How I Record Screencasts

Thu, November 8, 2012, 11:51 AM under AboutPresenting

I get this asked a lot so here is my brain dump on the topic.


A screencast is just a demo that you present to yourself while recording the screen. As such, my advice for clearing your screen for demo purposes and setting up Visual Studio still applies here (adjusting for the fact I wrote those blog posts when I was running Vista and VS2008, not Windows 8 and VS2012).

To see examples of screencasts, watch any of my screencasts on channel9.


  1. If you are a technical presenter, think of when you get best reactions from a developer audience in your sessions: when you are doing demos, of course. Imagine if you could package those alone and share them with folks to watch over and over?
  2. If you have ever gone through a tutorial trying to recreate steps to explore a feature, think how much more helpful it would be if you could watch a video and follow along.
  3. Think of how many folks you "touch" with a conference presentation, and how many more you can reach with an online shorter recording of the demo. If you invest so much of your time for the first type of activity, isn't the second type of activity also worth an investment?
  4. Fact: If you are able to record a screencast of a demo, you will be much better prepared to deliver it in person. In fact lately I will force myself to make a screencast of any demo I need to present live at an upcoming event.
  5. It is also a great backup - if for whatever reason something fails (software, network, etc) during an attempt of a live demo, you can just play the recorded video for the live audience.

There are other reasons (e.g. internal sharing of the latest implemented feature) but the context above is the one within which I create most of my screencasts.

Software & Hardware

I use Camtasia from Tech Smith, version 7.1.1. Microsoft has a variety of options for capturing the screen to video, but I have been using this software for so long now that I have not invested time to explore alternatives…

I also use whatever cheapo headset is near me, but sometimes I get some complaints from some folks about the audio so now I try to remember to use "the good headset". I do not use a web camera as I am not a huge fan of PIP.


First you have to know your technology and demo. Once you think you know it, write down the outline and major steps of the demo. Keep it short 5-20 minutes max. I break that rule sometimes but try not to. The longer the video is the more chances that people will not have the patience to sit through it and the larger the download wmv file ends up being.

Run your demo a few times, timing yourself each time to ensure that you have the planned timing correct, but also to make sure that you are comfortable with what you are going to demo. Unlike with a live audience, there is no live reaction/feedback to steer you, so it can be a bit unnerving at first. It can also lead you to babble too much, so try extra hard to be succinct when demoing/screencasting on your own.

TIP: Before recording, hide your desktop/taskbar clock if it is showing.


To record you start the Camtasia Recorder tool


Configure the settings thought the menus

  • Capture menu to choose custom size or full screen. I try to use full screen and remember to lower the resolution of your screen to as low as possible, e.g. 1024x768 or 1360x768 or something like that.
  • From the Tools -> Options dialog you can choose to record audio and the volume level.
  • Effects menu I typically leave untouched but you should explore and experiment to your liking, e.g. how the mouse pointer is captured, and whether there should be a delay for the recording when you start it.

Once you've configured these settings, typically you just launch this tool and hit the F9 key to start recording.

TIP: As you record, if you ever start to "lose your way" hit F9 again to pause recording, regroup your thoughts and flow, and then hit F9 again to resume.

Finally, hit F10 to stop recording. At that point the video starts playing for you in the recorder. imageThis is where you can preview the video to see that you are happy with it before saving. If you are happy, hit the Save As menu to choose where you want to save the video.



TIP: If you've really lost your way to the extent where you'll need to do some editing, hit F10 to stop recording, save the video and then record some more - you'll be able to stitch the videos together later and this will make it easier for you to delete the parts where you messed up.

TIP: Before you commit to recording the whole demo, every time you should record 5 seconds and preview them to ensure that you are capturing the screen the way you want to and that your audio is still correctly configured and at the right level. Trust me, you do not want to be recording 15 minutes only to find out that you messed up on the configuration somewhere.


To edit the video you launch another Camtasia app, the Camtasia Studio.


  1. File->New Project. File->Save Project and choose location.
  2. File->Import Media and choose the video(s) you saved earlier.
  3. These adds them to the area at the top/middle but not at the timeline at the bottom.
  4. Right click on the video and choose Add to timeline. It will prompt you for the Editing dimensions and I always choose Recording Dimensions.
  5. Do whatever edits you want to do for this video, then add the next video if you have one to stitch and repeat.

In terms of edits there are many options. The simplest is to do nothing, which is the option I did when I first starting doing these in 2006. Nowadays, I typically cut out pieces that I don't like and also lower/mute the audio in other areas and also speed up the video in some areas. A full tutorial on how to do this is beyond the scope of this blog post, but your starting point is to select portions on the timeline and then open the Edit menu at the very top (tip: the context menu doesn't have all options). You can spend hours editing a recording, so don’t lose track of time!

When you are done editing, save again, and you are now ready to Produce.


Production is specific to where you will publish. I've only ever published on channel9, so for that I do the following

  1. File -> Produce and share. This opens a wizard dialog
  2. In the dropdown choose Custom production settings
  3. Hit Next and then choose WMV
  4. Hit Next and keep the default of Camtasia Studio Best Quality and File Size (recommended)
  5. Hit Next and choose Editing dimensions video size
  6. Hit Next, hit Options and you get a dialog. Enter a Title for the project tab and then on the author tab enter the Creator and Homepage. Hit OK
  7. Hit Next. Hit Next again.
  8. Enter a video file name in the Production name textbox and then hit Finish.
  9. Now do other stuff while you wait for the video to be produced and you hear it playing.

After the video is produced watch it to ensure it was produced correctly (e.g. sometimes you get mouse issues) and then you are ready for publishing it.


Follow the instructions of the place where you are going to publish. If you are MSFT internal and want to choose channel9 then contact those folks so they can share their instructions (if you don't know who they are ping me and I'll connect you but they are easy to find in the GAL). For me this involves using a tool to point to the video, choosing a file name (again), choosing an image from the video to display when it is not playing, choosing what output formats I want, and then later on a webpage adding tags, adding a description, and adding a title.

That’s all folks, have fun!

Slide Creation Checklist

Sun, April 25, 2010, 05:56 PM under AboutPresenting

PowerPoint is a great tool for conference (large audience) presentations, which is the context for the advice below.

The #1 thing to keep in mind when you create slides (at least for conference sessions), is that they are there to help you remember what you were going to say (the flow and key messages) and for the audience to get a visual reminder of the key points. Slides are not there for the audience to read what you are going to say anyway. If they were, what is the point of you being there? Slides are not holders for complete sentences (unless you are quoting) – use Microsoft Word for that purpose either as a physical handout or as a URL link that you share with the audience. When you dry run your presentation, if you find yourself reading the bullets on your slide, you have missed the point. You have a message to deliver that can be done regardless of your slides – remember that. The focus of your audience should be on you, not the screen.

Based on that premise, I have created a checklist that I go over before I start a new deck and also once I think my slides are ready.

  1. Turn AutoFit OFF. I cannot stress this enough.
  2. For each slide, explicitly pick a slide layout. In my presentations, I only use one Title Slide, Section Header per demo slide, and for the rest of my slides one of the three: Title and Content, Title Only, Blank. Most people that are newbies to PowerPoint, get whatever default layout the New Slide creates for them and then start deleting and adding placeholders to that. You can do better than that (and you'll be glad you did if you also follow item #11 below).
  3. Every slide must have an image.
  4. Remove all punctuation (e.g. periods, commas) other than exclamation points and question marks (! ?).
  5. Don't use color or other formatting (e.g. italics, bold) for text on the slide.
  6. Check your animations. Avoid animations that hide elements that were on the slide (instead use a new slide and transition). Ensure that animations that bring new elements in, bring them into white space instead of over other existing elements. A good test is to print the slide and see that it still makes sense even without the animation.
  7. Print the deck in black and white choosing the "6 slides per page" option. Can I still read each slide without losing any information? If the answer is "no", go back and fix the slides so the answer becomes "yes".
  8. Don't have more than 3 bullet levels/indents. In other words: you type some text on the slide, hit 'Enter', hit 'Tab', type some more text and repeat at most one final time that sequence. Ideally your outer bullets have only level of sub-bullets (i.e. one level of indentation beneath them).
  9. Don't have more than 3-5 outer bullets per slide. Space them evenly horizontally, e.g. with blank lines in between.
  10. Don't wrap. For each bullet on all slides check: does the text for that bullet wrap to a second line? If it does, change the wording so it doesn't. Or create a terser bullet and make the original long text a sub-bullet of that one (thus decreasing the font size, but still being consistent) and have no wrapping.
  11. Use the same consistent fonts (i.e. Font Face, Font Size etc) throughout the deck for each level of bullet. In other words, don't deviate form the PowerPoint template you chose (or that was chosen for you). Go on each slide and hit 'Reset'. 'Reset' is a button on the 'Home' tab of the ribbon or you can find the 'Reset Slide' menu when you right click on a slide on the left 'Slides' list. If your slides can survive doing that without you "fixing" things after the Reset action, you are golden!
  12. For each slide ask yourself: if I had to replace this slide with a single sentence that conveys the key message, what would that sentence be? This exercise leads you to merge slides (where the key message is split) or split a slide into many, if there were too many key messages on the slide in the first place. It can also lead you to redesign a slide so the text on it really is just explanation or evidence for the key message you are trying to convey.
  13. Get the length right. Is the length of this deck suitable for the time you have been given to present? If not, cut content! It is far better to deliver less in a relaxed, polished engaging, memorable way than to deliver in great haste more content. As a rule of thumb, multiply 2 minutes by the number of slides you have, add the time you need for each demo and check if that add to more than the time you have allotted. If it does, start cutting content – we've all been there and it has to be done.

As always, rules and guidelines are there to be bent and even broken some times. Start with the above and on a slide-by-slide basis decide which rules you want to bend. That is smarter than throwing all the rules out from the start, right?

AutoFit in PowerPoint: Turn it OFF

Sun, April 25, 2010, 05:54 PM under AboutPresenting

Once a feature has shipped, it is very hard to eliminate it from the next release. If I was in charge of the PowerPoint product, I would not hesitate for a second to remove the dreadful AutoFit feature.


Fortunately, AutoFit can be turned off on a slide-by-slide basis and, even better, globally: go to the PowerPoint "Options" and under "Proofing" find the "AutoCorrect Options…" button which brings up the dialog where you need to uncheck the last two checkboxes (see the screenshot to the right).

AutoFit is the ability for the user to keep hitting the Enter key as they type more and more text into a slide and it magically still fits, by shrinking the space between the lines and then the text font size. It is the root of all slide evil. It encourages people to think of a slide as a Word document (which may be your goal, if you are presenting to execs in Microsoft, but that is a different story). AutoFit is the reason you fall asleep in presentations.

AutoFit causes too much text to appear on a slide which by extension causes the following:

  1. When the slide appears, the text is so small so it is not readable by everyone in the audience. They dismiss the presenter as someone who does not care for them and then they stop paying attention.
  2. If the text is readable, but it is too much (hence the AutoFit feature kicked in when the slide was authored), the audience is busy reading the slide and not paying attention to the presenter. Humans can either listen well or read well at the same time, so when they are done reading they now feel that they missed whatever the speaker was saying. So they "switch off" for the rest of the slide until the next slide kicks in, which is the natural point for them to pick up paying attention again.
  3. Every slide ends up with different sized text. The less visual consistency between slides, the more your presentation feels unprofessional. You can do better than dismiss the (subconscious) negative effect a deck with inconsistent slides has on an audience.

In contrast, the absence of AutoFit

  1. Leads to consistency among all slides in a deck with regards to amount of text and size of said text.
  2. Ensures the text is readable by everyone in the audience (presuming the PowerPoint template is designed for the room where the presentation is delivered).
  3. Encourages the presenter to create slides with the minimum necessary text to help the audience understand the basic structure, flow, and key points of the presentation. The "meat" of the presentation is delivered verbally by the presenter themselves, which is why they are in the room in the first place.
  4. Following on from the previous point, the audience can at a quick glance consume the text on the slide when it appears and then concentrate entirely on the presenter and what they have to say.

You could argue that everything above has nothing to do with the AutoFit feature and all to do with the advice to keep slide content short. You would be right, but the on-by-default AutoFit feature is the one that stops most people from seeing and embracing that truth.

In other words, the slides are the tool that aids the presenter in delivering their message, instead of the presenter being the tool that advances the slides which hold the message. To get there, embrace terse slides: the first step is to turn off this horrible feature (that was probably introduced due to the misuse of this tool within Microsoft). The next steps are described on my next post.

Insert and Format Images in Your pptx

Sun, January 18, 2009, 11:54 AM under AboutPresenting
I have given quite a few technical presentations in my time and anyone that has attended one will tell you that I believe in demo-driven sessions (I have *never* given a session that had less than 50% demo time and most of them met my goal to be close to 75%+). Having said that, the few slides that a session has are important and what is equally important in my opinion is to strive for an image per slide!

If you can't find an image that conveys the message of the slide, then maybe your slide is trying to convey too much; if the image does not fit on your slide, then maybe your slide is too busy; if you can't tie an image to the message, then maybe you can insert some humorous image. So, I think of it as a quality gate for my slide: if I can’t insert an image, there is something wrong with the slide. If you don’t agree with that, then still insert an image in order to please the people that think more visually than others and also to add some color to your deck ;-)

After you have inserted an image, please use the tools offered by PowerPoint to make it aesthetically pleasing. When you select the image, a new tab appears in the PowerPoint 2007 ribbon with tons of options - explore them:

It is surprising how many times people ask me how I created a glow effect or a reflection (aka mirroring) effect etc. Depending on your personal preferences and the theme of your deck, some options work better than others, but by far my favorite and the one I start with as a default is preset 5:

Please try it now on a slide: insert an image twice and apply the preset on one and leave the other "plain/default". Can you see the difference in quality? Try it projected on a huge screen and you'll never go back…

There you have it! I shared the secret to the images in my decks ("big deal" I know, but oddly it took me some time to be comfortable sharing this nonetheless ;-)

TIP: Task Manager Shortcuts

Sun, November 16, 2008, 01:10 AM under AboutPresenting
In my demos more often than not I bring up task manager (e.g. so I can show the CPU utilization). If you do the same, here are 4 tips.

1. Ctrl+Shift+ESC brings it up (no need to right click on taskbar and select the Task Manager menuitem)

2. On the Performance (or Networking) tab, double click anywhere to maximize that area (as per the screenshot on left). One of the advantages is that now the window can be resized to be much smaller than what it can be otherwise; plus you can focus more clearly without the other clutter. Double click again to restore or click and drag to move the window around.

3. If you want to point out something interesting in the "CPU Usage" and "CPU Usage History", just hold down the Ctrl key to PAUSE the dynamic updating of the graphs. Release the Ctrl key to resume the refreshing.

4. Change the refresh speed to HIGH

The ABCDEFGHI of setting up Visual Studio for Demos

Mon, March 3, 2008, 02:16 PM under AboutPresenting
Following on from the tips on how to setup your laptop for demos (with some great ones from you in the comments!), I thought I'd follow up with how to setup Visual Studio specifically.

Whilst the language I use below is prescriptive as always, please note that I am far from an authority so all I am doing here is sharing my views. I'll start with 2 that I know are controversial and then move on to a mixture of mainstream points with a couple tips that I suspect most of you have not come across before.

A) Don't change colours; don't use "themes". Use the default settings.
I've been in presentations where the presenter puts a lamp of code on the screen and I am trying to compile it in my head except all the stuff I am familiar with has changed: default colours of types, keywords, comments, strings and even code editor background! "Why would you ever do that to the audience? Why do you hate them so much?". To be clear, it is fine for you to "pimp your IDE" for working purposes. However, when showing dozens (if not hundreds or thousands) of other people a demo using Visual Studio, what is the lowest common denominator that you can assume about them? Answer: that they are familiar with the default settings of Visual Studio. Unless your goal is to prove how smart/artistic you are, instead of trying to make it as easy as possible for them to follow your code, please take heed.

B) Leave the 3rd party productivity addins at home.
In case you are not familiar with them, there are 3rd party enhancements to Visual Studio (such as resharper, coderush, codesmith, visualassist, [insert your favourite here], etc) that can truly increase your productivity multi-fold. However, recall from point A above that the majority of your audience will not be familiar with them. When we show code during a demo, all effort from the audience should be concentrated on understanding the API/pattern that you are explaining and not be distracted by seeing menus they are not familiar with and being confused by how you managed to accomplish something with a shortcut that they never heard of before. Unless, of course, you are actually an evangelist for those products and/or you need the productivity boost during your demo because you are coding it for the first time instead of having rehearsed what you are showing. Do you really want your attendees coming out of your session and talking about how they enjoyed learning about one of the said products, instead of walking out with the intended take away that you had in mind?

C) Use large enough fonts everywhere.
Don't wait for the audience member to shout out to you to enlarge your fonts. Go to Tools->Options->Fonts and Colors and change the "Text Editor" font to at least 14 (and for some rooms 16). In fact, when you reach the room you are presenting in, launch Visual Studio and go seat on the last row of chairs starring at the projector; can you read your code? Furthermore, change the font for things like Tooltips, the intellisense window and all the other "Tool Windows" (hint: look at the top combobox with the label of "Show settings for:").

D) Change your highlight colour for selected text.
This is my only rule that goes against A above. Simply put, if you leave your "highlight" as the automatic default of "Blue", your text is not visible to the audience – not sure why people don't get that. You are having the opposite effect of your goal when you highlighted that piece of code. So, as per the instructions of C above, find the "Selected Text" and change the "Item Background" to "Yellow". FYI in the past I used "Lime" but I have found that some projectors show lime darker than what it is on my screen, so I have switched back to yellow.

E) One docked tool window.
I've seen demos where the presenter had multiple docked windows on all sides. How much of the code in the editor is viewable at any given time at 1024x768 resolution at 120 DPI? Every demo you do will have different windowing requirements, but in my experience I have never needed more than one side for docked tool windows (for me that is on the right, but right or left is a mute point IMO). Of course, I'll bring out a tool window from the other side (on the left for me) and also from the bottom but they are set to auto hide so they get used quickly and then disappear. You may also be tempted to autohide all tool windows but in most demos I find it useful to have solution explorer always visible because attendees can easily glance at it during the demo to remind themselves of the big picture (instead of viewing just a single code file). Regardless, windows that are set to autohide but are never used during a demo should be closed/exited instead – what is the point of having tool window tabs(=clutter) in the IDE if they are not going to be used? TIP: for prebaked demos, you can layout all the tool windows (dock/autohide/close) and then save/close the solution and the next time you open it you'll find them all in the right place!

F) Two toolbar rows; for all documents.
Again, this has to do with space-saving and with clutter removal. You may be tempted to get rid of the toolbars completely but, not only that looks weird (recall the point on familiarity), but I actually use the toolbar for some actions instead of using keyboard shortcuts so I can make very obvious to the audience what it is I am doing. I doubt there is any demo that requires more than 1 row of toolbars, but in the interest of familiarity I leave the first toolbar appear as it does with default Visual Studio settings and then customise the 2nd row to match whatever my demo(s) require – so I always have 2, no more no less. You may find that when you switch between document types the toolbars "dance" around so you must make sure you preserve the height (i.e. the 2 toolbar rows). For example, you open a Windows Form in code view and you have 2 toolbars showing but when you switch to design view then one of them (annoyingly) disappears – it is down to you to enable another toolbar for design view too, so as to preserve the overall toolbar height when switching between documents.

G) Tab Size = Indent Size = 2 spaces.
There are religious arguments between developers as to whether the editor should be using spaces or tabs (for indentation). There are also disagreements on whether the correct number of spaces (or tab size) for an indent is 2 or 4. I have little interest in opening that debate and when you are developing at home, do as you please. For presentation purposes though, you must eliminate horizontal scrolling (I hope that is an axiom and hence I don't need to prove it) and given that you are running with large font at 1024x768 at 120 DPI, guess what is a low hanging fruit? That's right, make the Indent = 2 spaces and you've just saved yourself a ton of white space and with it unnecessary h-scrolling. You can make this change from Tools->Options->Text Editor->[Your language]->Tabs.

H) Remove namespace declarations.
This one is along similar lines to the previous item – saving horizontal scrolling and unnecessary white space. For most prebaked demos, there really is no reason to have a namespace (which gets generated by default in C# code files). So simply go and remove them all and save yourself another 2 horizontal columns per file e.g.
namespace MyNamespace   // delete this
{ // delete this
class MyClass
} // delete this
...and then hit Ctrl+K,Ctrl+D to reformat it all nicely.

I) Maximise, in more ways than one.
I kid you not; I have been in a session where the presenter did the whole show without ever maximising Visual Studio! I was this close (imagine me holding my thumb and index finger close together) to getting up on stage and hitting the maximise button of Visual Studio to occupy the whole screen. Besides that obvious advice, what helps with some of the goals of some of the items above is to maximise the code editor (Shift+Alt+Enter) at opportune moments, especially if you are going to spend a lot of time in one code file.

There are other things that I do in Visual Studio but I don't want to go through the entire alphabet here ;-). For example, I am such a strong believer in "including" as much of the audience as possible and not appearing biased, that when I first run up Visual Studio after installation, I select General Settings (instead of C# or Visual Basic).

Do you agree with all of the above? Do you vehemently disagree with some of it? How do you utilise Visual Studio for demos? I look forward to reading your comments below...

10 Tips on How to Setup Your Laptop before a Demo

Sun, February 17, 2008, 11:56 AM under AboutPresenting
I've been meaning to post something like this for a while and having just spent 8 (eight) days of training (DPE summit + TechReady 6 + Deep Dive on XYZ), I need no more incentives ;)

I am assuming that we've all been to sessions/events where the presenter switched from PowerPoint to their machine for a demo and immediately our brain goes in overdrive to take in all the colourful input and icons that have just been unleashed on it (completely ignoring the presenter's voice which just fades in the distance, of course). Or maybe that just happens to me ;-)

Well, I am no expert, but here is some advice anyway for those of you giving demos in presentations:

1. Run at 1024x768 resolution during the session/demo.

2. Run at (120) High DPI. I cannot stress this enough. If you are on Vista this requires a reboot but give it a try now and you'll never look back (all icons suddenly come alive).

3. Your Task Bar should only show applications running that are being used in the demo (and the session overall). Any unnecessary application should be closed.

4. Your Task bar should be as small as possible (i.e. only one row). Doesn't matter what size it is when you are working on your machine; taking away pixels from the audience has no excuse when there is absolutely no use for it being larger during a demo.

5. Your taskbar should be at the bottom where most people expect it to be and it should not auto-hide (very distracting).

6. You know those icons on the right of the taskbar (commonly referred to as the systray or just "tray")? If you are not using them for the demo, then kill them. Right click on each one and "Exit". If any don't offer an Exit option, open task manager and kill the offending processes. If there is an icon that cannot be closed for whatever reason and is not used in the demo, hide it (Taskbar Properties->Notification Area). This includes hiding icons such as the volume icon, network activity etc, if they are not used in the demo. For most of my demos I just have the clock (cause I like glancing at it) and the power meter (because I am paranoid that someone will pull the plug and my laptop will die ;-)) – nothing else.

7. You know all those toolbars on the task bar (e.g. Desktop, Address etc)? Get rid of them unless they are used in the demo. The special toolbar is Quick Launch: This is where you may choose to have the shortcuts to your demos (or even just a shortcut to Visual Studio). In that case make sure that all other shortcuts are out of view by resizing the quick launch bar.

8. Hide all the icons on your desktop (right click->View->Show Desktop Icons). The exception to this is when you place the shortcuts to your demos on the desktop. In that case, hide all the remainder icons by moving them into some other temporary folder (and go back to step 7 and hide your quick launch toolbar since you have just opted out of that approach).

9. Choose a standard Windows Wallpaper for your desktop background (the default if possible) – unless you are using your current one as a prop for a laugh etc. You can change it back to a picture of your kids when the session is over. Remember, this isn't about you; it is about what you are there to show.

10. Turn off your screen saver (and don't rely on battery power alone – always plug in your laptop. And change the laptop_lid_close_action to do nothing).

11. BONUS non-visual tip for demos: A side effect of steps 3 and 6 will be that your machine is slightly faster during the demo (where any kind of visible slow down is amplified by the presence of an audience). Open task manager and make your machine even more responsive by killing unnecessary processes (or even stopping services) that you are not going to use in this particular demo. But don't take it to the extreme.

Feel free to add your own tips below if you think I missed any...

Do you use "Presenter view" in PowerPoint

Mon, January 28, 2008, 04:32 PM under AboutPresenting
I recently received (as a gift) the "Microsoft Office Powerpoint 2007 Step-by-step". I was scanning thought it to see if I am missing any tricks and came across page 232 where it advises on how to use Presenter view when using two monitors. That reminded me of how I had evaluated and discarded this feature before the 2007 version so, after looking at it again, my reasons still holds true:

3. Presentation View does not show animations. So when I go to a slide that has animations, on my screen I will see the entire slide while the audience is seeing a different one.
- I don't like looking back on the large screen because I find it distracting.
- I like to see on my screen what my audience is seeing.
- Clicking (on my clicker/mouse/keyboard) in order for the animation to appear on the large screen while nothing happens on my screen makes me uncomfortable.

2. Presentation view is useful for slide notes, but I'd rather not read anything while the audience is expecting me to be speaking instead.

1. It encourages the presenter to be in front of the laptop screen for the duration of the presentation, which whilst the only option in some venues, is not my preferred place to be.

There you have it, instead of telling you what features I do use in powerpoint, I am sharing the one that I don't... oh well, maybe you have some powerpoint tips to share?