Posted On December 10, 2015

tailor scissors and measuring tape

As a trainer I often find that there are some very useful tools in the Microsoft Applications that are unknown to users. One of those features is Custom Shows in PowerPoint. Let me tell you how they can help you when you are creating and using presentations.

Imagine that you need to present your ‘New Products’ presentation to three different clients. Instead of you having to triplicate the presentation and editing each copy, you can use the Custom Shows facility.

But What Are Custom Shows And How They Work?

Custom Shows are tailor-made mini presentations within that same main presentation. Custom Shows allow you to adapt a single presentation to a variety of audiences, in the previous scenario your three clients. There are two kinds of Custom Shows: Basic and Hyperlinked.

Basic Custom Shows

A basic Custom Show is a separate presentation that includes some of the slides of the original.

Use a basic Custom Show to give personalised presentations to different clients using the same presentation file. For example, if your presentation contains a total of 10 slides, you can create a Custom Show named “Client A” that includes just slides 1, 2, 3 and 4. You can create a second presentation named “Client B” that includes slides 5, 6 and 7, and then you can create the third presentation named “Client C” that includes the rest of the slides in your presentation, slides 8, 9 and 10.

When you create a Custom Shows from a presentation, you can always run the entire presentation in its original sequential order.

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How To Create Basic Custom Shows

On the Slide Show tab, in the Start Slide Show group, click Custom Slide Show, and then click Custom Shows.

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In the Custom Shows dialog box, click New.


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Under Slides in presentation, click the slides that you want to include in the custom show, and then click Add.


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  1. To change the order in which slides appear, under Slides in custom show, click a slide, and then click one of the arrows to move the slide up or down in the list.
  2. Type a name in the Slide show name box, and then click OK. To create additional custom shows with any slides in your presentation, repeat these steps.

Hyperlinked Custom Shows

You can use hyperlinked custom shows to organise content in a presentation. Going back to the New Products presentation, let’s assume that on slide 1 we have an overview of the company. You can then create a custom show for each new product and link these shows to slide 1 which has general information about the company. This will ensure that PowerPoint will return to slide number 1 once the custom show has been displayed.

How To Create Hyperlinked Custom Shows

To create a hyperlink from the main show to a supporting show, in your presentation select the text or object that you want to represent the hyperlink, in our example in slide 1.

On the Insert tab, in the Links group, click Action.

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In the Action Settings dialog box, under Hyperlink to, select Custom Show

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In the Link to Custom Show dialog box, select the custom show you want to want to go to, and then the Show and Return check box.

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How To Start A Custom Show

  1. On the Slide Show tab, in the Start Slide Show group, click Custom Slide Show, and then click Custom Shows.
  2. In the Custom shows list, select a show, and then click Show.

I hope you find these tips useful.


We run a wide range of courses in Microsoft PowerPoint for beginners or more advanced learners. Take a peek at our PowerPoint courses where you can learn about all the different features, tips and tricks.