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Updated Oct 20, 2023

How to Create an Auto-Playing PowerPoint Presentation

Self-running presentations work great at conferences and conventions. Here's how to set one up.

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Stella Morrison, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Writer
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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Creating a self-running PowerPoint, as Microsoft calls it, can be a great addition to your company’s booth at conventions or industry-wide conferences. By featuring photos, infographics and key points in a continuous loop, PowerPoint becomes an effective communication tool to inform others about your company, its goals, and your products or services.

Auto-playing presentations are also great for employee training, meetings where the speaker is absent, and reaching remote clients or customers. Microsoft provides easy steps to turn your PowerPoint into an autoplay presentation.

Setting up the presentation

There are several options for creating a PowerPoint presentation automatically. All of these can be accessed under the Slide Show tab.

Slide Show > Set Up Slide Show

There are three options under this menu:

  1. Presented by a speaker: This first option requires the viewer to click through each slide. This is the default setting that most PowerPoint presentations are already in and is the mode with which you’re likely most familiar.
  2. Browsed by an individual: This option will create a slideshow where the viewer cannot control when slides advance. This is an autoplay feature, but the viewer will still have to hit Play to get it started.
  3. Browsed at a kiosk. Once selected, this option will loop the slide show until a viewer presses the escape button.

If you don’t want your viewers to have access to when the slideshow starts and stops, select the third option. The Loop Continuously option underneath will be automatically selected.

Did You Know?Did you know
Experts estimate that there are about 30 million PowerPoint presentations created every day!

Recording slide timing

Before you begin recording your presentation, it’s important to set the slide time using the rehearsal toolbar. This will give you an idea of how long each slide will run before advancing to the next one. It will also allow you to practice your presentation and understand how long the runtime will be. Like setting up the slide show, this window can be accessed via the Slide Show tab.

Slide Show > Rehearse Timings

The recording window allows users to advance to the next slide, pause the presentation, view the current slide’s time, restart the recording for a slide and view the total runtime of the presentation.

After recording the last slide, PowerPoint will ask whether you want to keep the slide timings or not.

Recording your presentation

Once your slide timings are set, you can record your slide show.

Navigate to Slide Show > Record Slide Show to begin your recording. Click End Show and save your file once you are done recording. After saving, your presentation is ready to be sent to clients, customers or played at your convention or conference booth.

Here are some quick tips to check for before recording your presentation:

  1. Before beginning your recording, make sure you adjust the Play Narrations and the Use Timings checkboxes.
  2. If you want all narration and slide transitions included, both boxes should be checked.
  3. To create a silent sequence of slides, make sure the Play Narrations button is deselected.

What is PowerPoint autoplay?

Autoplay allows you to keep a PowerPoint presentation running. In typical PowerPoint presentations, presenters click from slide to slide manually using a clicker or spacebar on a keyboard.

Luckily, PowerPoint autoplay allows users to set up their slides, so they automatically change. That way, they can focus on their presentation without interruptions. There are options to have slides timed to music or voiceovers and make each slide the same length.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway
You can use autoplay in any number of situations where a continuous, unattended loop is called for, such as photos at an event, displaying information at a trade show booth or using the changing slides as a visual cue while rehearsing a timed presentation.

Why is PowerPoint autoplay beneficial?

Autoplay is great for several uses, from delivering announcements throughout a company’s office or a school, to giving speeches and presentations at conventions or work. Presenters can rehearse the timings of the slides and then present without worry. Here are some of the reasons why someone may use PowerPoint’s autoplay features:

  1. Rehearsal. Practicing your presentation involves timing, and autoplay can be a great tool for learning how to fill time or keeping it short. For example, many teachers and professors require presentations to fill a certain amount of time for class projects. While rehearsing timings, users can determine how much time to spend on each slide. This keeps presenters on track during their presentations, even when they want to speed up due to nerves or pressure.
  2. Convention booths and exhibits. Trade shows, conventions and networking events are great for companies and salespeople who want to showcase a variety of products and services. People who walk by can look at the presentation and not have to ask employees for information. In addition, a good PowerPoint presentation with eye-catching visuals and information can attract potential customers and clients, which could turn into sales.
  3. Music videos and tribute presentations. Whether it is a presentation of family vacation photos to the soundtrack of the summer or a lyric video to your favorite song, autoplay allows users to create appealing presentations and videos. These could even be downloaded into MP4 files to share with family and friends.
  4. Replay and loop at events or other occasions. This is great for offices that have a slideshow of information for their clients or patients. They can show a variety of pictures, information about services, and even the company’s latest news and contact information. Because of this, employees can set up the presentation, walk away and know that their announcements are being made public without even saying a word.
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Stella Morrison, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Writer
Stella Morrison is an award-winning small business owner who has founded multiple businesses. She leads operations for two companies, overseeing staffing, financing and day-to-day responsibilities. Her wide range of expertise also includes brand management, marketing and web development. As a thought leader, Morrison provides consultative services to other companies on a diverse group of business topics. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Morrison produced community affairs programming and trained aspiring broadcast journalists in radio communication. She was also a columnist for the Chicago Tribune's TribLocal product and reported for Greater Media Newspapers. Today she also lends her skills to the American Marketing Association.
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