Presenters owe it to themselves to check out Presentation Pointer since it's one of the most flexible and easy-to-use presentation tools we've seen. With a few easy, closely-matched keystrokes, you can toggle your cursor into an enlarged pointer, highlight, or spotlight effect; draw on the screen; zoom in and out; and perform other effective, easy-to-remember enhancements. That's key, as anyone who has stood in front of an audience can attest: It's a bad time to get muddled. Presentation Pointer takes that into consideration with several easy-to-find access points, but even more so by grouping commands. For example, F8 activates the High Visibility Pointer, Ctrl + F8 activates the Mouse Highlight, and Shift + Ctrl + F8 activates the Spotlight. Your fingers stay in the same general area, which can mean the difference between Cool and Fool when you're fumbling in the dark. Presentation Pointer is free to try for 30 days.
Presentation Pointer's setup included a nag screen counting down our 30-day trial and a Web-based Getting started guide. But the main window's plain yet efficient layout won't let you down if you just want to start experimenting (we did). As we mentioned, Presentation Pointer offers several access points, including a system tray icon and menu and a small widget-style toolbar that hides on the desktop as a semi-transparent icon that shows up, unobtrusively, behind whatever's onscreen. Think of it as a lifeline, or a panic button, since it instantly opens the program's toolbar: We merely had to find it, tap it, and click the icon (and submenu, in some cases) to access the feature in question. But of course the hotkey combos are far easier to use, but fortunately, they're just as easy to configure, along with other specifications like spotlight shape, highlight area, and pen size, opacity, and color. You can even configure audible feedback using your own files for some features.
We were impressed with Presentation Pointer's onscreen enhancements, but even more by the ergonomic touches: clearly the developers know how it feels to stand in front of a skeptical audience and try to persuade them you know what you're doing!
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Presentation Pointer 1.3.5.