Quick PowerPoint Handouts

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There are many ways to make a paper/PDF version of a PowerPoint slide deck, this is the quick ‘only a few clicks’ option.

There are other choices that we’ll cover in upcoming articles.  PowerPoint has some ‘Handouts’ features but they aren’t all in the same place and some aren’t even called ‘Handouts’!

Why handouts?

It’s handy to be able to give your audience members a copy of the slides to follow along with and write notes on.   Or have a printout yourself in case the slide deck stops working.

Quick Handout

To create a quick handout, simply go to File | Print, select your printer and which slides you want to print.

One slide, two, three or more on a page

The second option under Settings is where you select the layout of your handouts.

Choose one of the options under the Handouts section of the dropdown according to how many slides you want to appear on each page.

If you pick the 3 Slides option, the handout will have lined sections for writing notes next to each slide on the printout.

Quick Handout options

On the pull-down list of Handout choices there are some options available:

Print Slide Numbers on Handouts (Office 365 for Windows only) adds tiny slide numbers below each slide image.

Frame Slides  – adds a simple black frame or border around each slide image

Scale to Fit Paper – means you don’t need to worry about paper sizes, PowerPoint will adjust the handouts to suit the selected paper.

High Quality – selects any high quality print option available on the printer.  HQ options mean a slower print process which uses more ink.  It’s normally not needed.

Print Comments include any comments with the slides.

Print Ink include any digital ink on the slides.

Portrait or Landscape

Once you have selected one of the Handouts options, the dropdown to select page orientation will become available, so you can choose whether you want a horizontal (landscape) or vertical (portrait) grid.

The 3 Slides format on a landscape page, the lined notes areas will appear beneath each slide, rather than next to them.

There are other common printing options whether you want the sheets printed out collated or not, whether you want color or grayscale etc.

Edit Header & Footer

Lastly, click the Edit Header & Footer link at the bottom to edit what appears at the top and bottom of each page.

Date and time to include this information in the top right-hand corner of each sheet. You can also choose whether to automatically print the current date and time, or a fixed date. If you choose to update the date automatically, you can click the dropdown to choose what format you want to use. If you choose the fixed option, it is actually just a free text field, so you can enter any format (or indeed any other text) that you want.

Page number box to insert page numbers in the bottom right-hand corner.

Header and/or Footer  and enter the text that you want to appear at the top and/or bottom of each page. This text will appear on the top left / top right of each page.

This article has described the quickest and easiest way to produce handouts. This prints the slides only and gives you a few basic options for formatting the handout. For more advanced formatting options, you can use PowerPoint Handout Master and there’s other options we’ll be looking at soon.

Master PowerPoint Handouts, make printouts look better

New PowerPoint handout feature isn’t new at all

PowerPoint Handouts – making and printing


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