If you have to show source code in a presentation, there are a few easy things you can do to improve your audience’s experience:
Use a larger Font
It’s obvious that for many people reading source code presented with a font size of 10 Pt might be a problem. In mid to large size rooms it will be next to impossible for many of your listeners to decipher it.
Visual Studio 2010 with default font
In my presentation when showing source code directly from some IDE, I use a font size of 14 Pt. Even with large rooms there never was a problem with that size.
Visual Studio 2010 with font in 14pt
Set you Selection Back color to yellow
A typical mistake with novice presenters is to select portions of source when they want to emphasize on that code. What works well on the laptop’s screen turns out to be even counterproductive. For the audience, the typical white letters on darkblue background just produce an unreadable mess of pixels.
Visual Basic for Applications IDE with selected text in default color scheme
When recently watching some video of Roy Osherove I had a real epiphany: when he showed sourcecode in Visual Studio, he highlighted it with a bright yellow background. Not only does this not infer the readability of the code. Moreover it is rather intuitive since we are used to that textmarker-like effect.
Visual Basic for Applications IDE with selected text with yellow textmarker-like selection color
Hide unneeded Tools
Modern IDEs provide a vast amount of features and tools resulting in a number of toolwindows and commandbars. For the purpose of the demo you are doing just a few of the toolwindows in your IDE may be really needed.
Visual Studio 2010 with many open tool windows
Thus, just hide them so that your audience can focus the code you’re showing. I recommend not just to collapse the unneeded tools – also hide the tool’s tabs.
Visual Studio 2010 with almost no tool windows
Use Full Screen Mode
Even after hiding the tool windows there remains a lot of clutter consuming screen real estate, such as the commandbars. If you feel the need to remove that distraction as well, your IDE may provide some full screen mode.
In Visual Studio you can enter the full screen mode by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Enter.
Visual Studio 2010 in full screen mode
I hope I could show you that even when presenting with code directly from you IDE, the usability of your demo can be greatly advanced by considering simple tips.
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