Most people who give presentations from laptops with external projectors are either not using their laptop internal display or mirroring the slide on this display. Apple's presentation software Keynote (part of the iWork suite) has this amazingly useful feature called 'Presenter Display'. Instead of just mirroring the current slide, you get a customizable display that shows you:
- Time. In a big font. I can read it from across the room. This is great since I never wear a wristwatch when giving presentations. Even if you do, constantly peeking at your watch is not recommended. It's better to just momentarily lower your eyes to your laptop.
- Elapsed time for the presentation. If I know I have X minutes for the presentation this is very useful. During a long training, I can immediately see that I'm over an hour, so it's a good time for a break.
- Current slide.
- Next slide. I can't count the number of times I started wondering what's on the next slide while talking. I know all my slides, but I sometimes forget the exact order. A quick peek at my screen is enough to recognize the slide.
- Presenter notes. I never use those, but if you do, you can get it as well.
The internal screen of the laptop is turned to the presenter and becomes your 'cheat sheet'. I can't emphasize how useful this is. I used to print out handouts to help me with determining the next slide, but this never helps since I never have time to flip pages and find the right slide.
I like Keynote. I'm a long time Microsoft PowerPoint user and I don't regret switching to Keynote. I can't say that one is better, there are many similarities and differences. However, the 'Presenter Display' feature is a real jewel missing from PowerPoint (I didn't experience PowerPoint 2007, maybe there's something similar).