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How to Format and Print Handouts of Your Presentation – PowerPoint 2007

Ute Simon, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, provided good advice and guidance in the April 2008 feature article for developing notes and handouts in pre-PowerPoint 2007 versions of PowerPoint. As a continuation of that article, we'll now look at these options for PowerPoint 2007.


It's always best to have a clear idea of how you're going to use the handouts you provide before you begin creating your handout master. Don't just select a handout format and use it for every one of your presentations. Decide on the following:

Will you provide a handout to the audience in advance of the presentation to help prepare them to understand your message(s)?

Will you provide handouts at the presentation for your audience to take notes?

Will you leave a handout with your audience after the presentation to make sure they remember and interpret the slide content correctly?

Each of these handouts would require a different layout.

Points 1 and 3 usually require some interpretive text. Handouts don't provide a place for this text. Therefore, you can create a companion document for your presentation. There is a nice feature in PowerPoint 2007 that enables you to create handouts in Microsoft Word. Open a Microsoft Word document and then – in PowerPoint 2007 – click on the Office Button (big button on the very top left of the PowerPoint 2007 screen), select Publish and select Create Handouts in Microsoft Office Word. PowerPoint 2007 will transfer your slides over to Microsoft Word in the form of a table, where you can add your text. This is a great feature when you want to be sure that you control as much as possible how the audience is interpreting your slides, both before and after your presentation.

Point 2 will need white space on the handout for their notes. You can select a three-slide-per-page layout in the Handout Master (see below) and they will have all the space they will need.

There is a whole ribbon full of options in PowerPoint 2007 for developing handouts. Click on View tab and then select <>Handout Master in the Presentation Views section. This ribbon contains all the formatting choices you will need to develop and design a handout suitable for your purposes. This is also where you can set your layout preference, although you can also set it when you print the handouts.

Notes Pages

This is not a new feature, but there are many more formatting options available in the Notes Master menu for PowerPoint 2007. Click on View tab and then select Notes Master in the Presentation Views section. This ribbon contains all the formatting choices you will need to develop and design your script or presenter notes. Text can receive all the formatting you wish: right-click on your text and the full text-formatting menu will pop up.

Alternatively, you may want to use the Notes feature to develop your handouts. Since there are many more ways to format Notes pages in PowerPoint 2007, you can format these pages so they are suitable as handouts. You'll give up your ability to create notes for yourself, however.

How to print handouts and notes

Printing the handouts and notes is easy. Click on the Office Button menu and select Print. You can also simply key Ctrl-p. Before you click OK on the print menu, make sure you specify what you want to print in the Print what pull-down menu: Slides, Handouts, Notes Pages, Outline View. If you are printing Handouts, you will need to select the number of slide per page you wish to print. Then simply click OK.

Presenter View

You should also be aware of Presenter View in PowerPoint 2007, which has received significant improvements. Microsoft has added adjustable pane sizes, thumbnails for upcoming and previous slides, and zoom control for the notes page. To use this view, you must have two monitors, i.e., your laptop screen and a projection screen that the audience will see. After you set up the two monitors and turn on the multiple monitor support, the new ribbon for Slideshow makes enabling and controlling the use of Presenter View very easy. For precise information about setting up and using Presenter View, click on the help button in PowerPoint 2007 and enter PowerPoint > Deliver, distribute, or publish a presentation. The instructions and explanations are clear and concise.

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It's important to get the most functionality from your tools as possible. Once you understand and can call into action all of the capabilities within PowerPoint 2007, your job as a presenter becomes easier and your impact becomes greater.