Resume Your PowerPoint Show After a Pause

Powerpoint Slide
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Sometimes you'll find that resuming your PowerPoint show after a pause to give your audience a break is a better idea than continuing a long presentation. One common reason is that a member of the audience has asked a question and you'd like to encourage the audience to participate in the answer—or maybe you'd like to research the answer or work on another task while the audience is on break.

Pausing and resuming a PowerPoint slideshow are both easy to do.

Methods to Pause a PowerPoint Slideshow

  1. Press the B key. This pauses the show and displays a black screen, so there are no other distractions on screen. To remember this shortcut, note that "B" stands for "black."
  2. Alternatively, press the W key. This pauses the show and displays a white screen. The "W" stands for "white."
  3. If the slideshow has been set with automatic timings, right-click on the current slide as the show is running and choose Pause from the shortcut menu. This 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 Windows + Tab (or Command + Tab on a Mac) to quickly switch to the other task. Perform the same action to return to your paused presentation.

Tip for Presenters

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

In How to Lose an Audience in 10 Easy Ways, tip number 8 addresses the issue of too many slides.