Here are a few tips to optimize Microsoft PowerPoint presentation as a perfect slide show for the information screens for  shop, office or factory.

 

1. Page layout and screen resolution

First item is to check the layout and size of the display device. The user should have 4:3 monitors and 16:9 or 16:10 and other sizes. This corresponds to the ratio of the number of pixels  in width and height on the monitor. So a 4:3 screen when the user 800 pixels width by 600 pixel height, or 1600 by 1200 has still the same aspect ratio of 4:3. When the user has a 16:9 screen then the screen dimension might be 1920 pixels width by 1080 pixels height or a variation on that. The dimension of the page layout of the presentation must fully match the screen dimensions. Otherwise, the user will get a distorted screen output or black areas left and right, or top and bottom of the screen. And that is not professional at all when the user will see this happening at the shop or factory! Must be avoided at all times.

powerpoint slide show with incorrect resolution or page layout settings on a television screen
To check the resolution of the screen, right click the desktop and choose Screen resolution from the popup menu.
first check the resolution of your screen
Then there the user will see the resolution set for the screen.
verify current screen resolution here
Don’t make the mistake of measuring the screen of the design computer only. The user will run this presentation on a large television screen so make sure that the user will know the dimensions of the display screen. In some events, when using multiple screens, the user should  to design the presentation in 2 different dimensions, one for each aspect ratio. To change the dimensions of the presentation and its slide show open the presentation and go to Design and click the Slide Size button of the Customize group.
change dimensions of your presentation
To change the dimensions of the presentation and its slide show open the presentation and go to Design and click the Slide Size button of the Customize group.
choose 4:3 or 16:9 format
When the monitor is not just 4:3 or 16:9 then choose for a custom layout.
or set a custom slide page format here
Here the user can select a custom layout from the list or set  own specify width and height. Also important and a nice option is to rotate the screen. In that case pick the correct option as portrait or landscape. And close OK to close.

2. Advancing

The user can advance slides manually and automatically. Most of the times manual advancing is used in a typical business presentation but for the information screens there is no manual interaction, there is no one telling a story and when the story of a given slide is done, then no one will click the slide to go to the next slide. Therefore, the user can advance slides only automatically.  So look at the content of a slide and try to read all the information slowly as if it was for the first time.  Track the time needed for this and apply an automatic advancing after this number of seconds. Click Transitions in the PowerPoint menu and at the group Advance Slide, deselect the On Mouse Click option and check the After option and set the time needed to read all the information of the current slide.

set each slide to advance automatically in the slide show
Most of the times the exact same read time is used for all slides to get a steady flow. Set the new time and click the Apply To All button.
apply to all slides automatically by pressing this button

3. Kiosk mode

For the show type there are 3 options. We advise to choose the kiosk mode because that option includes a few advantages we need.

set your slide show type to kiosk or full screen show type
Very important is that we get an endless loop on all slides, repeating until we stop the slide show by ESC. Secondly the slide show is not shown in a windows but shown in full on the monitor.

4. End with black slide

As a default setting in PowerPoint, the slide show was ended with an extra black slide showing the text End of slide show, click to exit.

problem with powerpoint slide show ends with black slide at the end of the slide show
For display purposes the user needs to turn this. Click File, Options. And select Advanced in the left menu. Scroll down to Slide Show and uncheck the option End with black slide.
here is how to turn of the end with black slide in the powerpoint settings menu

5. Trust center

To protect the computer links to external resources like images and network locations are blocked by default. When the user opens a presentation a message is shown to warn. When the users run the own slide show on the equipment then the user may want to display external pictures like for example the picture of a news article. Because the user is running the own designed presentation on own dedicated computers, the user will have to bring this protection down. To enable external content in the presentations click File, Options and choose Trust Center in the menu on the left. Then click the Trust Center Settings button.

open trust center options in powerpoint
At the left menu click Trusted Locations and make sure that the option Allow Trusted Locations on my network (not recommended) is selected. The user will feel  that this option is not save but for information screens the user needs to access images on the network or internet. Click OK to save.
here to trust network locations on your network
Back to the left menu. Click Protected View here and uncheck the option to Enable Protected View for files originating from the Internet and also the option Enable Protected View for files location in potentially unsafe locations.
disable protected view for files here

6. Computer auto log on

Normal computers that users work on always requires to log on to the computer first before the user can use a program. There is a way to enable auto logon when the user starts the computer. The user will enter the username and password in the registry and Windows can use that when it boots to the computer. Best to create a new user on the computer with only local rights on this computer and not the full network to prevent logging in by strangers. Also the user should make sure that the computer is watched by personnel and even better, locked away in a VESA mount frame behind the monitor with a secure lock. Or maybe in the user store the computer in a separate room or locker. To enable this just execute the following steps on the computer. Press the Windows key on the keyboard and R. Then type in regedit and click OK. Regedit is an utility to view and maintain the computer registry settings.

start the registry editor like so
Now in the registry, navigate to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon. Double click the DefaultUserName item and type in the name of the dedicated user to run the information screens and then click OK. Repeat the same action for the item DefaultPassword and type in the password of the user.  In the event that this entry does not exist in the registry then add a new item named DefaultPassword and with type REG_SZ. And last step is to enable this auto logon feature by setting the entry AutoAdminLogon to the value of 1. When the entry does not exist then add it with the name AutoAdminLogin of type REG_SZ and set the value to 1. Exit the registry now and all is now set for the next reboot. After the powering on, Windows will start the computer and not ask anymore to log on with username and password. Note that each time that the user update the password of that user, that user can also update the password in the registry.
Update
There is now a little free tool to set this auto logon option. See this article.

7. Disable all notifications

When a Microsoft PowerPoint slide show is running, it needs to have the focus or in other words, it needs to be the primary active application. Whenever the user will switch to another application (dual monitor setup for example) then the slide show stops advancing. So the slide show is paused on the slide that it was on before losing the focus. Another reason to pause a slide show is sometimes when the user get notifications from other programs like an anti-virus tool. To turn off notifications in general for all application, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced in the registry again. Right click in the pane at the right and create a DWORD entry named EnableBalloonTips and set its value to 0. Exit the registry editor (regedit) now to make it effective.

8. Turn off energy savers

Under normal conditions it is wise to turn off the display and computer after a certain time of not using the system. But for information screens nobody is just using the system, they are just looking at the presentation and there is no physical interaction between the computer and the users. So it would not be good to turn off the computer after 20 minutes of idle time. To disable turning off the monitor and computer, right click the Windows key of the keyboard and choose PowerPoint options from the popup menu.

open your power options settings via the start button
Click Change plan settings of the selected plan or select another plan and click then Change plan settings.
change power options plan settings

On the next screen, pick the Never option from the list for both display and computer.  Click Save changes to apply.

turn off option to turn off the display and turn off the computer after some time

9. Automatic slide show starting

And finally, the user wants to start the information screen with the correct PowerPoint presentation as a final step. The computer is now fully set up and optimized to act as a perfect information screen in the tourist center, hotel, restaurant, office, school or factory. At all times the user can inform people with the correct information and notice boards. We have several options to start, distribute and schedule the presentations.

First of all there is ShowPoint. A free tool that starts a PowerPoint presentation as slide show. The user indicates the folder where the presentation should be used from. ShowPoint will then monitor that folder and start the latest presentation for the user. Disadvantage of this solution is that the user cannot schedule the presentation in time.

As an alternative there is MessagePoint that runs a PowerPoint slide show as a screen saver. Advantage is that the user can interrupt the slide show to perform another task on the computer, e.g. entering a booking for the hotel. The disadvantage here is that the remark that the user cannot schedule the content. It plays back 1 presentation only.

The ultimate solution is iPoint where the user can create a playlist with one or multiple presentations, combined with optional pictures and video files, and news tickers and where have full control of what is played back on the display from another administrator computer.The user see when a computer is running or not by looking at the live thumbnails of what is actually displayed on the screen. The user should have a calendar to fully plan and control when a playlist is scheduled.

10. Dynamic PowerPoint content

Optionally, the user can display news, weather information, a running clock and whatever database or Excel information that the user wants to display with our other software solutions like DataPoint and Dynamic ELEMENTS.

Adding dynamic content to your PowerPoint slideshows, brings much more appreciation and visibility.

Conclusion

Good luck with the information screens. The user will see that this will bring real life in the communication and soon the user will get compliments and people will suggest to add more information to the screens. Do you have a question or remark? Don’t forget to contact us.

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