Article title plus a simplistic image of two application windows, each with a PowerPoint icon, numbered 1 and 2
Article title plus a simplistic image of two application windows, each with a PowerPoint icon, numbered 1 and 2

Double act: save time with two windows

Does this situation sound familiar? You’re working in a deck, and you need to copy content from one slide to another. Or perhaps you need to check that the content on them is consistent. So you find yourself shuttling up and down between the two slides. And having to remember what was on each. It’s really easy to make a mistake, or to miss something.

There is a better way. Open a second window.

Many people don’t realise that you can have two or more windows open on the same file at the same time. Suddenly you can have both slides open at once. And you can flick between them with a simple keyboard shortcut. Or even look at them side-by-side.

Here’s how to do it on Windows:

In your deck, press CTRL+SHIFT+N. Or on the ribbon it’s View > New Window.
In the new window that opens, find the other slide.
Now you can use ALT+TAB to quickly switch between them. In each window you can have a different slide open.
If you want to look at them at the same time, then use WIN+← to move one window to the left side of the screen, and then pick the other to fill the right. Or you can drag the window to the left edge of the screen. If you have more than one monitor, you can use WIN+SHIFT+← to toggle between monitors.

And how to use multiple windows on a mac

In your PowerPoint deck, on the menu bar click Window > New Window
Use CMD + ` (between the shift and Z keys) to toggle between windows.
If these are the only two PowerPoint windows you have open, then Window > Arrange All will tile them across the screen for you.
If you need to place them manually, hover the mouse over the maximise button in the top-left of the window, and choose Tile Window to Left of Screen, or to the right. Then select the other window to display in the other half from the list shown to you.
Screenshot of macOS tile options

This tip isn’t just for PowerPoint

You can do the same thing in Excel, so you can have different tabs open in different windows. This can be helpful when creating formulae or charts that reference data on other worksheets.  And you aren’t restricted to two windows, so you can have multiple tabs showing at the same time.

Or you can use this tip to compare two sections of a long Word document. It’s often easier to put two windows side-by-side other than to use the horizontal ‘split’ feature.

Bonus PowerPoint tip: previewing live slides as you edit with Reading View

If you’ve ever found yourself making tweaks to a slide, and then checking how they look in full-screen presentation mode, you’ll know it's a pain to keep launching the presentation, then going back to edit mode, making a change, then back to full screen to check it. And so on, ad nauseam. Especially if you are trying to get an animation or a Morph transition just right.

Here’s how to manage that with two windows. It uses Reading View, which is basically presentation mode – but inside a window:

Create a second window as before
Put one window into ‘Reading Mode’. Either go to the View tab and click Reading View, or click the small book icon at the right of the status bar at the bottom of the window. This is the same on macOS.
Arrange your two windows so you can see both, and then watch the edits you make in edit mode appear in real-time in the Reading View
A screenshot of a PowerPoint window highlighting the two places that you can access Reading View

If you found this useful and would like to learn how to get more productive at creating more effective decks, contact us about training.

Do you want to learn how to improve the quality of your documents so that they reflect the quality of your thinking? Talk to us to discuss how we can help.
Get in contact
February 11, 2024


Do you work in a professional or corporate setting? Do you write everything down in PowerPoint? Do you worry that your documents don't reflect well on you?

We're creating a masterclass that turns 22 years of experience into an in-depth online course that you can work through at your own speed. Learn how to create clear, compelling deliverables for complex, critical content. And how to get faster and more efficient.

hours of 4K video
homework exercises
assessments with feedback
reusable tools and templates

Backed up with a community where you can seek inspiration and share examples, and watch live redesigns from member submissions.

More information to follow. Sign up to be notified when the course is ready and to receive an early-bird discount.

Notify me