View Options in PowerPoint – A Complete Beginner’s Guide!


There are many different types of presentations view available in PowerPoint including Normal View, Outline View, Presenter View, and Slide Show View to name a few. All these views serve different purposes and it is important to know how to use them appropriately to get the most out of PowerPoint!

In this article, we will talk about what each type of view does in PowerPoint and how to access them so that you can choose the best for your needs! So, let’s get started!

[A Quick Note Before We Begin – for this article, I will be using one of the presentation templates from Envato Elements. With Envato Elements, you get access to thousands of presentation designs with unlimited downloads so you never run out of options again. Plus, you get free previews so you know exactly what you’re getting before buying! It is also very affordable. Check out their pricing here]

1. What are the Different Type of View Options Available in PowerPoint?  

Microsoft PowerPoint is equipped with a variety of Slide View options that can be used for different purposes.

These are the different view options available in PowerPoint –

  1. Normal View
  2. Slide Sorter View
  3. Notes Page View
  4. Reading View
  5. Outline View
  6. Slide Show View
  7. Presenter View
  8. Slide Master View

2. How to Access the Different View Modes in PowerPoint?

To access the different view modes in PowerPoint, you have to click on the ‘View’ tab in the ribbon. The 2-step process is described below.

Step-1: Click on the ‘View’ tab

At first, select the ‘View’ tab, which is the second to last tab in the ribbon section of your PowerPoint Window.

Step-2: Select your preferred ‘View Mode’

Once you have access to the ‘View’ tab, you can select your preferred view mode such as the Outline View, Slide Sorter view, Slide Master view, etc. from the Presentation View section or the Master View section. (as shown in the image in step 1)

3. What is the Purpose of Various View Modes in PowerPoint?

Each view mode in PowerPoint has its own purpose. Let’s go through the purposes of the different slide view options one by one below –

1. Normal View

The ‘Normal View’ option is the first option in the ‘Presentation Views’ section of the ‘View’ tab. It is the most commonly used viewing option and is also the default slide view for PowerPoint.

The slides appear on the left of the PowerPoint window in the ‘Slide Navigation’ bar. Thumbnails of the slide are represented as boxes in the ‘Slide Navigation’ bar with its consecutive serial number to the left of it.

The main function of normal view mode in PowerPoint is to navigate through slides in a vertical grid while allowing you to add, design, or edit the slides while getting a preview of the slides on the left.

2. Slide Sorter View

The ‘Slide Sorter’ option gives you an overview of all the slides in your PowerPoint presentation.

The slides are represented as thumbnails as a grid of boxes arranged side by side. The serial number of the slide is given on the bottom left corner of the slide thumbnail.

This option serves the purpose of viewing the slides together in one window making it easier to rearrange and organize them in a quick fashion.

3. Notes Page View

The ‘Notes Page View’ option gives you the view of each slide and its speaker notes in one page.

In this view, the slides appear at the top and the speaker notes are given on the bottom of the two sections. The serial number of the slide is not shown in this view. You can also edit speaker notes from here.

The main purpose of the notes page view in PowerPoint is to preview what each page will look like before you print the slides with speaker notes.

4. Reading View:

The Reading View option allows you to view your PowerPoint presentation without going into Full Screen mode. All the transitions and animations can be seen in this view. The serial number of the slide is given at the bottom right corner of the window.

It is used to preview the slide and review the slides with full focus. This mode also makes other view options easily accessible, which is not the case in ‘Slide Show’ mode where the presentation is shown in the full screen, and the options are not visible on screen.

The reading mode is actually more useful for word documents, as it allows the reader to focus just on the text. In my opinion, it adds little value to a PowerPoint presentation.

5. Outline View:

The ‘Outline View’ shows you the entire outline of your PowerPoint presentation in the ‘Slide Navigation’ bar.

In this view, there is no thumbnail of the presentation. Instead, there is an outline of all the data present in that slide. The serial number of the slide is at the left followed by a small white box that represents a slide and then the outline of that slide.

You can also create an entire slide in the pane of this view by copy and pasting data from Microsoft Word. However, you will have to design the slide separately once the data has been added to each slide.

6. Slide Show View:

The Slide Show View is the view that your audiences are going to see. This view shows each slide of your PowerPoint presentation in full screen.

All the transitions, animation, and multimedia files in your PowerPoint presentation are played here. Consecutive slides can be accessed using the direction keys on your keyboard or by clicking once on the slide.

7. Presenter View:

This is the view that you as a presenter are going to see while the audience is seeing the ‘Slide Show’ view.

Although you can give a presentation even in the slide show view, but it is always recommend to deliver the presentation using the “Presenter View” mode in PowerPoint as it provides you with additional features and benefits!

This view mode in PowerPoint will split the screen in multiple windows. The window on the left represents the current slide that is being displayed (the one that is visible to your audience).

The window in the top right section indicates the next slide in the queue. Whereas, the notes section displays the notes or key points made by each slide. Both, the notes section as well as the next slides window are only visible to the presenter and not to the audience!

The purpose of the “Presenter View” is to give the presenter all the aids to be prepared for the next slide and highlight the key points to be made on the current slide while delivering the presentation.

8. Slide Master View:

This view gives you a view of all the layouts used on the slides of your PowerPoint presentation.

The ‘Slide Master View’ option allows you to edit all the aspects of the layouts in your presentation such as fonts, background, color, and pretty much everything you can think of.

You can edit all the slide layouts of the presentation. Furthermore, you can also edit the header and footer of the presentation using the “Slide Master View” in PowerPoint.

4. How to Open the Presenter View in PowerPoint?  

There are 2 different ways you can enter into Presenter View in PowerPoint –

  1. Using Slide Show View
  2. Using the short cut key i.e. Alt+F5

If you are using the Office 365 version of PowerPoint, you can actually directly access the “Presenter View” in the View section. Simply click on “View”. Then, click on “Presenter View”

Let’s look at both the methods quickly –

Method 1 – Using the Slide Show View

Step-1: Click on the ‘Slide Show’ button at the bottom right corner of the screen

At first, you have to click on the ‘Slide Show’ button that looks like a projector screen which is located at the bottom right corner of your PowerPoint window. (as indicated in the image above)

Step-2: Right-click and choose “Show Presenter View”

Once you are in the ‘Slide Show’ mode, using your mouse right-click anywhere on the screen. From the menu that appears, choose the “Show Presenter View” option

Method 2 – Using the Keyboard Shortcut

Alternatively, you can press ‘Alt + F5’ on your keyboard and that will immediately open the ‘Presenter View’ mode.

The keyboard shortcut to open the “Presenter View” in PowerPoint on Mac is “Option+Enter” key.

5. How to Change PowerPoint Back to Normal View? 

To change your PowerPoint back to ‘Normal View’ from ‘Slide Show’ mode, ‘Presenter View’ option or the ‘Reading View’ option, all you have to do is simply press the ‘ESC’ button on the keyboard of your computer. This will take you back to Normal View.

If you are using any other view apart from these 3 view modes in PowerPoint, you need to do the following –

If you are in a different viewing option, such as ‘Slide Sorter’ option, or the ‘Reading View’ option then you have to select the ‘Normal View’ option from the ‘View’ tab instead of the ‘Slide Sorter’ option or the different slide view option you are currently on.  

More PowerPoint Related Topics

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  2. How to Give a Presentation on Zoom? A Helpful Resource!
  3. What is a Presentation Clicker? [And How to Use it!]
  4. How to Convert a PowerPoint to PDF? [A Simple Guide!]
  5. PowerPoint vs Google Slides: Which is Better? [ULTIMATE Test!]
  6. How to Change Bullet Style in PowerPoint? A Complete Guide

Credit to Pressahotkey (via Freepik) for the featured image of this article

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