PPT: How to Use the Mouse as a Slide Show Pen or Arrow

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When you run an on-screen slide show in PowerPoint, you can use the pointer to write or draw on the screen while the slide show is running.


PowerPoint 7.0

To access the Pointer Options command, run the presentation and click the right mouse button.

To use the insertion point as a pointer, click Arrow.

To use the insertion point as a pen, click Pen.

To change the color of the pen, click Pointer Options, and click Pen Color.

To erase pen marks, click Screen, and click Erase Pen.

PowerPoint 3.x, 4.x

To turn the pointer on or off in all versions during a slide show, press A or the equal sign (=) on the keyboard. These keys toggle the cursor on or off.

To draw or write on a slide in PowerPoint 3.0, turn on the pointer, hold down the mouse button until the pointer becomes a dot, then begin drawing.

To draw or write on a slide in PowerPoint 4.0, click the Freehand Annotation icon (the pencil) in the lower-right corner of the screen, then hold down the mouse button and draw.

The Annotation tool can be turned off permanently by editing the Powerpnt.ini file. Under the Microsoft PowerPoint section, change the line that reads "SlideShowToolBar=1" to "SlideShowToolBar=0" (zero). Save the changes and restart Windows to make the changes take effect.

If you are using ONLY PowerPoint Viewer (Pptview.exe or pptvw16.exe) the annotation continues to appear on a computer if PowerPoint is not installed on that computer. In order to turn off the annotation permanently, you must edit the Powerpnt.ini file as described earlier in this article. In order to have the annotation turned off, you must copy the Powerpnt.ini file to the Windows directory on the computer on which you run PowerPoint viewer.

Drawing Tool Color in PowerPoint 3.x, 4.x

PowerPoint 3.0 and 4.0 enable you to draw on the screen during an on-screen presentation. The line color of the drawings cannot be changed.

The line color is determined by the background color of your slide. For lighter backgrounds, the line color is green. For darker backgrounds, the line color is yellow.

Manual Information

For more information about using the drawing feature during your on-screen presentations (also called the on-screen-annotator), see your PowerPoint manual:
  • "Microsoft PowerPoint User's Guide," version 4.0 (for Windows or Macintosh), page 168
  • "Microsoft PowerPoint Handbook," version 3.0 (for Windows or Macintosh), page 484
  • "Microsoft PowerPoint User's Guide," version 2.0, page 334 (for Windows), page 299 (for Macintosh)


Article ID: 61895 - Last Review: November 16, 2006 - Revision: 2.2
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2.0 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 3.0 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 4.0 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 95 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 3.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 4.0a
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 4.0c
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Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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