‘B’ for Blank Screen, ‘W’ for White Screen
During a presentation, when you are running a slideshow in PowerPoint, you may want to divert the attention of your audience away from the contents of your PowerPoint slide. When you are answering a question on a topic unrelated to a current slide, you may not want the audience to focus on the illustrations or graphs on your slide. Instead, you may want to be the focus of their attention.
- If you press the ‘B’ key or the ‘.’ key during your PowerPoint slideshow, the screen will go blank. This will enable you to redirect your audience’s attention to yourself and your talk. When you are ready to continue, press the ‘B’ key or the ‘.’ key to resume the slideshow.
- Alternately, press the ‘W’ key or the ‘,’ key to display a white screen. Press the ‘W’ key or the ‘,’ key a second time to resume the slideshow.
In general, it is always a good idea to have a blank screen to help get your audience to focus on you when beginning or concluding your presentation, introducing yourself or answering questions. The later versions of Microsoft PowerPoint end with a blank “End of slideshow, click to exit” screen by default.
[Number] + Enter to Transit to a Particular Slide
As with all communication processes, your PowerPoint slides and verbal presentation should consist of a logical flow of ideas and supporting material. Unfortunately, presenters often overlook this necessity.
Presenters habitually transit to a prior slide to show a graph or some data— “As I said in slide four…let me go to slide number four…here it is… .” Alternately, they sometimes transit to a further slide or to a slide in the appendix— “Edward, I am glad you brought that up…in fact, I included a chart in the last slide…let me show it to you now… .”
Moving to a prior slide or a further slide (by using the ‘Page Up’ or ‘Page Down’ keys) can distract the audience. If you must transit to a particular slide, hit the slide number and press ‘Enter.’ Note down the current slide number to use when you want to resume the slideshow. Refer to your handouts or a printout of your slideshow for slide numbers.
- In the PowerPoint slideshow mode, hit the ‘F1’ key to access a list of keyboard shortcuts you can use during slideshows.
- My article from November, ‘You, not Your Slides, are Your Presentation,’ offers tips on engaging your audience during public speaking.