How to work with views in Microsoft PowerPoint
PowerPoint’s many views help you prepare for your big presentation. Think of these views as a workflow. You will switch views as you build your presentation, with each view giving you a new perspective on your presentation.
You are probably used to views like normal view, but in this tutorial, you will learn additional ways to work with your presentation, such as Slide Sorter view, shown here:
Marketofy PowerPoint Template, as shown in the PowerPoint Slide Sorter view.
Master PowerPoint Views
These are the most popular views in PowerPoint:
Normal View – The default PowerPoint workspace, which includes thumbnails for each slide and a larger view of one slide in the center.
Outline View – Displays your presentation in a box style, which is great for reviewing content.
Slide Sorter View – Perfect for viewing the order of your slides and rearranging them.
Reading View – An in-window preview of how your presentation will appear, including transitions and animations.
PowerPoint is a great tool for creating presentations. Views let you edit, reorder slides, edit notes, and work efficiently in PowerPoint. Learn how to use PowerPoint views in on this article.
In the remainder of this article, I’ll cover more information about the most important views in PowerPoint for controlling your presentation files and how to get the most out of them. I’ll also touch on additional views that you can also use in PowerPoint.
1. How views change in PowerPoint
If you want to change views, go to the View button on PowerPoint’s ribbon and click on it. Then find the section on the left for Presentation Views. This tutorial shows you what these views are like and how to use them.
Click the Views tab on the PowerPoint ribbon to find the option to change presentation views.
The only button missing from this menu is Slideshow, which is used to start your PowerPoint in full screen presentation form. You can find the icon to enter slideshow view in the bottom right corner or press F5 on your keyboard to start a presentation.
Enter the slideshow view with the icon in the lower right corner of PowerPoint.
The Master Views section (Slide Master, Handout Master, and Notes Master) are used to change the elements of your PowerPoint template – not the presentation itself. This tutorial will focus on the presentation views.
Now that you know how to switch views, let’s learn more about the different PowerPoint views and why you should use them while creating a presentation.
2. Use PowerPoint Normal View
Normal view is usually the default view for works in Microsoft PowerPoint. This is a general, do-it-all view that you are probably used to.
On the left side of PowerPoint’s normal view are thumbnails for each of the slides. You can click to switch between slides and even drag and drop to rearrange them right in the sidebar.
Normal view offers your slides as thumbnails on the left and a large workspace for an individual slide in the center of the app.
Quick tip for using PowerPoint Normal view: P Tilt your mouse cursor over the dividing line between the sidebar and the stage. Your cursor will turn into a double arrow and you can resize the sidebar to resize the slide thumbnails.
Place your mouse pointer on the sidebar divider and drag the panel to increase or decrease the size of thumbnails in the sidebar.
I use normal view as a starting point for my presentations. It is a general view for creating your presentations. The stage area is used for building and styling your slides and you can easily move to another slides from the sidebar.
After spending my time compiling my content, it may be time to rethink the order of the material. That’s where Slide Sorter view comes into play.
3. Use PowerPoint Summary View
The Outline View in PowerPoint shows your presentation in a traditional, easy-to-read outline. This view places your main points in the sidebar.
In Summary view, your main talking points, pulled straight from your slides, are displayed in the sidebar.
When you switch to outline view, the sidebar changes focus in the content of your slides. The sidebar does not show all the text of the slides, only the main points of your presentation. You can even double-click the outline text in the sidebar to update the slide itself.
I like to use Outline View to discuss the main points that my presentation should make. While I’m working in Summary View, I ask myself some important questions, such as:
Are my main ideas clear?
Am I focusing on them and not the details?
The outline view is perfect for this purpose as only your main points are shown in the sidebar.
4. Slide Sorter View in PowerPoint
You’ve nailed the content into normal view, and now it’s time to think about the order in which you present your slides.
Slide Sort View is a useful way to rearrange the slides in your PowerPoint presentation.
Slide Sort View puts all your slides in an easy to view layout and you can drag and drop the thumbnails to rearrange them.
When you switch to slide sort view, all of your slides are displayed as thumbnails on the work area. You can even resize the slides by pulling the zoom slider and view your slides large enough to read the content.
Grab the slider in PowerPoint to change the slide dimensions.
The great thing is that you can drag and drop these thumbnails to reorder your presentation. I am often surprised by how much my presentations benefit from simply rearranging the slides.
There is a presentation principle called BLUF , or “bottom line up front.” In short, start with the most important point in your entire presentation. Your audience may not have the patience or attention span to follow multiple slides to a conclusion
When you switch to slide sorter view, it is a good time to apply the BLUF principle. Make sure the bottom line (the most important facts) is at the beginning of the presentation. When you have done that, bury the heart of the presentation deep into the slides, drag and drop the key slides closer to the front.
5. PowerPoint Page View
Speaker notes are one of my favorite PowerPoint tools. Instead of writing notes on note cards, you can add them to any slide. You can add speaker notes from normal view or more conveniently in Page view.
Best of all, these notes are not visible to your audience while presenting. You can print note pages or they are visible in storytelling view (more on that later).
Notes appear below the slides in the PowerPoint Notes view, and you can double-click the text below the slide to update the notes.
When working with PowerPoint Notes in Pages view, you will see the notes you added to a slide below. You can also double-click in the box and add notes on the fly. This example is what you will see when you print your note lists.
If you want to learn more about the power of speaker notes, check out this 60 second tutorial on how to use them to your advantage:
6. When to use reading view
You’ve nailed the order, content, and speaker notes for your presentation. Now it’s time to see what your audience sees with PowerPoint Reading View.
Reading view is a complete preview of your presentation, including transitions and animations.
Once you enter Reading View, your PowerPoint presentation will take up the entire window. You can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to switch slides. As you progress through the presentation, PowerPoint plays any transitions or animations that you have added to your slides.
Another great use of Reading View: If you are sending your presentation to an audience to view it on their own device, ask them to view it in Reading View. This guarantees that they will see your presentation as you expected, complete with animations and transitions.
Reading View should be your final step in preparing your presentation in PowerPoint. I always go through each slide in my map so it looks exactly as I expect.
To exit reading view, press the escape key on your keyboard. There is one more view worth checking out.
7. Presentation view in PowerPoint
Presentation view is what you will use when sharing your PowerPoint slideshow with an audience. In practice, storytelling view is very similar to what you see in Reading view. Use storytelling view when you’re ready to share.
Presenter view in PowerPoint.
One option worth checking out is “Use Presenter View”, which you can enable in the Slideshow tab. Presenter view is great for dual display options, such as when using an external monitor. Your screen shows a preview of the slide, as well as the speaker notes and the next slide.
Presenter View offers you a different vantage point on your own screen than your audience will see.
Make great presentations (free ebook download)
We have the perfect complement to this tutorial, which will walk you through the entire presentation process. Learn how to write your presentation, design it like a pro, and prepare it for a powerful presentation.
Summarize and keep learning
Think of the different PowerPoint views in this tutorial as different ways to view your presentation. You can assemble your PowerPoint presentation in normal view, rearrange the slides in the slide sorter, view the content in outline view, and then view it in reading view.
PowerPoint sometimes gets a bad rap for being an ineffective tool, but when used correctly it’s great for building visual aids for your presentation. If you want to learn more about PowerPoint, check out the resources below:
Envato Elements has more than 350 templates for PowerPoint available for a flat rate with unlimited download.
The PowerPoint in 60 Seconds series provides a variety of easy-to-learn PowerPoint skills.