Microsoft PowerPoint logo

If you have a lengthy PowerPoint presentation but want to display a subset of slides from it, you can create a Custom Show. This lets you present a mini slideshow on its own or a link to one for specific parts of your presentation.

Picture this: You have a slideshow with 20 slides for the main topic, but with subtopics that include five slides each. Rather than creating a new presentation for each subtopic, use the Custom Show feature to group them. Then, present whichever slideshow you need at the time or a link to each for a particular audience.

Create a Custom Show in PowerPoint

Creating a custom show in PowerPoint is a simple process. Plus, you can arrange the slides in any order you like and edit the custom show when needed.

Open your PowerPoint presentation and select the Slide Show tab. In the Start Slide Show section of the ribbon, click “Custom Slide Show” and then “Custom Shows.”

Click Custom Slide Show, Custom Shows

In the small pop-up window, click “New” to create a custom show.

Click New

Advertisement

Next, you’ll see a Define Custom Show window. Give your new slideshow a name at the top.

Name the Custom Show

On the left, check the boxes for all the slides that you want in the custom show and then click “Add.” This places those slides in the “Slides in Custom Show” box on the right.

Select the slides and click Add

You can then arrange the slides in the order you want using the buttons on the right. Arranging the slides in the custom show doesn’t change the order in which they appear in your regular presentation. To move a slide, select it and click “Up” or “Down.” If you want to remove a slide from the custom show, select it and click “Remove.”

Click Up, Down, or Remove

When you finish setting up the custom show, click “OK.”

This brings you back to the Custom Shows window, where you can create another if you like. Click “Close” when you’re done.

Custom Shows list in PowerPoint

Advertisement

You’ll notice that this is the same spot you can visit to edit, remove, or copy a custom show.

Present a Custom Show

To present a custom show, head back to the Slide Show tab and click “Custom Slide Show.” Choose the one that you want to present from the drop-down list.

Play a Custom Show in PowerPoint

Link to a Custom Show

You can link to a custom show from your larger presentation easily. This is handy if you want to direct certain audience members to a custom show or if you want to create a table of contents for your presentation.

You can create a link to the custom show so that you either click the item or simply hover your cursor over it. You also have the option to play a sound when the custom show starts or to return to the originating slide once the custom show ends.

Select the text, image, or object that you want to serve as the link. Then, go to the Insert tab and click “Action” in the Links section of the ribbon.

RELATED: How to Insert a Picture or Other Object in Microsoft Office

On the Insert tab, click Action

Choose either the Mouse Click or Mouse Over tab, depending on how you want the link to work. Select the “Hyperlink To” option and in the drop-down list, pick “Custom Show.”

Choose Hyperlink To and pick Custom Show

In the tiny window that appears, select the name of the custom show. If you want to return to the slide that led you to the link when the custom show is finished, check the box for “Show and Return.” Click “OK.”

Select the Custom Show

Advertisement

Optionally, you can check “Play Sound” and pick a sound from the drop-down list. You could play something like a dramatic drum roll or round of applause as you transition to the custom show. When you finish, click “OK.”

Check Play Sound and pick a sound

Add a Quick Link to a Custom Show

If you aren’t interested in using mouse over or playing a sound, you can add a quick clickable link instead.

RELATED: How to Link or Embed an Excel Worksheet in a PowerPoint Presentation

Select the text, image, or object that you want to link. Then, go to the Insert tab and click “Link” in the Links section of the ribbon.

On the Insert tab, click Link

In the pop-up window, choose “Place in This Document” on the left. To the right, expand Custom Shows if necessary and select the show that you want to link to. Optionally, check the box for “Show and Return,” and then click “OK.”

Click Place in This Document and pick the Custom Show

You can then give your link a test. Play your presentation, click the link that you created to take you to the custom show, and you should see that alternative presentation.

You don’t have to move or duplicate slides in PowerPoint to set up a mini slideshow. Just create a custom show. And if you want to include a table of contents in your presentation, this feature is ideal.

Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
Read Full Bio »

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support How-To Geek.