How-To Geek

How to Time Your PowerPoint Slides for More Effective Presentations


Delivering a presentation is not just about giving good slides, it is also about making sure that our presentation finishes by the time our audience wants to have their tea break—so practicing how long to speak for each slide is essential for a proper presentation.

Rehearsing our Slides

Before we rehearse, make sure that we select our first slide. Now open the ‘Slide Show’ tab and click the ‘Rehearse Timings’ button.


Powerpoint will start the usual presentation mode with a timer panel. The clock on the panel will start ticking once we enter the presentation mode.


Click on the arrow button to move on the next slide and Microsoft Powerpoint will record each timing as you progress from one slide to the next one. You can also click on the pause button just in case you need to answer the phone or turn off the oven while you’re rehearsing your slides.


You will see a summary on how much time you have spent on each slide at the end of the rehearsal.


Create a Self-Running Presentation

You can even set a self-running power point slides and let it run according to these timing, relieving us from the need to manually navigate the slides. Bear in mind that we can run into a situation where Powerpoint changes the slides before we finish, so make sure that you can deliver each slide based on your rehearsal timing.

Click on the setup slide show button.


Select the ‘Browsed at a kiosk (full screen)’ option to setup a self-running Powerpoint presentation. Press the ‘esc’ key to stop the self-running presentation.


You can re-adjust the presentation timing by recording back from the beginning or from the current slide.


If we’re still not happy with the timing, we can clear all the slides timing and redo our presentation rehearsal.


Delivering a good presentation is not an easy task and requires a lot of practice. There are tons of great things that we can do with Powerpoint to add punch to our presentation, for example:

What other tips do you have for giving an effective presentation?

Zainul spends his time trying to make technology more productive, whether it’s Microsoft Office applications, or learning to use web applications to save time.

  • Published 11/5/10

Comments (7)

  1. Hatryst

    This is a really nice article. But regarding ‘self-running presentations’, failure is always an option !
    I for one, would prefer using a CLICKER for switching between slides… ;)
    Human mind is not at all reliable. Something might go wrong at showtime (and it does) !

  2. Nico

    Amen brother…. :)

  3. Zack

    @Hatryst I agree. A small bluetooth remote would be better. You could put your arms behind your back if you were desperate for the timed approach. Even Steve Jobs uses a remote at the keynotes if I remember correctly…

  4. Hatryst

    @Zack: Steve Jobs is the GURU of presentations… I’ve never seen anyone that skilled. His audience feels interest in the presentation, while a common presenter’s audience goes to sleep within 10 minutes of the presentation :D

  5. asdasd

    pptplex should have been mentioned!

  6. Zainul Franciscus

    @asdasd thank you for the tip. We may cover pptplex in an upcoming article ^___^

  7. Terry

    Thanks! This is perfect for timing a ppt to music. This is just what I needed!

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