Presentation – tips and tricks I used for DDD7

Having chatted to Toby Henderson about a few quick keys and shortcuts I used for my DDD7 presentation, ‘Virtualisation for Developers’, I thought it may be useful to collect these tips into a single place.


I created a desktop folder called DDD7 Cleanup and ALL desktop shortcuts were moved here.

I then created shortcuts for my PowerPoint presentation, and for the projects I would be loading into Visual Studio 2008 (much easier than finding the project on the Start Page of Visual Studio).  In previous presentations I have also created shortcuts to text and XML files, and to folders I will need to open.

QuickKeys in Vista

Windows+D will minimise all windows, just like desktop on the Quick Launch taskbar.  However, do it when PowerPoint is in presentation mode and it doesn’t quite work when you select a different program to view (see PowerPoint note below).

As well as desktop shortcuts, think about placing some shortcuts in the Quick Launch toolbar. To run a Quick Launch item you use Windows+<number>.  The first item is Windows+1, the second Windows+2 etc.  I configured VirtualPC as Windows+6, VMware Player as Windows+7 and VirtualBox as Windows+8. That way, I could launch them really quickly, without having to find the icon on the desktop with my mouse.

Windows+Pause will call up the system properties window. This was useful when displaying the o/s version, including 32-bit/64-bit details, within my virtual machines.


When you hit F5 to start the presentation in PowerPoint, another full screen window opens to display the presentation. Although this can be minimised with Windows+D, if you then select a different application for a demo then the PowertPoint full screen window will also reopen and display behind the application being used for a demo.

To pause a presentation, press Escape to end the full screen window and return to the PowerPoint editor.  Run the demo application, and when the demo is complete, return to PowerPoint and use Shfit+F5 to continue the presentation from where you stopped.

Also, even a standard wireless mouse is really useful within PowerPoint.  To move onto the next item, either an animation within the current slide, or to move to the next slide, you just click the left mouse button.  This allows you to walk and talk while still moving the presentation forward.

HP laptop

The HP presentation button on my HP 6910p is really, really useful. When you hit the presentation button a HP utility pops up with the option to go dual screen on the VGA output for presentation. It automatically switches your resolution to 1024 x 768 at the same time as going dual screen.

When you have finished presenting, hit the button again, switch of presentation mode and it automatically switches back to your original resolution.  I’ve used this at four different venues now, and it has worked every time.

Update (thanks to Phil - see feedback)

Links I visited before DDD7 that contain many more great tips for presenting;

Print | posted on Thursday, November 27, 2008 8:25 AM

Comments on this post

# re: Presentation – tips and tricks I used for DDD7

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All good stuff. And it's only now I look at it with fresh eyes that I see my Toshiba Tecra also has a presentation button. Which I've never pressed. D'oh!

I also totally forgot on the day that if I turn my wireless mouse over, I've got a set of Powerpoint controls. Double D'oh! Well, you live and learn, I suppose.

I used Guy's paper ( and ScottHa's blog ( to help me prepare, there's a boatload of good tips there.

Something I might have come up with on my own (or more likely I picked it up somewhere else by osmosis) was numbering my demos, just to help me Alt+TAB to the right instance of Studio.
Something I found when I practiced was the time it takes to spin up the Visual Studio web server from scratch the first time you press Play on a project, so I made sure I ran all my demos up in the speaker lounge before I went down to the room. In the event, I'm very unsure this actually saved me any time, but it made me feel like I'd done something about it and thus helped my confidence a bit!

Left by Phil Pursglove on Nov 27, 2008 11:17 AM

# re: Presentation – tips and tricks I used for DDD7

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Actually, I've seen presentations were speakers have setup a single 'mega' solution containing all the demo projects and they right click and set which project is the startup project.

Although numbering your projects made it quick to swap between them, do you think if you had only had one instance of Visual Studio running it might find it runs a bit quicker as there is less memory swapping occurring?

Mea Culpa for not referencing the Guy Smith-Ferrier and the Hansleman tips and tricks, both of which I read before DDD7 too. I was hoping this list was additive to those great blogs. I don't think the quick keys (Win+1 etc.) and resuming PowerPoint are mentioned in either.


Left by Liam Westley on Nov 27, 2008 12:10 PM

# re: Presentation – tips and tricks I used for DDD7

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My bad. We don't use solutions at work so I didn't think of that. I'll have to give it a go next time!

I like the idea of Quick Keys, but I'm on XP, not Vista (for which I received much grief from Barry! but it's a consequence of using work's laptop) so that's out for me :-(

Left by Phil Pursglove on Nov 27, 2008 1:07 PM

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