Secrets of the Speech Night Powerpoint Display

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Guest post by Matthew Jorgensen

Speech night. Celebration evening. Final assembly. Whatever your school calls your night of nights, there is usually a lovely period of time as everyone files in, where the year is laid out in a PowerPoint of smiling children and teachers dressed up as book characters. Hundreds of PowerPoint slides flash up on the screen, some with cool transitions or even stylish filters. However, if anything is going to spoil such a touching moment, it is a cluster of photos that all belong to the same class. If you have a child in Prep B and you are late, you won’t get to see the PowerPoint slides of your child cuddling Nana and Poppy on Grandparents’ Day.

So, if you are the designated person who is making this PowerPoint presentation, how do you shuffle the slides so that the images are randomly shown? Well, this requires a little bit of coding by using a little known feature called macros. Here’s how it is done.

Firstly, get all your images in one master folder. Now is a good time to rotate them so that they are all the right way up. Nothing worse than a rogue landscape that should be a portrait. Everyone in the auditorium has to turn their head to the side, and the Principal head-butts the Chaplain. Awkward.

Open PowerPoint and go up to the tabs and choose ‘Insert’. There is a function that allows you to create a photo album. It’s called … wait for it …. “Photo Album”. Choose New Photo Album and Insert from File/ Disk. Browse to find your photos folder and open it. Pressing Control A (Ctrl + A) will select all the images. Click OK and you will return back to PowerPoint. Then click Create to make the album.

The first slide will be the title slide which you can change or delete. Then you need to do the tech stuff. Click on the View tab and then click on Macros. A Macro window will open. Type ‘Shuffle’ in the Macro Name field and then click create. This will open a Visual Basic window. DON’T PANIC!! You are almost done.

Copy this code*:

Dim i As Integer
Dim myvalue As Integer
Dim islides As Integer
islides = ActivePresentation.Slides.Count
For i = 1 To ActivePresentation.Slides.Count
myvalue = Int((i * Rnd) + 1)
ActiveWindow.ViewType = ppViewSlideSorter
ActivePresentation.Slides(islides – 1).Select

Paste it between ‘Sub shuffle()’ and ‘End Sub’. It should look like this:

Now, locate the green triangle in the menu. It looks like a play button, and means run the macro. You will notice that your PowerPoint will start flashing black rectangles, but this is the slides undertaking the shuffling process and only lasts a few seconds. Run it two or three more times and you will have a shuffled pack of killer slides.

When saving, you will want to keep the slideshow with the macros enabled so that you can use it for next year. However, you will also want to save it as a PowerPoint without the macros as well. Some other hints for these nights is to save your presentation on your desktop as well as a USB (for backup), and have a spare computer in case your computer decides to do 546 updates at 6:45 pm.

Good luck with your presentation. I always have a couple of hundred random slides in my show, and run them at 3 second intervals. I also make sure that there are plenty of embarrassing photos of teachers in there to get some chuckles. I run it 15 minutes before start time so that early audience members have something to do while they wait. A good shortcut to remember is if you want to black the screen during the presentation, press ‘b’. Press ‘b’ again to go back to your PP. In order to have your slideshow run smoothly, go to ‘View / Slide Sorter’ and select all (Ctrl + A). Click ‘Transitions’ and deselect ‘On Mouse Click’ in the ‘Advance Slide’ section. Select ‘After’ and make it 3 seconds.

You are ready to go. Some background music is nice to have as well. For more tips and training for PowerPoint, you can try the Training courses for PowerPoint 2013 guide on the new Microsoft Website.

* I sourced this code from, the home of PPTools.

By Matthew Jorgensen

Matthew is a teacher on the Gold Coast and QSITE Gold Coast Chapter Chair. He is a also Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and Master Trainer.

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