How to Put Writing on the Projector Screen

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Adding handwritten notes to your presentation slides takes some technological ingenuity.
Image Credit: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

When you make a business presentation, some of your content may lend itself to onscreen notes that enable you to highlight information, respond to audience questions or add material that you otherwise wouldn't include on your digital slides. To project these notes in your own handwriting, you need a means of incorporating what you write in what you display on the projection screen. You can accomplish your objective by changing how you present your slides or what you include in them.


Analog Projector

When you need to write directly on the material you project, annotating many slides, your simplest option lies in choosing the right projection method. Substitute a classic analog overhead projector for the digital equipment you typically use, and you can write on each of the transparencies in your presentation with a wax or grease pencil. Because you can print the contents of your presentation document onto transparency film, you can use the same slides you ordinarily project straight from your computer. To remove the notes you've made, gently wipe them off with a soft, lint-free cloth.

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Drawing Tablet

To write directly on computer documents that accept pointing-device input, you can plug a digital drawing tablet into your computer and project your live handwriting onto the presentation screen. These USB tablets use an electrostatic or battery-powered stylus that looks like a pen. Although their manufacturers target their products toward artists and illustrators, they also serve as mouse and trackpad substitutes for people who want to lower their risk of repeated strain injury. If you're not accustomed to using one of these devices, plan on some practice time to acclimate yourself to the new hardware.


White Board

To write directly on a projected image instead of on your slides themselves, substitute an erasable white board for the projection screen. White board markers come in a wide range of colors, enabling you to apply contrasting notes. The drawbacks of this method lie in using a moderately reflective surface as the target for a bright light source, which can result in hot spots that make your slides difficult to see. You also may need some practice to become accustomed to the size at which you must write your notes when you annotate the screen instead of its source.



Prepared File

If you can prepare the text you need to display on your presentation materials in advance of giving your talk, you can write out your notes and scan them so you can incorporate them directly into your slides. This method enables you to overlay a scan on a slide and crop it to reveal only a portion of a sheet that contains multiple notes, or incorporate a handwritten page as a standalone slide.



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