I have been asked on a couple of occasions about Drag and Drop activities for PowerPoint. Is it possible to click on an object during a presentation and move it around the screen?
The answer is no, but there are ways around it.
Although you can click on an object and it will move during a presentation, that movement follows a fixed path that you draw while you design the presentation.
PowerPoint doesn’t have a free movement function in the way that teachers want it. Teachers are often looking for drag and drop functionality during a presentation, so that they can do matching activities or reorder scrambled words.
However, PowerPoint isn’t really designed to do that. Rather than discussing the specific different views and display terms, just think of PowerPoint as having two modes. It has an edit mode which allows you to design the presentation, insert objects, format them and move them. Then it has the presentation mode which allows you to show your design to an audience.
A drag and drop feature is essentially trying to edit a presentation as you are giving it, which is possible, but you have to remember that you can only edit in the edit mode.
(The only exceptions are using Macros or ActiveX controls such as live typing.)
Using this Word Jumble template, I want to demonstrate a few ways that teachers can get something close to a drag and drop activity in PowerPoint.
Edit Mode on your PC Screen and Presentation Mode on your Second Screen
- Go to the slide show ribbon and uncheck ‘Use Presenter View.’
- Connect your PC to a projector screen.
- Open the projection settings by pressing the Windows Logo Key + P and choose the Extend
- Start your presentation with start From Beginning (F5) or start From Current Slide (Shift+F5)
- Your PC will remain in Edit Mode, and your second screen will show your presentation.
This option uses the projection setting labelled ‘Extend.’ This means that the desktop on your PC is extended onto your second screen.
If you have ‘Use Presenter View’ checked, you are able to see your current slide, the next slide and any notes that accompany your presentation on your PC screen, and only the presentation will be shown on your second screen.
If you have ‘Use Presenter View’ unchecked, PowerPoint will stay in edit mode on your PC screen and only the presentation will be shown on your second screen.
With your PC in edit mode during a presentation, you are able to add text and move objects around slides. This movement won’t be shown in real time on the second screen, but your second screen will automatically refresh after you have finished editing.
Being able to edit your presentation while you are giving it.
This extends beyond just moving objects with drag and drop, you are also able to add text for instructions or additional shapes. You can also format objects and change their color and size.
You are only able to do this editing from your PC.
Edit Mode on your PC Screen and Edit Mode on your Second Screen
Video run time is 1 minute and 13 seconds
- Hide the slide pane by moving your cursor over the line.
- Left click on the line and drag it to the left-hand side of the screen. The slide pane will now be hidden.
- Go to the view ribbon.
- Uncheck ruler, gridlines and guides.
- Collapse the ribbon by clicking on the small upward arrow on the right-hand side of the screen or by pressing Ctrl+F1.
- Connect your PC to a projector screen.
- Open the projection settings by pressing the Windows Logo Key + P and choose the Duplicate
- You will be able to select, drag and move your letters around your projection screen.
This option uses the projection setting labelled ‘Duplicate.’ This means that the desktop on your PC is copied onto your second screen.
So, if PowerPoint is in edit mode on your PC, it will appear in edit mode on your second screen. Similarly to option #1, you are able to add text and move objects around slides, but with this method it appears in real time on the screen. So, when you click on an object to drag it, you will see it being moved on your projector screen.
Students are able to edit and move objects on the projector screen with the aid of a Bluetooth mouse.
You are unable to insert this as an activity within a larger presentation as you would need to exit the presentation and return to the edit mode.
The Drag and Drop Macro
There is a Macro available on the internet that allows you to drag and drop during a presentation. Watch the video for a demonstration or you can find more information about it here.
What is an Macro?
A Macro is a piece of VBA computer code that runs automatic or additional functions for Microsoft Office. You can create Macros yourself or use Macros written by other people. Macros are usually contained within Macro-enabled files and MS Office will often give you a security warning before opening files with computer code from unverified sources.
Caution: Only open Macros from trusted sources. This is especially true if VBA is new or unknown to you. If you open Macros from a third party source, you have to accept the risk of using their computer code.
You are able drag and drop objects while in presentation mode.
The Macro seemed to have been made for older versions of PowerPoint. Some of the comments I read said that they had issues getting the Macro to work with PowerPoint 2010. I don’t know how well the Macro works with PowerPoint 2013 or 2016.
Check with your network administrator if there are any security issues concerned with using files with additional computer code.
If I want to do an activity where students move objects around the projector screen, I think the easiest and simplest way is Option #2.
You don’t require any additional computer code, and it’s easy to set up. All you have to do make sure your PC screen is duplicated on your projection screen and have a Bluetooth mouse.
Although it may not have the look of professional app or presentation, this little trick has the functionality that teachers are looking for.
Also, because you are in edit mode and can format shapes and text, there are several things that you can do as an extension to your activity. You can color code different parts of speech, you can make the stressed syllables of words larger, or even include symbols to indicate intonation.
What would you choose? Do you have a different idea?
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Thanks for reading and take care!
Word Jumble: Practicing sentence structures was the first article I wrote about scrambled sentences. I also created an Excel template that can be used to break sentences down into individual words and reorder them.
Dialogues on the Day: Live typing in PowerPoint is a template that uses an ActiveX text box that allows you to type up your students’ ideas as you are giving a presentation. This kind of text box is available for PowerPoint on Windows PCs, but it doesn’t appear to be available in the Developer Tools in the Mac version of PowerPoint.
Images and Video Screen Captures were produced with Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2016
All media is for educational purposes only. Microsoft® PowerPoint® is a copyrighted product of the Microsoft Corporation.
Drag and Drop Macro tutorial is by YouTube user souffleruk