Presentation Toolbelt: Office Remote

I love presenting. No wait, I really love presenting.

Sending a message to your audience, convincing them, understanding their needs, comforting them, challenging them, taking them on a journey, making them feel inspired, soothing their souls with insightful bliss, …

But getting your audience to be engaged isn’t all that easy. I take pride in presenting to large groups of people and getting the message across efficiently but also attractively.

I can talk for hours on how to structure a presentation thanks to wonderful insight by Jerry Weissman, and you can take training courses on how to behave during your presentation and how to create great slides, … But in this blog post I want to focus on the presentation time itself and my favorite killer tool for this: Office Remote.

What is Office Remote?

Office Remote is two things: a PC extension for Word and PowerPoint and a mobile app for Android and iOS.

The PC extensions works together with the mobile app to allow the mobile app to control Word and (mainly) PowerPoint on your Desktop system. This is great for presentation time! You can control the slides – so it is a ‘clicker’. But you can also use it to see your notes close by and you can peek at the next slide as well as browse through your slides (privately). Read on for the killer feature!

Plus, it’s elegant and simple. And for a Bluetooth app, it works marvelously well without any hiccups.

How does Office Remote work?

First, you need to connect your PC and your mobile app using Bluetooth. This is a standard procedure that I won’t explain here, but the app does a fair job at helping you through the process.

Next, fire up PowerPoint and enable Office Remote:

Then open your mobile app and select the pc you want to connect to (yes, you can switch between PC’s, but why? 🙂):

Then it connects:

When that succeeds, you see the files that are open for viewing. Note that this includes Word files too, but I’ll focus on PowerPoint files here:

And here comes the magic! Once you tap the filename, your presentation starts on your pc screen and the app switches to interactive mode:

There’s lots to see and do in this screen:

  • You can hide the slide previews
  • You can show a list of all slides and browse through them privately
  • You can see the current slide that is being presented (animations won’t play here)
  • You see a preview of the next slide
  • You can see how long you’ve been presenting already (great for timekeeping!)
  • You can see how many slides are left and how far you’ve come already
  • You can go back and forth between slides, with the “next slide” button significantly larger

As I said before, you can easily go back multiple slides without giving your audience epileptic attacks by just tapping the slide you want to show and not having to navigate all the way over there:

And finally, you can also see your slide notes, pretty handy for reminders of what not to forget or when you can’t remember what to say. So always start by thoroughly preparing your presentation, so you can make use of your brief and informative notes!

The Hidden Gem

I’ve used this app during presentations for years now. And once in a while, people from the audience come to me asking how I did that ‘cool thing’ during my presentation.

That ‘cool thing’ I did, was using the digital laser pointer. PowerPoint supports this when using Presenter Mode on your dual-screen PC.

Office Remote also supports this. Tap and hold anywhere on the current slide area and a laser pointer will appear at that location. You can now easily focus on what matters in your presentation.

Why would I use it?

Well, that’s for you to decide, but here is why I use it:

  • When I present, I don’t want to be tied down to my pc (and neither should you), so a ‘clicker‘ is something I need.
  • Next, I want freedom when I present so that I can walk around. The clicker helps me with this, but seeing my notes with me is also a great asset!
  • And for the ultimate freedom, I don’t have to point to the screen (never do this, it looks a bit weird), I can just use my digital laser pointer built into the app!

All of these feautures help me to keep the audience focused on me, the presenter. Not because I’m narcissistic, but because that’s what a presentation is about. You, telling your story.

Not you talking about what people can see on your PowerPoint.

Where can I get it?

Well, this one is tricky. I used to tell people to get it in the app store, but it seems to have vanished from the Google Play store.

You can sideload the .apk for Anroid using your favorite APK mirror, but I’ve included a link for your convenience.

Android app

Windows PC extension

Give it a go, see how it changes your life 🙂

Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with this app, their creator or Microsoft and cannot be held responsible for any damages or loss incurred by its use.

Written by Sebastiaan Mindreau, Office 365 expert at LoQutus.