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Getting Ready To Present - Page 2 of 5

Read an exclusive book excerpt from Kathy Jacobs on PowerPoint.


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Notes Pages
So, What Do You Do With The Notes?
A Word of Warning
Changing The Look Of Your Notes
Only One Page Per Slide

Continued on Page 3 >


Notes Pages

Kathy Jacobs on PowerPoint Notes pages in PowerPoint allow you to add supplemental materials to the presentation. You type information into the notes area and it travels with the presentation to remind you what to say.

There are two different approaches you can take to slide notes. You can use them as full scripts, with every word and action recorded in the notes area. You can also use them as a place to hold additional information, resources and things you may forget about.

I don't use the script approach. I come close to the script when I develop presentations others are going to present, but I don't like being told what words to say, so I don't like to tell others what to say. However, if the slide is fairly complex, I will give extended hints of what to say and when to click.

When content has to be presented word for word, such as when I am presenting facts and figures, I will put the exact wording in my notes. I may not follow it, but it is there.

Another example is when I am presenting safety-related information. As a volunteer Girl Scout trainer, there are times when what I am training comes straight from one of the Girl Scout publications. This is especially true when training new leaders. I want to be sure what I am telling the leaders matches exactly what they are going to read in the books. This information will be written out so I don't say it wrong.

So, what do my notes pages look like? They generally are short chunks of text giving extra information. I use formatting and codes to tell myself and the other presenters what each little blurb or chunk is for.

If a paragraph is about something I know I tend to forget, I preface the note with the letters REM (for reminder). If it is a reference to more information, I preface it with REF (for reference). If I need to be sure the audience gets a particular point, I bold the note. If I want to verify they understood something, I will put in a question to ask them and italicize it.

One other use for notes pages: If you need to remember to customize the presentation for each audience, the notes area for the title slide is a great spot to record what needs to change. Sometimes, the reminder can be as simple as "Customize customer name, date, location." Other times, the title slide notes page includes questions I need answered before I start the presentation.

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So, What Do You Do With The Notes?

Once finished with the presentation and the notes, I print them out to use during practice runs. I don't use these notes during the actual presentation unless I have not gotten enough practice time.

For others, the best way to use the notes is the multiple monitors set up, which is built into PowerPoint. This allows you to have the notes and slides show on the laptop screen while only the slides show up on the projector or main monitor. (If you need a refresher on setting up the multiple monitors, check out Chapter 3's sections on setting up the show.)

Another use for the notes section is to share information with the audience. If putting together a class, use the notes area to hold questions, quizzes, etc., as well as the extra resource information.

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A Word of Warning

If using PowerPoint 2000 and earlier, it is not a good idea to save the presentation while working in the notes view. This has been known to cause people to lose the notes from their file. The problem doesn't occur in more recent versions of PowerPoint, or if it does, it hasn't been reported.

Instead, when you are done with the notes for a slide, switch to the main view or the slide sorter view and save the presentation from there.

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Changing The Look Of Your Notes

Control the look of the notes pages by making changes to the Notes Master. The default master is laid out as a portrait 8.5" by 11" page. It has an image of the slide at the top and space for notes at the bottom.

The Notes Master has several lines of dummy text to show the current text format and indentation levels for the notes. You can change the look of notes by clicking on the text in the Notes Master and changing the formatting.

In addition to changing the way the text on the notes pages looks, you can also turn on and off the header and footer. To do this, view the Notes Master and do View ' Header and Footer. Click the Notes and Handouts tab and set the elements up as you want them.

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Only One Page Per Slide

You can only have one page of notes per slide if using PowerPoint notes. You cannot have notes pages not attached to slides. If you need extra space within the notes pages, change the size of the picture of the slide, or remove it from the notes page by selecting it and then hitting Delete on the keyboard.

I don't recommend removing the picture of the slide from the notes master. It is a useful tool for telling at a glance which notes go with which slides.

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