if they arise.

Additional Tips for PowerPoint Presentations

Here are some other quick PowerPoint tips to help you create great presentations:

  • Use slide templates and themes to quickly apply professional design
  • Organize information in bullet points instead of paragraphs
  • Limit text and focus on visuals – pictures, charts, graphics
  • Use slide notes for additional details to be used when presenting
  • Add multimedia for interest – video, audio, animated effects
  • Check colors, fonts, and slide size/alignment on the projector
  • Use a slide remote to smoothly advance through slides
  • Practice the flow and timing to polish your presentation

With PowerPoint’s easy-to-use tools for adding graphics, timing slides, recording narration, and more – it’s no wonder it’s the standard presentation software for business and education. A well-designed PowerPoint can captivate an audience and effectively communicate your key messages.