A question often fielded by TLC staff has to do with multiple monitor configurations and PowerPoint. Specifically, users can run into the problem of slideshows displaying incorrectly.
By default, screen configuration settings in mediated classrooms should be set to “duplicate these displays.” This setting should replicate the same image across all connected displays regardless of whether it is a projector, a classroom computer monitor, or a laptop screen. When duplicating multiple screen formats across various equipment, the computer tends to select the best compatible resolution that can be displayed correctly on all devices.
A common side effect a screen display that may appear larger or smaller to the presenter. This is due to differences between and limitations of the connected display equipment. Across campus, we strive to keep display capabilities and equipment similar in order to minimize these resolution differences.
The “extended desktop display” configuration creates an extended desktop area. Instead of duplicating the same image across multiple displays, the screens become an extension of the main desktop in order to display independent windows and/or applications on multiple displays. When configured (as “extended”) in a classroom environment, the projector may show a blank desktop background void of icons. If a presenter is unfamiliar with this configuration, TLC staff are called upon to remedy a problem (“Only a blank CSC background is showing on the projector!”) that is really just a setting adjustment.
In short, PowerPoint can complicate matters, as PowerPoint may identify multiple screens on its own and locate the presentation on the wrong display. The easiest way to avoid and correct a misbehaving slideshow is to understand where and how to change these PowerPoint-specific settings. The screen shots below provide the optimal settings for a PowerPoint presentation on a dual-monitor configuration.
If you have any questions about this post, feel free to contact me, Jereme Patterson, the TLC’s IT Analyst (firstname.lastname@example.org or 308.432.6234).