Linking multiple PowerPoint presentations together

When you prepare a PowerPoint presentation, sometimes it happens you need in “incorporate” another one into yours. A few examples that might ring a bell:

  • You have multiple speakers and want to create an agenda that ties all presentations together
  • You want to go through another existing presentations during your presentation and then go back to your flow
  • You need to give the floor to another speaker

For every reasons above, or maybe others I’m not thinking about, you have two options:

  1. Incorporating each presentation into a main one
  2. Linking each presentation to the main one

The first option has three drawbacks: first, all the presentations need to have the same format (if one is 4×3 while all others are 16×9, there will be modifications to the 4×3 one when incorporating); second, your main presentation may be really heavy (imagine five 10MB presentations all together, this makes your presentation 50MB and your email system may not allow to send it); third, if one of the presenters makes a modification to his or her presentation, you will need to reincorporate it within the main one, with all the format issues mentioned. Of course it has one benefit: you have only one presentation in the end.

Linked presentations

I personally prefer linked presentations. It provides the following benefits:

  • Each presentation is independent from the main one, therefore it can be modified until the last minute without putting the main presentation in jeopardy
  • Each presentation can be mailed independently
  • Each presentation can have a different format, background, and still retain those without any risks

The only inconvenience is you will need to link those presentations to the main one and use hyperlinks to move from one to the other. But as you will see, once understood, this is really a piece of cake.

Linking the presentations together

As an example, let’s create an agenda with two speakers and therefore two linked presentations, as shown in the screenshot below.

We will link the two following presentations to the agenda. As you can see, formats are different (by the way, you probably now it’s better to have the same format between presentation for a give conference, however, sometimes, it may not be possible or too late to make amendment, this feature of linked presentation will therefore be really useful).

In the main presentation, you select the first bullet point, right click and chose Hyperlink. In the Insert Hyperlink window, pick the presentation you want, in this case The power of words.pptx.

To be able to make the presentations movable to another machine, you need to use relative addressing, this means you need to delete the folder tree before the file name. This means all presentations will need to be in the same folder. If you forgot to do this, PowerPoint will look for the absolute address, meaning the exact same folder hierarchy. If you use the machine on which you create the main presentation, this won’t be a problem. However, if you use another machine, this can prove to be challenging. So put all the presentations in the same folder and get rid of the absolute addressing by deleting the folder hierarchy in the Address text box. Then click OK.

You will now notice your text has become an hyperlink that will be clickable during presentation. Note that you can create hyperlinks on text as well as on images.

Running the linked presentations

When you are in presentation mode, by moving your mouse over the first title of the agenda, you will notice the mouse pointer changing so you can click on it.

By clicking on the link, the presentation opens. Now, the beauty of this feature is that when the linked presentation ends, you automatically come back to the agenda slide. You can then proceed to the second presentation, then move on to the next slide when the second presentation ends.

With this technique, you can link any document, web page or presentation and keep your presentation slim and powerful.

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