Tips and tricks: A better way to print out your PowerPoint presentation

I recently found something better than PowerPoint’s usual ‘print Notes Pages’ format for printing out a presentation’s slides and notes together. As far as I can see, however, it seems to be only available in the PC version.

I don’t use PowerPoint often, but did a couple of months ago for my presentation at the 2019 IPEd conference. Because my talk had some visual aspects – showing various website features – I actually wrote it in PowerPoint. That is, I prepared my images and then added the accompanying text in the notes field. Then, of course, I wanted to print out my slides and talking notes so I could refer to my notes while up on the lectern.

The usual way to do this (PowerPoint seems to think) is to print the Notes Pages. This is the only print layout option that includes both the slides and text.

With 30-something slides, I didn’t want to print out over 30 pages. Setting my printer to print, say, two pages to an A4 might give me something I could still read, but would still mean flipping over a lot of pages during the talk.

Luckily I found a better solution: the Create Handouts function.

In my old PC version of PowerPoint (I’m hanging on grimly to Office 2010), I go to File > Save & Send > Create handouts, and then click the Create Handouts button (circled).

In the dialogue box, choose the layout you want in Microsoft Word.

I used the top option (Notes next to slides), which produces a Word document with a three-column table; column 1 has the slide number; column 2 has the slide; column 3 has the notes text. With a bit of tweaking, you can format a nice paper to refer to during your presentation.

This option of printing to Word is also available in PowerPoint 2016 for PC, but seems not to be available in my Office 365 Mac version (or for other Mac PowerPoints).

This was originally published in the Editors Victoria newsletter.

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