PowerPoint presentations in a window not full screen

PowerPoint presentations don’t have to be full-screen, that’s the default and normal way to show a deck, but a window option is also there.  A windowed presentation lets you display the slides in other software like virtual cameras or desktop capture.

Go to Slide Show | Setup Slide show and choose ‘Browsed by an individual (window)’.

The options are the same in PowerPoint for Windows or Mac.

Start the slide show (Slide Show | From Beginning or From Current Slide) as usual except now it appears in a resizable window.

Windowed presentation controls

There are back and forward slide buttons on the bottom status bar (see above).

Click on the icon between those two buttons to see some more options.

The same options appear if you right-click in the presentation while windowed.

  • Next / Previous
  • Go to Slide – choose a slide from the flyout list.
  • Go to Section – for decks in Sections
  • Zoom In / Zoom Out
  • Print Preview and Print
  • Copy Slide
  • Edit Slides
  • Full Screen
  • End Show

It would be really nice if Presenter View could appear in a second window – but alas it’s not an option. That would let the use control the presentation properly while the slides appear in another window (which could be visible via a third-party tool).

Switching Full Screen and window slide show

Starting from a windowed presentation means you can switch between Full Screen and the window presentation without showing the entire PowerPoint menus etc.  It’s a little neater and more professional.

Go to Full Screen from the menu option.

In Full Screen mode press Escape to return to the windowed presentation.

Why use a windowed PowerPoint presentation?

Having the slides in a resizable window gives you options not available when the deck is taking up the whole screen.

Perhaps you’re demonstrating some software?  Have the presentation in one window and the software in another? See A better Side-by-Side document view for Windows and Mac to see how to use windows controls in Windows or Split View on a Mac.

A windowed presentation can be selected as an input option for a virtual camera or other service which lets you choose to display a selected running program.  Full screen PowerPoint can’t be selected but the same slide can be chosen from a windowed presentation.

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