Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Better Way to Link to a Slide in PowerPoint

I've written about how to force Excel to use absolute paths in its links by specifying the Hyperlink Base  That works in PowerPoint, too.  Unfortunately, it interferes with PowerPoint's ability to follow internal links (links to other slides in the document).

Here's a workaround for that.  It allows you to link to another slide in the same PPT even if you have Hyperlink Base set to some location.  This was tested on PowerPoint 2003.

There are two parts to this.  The first part is to create a "bookmark" at the slide you want to link to.  Do this by creating a “Custom Slide Show”.  It's analogous to adding a bookmark in Word (but, regrettably much more complicated and less intuitive).
1.  In version 2003, choose Slide Show from the menu and then Custom Shows...
2.  Click the New... button.
3.  Enter a name for the Show in the uppermost textbox for the slide that you want to link to.  For example, you might enter "Detailed Analysis".
4.  In the left box, click on the slide that you want to "link to".  Then click the Add >> button.  (You can add multiple slides.)
5.  Click OK and then Close.

The second part creates the link to it.  When you click the link, it will run a mini slide show that consists of the target slide(s).
1.  Select some text that you'd like to make into a hyperlink, for example, "Please see the Detailed Analysis".
2.  Press Ctrl-K (or right-click on the selection and choose Hyperlink).
3.  Click "Place in this Document" on the left.
4.  In the scroll box that opens, scroll down to find "Detailed Analysis" (or whatever) under Custom Shows and click it.  (If you see only Custom Shows, click the plus sign to the left of it).
5.  Click the "Show and return" checkbox.
6. OK your way out.

The really neat thing is that the "link" persists even if slides are added before the target slide.  This is an awesome improvement over the conventional bookmark mechanism in which you're limited to linking to a slide number.  On the other hand, the hyperlink works only during a Slide Show.  There is no option to right click and open hyperlink.  So if you like to present in “edit mode” it won't work.

Also, navigation is a bit wonky.  When you click on the link, PPT will show the target slide, as expected.  But Alt-Left (the universal keystroke for "Back") doesn't return you to the previous slide.  In order to go back, you have to tell PPT to advance to the next slide (press PgDn, for example) to get back to the previous slide.  Pressing PgUp will cause PPT to ring the error bell at you.  Don't worry.  After a few dings, you'll get the hang of it.

Even if you don't need to set Hyperlink Base, you might prefer this method over the simpler method of linking to a slide.  Because if that slide's position changes, the simple link won't work the way you intended.

Let me know if you find this useful.  And if anyone knows this “GadiN” who reported the problem, please thank him or her for me and share this method.

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