Sometimes you will encounter a projector screen that hangs so low, making the bottom of the slide way below anyone in the room can see. One way to avoid this annoying situation is to leave some space at the bottom of your slides. This works well when you know the room ahead of time. But what if you are visiting a new place? (Hmm… job talks come to mind.)
Turns out there are actually a couple of solutions.
My favorite is to use a rarely used feature of PowerPoint—you can in fact adjust the dimension of the slide show window through some minimal scripting. Here is a demo file as a proof of concept. (If you use Internet Explorer, please save the file and then open it locally. See below.) I can imagine many fancy mechanisms to integrate this into your slides.
Or you can open the PowerPoint file inside Internet Explorer, which will host the slide show inside its client area. (Try drag and drop the file into IE.) You can then resize the IE window as you go.
Or you can hold down the
Alt key and then click that tiny “Slide Show from current slide” icon in the lower left corner. Your slide show will now be run in a windowed mode, similar to how it is being run when you open a PowerPoint file inside IE. You can then adjust this window like any other window.
All of these methods have issues though. If you use the first, you need to cover up the strip of desktop exposed due to a reduced window size. I bring a full-screen-sized black bitmap for this reason. But if you do this right, it does look very nice. The second and third bring unnecessary clutter like toolbars to the projector screen. Plus, you lose the ability to make pen annotations if you happen to be a tablet user.
P.S. I tested this in version 2003 only. I no longer have the older versions.