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Handouts are a fantastic tool to use in conjunction with PowerPoint presentations. They offer an additional level of information and detail that slides alone simply cannot convey.

Fortunately, PowerPoint fully supports this feature, and you can easily create handouts for your presentations. You can customize the look and layout of the handout, include notes, and then print or export it to share with your audience during your presentation.

What Are Handouts in PowerPoint?

Handouts are essentially a condensed version of your PowerPoint presentation. They include the slides in your presentation and any additional notes that you omitted in the slides.

PowerPoint users often overlook the handouts feature. As these handouts are usually in print format and not digital, their potential often goes unnoticed. However, handouts can actually transform your presentation from a dull monologue to an interactive experience. Here are some benefits of using handouts in your presentations:

  • Provide a more comprehensive view of the topic being presented.
  • Serve as a helpful reference for the audience to refer back to after the presentation.
  • Keep your audience engaged by offering a tangible document.
  • Encourage the audience to pay attention and stay focused.
  • Allow your audience to jot down important information and ideas as you present them.

Thankfully, PowerPoint recognizes the usefulness of handouts and makes working with them easy. You can customize PowerPoint handouts in the Handout Master view. PowerPoint handouts can include 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, or 9 slides per page, and you can even export them to Word.

If you're set on aceing the presentation, you can use PowerPoint Speaker Coach to improve your presentation skills.

How to Create and Format Handouts in PowerPoint

You can create and format your PowerPoint handouts using the Handout Master view. This view is similar to Slide Master in PowerPoint and lets you format the fixed elements of your handouts.

  1. Open your PowerPoint presentation and go to the View tab.
    The View tab in PowerPoint
  2. In the Master Views section, click Handout Master.
  3. Click Slides Per Page and select how many slides you want to display on each page.
    Handout Master view in PowerPoint
  4. Check whether you want to display the header, footer, date, or page numbers in the Placeholders section.
  5. Change the appearance to your liking.
  6. Once you're satisfied with everything, click Close Master View to return to your slides.

If you've enabled the header and footer for your handout, you can double-click them in the Handout Master view to input text into them.

Adding an image to a PowerPoint handout

You can also add images to your handout by dropping them in PowerPoint. Keep in mind that the text and images are fixed components, and they'll appear on every page of the handout.

How to Print Handouts in PowerPoint

You can print handouts for your presentation in PowerPoint from the Print menu. You'll have the option to change the handout's layout here too.

Printing PowerPoint handouts
  1. Go to the File tab in PowerPoint.
  2. Select Print.
  3. Under Settings, click Full Page Slides.
  4. Select your desired layout under Handouts in the drop-down menu.
  5. Check the rest of the print settings and then click Print.

The printed handout will contain images of the slides with the formatting you set in the Handout Master view, but it won't include notes. If you wish to include your notes in the handout, consider exporting it to Word.

How to Export PowerPoint Handouts to Word

Another nifty option is to export your handouts to Word rather than directly print them from PowerPoint. This feature allows you to include notes in your handout, and it links the PowerPoint slides in the Word document.

To export handouts in PowerPoint, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the File tab and select Export from the menu.
    Export menu in PowerPoint
  2. Choose Create Handouts from the options.
  3. Select the layout you want to use for your handouts.
    Exporting a PowerPoint handout
  4. Click OK.

PowerPoint will now start exporting your presentation to Word. The process might take a while, depending on the size of your presentation. Once the handout has been exported, Word will automatically open and display it. You can then make any necessary edits, save it as a PDF, or print it.

Enhance Your Presentation With Handouts

Using handouts in conjunction with PowerPoint presentations can greatly enhance the effectiveness and impact of your presentation. They provide a tangible representation of the information being presented and can help keep the audience engaged and focused throughout the presentation.

You can easily customize the handouts in PowerPoint to meet your needs. From there, you can either print the handouts from PowerPoint or export them to Word for more flexibility and editing. Next time you're preparing a PowerPoint presentation, consider including a handout—your audience will thank you for it.