I’ve been polishing my job talk in preparation for my first interview next week. I’m using PowerPoint in a way that I have wanted to use it for years. I’ll be looking at the “Presenter’s View” – which includes the speaker’s notes – on my own screen while the audience sees only the slides. I always hate it when presenters use PowerPoint slides as their notes, so this is one way that I’m seeking to buck that trend. In general, a thumbs up to Microsoft for providing this feature.
That having been said, I have a couple of complaints. First of all, I’d like to be able to configure the “Presenter’s View” a little bit more to my liking. At the moment, the majority of the screen real estate is devoted to the slides themselves. If I want to see the slides, then I can turn around and look at the screen. I’d like to devote more real estate to the speaker’s notes. Obviously, this is an individual preference; so, why not make it so I can resize the different portions of the screen, just like in the “Normal View” used to compose slides?
Second, I used bullet lists to create outlines of things I want to say for each slide in my Speaker’s Notes. Well, in Presenter’s View, all of my bullets and indentation disappears! Doh! I had to go back in and change all of my bullets to asterisks and do my indentation with spaces. Bolding and italics, which I used to remind myself to emphasize particular words or ideas also disappeared. If you are going to allow fancy formatting in the speakers notes then please carry it over to Presenter’s View. (Later… When talking about equations, I had mentioned specific parameters in my notes – parameters represented by Greek characters. Presenter’s View completely mangled these, too. Sigh.)
Finally, I want to navigate with the keyboard while giving a talk because I find reaching to use the mouse or touchpad to be very cumbersome. Presenter’s View does provide keyboard shortcuts, but I don’t find them very intuitive. You use Page Up and Page Down to scroll the speakers notes and the spacebar or arrow keys to navigate between slides. I’m having trouble keeping these assignments straight, as I have gotten into the habit of pressing Page Down to move between slides while giving presentations, and I’m always trying to use the arrow keys to scroll the notes. I don’t have a solution to offer, but I’m worried about messing this up during my talk.
On an unrelated note, using Microsoft’s equation editor to edit equations drives me absolutely batty. I’ve gotten used to typing in equations using LaTeX; sometimes LaTeX is confusing, but at least I don’t have to use the mouse. The amount of mouse manipulation required to use the equation editor is really annoying. (Or maybe it just has a bunch of keyboard shortcuts that I haven’t learned yet.)
No weighty world issues today. Just some thoughts on PowerPoint…