Microsoft PowerPoint logo

As you may already know, Microsoft PowerPoint offers a robust feature set for creating presentations. But what kind of tools are useful for actually presenting a slideshow? We’ll walk you through several features that can help you engage your audience.

Presenter Coach for Practicing

Before it’s time for your presentation, you can practice with help from PowerPoint itself. Using Presenter Coach, you can receive feedback as you walk through your slideshow.

RELATED: How to Practice Your Presentations with PowerPoint's Presenter Coach

To use Presenter Coach, head to the Slide Show tab and select “Rehearse with Coach.” When your slideshow opens in full screen mode, click “Start Rehearsing” to begin.

Start Rehearsing in PowerPoint

You’ll see feedback in real-time as you speak and move through your presentation. You can also view a rehearsal report after you finish that summarizes your time spent practicing, filler words you use, your pace, and more.

Presenter Coach Rehearsal Report

Plan ahead for your presentation by practicing with this handy built-in tool.

Cameo for a Live Camera Feed

For a personal touch or a way to communicate visually, consider using a live camera feed. With the Cameo feature, you can put your face and voice front and center during your slideshow.

To add the Cameo object, go to the slide, open the Insert tab, and select “Cameo” in the Camera section.

Cameo on the PowerPoint Insert tab

You can then move or resize the object, see a preview using the camera icon, and customize the object using the Camera Format tab that appears when you select it.

Cameo on a slide with the Camera Format tab open

If you add the Cameo element to additional slides, your camera feed continues seamlessly through your presentation.

For complete details on this feature, take a look at our how-to for using a live camera feed in PowerPoint.

RELATED: The Best Webcams of 2023

Subtitles for Showing Spoken Words

You may have audience members viewing your PowerPoint presentation who have a hearing impairment or speak a different dialect. With subtitles, you can display every word you say during a presentation in the language of your choice.

RELATED: How to Set Up and Use Subtitles in Microsoft PowerPoint

To set up the subtitles, go to the Slide Show tab and select the Subtitle Settings drop-down menu. You can then adjust the spoken and subtitle languages, the microphone you want to use, and the placement of the captions.

Subtitle Settings in PowerPoint

You can check the box above the menu to Always Use Subtitles or use the Toggle Subtitles icon (Windows) or Closed Caption button (Mac) to turn them on and off during your presentation.

Subtitle toggle in PowerPoint on Windows

For an excellent way to accommodate your audience during your slideshow, give the subtitles feature a try.

Presenter View for Tools During the Show

When you present your slideshow, you probably want every tool available to you, and PowerPoint has many. To access those tools like a laser pointer or your presenter notes, check out Presenter View.

To use the feature on Windows, go to the Slide Show tab and check the box for Use Presenter View in the Monitors section of the ribbon. Then, start your presentation as normal. On Mac, simply click “Presenter View” on the Slide Show tab.

User Presenter View on the Slide Show tab

To start Presenter View during the slideshow, click the three dots on the bottom left and pick “Show Presenter View.”

Show Presenter View during a presentation

Next, you’ll see a dashboard-like screen with everything you need. On the top left is the current slide, to the right is the next slide, and below that you have your notes.

On the left, you can open additional tools, turn subtitles on or off, black or unblack the show, toggle the camera, and end the show.

Presenter View in PowerPoint

Presenter View puts everything you need at your fingertips during your presentation.

Pen, Highlighter, and Laser Pointer for Visual Emphasis

These may seem like super basic tools, but they can be quite handy while presenting a slideshow. You can use a pen to circle an image or draw an arrow, a highlighter to call out certain text, or a laser pointer to emphasize parts of a slide.

RELATED: Turn Your Mouse into a Laser Pointer in PowerPoint

To access the tools in Presenter View, select the Pen and Laser Pointer Tools icon (pen) below the current slide.

Pen, Highlighter, and Laser Pointer in Presenter View

To access the tools without Presenter View, select the Pen and Laser Pointer Tools icon on the bottom left of the slide.

Pen, Highlighter, and Laser Pointer in Slide Show View

Choose a tool and then use your cursor to control it. For the pen and highlighter, you can also pick a color in the pop-up window.

To “put away” the tool you’re using, access it using the steps above and deselect it.

Zoom for a Closer View

Along with using the tools above for making parts of your presentation stand out, you can take advantage of the Zoom feature. With it, you can zoom in on part of a slide, move around if you like, and then zoom back out.

Note: As of November 2022, this feature is not available in PowerPoint on Mac.

In regular slide show view or Presenter View, select the zoom icon (magnifying glass) on the bottom left.

Zoom button in Presenter View

You’ll then see a rectangle on your screen indicating the zoom area. Move that rectangle to the spot you want to enlarge and click.

Zoom on a PowerPoint slide

You can then drag to move around the slide while it’s zoomed in. Right-click or use your Escape key to zoom back out to the original view.

Speaker Notes for Talking Points

Just like giving a speech with index cards for your talking points, notes in PowerPoint are just as beneficial. You can include information you want to highlight or further details for text or images you use.

RELATED: How to Insert a Check Mark or Checkbox in PowerPoint

To add presenter notes to your slideshow, open the notes panel. Either select “Notes” in the status bar or drag up from the bottom of the slide in the PowerPoint window.

Notes panel in PowerPoint

Then when it’s time to present, use Presenter View to display your notes during the show.

With an update to PowerPoint in 2022, you can also edit your notes while you present. This is a good way to capture additional points you think of while presenting or if an audience question pops up.

Place your cursor in the notes area on the right side and add or remove text. You can also use the buttons at the bottom to increase or decrease the font size.

Notes in Presenter View in PowerPoint

Having your speaker notes with you during a slideshow is a key element in a successful presentation.

When you finish creating your PowerPoint slideshow, prepare to present it by trying out these features ahead of time. Then, incorporate them into your slideshow where it makes sense. Your audience will be glad you did!

Profile Photo for 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 »