Backup Slides: The Six Situations Saviors

Backup slides used for presentations

Imagine, you are going on a vacation and the task left to complete is your packing. You keep in mind every situation – a wardrobe malfunction, a weather situation, a travel mishap etc. With all those scenarios, you end up overpacking (due to packing backup clothes) and bringing with you an unnecessary load of those items that you could do simply fine without on that trip.

Similarly, imagine people repeating the same behavior while creating presentations. Fearing that their spectators might want a detailed explanation they keep on adding redundant slides to the presentation, making it even more boring and longer.

Now let us imagine a second scenario where you have made a presentation and presenting it to the audience, but you notice that people are getting bored after some time by the points that you are presenting and you need a diversion to gain back the focus of the audience, what do you do?

For both the situations the answer is backup slides!

What is a Backup Slide?

Backup slides are extra slides that provide the provides the presenter with the additional information they need

A backup slide is an extra and sometimes hidden slide that provides the presenter with excess information that is subsidiary unless it is needed or is asked for. They include backup material for detailed information like statistics, maybe some fact on a topic or an activity that may or may not be used by a presenter throughout the presentation.

So, say that you are presenting for 15 mins, and you have at least fifteen main slides, accompanying that you can have at least 15-25 backup slides at the minimum that is one backup slide per main slide.

Why Use Backup Slides?

In this technological era of less attention span and more doubts and queries, having backup slides becomes important more than ever. Keeping backup slides helps the user in many ways.

1. Aid in concise main slides

Firstly, backup slides might help you to keep the main slides concise and to the point, while so it might also help you to identify unnecessary, additional points on your main slide and shift it to the backups, furthermore, making your presentation short and engaging rather than loaded with overcrowding pointers.

2. A distraction from the conventional

Secondly, they might help you get out from the second scenario that was mentioned above, sometimes you may notice that the audience is getting bored off by same old way of presentation and need a diversion from those monotonous pointers. Here the backup slides come into the picture in which you can add some interesting matter like an entertaining video, an activity or a social experiment related to your topic which might help you recapture the attention of the audience.

Another way of diverting from the usual way is making presentations using different presentation tools, for more information on how to create better presentations using these tools check out our article 5 presentations tools to use with multimedia presentations

3. Additional information – QandA

One could also use the backup slides during the QandA session to help answer the question of the audience with a better graphical and visual explanation. For instance, if a person asks on the statistics of a particular topic, you could whip out that extra statistics slide that you had made just in case that supports your answer and impress the audience. (One could also keep an extra blank backup slide to explain a concept with a PowerPoint pen during the presentation)

4. Prepares for queries and hurdles

Preparing backup slides enables you to think of possible challenges and questions that could come your way during the presentation. Thus, indirectly preparing you to have an answer for any type of questions posed to you and making you well versed with your topic.

5. Reference for later revisits

These slides also function as reference notes if you wish to revisit the content later and helps jog your memory and knowledge in brief, saving you the time of finding all the extra and complicated information again.

6. Savior in times of graphic crisis

What if you are going on with your presentation and in midst of it when you have to present the audience with an important audio or video, but it does not work displaying the message that this file has been corrupted, what would you do? A simple pre crisis solution would be to have the screenshots of the main graphics of video and simple pointer explanation of the audio already present in your backup slides so that you do not lose on important concept and your time on regaining the file.

For example, you are going to present on the color change of litmus paper in the presence of acid or base and you have added a video but just to be safe in case the video file corrupts you could take screenshots of only the litmus color change so that you have a graphical backup.

How to hide backup slides and then use them

With an advanced hide slide function in Microsoft PowerPoint, one can now hide the backup slides making it only accessible to the presenter and can further retrieve them (making it visible to the audience) with the help of hyperlinks.

To hide a particular slide, you can go to slide where the numbered slides are present, then right click on the slide that you want to hide and click the option hide slide, that slide will automatically not appear during the presentation mode. However, if you want to access the hidden backup slides during the presentation, you can create a hyperlink by selecting words or shapes on the slides that are not hidden and redirecting the source to the hidden slide.

A great, detailed video on how to hide slides and use them through hyperlinks is

Creating a back up of the presentation

There is a difference between backup and back up. Creating backup slides means creating extra or substitute slides for more information whereas, having back up slides means duplicating or creating a copy of the presentation. Basically, the point of backing up the slides is to have an additional copy with you just in case something there is an issue with the original presentation.

i) Download a copy

So, what many people usually do with their slides is that they download it beforehand so that if there is some internet connectivity issue on the day of their presentation, they already have an offline copy of it saved in their device.

The question would be that how can one download an offline copy of the presentation? It is quite simple, if you are using Microsoft Power Point (online version) for your presentation select the file tab on the top left corner of the ribbon you will see a tab opening with the option ‘save as’. Click the save as button which will then show the different choices for saving like download a copy, download as PDF, download as ODP (an ODP file means an Open Document Presentation file format which can be used applications like LibreOffice Impress or Apache OpenOffice Impress) or download as images, select whichever way you wish to save it in for an offline copy.

In other applications like Canva, one can find the download option on the top right corner, which may allow you to download your presentation in standard quality

ii) Maintaining a hard copy

What if you are in a situation where you are going to present your slides and you are in an area where there is no availability of electronic devices, what would you do?

Preparing for this scenario some people print a hard copy of their presentation just in case there is some issue with the availability of electronic devices present in the area.

This also helps the audience to focus when your slides have plenty of details, as they could concentrate better on concepts rather than remembering the details as they already have a copy of the details.

Deleted a PowerPoint presentation by mistake, how do I recover it?

To recover a deleted PowerPoint presentation file (this method is only possible if you have a Microsoft PowerPoint with the one drive account) you can go to your one drive account, search the deleted PowerPoint file and simply click on it and open it, following which you can go to files section and save or download it.

For other different ways to recover a deleted PowerPoint file you can visit the site Systoolsgroup.

Which application is efficient for creating presentation, backup slides and backing up slides?

There are a lot of applications to create vivid, effective, and amazing presentations like Canva, google slides, Microsoft PowerPoint, slidesgo, genially etc.

However, one of the oldest, easy to use and efficient application suggested is Microsoft PowerPoint. As it is the oldest everyone is familiar with its basic working therefore making it easy to use. Moreover, there are numerous tutorials present on the internet teaching how to use it and its various functions.

For more cool hacks to make your PowerPoint slides attractive you can watch the video below

Presenter Notes and Presenter View

If you want to only keep and use extra information for yourself without any pictures or slides rather than backup slides you could use presenter notes.

All you have to do is go to the bottom right corner of the page where you can notice all sorts of views, there you would a notes option, click on it and you would get a space (with the title click to add notes) below your selected slide and you could type in flashcard notes for you to refer.

Secondly, to make it accessible for yourself during the presentation click on the slideshow view, then right click on the slide and a dropdown list will appear with the option ‘show presenter view’ click on it and it will let you view all the presenter notes that you have created on your laptop without it being visible presenting screen.

For a better visual example on how to use presenter view, you can watch the video

Checklist of backup slides

Here is a checklist we have made for your reference to verify whether your backup slides have covered up all the pointers mentioned above:

Helped in making the main slide points concise
Added a distractive slide of an activity, video, or social experiment
Added backup slides with additional information relating to main slides
Made you think of possible queries
Can become good references to jog memory for revisits
Added slides with screenshots/ pointers of important video/audio files in case of corruption
Downloaded an offline copy or printed a hard copy of your presentation


Overall, having backup slides can become very resourceful during a presentation whether it be for distraction, additional information, or graphic backup purposes.

These slides would not only help you in dealing with the audience better but also increase your knowledge of your topic and make your presentation flow smoothly and effectively as well.

Enroll in our transformative
1:1 Coaching Program

Schedule a call with our expert communication coach to know if this program would be the right fit for you

Scroll to Top