5 Hacks Every ProPresenter User Should Know


There’s nothing that catches my eye more when I’m scrolling through my RSS feed or BuzzFeed than a fresh list of “life hacks.” What could be better than simple tweaks and adjustments that make life easier? Here are a few tips and tricks for ProPresenter that are really easy to do and work wonders for your media setup.

1. Change Countdown Times

Most of the countdowns that are available for download are five minutes long. But what if you’re looking for something shorter? Our team recently decided to trim down our countdowns on Sundays to only three minutes. This is easily done by opening the Media Cue Inspector for the countdown and selecting a new “in” marker on the three minute mark.

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 11.45.10 PM

2. Use Shapes For Better Visibility On Lighter Backgrounds

Lyrics not quite showing up over a light background? It’s super easy inside the Slide Editor to add a box on your slides that will make your text pop. In this example, I used the color picker to select a hue that would compliment the background. I also turned down the opacity of the shape to make it feel a bit more natural.

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 11.34.21 PM

3. Alt+Enter

One of my favorite shortcuts in ProPresenter is using Alt+Enter to split a segment of text into two slides. This is great when SongSelect imports slides with 8-10 lines. Once inside the Song Editor, click the spot in the lyrics where you’d it like to split, then use this keyboard shortcut. The newly created slide will even keep the same labeling. You’ll thank me for this one.

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 12.59.25 AM

4. Fake Widescreen

Your church’s projector may not have widescreen (16:9) functionality, but you can get the look by simply shortening your output in ProPresenter’s Display Preferences. For example, if your projector’s resolution is 1280×1024, you would keep your width at 1280 pixels, but change your height to 720 pixels. Or if your projector’s native resolution is 1024×768, you would keep your width at 1024 and adjust your height to 576. The key is to stay aligned with the 16:9 ratio to avoid distortion. While this will not produce true “HD” results, you’ll be able to properly project content that has been created for widescreen (which is pretty much everything these days).

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 12.21.28 AM

5. Import Keynote/PowerPoint As Images

Many pastors choose to create their own sermon slides in Keynote or Powerpoint. Rather than running other presentation software alongside ProPresenter for their message, I’ve found it much easier to import jpeg copies that I’ve exported from PowerPoint/Keynote. This has also worked well for ensuring that slides are uniform across multiple campuses. Yes, you will lose any slide animation with this. (But, hey—that might not be a bad thing!)

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 12.41.29 AM

Have you tried any of these “ProPresenter hacks” before?

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Kendall Conner

Kendall Conner serves as the Creative Pastor at Piedmont Chapel in Greensboro, NC. He is a graphic designer, video editor, and all-around media geek, but above all enjoys seeing lives changed. Together with his beautiful wife, Holly, they strive to use media to spread the message of Christ and equip others for ministry.

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22 Comments on "5 Hacks Every ProPresenter User Should Know"

  1. David Hart says:

    Alt+Enter – Thank You!!!

  2. Brian says:

    Yep… thanks for #3. Pumped about that one!

  3. Mindy says:

    I never thought about doing #2 for song slides! We are using the colored text box for the sermon notes in this series… I should definitely try it for song lyrics because I know there are some slides that are just hard to read from.

  4. Kismet says:

    Wow, thanks for the hacks. I’m definitely trying them out.

  5. Jan says:

    #2! So excited to try it! I’ve been looking for new things, and this has so much potential for awesome!

  6. Alex Sawyer says:

    Number 3!!!!!!! I’ve been using ProPresenter for 4-5 years constantly, and I never knew this trick was around. Talk about the #1 time saving feature ever!

    As for #2, I like the idea of using shapes, but I still think it’s a little more efficient to setup text shadowing that will look good on all the backgrounds.

    Seriously though, #3. I’m thanking you for that one!

  7. Josh says:

    #3 makes you a gypsy! Thank you! What a time saving shortcut. Anyone know a shortcut to hide text on a slide (the way holding option/alt will hide backgrounds)? It’s not a ridiculously necessary shortcut, but there are some moments where it would come in handy.

  8. Chris Rouse says:

    For everyone chiming in about not knowing about #3, you can also use Option-Shift-Return (Or Control-Shift-Enter if you’re on a PC) to push text from one slide into the first text box of the next slide. Also, I included all of the keyboard shortcuts for ProPresenter on the lat three pages of our users guide (I work for Renewed Vision, by the way), which you can find here: http://www.renewedvision.com/downloads/pro5userguide.pdf. Once you learn the keyboard shortcuts for a lot of the common actions (Control-E to open the Editor), you’ll be able to fly through ProPresenter much faster!

  9. Josh Boone says:

    One trick I use all the time is holding the option key when clicking to disable a background change tied to a slide. Handy when the worship leader changes the feel of the song on the fly and that planned background no longer seems to fit.

    • Josh says:

      Yes Josh. Have you ever found the opposite though? Meaning the worship leader doesn’t start the next line, but the background tied to the text would be perfect for where the mood is going? I haven’t found a way to do that yet by shortcut (I know there are multiple other solutions to that but this would be simpler).

  10. Mitchel says:

    Great ideas, will definitely be trying these out. Thanks guys!

  11. Andy B says:

    No. 2 is something I have always done in Keynote, but now after we started running PP4, I can’t seem to find a way to turn down the opacity. Where is that option located?

  12. LD says:

    We currently have been using a text box as a lower third with lyrics keyed over our camera shots (similar to #2 but with live cameras)

    Our only issue is the Clear All command no longer clears the color text box so we occasionally are accidentally putting up just the black bar.

    I thought of changing the screen color (in preferences) to a dark gray with just enough difference to notice the black bar. However, I’m afraid it may mess with our key. Anyone know if this will mess things up?

  13. Nic says:

    Alt+Enter = brilliant!!!
    At my church, we introduced a triple-wide powerpoint template for our Pastors to use, where they have creative freedom to designs their slides. We did this to take full advantage of the ProPresenter+Matrox TripleHead set-up, but it has other drawbacks in that we have to import as background images/point to Hot folder of images and then recreate a Presentation with each slide assigned an individual background…
    Only problem is the Stage Foldback projector/screen doesn’t show anything useful during the sermon…

  14. Matt says:

    Sorry for being late to the party on this one but I was checking out another article you recently posted and saw this in the sidebar.

    Great post!

    I’ll add that I’ve done #2 to our Scripture slides as we use a serif font. That way no matter what the background is the scripture is legible. Also for our CCLI information on the last slide.

    I also have a dark background template and a light background template. The light background template has the background colored white and the text black with no drop shadow or outline. I was worried at first because I thought the white would overrun any motion we put but it does not.

  15. Jan says:

    regarding the 3rd hack, how about for Mac? Apple symbol + Enter?

    thank you!

  16. Here’s my favorite (other than alt+enter which everyone needs to use starting yesterday). In Pro5 for the mac, you can do transparent video. Just create the video as a ProRes 4444 file and save it as is.

    How is that helpful? What if you create a click track and do hand-drawn lyrics that come in exactly at the right time? Awesome.

    Additionally, you can choose a generic background and possibly change it on the fly because the background is seen through the transparent foreground video. The possibilities are limitless, but it’s something I discovered and we use every week.

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