Hook up Monitor 2 (or projector) to the VGA port on your laptop (Monitor 2 is the audience monitor or your second monitor at home, if you want to test the setup). Right click your laptop screen and select Properties, which brings up your Display Properties dialog box. Click the Settings tab at the top right, and you’ll see Monitor 1 and 2 icons. Monitor 1 should be your laptop screen, and Monitor 2 your audience display screen.
If you are using a dual screen desktop (where the second screen is a projector) click the “Identify” button if you aren’t sure which is which. Using your mouse, drag the second monitor to whichever side of Monitor 1 you prefer, so that surfing your cursor between the two screens is intuitive. Now check the box in the lower right that reads “Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor.” Click “OK.”
Now you’ve created an extended screen that includes both monitors. If the “Extend my Windows desktop..” option is greyed out, go to the “Display” box and see if you can select your secondary monitor. As soon as you do that, the option will no longer be grey.
If you don’t see your desktop wallpaper on Monitor 2 as well as 1, you may need to restart your computer and try again. Again, make sure Monitor 1 is your notebook (or main desktop screen if you are using a desktop) and Monitor 2 is your secondary display. In the very unlikely case that your main screen identifies as “2”, you will need to click the Advanced button, then the Graphics Media Accelerating Driver tab, then the Graphics Properties button, then click the setting for Extended Desktop and make sure your Primary Device is set to “Notebook” and Secondary Device is set to “Monitor.”
Once you have two monitors on an extended screen, the next step is to set up PowerPoint on your computer so that your slide show will display on two monitors. Open PowerPoint or any PowerPoint file, go to the Slide Show menu or View tab (2007), and drag down to “Set Up Show.” The following Dialog Box will open:
In the Multiple Monitors box, choose display slide show on: “Secondary Monitor” or “Monitor 2 Plug and Play Monitor.” (it means we just show the Slide Show just on the second monitor which is the Viewer, while our first monitor/laptop will remain show the note and slide or what ever we want to see). Click OK. You can leave this setting as a default, and whenever your laptop is hooked up to a secondary monitor, it will use that as the display. When it isn’t, it will simply use your laptop screen as the display.
From this point forward (until you change this preference back on this laptop) whenever you select View > Slide Show (or click on the tiny Slide Show icon in the lower left corner of your PowerPoint window, just above the “Draw” feature) your slide show will appear on Monitor 2, and you can display whatever you want on Monitor 1. In your taskbar, you’ll see two PowerPoint tabs (or two icons under one tab). The first, “Microsoft PowerPoint,” drives your laptop display of PowerPoint. The second, “PowerPoint Slide Show,” drives your Monitor 2 display of the Slide Show. Your mouse cursor is now able to float between two screens, your laptop (Monitor 1) and your audience display (Monitor 2).
Now comes the fun part!
When you set up PowerPoint to display in the View > Normal mode, and ONLY in this view, whenever you are driving the Slide Show (your cursor is clicked on Monitor 2, or on the “PowerPoint Slide Show” tab), your laptop view will stay synchronized with what you see on the screen.
You can now finally have readable onscreen digital notes to go with each of your slides in your presentations!
Note that this synchronization won’t work in the “Notes Page” view, which would have been a nice option for folks with small primary/laptop monitors. It works ONLY in the “Normal” view. Furthermore, “Normal” view on the laptop may also need to be in full screen display mode (click the two little overlapping boxes next to the Close Box (“X”) in the upper right corner of your PowerPoint window on your laptop).
Also, note that you can easily mess this synchronization up during your presentation so you need to able to recognize and guard against that during an important talk.
PowerPoint will keep both your laptop and screen slides will remain synchronized only if you remain in PowerPoint Slide Show mode during your presentation. If you accidentally move your cursor back to your laptop / primary monitor display at any point during your presentation and click anywhere, or alternatively, if you click on the “Microsoft PowerPoint” tab in the taskbar, your slides and notes will continue to advance in Normal view on your main screen/laptop screen, BUT your Monitor 2 slides (audience slides) will stay frozen at the point where you clicked away. Depending on your content, speaking style, and audience awareness, it could be quite a while before you discover the problem.
Once you catch your mistake, you’ll need to surf your cursor back to Monitor 2 and click on it anywhere OR click on the “PowerPoint Slide Show” tab in your taskbar. At this point your laptop slides will resynch with Monitor 2’s (audience) slides, which will now display the next slide after the one previously displayed on Monitor 2. This is probably a safety feature, as it keeps the audience from skipping any slides. But it can be embarassing to talk for several minutes, with your slides advancing on your laptop but frozen on the audience monitor, then discover you’ve lost synch and have to backtrack. It might even blow your presentation if your timing is tight.
You can prevent this from happening by always being very conscious of what you do with your mouse, but if you want one easy way to stay out of trouble, once you have your presentation set up, just don’t touch your mouse or touchpad at all during your talk.
Advance or reverse your slides using only the arrow keys on your laptop, or better yet, advance with a wireless clicker and laser pointer. The wireless clicker will free you from having to touch your computer at all, let you point at things on the screen with your laser, and free you to walk around the room and among your audience whenever you have slides that don’t have notes you need to look at.