Resuming Your PowerPoint Show After a Pause

Pausing and resuming a PowerPoint presentation

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Pausing a presentation stops timers—a useful feature if you need to break unexpectedly in the middle of a timed conversation. PowerPoint supports several methods of pausing and resuming the timings in a live presentation.

Instructions in this article apply to PowerPoint for Microsoft 365, PowerPoint 2019, PowerPoint 2016, PowerPoint 2013, and PowerPoint 2010.

Methods to Pause a PowerPoint Slideshow

Use any of these methods to pause a presentation in progress:

  • Press the B key to pause the show and display a black screen, so there are no other distractions on screen. To remember this shortcut, note that B stands for black.

  • Press the W key to pause the show and displays a white screen. The W stands for white.

  • If the slideshow has been set with automatic timings, right-click the current slide as the show is running and choose Pause from the shortcut menu. This procedure pauses the slideshow with the current slide still on the screen.

Methods to Resume a PowerPoint Slideshow After a Pause

  • Press the B or W key, depending on the key you used to pause the show. This action resumes the slideshow from the last slide shown.

  • If the slideshow has been set with automatic timings, right-click on the current slide and choose Resume from the shortcut menu.

Working on Other Programs During a Pause

To access another presentation or program while your slideshow is paused, press and hold Win+Tab (or Cmd+Tab on a Mac) to quickly switch to the other task. Perform the same action to return to your paused presentation.

A Final Tip for Presenters

If you think the audience might need a break from the slideshow, your presentation might be too long. An effective presentation should maintain the audience's focus throughout. A good presenter puts the message across (in most cases) in 10 or fewer slides.