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Linking PowerPoint Presentations Together Seamlessly

This tutorial guides you through how to link different presentations together. It may be used to work around some of the limitations of PowerPoint®. It's great for:

linking tutorial
  • Mixing presentations that use different templates / styles without all the slides getting badly mis-formatted
  • Displaying several presentations in what appears to be one show
  • Keeping all the different powerpoint files separate and at a manageable size
  • Avoiding the annoying black screens in between presentations like you get with the list (.LST) method using the powerpoint viewer
  • The LOOPING tutorial explains how to loop certain presentations but not all of them!
  • It doesn't require you to click on any hyperlinked buttons to call up any of the presentations!
  • FREE Downloadable files available at the end to see how it's done
  • This is THE original powerpoint linking tutorial - often imitated but never bettered
  • Download the printable pdf of this ppt linking tutorialpdf file of this powerpoint tutorial

Theory:

This technique works by having what we will call a show presentation. The show presentation effectively calls up all the other linked presentations and then displays them. The trick is to have a common slide that is identical on all the presentations. The common slide must be the very first and last slide of all the linked presentations. The linked presentations can use any template, it simply doesn't matter. When you display the show presentation, powerpoint will display the common slide (from the show presentation), when it has displayed the common slide, it will then load up the next linked presentation and display it automatically, again it will show the common slide. This is how it makes it seamless. You don't have to click any buttons on the screen. You don't have to stop the presentation and load up the next one. You don't have to toggle between presentations. Sounds complicated? Then follow this step by step powerpoint tutorial:

Step by Step Tutorial:

1 For this tutorial we will create a directory / folder on our computer called
C:\Tutorials\Linking tutorials linking
2 Put all your presentations, that you want to link together, in this directory. For this tutorial we will just have two presentations that we will link to, and our show presentation.
powerpoint filenames
3 Using powerpoint, save one of your presentations as "Show01.ppt". This is the presentation that will call up all the other presentations.
4 Make a common screen as the first slide in this presentation.
You can delete any other slides, at this point, in this Show01.ppt presentation.
It's important that any background images are actually on this page and not on the "slide master".

example common page - Annual Sales Meeting
It's also important that this slide is using the layout called "blank", as this stops powerpoint from re-formatting your common slide when you paste it into other presentations.
To apply the blank layout do this
Format menu > Slide Layout > Content Layouts > Blank > Apply to select slides
choose the blank layout
5 Now for the clever stuff!
Choose the Insert Menu,
insert menu - object

Click on Object and the following will appear

change from create new...
6 Click on Create from file and the following will appear
click create from file
7 Click on the "Browse" button and navigate to your first presentation that you want displayed when you run the show.
8 Click on your first presentation (in this case Linked01.ppt) and click OK.
browse for your first presentation
9 Click on "Link" and you should see the following
tick the link box
Note: The option to "link" is not available on the mac version of powerpoint. However, it is still possible to chain presentations together.
10 Click on "Display as icon" and then click the "OK" button
tick display as icon
11 The following powerpoint icon will appear in the middle of your current slide
here the icon for powerpoint 97
12 Click and drag the icon off to the edge of your slide area. You may have to zoom out (view menu > zoom) to see the blank area off the current page.
drag the icon off the slide area
13 Add a note to yourself (or anyone else know may use this presentation), just use a regular textbox. Again position it off the edge of the screen, just above the powerpoint icon. For example:
add some notes for yourself
14 You've successfully linked a presentation into your show presentation.
Now to tell powerpoint to display the linked presentation automatically.
Right click the informative textbox and select "Custom Animation"
custom animation task pane
The powerpoint custom animation task pane will appear
powerpoint animation window
15 Click on the "Add Effect" button, make the "Entrance" effect set to "Box".
play = show
16 Click on the "Start" drop down, change the "On Click" to "With Previous".
set the start to with previous
17 Right click the ppt icon, we added earlier, and select "Custom Animation"
custom animation task pane
18 Click on the "Add Effect" button, make the "Entrance" effect set to "Appear".
play = show
19 Click on the "Add Effect" button again, change the "Object actions" to "Show". This tells powerpoint to show the presentation
play = show
20 You should have 3 entries in the custom animation timeline. Select the 2nd entry (the green star - object 6 in our case) then click on the "Start" drop down, change the "On Click" to "After Previous".
set the start to after previous
21 Select the 3rd entry (the two gears - object 6) then click on the "Start" drop down, change the "On Click" to "With Previous". This tells powerpoint to automatically open and show your linked presentation without any user intervention.
set the start to with previous
22 To link in the rest of your presentations. Copy this slide by choosing the "Insert" menu, and select "Duplicate Slide". Delete the powerpoint icon at the edge of the screen. Then Repeat steps 5-21
23 For each linked powerpoint presentation you must add the "common" slide as the first and last slide. So powerpoint will display the same slide when it jumps from each linked presentation and back to the "show01.ppt" presentation.

common slide on the first and last slide
24 Save It

That's it!

Linking Tips

To display the actual show, all you need to do is load the file called "show01.ppt" and display it. Please note when you load the presentation powerpoint will display "this presentation contains links to other files - Do you want to update them"...Always choose "Update Links" to this question. Powerpoint will do the rest.

Just use the mouse button or the right cursor key to move forward through the presentation. Remember that to move from a linked presentation to the next presentation you will have to click 3 times for powerpoint to display the next presentation.

The first click will move back to the "show01.ppt" presentation
The second click will move to the next slide in "show01.ppt", powerpoint will then automatically load the next presentation. So you may want to wait half a second before pressing for the 3rd click.
The third click will move from the "common" slide in the linked presentation to the first real slide.

If your "common" slide has animations, that's OK, but the 1st slide in any linked presentations should be a 'static' version.

If you have any housekeeping slides, it makes sense to put them in the show presentation.

If the running order of the speakers gets changed at the very last minute, all your need to do, is move the linking slides in the Show presentation using the slide sorter, which takes all of 2 seconds.

If a particular presenter cuts short their presentation, pressing the Home or Esc key will make powerpoint go to the last slide in their presentation, which if you've followed the tutorial, will be the Common slide. So you can seamless quickly finish a presentation and the audience will never know the presenter forgot their last few slides

One last tip.... never set a link from a linked presentation back to the linking presentation, instead set the action to "End show". Otherwise you will have more than 2 presentations open at the same time, and that's very bad!

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The following assumptions were made for this tutorial:

  • You are using powerpoint 2002 (aka XP) or above. Powerpoint versions 97 2000 linking tutorial
  • All your presentations should have the page size set to "on-screen".
  • You have your presentations already made.
  • You can put your presentations in any folder you like, but to be on the safe side it's best if you replicate the directory structure on any computer you transfer the presentations to.
  • You can use filenames longer than the 8.3 convention

To download the files used in this tutorial right click the image below, then choose "Save target as" (IE), or "Save Link As" (Netscape).

Right click here to download the tutorial files
  • The file downloaded is a Zipped file which will need unzipping.
  • It contains all three files used in this tutorial. Filesize 0.4mb
  • It's important that you place the unzipped files in C:\Tutorials\Linking as this is where powerpoint will be looking for the files.
Have Fun!
Please Note: Although we have made every effort to check the files against viruses at all stages of production. It is always wise to run a virus checker on any software before running it. By Default! cannot accept responsibility for any loss, disruption or damage to your data or computer system which may occur while using either either the CD-Rom or downloaded files. It is assumed that by downloading the files you accept these conditions. Otherwise do not use the awesome backgrounds for powerpoint.

We hope you liked this tutorial. As well as making such great tutorials we also design and sell powerpoint backgrounds at http://www.awesomebackgrounds.com

You can order and download, within minutes, individual sets of 10 backgrounds, or if you prefer buy everything we make on 8 CD-ROMs. See the new awesome backgrounds for powerpoint

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