PowerPoint 2010′s Built-in Laser Pointer

You might be wondering why we’re giving you this tip if there is a perfectly good laser pointer supplied by DoIT in the classrooms already?

When you use a regular laser pointer in the classroom to point out areas on your slides it is not captured by the Panopto Recorder. We recently surveyed students and one of the most common complaints we received was about not being able to see what instructors were pointing at during the lecture using the laser pointer.

Did you know PowerPoint 2010 comes with a built in laser pointer? Since it happens on the computer’s screen it’s picked up by the Recorder’s Screen Capture component and students will see it when reviewing your BlueCast recordings. Here’s how to use this little hidden feature:

  • Open your PowerPoint presentation in PowerPoint 2010
  • Click the “Slide Show” tab on the Ribbon, then click “Start Slide Show”

  • Press and hold CTRL, click the left mouse button and then move your mouse to make the laser pointer appear. You can now move the mouse around the slide and use the laser pointer to highlight the different areas of your presentation
  • NOTE: If you want your audience to see the laser pointer, but not your mouse pointer, be sure to press and hold CTRL before you move your mouse to keep the mouse pointer hidden.


But what about colors? Laser pointers come in red, green, and blue varieties and so does the built in PowerPoint laser.

To change the pointer’s color:

  • Click the “Slide Show” tab on the Ribbon, then click “Setup Slide Show”
  • In the window that appears click the drop down next to “Laser pointer color:” and select which color you would like to use.

Now you have a built in software equivalent to a 5 mW Laser Pointer! (minus the cool visible beams because of Rayleigh scattering from air molecules)


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