Help! My keyboard, mouse, and/or pointer does not work while in PowerPoint Slideshow view!

In August, I was the instructional designer charged with hosting an 8-hour training event. It went very well, but just when I started the first PowerPoint presentation in slideshow mode, I realized my laser pointer didn’t work (and new batteries didn’t help!). Then I realized my keyboard and mouse were also not responding.

To get around this issue on the day of the training, I started the slideshow using the “Rehearse Timings” button.

Rehearse Timings

Rehearse Timings

This meant having the Rehearsal window open during my welcome presentation. More importantly, I could continue the day without interrupting other modules. Fortunately, only the Welcome presentation was affected, and my SMEs (subject matter experts) were safe.

What Happened?

After some digging, the reason why I could not use my keyboard or mouse while in Slideshow View was due to the Kiosk setting. When a presentation is in kiosk mode, certain keyboard and mouse events are unavailable, and some PowerPoint controls do not work during the slideshow.

How Do I Fix It?

When stuck in kiosk mode, simply use the Escape key to exit the slideshow and return to normal view in PowerPoint. Follow these steps to shut off kiosk mode:

  1. Click the Set Up Slide Show button from the Slide Show ribbon.

    set up show window

    Set Up Slide Show window

  2. In the Show type group, change the setting to “Presented by a speaker (full screen)”. This is considered the best setting for projecting a presentation.
  3. Click OK.
  4. Save your PowerPoint file. (options in Set Up Show are stored in your PowerPoint!)

While you have Set Up Show open, be sure to poke around some of the other available settings… though most of these settings are now available from the ribbon in 2007 and up. Although my problem was very specifically kiosk mode, the Advance slide group settings could also have created a fairly similar issue.

How Did This Happen?

Three words: I did it.

This setting was turned on when I decided to reuse some of my welcome slides for mini-slideshows I use in between modules. I turned on the kiosk mode by accident on both slide decks instead of on the new one. When I realized that it was a problem only in one presentation, I was able to trace back the steps I made to figure out the problem.

It can happen to the best of us. In an effort to reuse and re-purpose things, accidents can and do happen. If I had given someone else this deck with kiosk mode enabled, I could have caused a lot of grief!