Category: Writing

Projecting Slides on a Mac

Projecting Slides on a Mac

I’ve had a Mac at work for a year now, but I’m still a Windows girl at heart: I’ve only just learnt how to project slides to an external screen from my Mac. It’s useful info, so I’m recording it here.

Unlike Windows (where it’s just Windows key + P), there’s no simple keystroke for this.

Project to an External Display from a Mac:

!! This functionality is only available when you have an external display connected !!

    • Apple icon (top left) | System preferences | Displays (top left, second row down).
    • Click the Arrangement tab (it won’t be there unless you have a cable connecting your laptop to another display).
    • Uncheck Mirror Displays.
      • The good news is that this setting will be remembered, so unless you change it back again (for instance when pairing), it will still be set that way the next time you connect an external display.
    • If you want, arrange the displays so that the extra display is to the left / right of your laptop (to match the actual setup – this can be helpful if you want to drag things between the two screens).
    • This will extend your desktop to two screens, one of which will project to a connected external display, and one of which will be your laptop screen.
    • Then you just make sure your slides are on the projected screen, and your speaker notes are on your laptop.
    • More here:

Display Slides in Presenter View:


  • Slide Show | Play from start (or whatever)
  • Hover over the bottom left of the screen while slides are being shown.
  • Click the icon that looks like lines of text on a page
  • Select Use Presenter View

Google Slides:

  • When not in presenter view, there is a Present menu, top right
  • This has a presenter view option – which will open a new tab in the browser with a Speaker Notes header.
  • Click on Speaker Notes, then just separate that browser tab onto your external screen.


  • If you have an external display connected to a Mac, then Keynote will automatically display slides on the external display and show presenter view on your screen (but not necessarily speaker notes – see below).
  • To add speaker notes while editing slides, choose View | Show presenter notes
  • To see speaker notes when presenting (only works when connected to an external display), hover over your screen to see this icon, top right:
    • Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 12.36.56
  • Click on that icon and it will give you a bewildering array of choices… find the Presenter Notes checkbox, bottom left, and click that. You can also move components around and resize them to look however you want.
  • More here:
Beating Writers’ Block

Beating Writers’ Block

I found this one tip hugely useful when I was writing novels:

Assume that your first draft will be crap.

It helps to know that even professional writers produce crap on their first attempt. It’s allowed to be crap. You can even sort of aim for it to be crap. It’s really really important to suspend your inner critic at the first draft stage. Your inner critic is your worst enemy at that point: your inner critic is a cruel malicious bully who you would never allow anywhere near anybody you loved.

But without that first draft, you have nothing. So: allow yourself to write utter nonsense, because no matter how crap it is, it is content. It is raw material. And you really badly need that raw material in order to proceed.

Once you have the raw material, invite your inner critic back to the party. Now you can edit and craft and hone.

Oh yes, and here’s a sub-item which I guess I learnt so long ago, I’d forgotten about it: Editing your own work is not as bad as you think.

When I was at school writing essays, I only ever wrote one draft and handed it straight in. This was because I couldn’t bear to read my own work back to myself – I always hated it. But then I realised that it was really satisfying to edit my own work, and it meant I could make it a lot better.

So, use the “rubbish first draft” to get you past that first I-don’t-want-to-do-it hurdle, because you are giving yourself permission to produce utter dross. And it doesn’t matter, because you’re going to go back and improve it – which is a really satisfying process.