Handouts (Multiple Slides per Page)





Handouts (Multiple Slides per Page)

In PowerPoint-ese, a handout is a printout designed to accompany your presentation. There are two major differences between printing handouts and printing slides: You can only print slides one per page, but you can print handouts anywhere from one to nine slides per page. Also, when you print handouts (even one slide per page), PowerPoint automatically adds a basic header and footer and leaves good-sized margins for note taking.

Theoretically, your audience can jot down notes on their handouts during your presentation and be left with useful information they can refer to days or weeks afterward. The problem with this theory is that most slides make terrible handoutsfor two reasons:

  • Good slides are brief; good handouts aren't. To be effective, the text on your slides needs to be brief, concise, and compelling. For example, short sentences that either ask questions or make controversial statements (which you, of course, answer or explain during your presentation). The same text on a handout, on the other hand, is only going to confuse the audience a week later.

  • Good slides are colorful; good handouts aren't. Light-colored text on a nice dark background with a couple of tasteful graphics thrown in for good measure looks great onscreen. The same slide printed in black and white isn't going to look good at allin fact, the background won't even print. And it goes without saying that any animated effects, sound clips, and interactive links that you've added to your slides aren't going to translate to printed form.

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Printer Problems

If you've printed a presentation from your computer using an earlier version of PowerPoint, then chances are you won't have any problems printing in PowerPoint 2007. But if this is your first time using PowerPoint 2007, you might run into a couple of snags. Here's what to look for:

  • You're trying to print to the wrong printer. If you've ever had more than one printer hooked up to your computer, PowerPoint may be trying to print to the wrong oneeven one that's no longer hooked up to your computer. To choose the right printer, in the Print dialog box, click the down arrow next to Name and then, from the drop-down menu that appears, choose the right printer. (If you don't see the name of the printer you're trying to print to, see the next point.)

  • PowerPoint doesn't know about your printer. If you've hooked up a new printer recently, PowerPoint might not be aware of it. If you don't see the name of your printer in the Name dropdown box, click Find Printer and follow the instructions that appear.

  • You've set options in your printing software that PowerPoint can't override. Most printers let you set options, such as print quality, that PowerPoint can't override. To see these options, click Properties. (The dialog box that appearsand the printer options you can and can't overridedepend on your printer's particular make and model.)

  • You've set options in the PowerPoint Options dialog box that override the options you set in the Print dialog box. Choosing Office button PowerPoint Options and clicking Advanced lets you set printing options (such as whether you want to print slides or handouts, color or grayscale) that PowerPoint uses to print your presentation no matter what you've set in the Print dialog box.


The best handouts provide detailed, lengthy, or dense background information that supports your slidestestimonials, reports, charts, graphics, and so on. Thus, creating really useful handouts is a lot harder than simply selecting a print option and then clicking Print. You have to double your efforts by creating handout material from scratch, most likely in another program like Microsoft Word. PowerPoint lets you jump-start this process by selecting Office button Publish Create Handouts in Microsoft Office Word. Whether the results are worth the extra effort, only youthe presentercan say.

On the other hand, when you're in a hurry, PowerPoint's quick-and-dirty version of handouts may be better than none at all.


Tip: One use for PowerPoint handouts that's often overlooked is as a practice aid. With multiple-slides-to-a-page handouts in front of you, you can easily practice your presentation on an airplane, on a bus, or even in a staff meetingno laptop necessary.

To print handouts:

  1. Choose Office button Print Print Preview.

    The Print Preview ribbon appears.

  2. In the "Print what" box, choose one of the following: Handouts (1 slide per page), Handouts (2 slides per page), and so on, all the way up to Handouts (9 slides per page).

    A preview of your handout's configuration appears in the Preview area. Figure shows an example.

  3. You can switch the orientation of your handout pages from Landscape to Portrait (or vice versa) by heading to the Print Preview tab and clicking Options Portrait or Options Landscape.

    If you've chosen to print six slides per page or more, then you can tell PowerPoint whether you want it to arrange the slides in horizontal rows or vertical columns. To do so, click Options Printing Order and then choose either Horizontal or Vertical.

  4. You can change any of several other print settings explained beginning in Section 8.1. When you're ready to print, click the Print icon.

    The Print dialog box appears.

    Figure. The good thing about choosing to print three pages per slide is that PowerPoint gives you lines for note taking. (You get extra room on the page with other options, but no lines.) Notice that PowerPoint assumes you want your handouts to include page numbers. You can delete the page numbers by selecting Options Header and Footer, clicking the Slide tab, and turning off the radio button next to Slide number.


  5. Tell PowerPoint how many copies of your handout you want to print, and then click OK.

    The Print dialog box disappears, and PowerPoint sends your presentation to the printer.



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