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TLDR: Can't run macros from powerpoint presenter view. If you're not interested in the background, just skip right to "What is not working".


I've painstakingly created some macros that I want to run from within the powerpoint presenter view. The macros work, but I'm stuck on the 'run from presenter view' part.

What I have:

  • I have a .pptm file, called the toolbox. The toolbox is where all my custom macros live that are not specific to any one powerpoint file; that includes the macros I am talking about here. The powerpoint file that the toolbox macros are working on is called the target.

    (Why do it like this you ask? Because that way, I can use the toolbox macros in any target file without having to copy them over, always as long as I have the toolbox open alongside it. That way, (1) no versioning problems and (2) no copy-paste hassle and (3) not turning every pptx into a pptm file and (4) not having to remove all code when sending the file to someone. I've adopted this strategy in Excel and it's fantastic; highly recommended.)

What I want:

  • I want to be able to run the toolbox macros when presenting any powerpoint slideshow in presenter mode (it's already working when in 'edit mode'). I want to to be able to do this...

    1. ...without having to make changes to the target. Changes like: binding macros to slide transitions or to the click-event of newly added shapes. That's because the toolbox won't always be around when using the target.

    2. ...without installing 3rd party addins to the powerpoint software. I'm not able to install these, as I'm not always presenting on my own hardware.

What is working:

  • The macros work when I alt-tab, from the presenter mode, into the VBA Editor, put the cursor within the macro body, and press F5.

  • They also show up when I press alt-F8 ('run macro' window) when I'm not in presenter mode.

What is not working:

  • I can't bind the macros to keys like is possible in Word (Keybind if I remember correctly) or Excel (Application.OnKey). Why this isn't harmonised across these products is beyond me, but I've learnt this is not possible in Powerpoint, so let's forget about this possibility.

  • I also can't get the 'run macro' window to appear with its alt-F8 shortcut from within the presenter view. Does anyone know how to do this?

  • As a third try, I've bound the macros to alt, 3, alt, 4, etc. in the quick access toolbar. But this also seems to only work when not in presenter mode.

I'm currently wondering how macros are supposed to be manually (i.e., not event-triggered) run while giving a presentation at all. There seems no way to get to them... 🤨

Many thanks

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Draw a shape on the slide, give it an Action Setting of Run Macro: your macro name.

Now you can fire the macro during slide show by clicking the shape. This may or may not work the way you want when in Presenter view. Test if you need to use that.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks Steve for your answer. This is not what I'm looking for, as the shape would have to (1) be added, and (2) appear, somewhere on every single slide. I'd like to be a able to just start the macros in the 'helper/toolbox'-powerpoint file. without relying on elements in the slide, or the target presentation itself. If that's possible of course. – ElRudi May 19 at 21:26
  • I've added some clarification about my use case – ElRudi May 20 at 8:45
  • 1
    1) Added on every slide ... or on the slide master/layout. And 2) Appear ... not necessarily; you can give the shape No Outline/100% transparent Fill and it won't appear but will still "see" mouseclicks. I don't have an example handy, but I think the Application.Run method would let you call macros in your toolbox from within other presentations. – Steve Rindsberg May 22 at 15:37

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