I'm working in an internet tech company. So I often have to give presentations where I have to switch between Powerpoint and my browser for a live presentation. Any time I'm switching the audience gets distracted. And often the projector takes several seconds to adjust to the new resolution the notebook is sending, just making the distraction even bigger. To reduce the amount of switching I mostly work with screenshots shown in Powerpoint, a solution that doesn't work for all situations.

I came across two possibilities so far:

  1. Use the Liveweb plugin for Powerpoint. This plugin just works for Windows systems and I'm on a Mac. I could use a Windows notebook for my presentations, but this would be cumbersome.
  2. Get rid of Powerpoint and use an HTML-based presentation solution like reveal.js or deck.js. Thus I could open two browser tabs and easily switch between both of them.

Are there any other solutions for my problem? How are you giving presentations where you have to show live web content?


This question is not about specific software! It's about how to address a problem I often encounter at work. I'm also interested in answers like "Just show the live content and get rid of a presentation program at all" or "Just split your presentation in two parts: first do the Powerpoint show, then the browser-based live presentation".

Update 2:

Of course I've tried to play around with the display settings, but there has never been a setting, that works with any projector and doesn't distort both the browser nor the Powerpoint image. So my experience told me to find a non-technical solution.

closed as off-topic by IDrinkandIKnowThings, Garrison Neely, yochannah, jcmeloni, Jenny D Mar 9 '15 at 11:33

  • This question does not appear to be about the workplace within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about the workplace and other career-related topics – gnat Feb 20 '15 at 11:46
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    This might be on topic on either SuperUser or Software Recomendations. – Dan Neely Feb 20 '15 at 11:54
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    Really? Questions about how to give presentations are off-topic? My question is not about a specific software nor is it about finding better software. Of course, software recommendations may be part of an answer, but the question is about how to address my problem presenting live websites in combination with a typical Powerpoint (or Impress) presentation. – z80crew Feb 20 '15 at 12:20
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    @z80crew - YES, this is off-topic. You're asking for a technical solution to a technical problem. TWP is about navigating the intricacies of today's professional environments. – Wesley Long Feb 20 '15 at 15:39
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    @WesleyLong giving presentations is part of our scope. He's not asking which software to use; he's asking how to address a problem he faces in giving presentations. That software might be part of an answer does not invalidate the question. – Monica Cellio Feb 20 '15 at 17:00

Any time I'm switching the audience gets distracted.

Find a way to keep their attention during this transition. If you stop talking and bury your head in your laptop, the audience will fill that time with something.

If on the other hands, you use that time to ask the audience a question, give them a thought experiment, or find some other way to engage them while you are making your technical transition, you are more likely to keep their attention. This will require practice and may require a change in software or hardware,or even assistance from a team member, but it is primarily a presentation technique.

  • Thank you very much. This is the kind of answers I've been hoping for. – z80crew Feb 20 '15 at 16:40

When I do this I use the browser for my presentation too, so there's no switching between applications (and one less moving part). I haven't used fancy plugins for this so I can't speak to options there; I just write my presentation as one or more HTML pages, possibly organized into multiple tabs. For example, I recently gave a presentation where I needed to be able to show presentation materials, a spec, and a few different types of live content; I lined that all up in tabs before the presentation and all went smoothly.

One caveat, though: plan ahead for live services not working. Networks, DNS, and web sites have a remarkable ability to fail at just the wrong time. If not having access to the live content means you can't do your presentation at all then there's not much you can do, but often a locally-cached copy of the content you would have shown from the web site -- or running your own local web server if you need server-side functionality -- will do the job in a pinch.

  • +1 for recommending a locally cached copy of the presentation material. It has saved me on multiple occasions. – John Oglesby Feb 20 '15 at 17:07

I really like John's answer, there are "old school" techniques you can do to mitigate awkward transitions. I have found that it is best to make the powerpoint merely a background item and to use my own presence as the focus. This is worthwhile not only because it is good practice but it also helps when things don't go as planned-- which is highly likely if you're doing a live demo.

In addition to that if you have an environment which you can control, I would suggest deliberately practicing these transitions in advance with the actual equipment you use in your presentations. Nothing will frazzle your train-of-thought more than fussing with AV/laptops/microphones/cables during a presentation. If you can practice it enough so that it becomes second-nature and you don't have to "problem-solve" on the stage, it will make everything go smoother. Its not just the time you spend, it is also the cognitive load of the fussing that can damage your presentation.

Finally, if the presentation is high-profile it would be worth it to dedicate someone to help you with AV. The most high-quality, high-stakes presentations in conferences always use an AV guy to make everything "just work".

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