In Windows it is possible to switch between and work with open applications when PowerPoint is open in presenter view. In this mode, the audience sees only the PowerPoint presentation, while you use the other applications.

So the presenter is viewing the presentation via the MacBook and the audience sees it on a projector.

This does not seem possible on the Mac. Does anyone know how this can be achieved?

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    Is this on a multiple monitor setup? I do not recall any instances of not seeing when the presenter switches to other applications when also using PowerPoint (in Windows and Mac). The only thing that would make this possible (and that I have seen) is if you had multiple monitors setup as an extended desktop. – Christian Correa Oct 3 '11 at 20:31
  • @ChristianCorrea - try that as an answer? (I'd upvote.) I was about to say the same thing; system prefs, hardware, displays and turn off mirroring. – DanBeale Oct 3 '11 at 22:01
  • @ChristianCorrea, one monitor for the presenter (on MacBook) plus projector for audience. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Oct 4 '11 at 4:19
  • I too am having the same problem. With my PC laptop I can run multiple programs at the same time and view different ones while my students only see my powerpoint program. I started to switch to using a macbook pro and quickly went back to using my windows laptop because of this. There is no way to have powerpoint work on a mac like it does on a PC. This really stinks and it made me move away from going to a macbook. – user48512 May 1 '13 at 16:17

I am assuming multiple display setup in extended mode (not mirrored). I had this problem as well.

I found that in PowerPoint Mac 2011:

  • go to "Slide Show" tab in the ribbon.
  • Click "Set Up Show" button.
  • Change radio button for "Show type" to "Browsed by an individual (window)".

This will put the presentation into a window, which you can maximize on the presenting screen (for me the 2nd display hooked up). Yes you get the title bar, but otherwise it's effectively full screen. On the primary display (which is still my laptop screen), I can move to different applications without affecting the windowed presentation screen.

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Per @DanBeale's suggestion: The way I have seen a presenter switch to an application away from PowerPoint without being displayed on the presentation video output is to do it on a separate screen when you extend your desktop via a projector. This is the same behavior you see on a MacBook when you extend your desktop via an external monitor.

In other words, I do not think that what you are looking for is a PowerPoint feature per se. This behavior should be similar in Windows as well.

For example: Whenever I attach my MacBook to an external video source, say a Vizio television, I typically end up using Apple's mini-DVI to VGA adapter. Using the MacBook's video output port brings up additional options in the Display settings in System Preferences. If I choose to extend my desktop rather than mirror it, then I can use the Vizio television to display anything I want (PowerPoint, Keynote, Hulu over Safari, etc). As I do this, the MacBook's own screen remains free for me to use any way I see fit. This screen is not shown via the television.

You can achieve the same results using a projector rather than a television. Hope this helps.

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    When using extended desktops and PowerPoint, presenter mode uses both monitors in full screen, therefore any switch will trigger PowerPoint to close. I have the same issue with doing presentations, and it is a painful experience. Your solution only works if not using the Presenter View, and only having PowerPoint running on the external display, which does not allow you to use Presenter View. – BinaryMisfit Oct 4 '11 at 6:46
  • @Diago is correct, this was not what I'm looking for because I'm specifically using presenter view. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Oct 4 '11 at 18:59

Use Command + Option + D to bring up your apple dock at any time...just be sure you have the applications you want to access on your dock. Suggest before you go into slide show presentation mode that you bring up the doc on whichever monitor the participants won't be seeing and leave it there before launching the slides. Once the slides are showing you can access your other applications without participants seeing on the other monitor * for example, presenters view * via your dock.

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I got it to work by going to the slide show tab and then going to set up slide show and choosing the Browsed by an individual option, this does put the slide show into a window though, but you can then do whatever on the other screen.

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Thanks all. There are still some oddities going om that I chased down. Maybe this would be helpful to others (using MacBook Pro and OS X 10.10.1)

  1. Be sure to have mirror display off in OS via icon bar at top of desktop - monitor picture with triangular stand thingy.

  2. In Powerpoint:

    a. Only have one ppt document moved to the extended monitor

    b. In THAT ppt, go to Setup Show and assure that BROWSED BY AN INDIVIDUAL is set (note that the option screen comes up on primary monitor)

    c. Run slide show, this creates a slide viewer window on the extended desktop

    d. Maximize this window on upper left green maximize circle

    e. Now, can work on primary while secondary has ppt

    f. To advance ppt, move cursor over the projected slide and double click once. Then, will behave as usual once it has focus

    g. NOTE: once you leave the presentation, you need to change view to not be full screen via Ctrl-Command-F (or view Exit Full Sreen)

Hope this helps!

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After tons of research around the web, I found a way to run other applications while running a Keynote presentation. Within Keynote's preferences, be sure the box for "Allow Expose, Dashboard, and others to use the screen." Next, set up Mission Control (formerly known as Spaces) do have your Keynote window on Desktop-1 and your other application's window on Desktop-2. Now hit "Play". At any point during the presentation, press "F" (to pause the slide show); Command-2 (to switch to your alternate application); Command-1 (to switch back to Keynote); and Space Bar (to resume). Your clients will see only one slide for the duration, and will not see anything you are doing on virtual Desktop-2.

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  • Could you raise this to reflect Powerpoint? – bmike Mar 8 '16 at 1:55

If you follow this tutorial it will show you how to mirror the displays which is not what you want. Since you don't want them mirrored then just uncheck the box. I hope this helps.


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  • Thanks, but the issue is that on Windows I can run other applications simultaneously but on a Mac it quits the presentation. I don't think your suggestion helps, please correct me if I'm wrong. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Jan 8 '12 at 19:25
  • It should not quit the presentation it their any way for you to test it on you machine because I do it all the time. I drag my PowerPoint window to the new display and then I press play. It should just play on that external display. – BDGapps Jan 8 '12 at 22:41

E. Lu's solution is the only thing I see that accomplishes what Windows PPT 2010 does out of the box: Allow you to show a PPT slideshow on an external screen while you do something else on your primary (MacBook screen).

In Windows, you can "setup show" to display the slides on whatever screen you like and then when you enter slideshow mode only the screen you have designated is used for the slides while your other screen can be used for whatever you like. Of course when you click Page down to advance the slides, PPT (specifically the PPT slideshow) has to have Windows Focus.

There is an option in PowerPoint preferences -> View that says 'always mirror displays when switching to another view or application' - I found that unchecking that kept the very bizarre behavior of my entire Mac desktop being set to mirrored when I used Command-Tab to switch from PPT while in slideshow (with the obligatory presenter view running).

Anyone know how to advance slides manually when in "Browse at a kiosk (full screen)" mode?

I suggest everyone visit Microsoft's Office for Mac page and provide feedback on this - we need a third "old school" option in the "Settings for two displays" ribbon!!

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You can use presenter view but use CMD-Tab to switch between programs on the Mac.

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