Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Playing Slideshows for Free on Windows and Mac

There are a multitude of reasons to play picture slideshows. Some reasons include:
  • Showing products at vendor or craft shows
  • Showing details and specifications about products
  • Displaying pictures of a couple at their wedding or anniversary party
  • Sharing moments at family reunions and events
  • And much more
There are third -party applications that help create slideshows, but they may require purchasing software and/or Internet access. An easier way is to use the slideshow features built into both Windows and Mac devices. Using built in programs to play slideshows is free on both Windows and Mac devices, and the only thing required is having locally stored photos to display.

Playing Slideshows for Free on Windows and Mac Devices

First, copy all images to include in the slideshow if they do not already exist on the device. Do not worry about images in sub-folders, these images will also play in the slideshow. Any images located inside the folder, including those in sub-folders, will rotate through the slideshow. If there are images you do not want included, temporarily move them to a different location, such as the desktop so they are easy to find later.

On a Windows Device
  • Navigate to the folder where the images are stored to start the slideshow. Often this is the Pictures Library folder.
  • Once inside the folder, click the "Slideshow" button in the menu bar at the top of the window.


  • Once the slideshow begins you can right-click anywhere on the slideshow to make the following changes:
    • Modify the speed of the rotating slides between slow, medium and fast.
    • Toggling looping and shuffling off and on.
      • Looping will continue rotating images after the last image has been displayed so the slideshow does not need to be restarted.
      • Shuffling randomizes the order of the images rather than playing them in order of the main folder and each subfolder.
    • Pausing, moving forward or backward between images.
    • Exiting the slideshow (pressing the escape key will also exit the slideshow).


  • If looping is enabled, the slideshow will continue until it is stopped or exited.
  • To exit the slideshow, press the Escape key, or right-click and select "Exit".

On a Mac Device
  • Open the "Photos" application.
  • Click the play button in the upper right corner from within the Photos tab.


  • From the drop down menu modify the following as desired:
    • In the Themes tab, select the entrance type for each image. NOTE: Placing a check next to any available type provides a preview.


    • In the Music tab, select music to play during the slideshow.


  • Click the "Play Slideshow" button.
  • The slideshow will continue to play until the escape button is selected.
  • NOTE: Specific slideshows can also be created using the Photos app by clicking File, "Create Slideshow". This allows specific images to be added to the slideshow while others are left out. Creating a slideshow also provides the same theme and music choices, as well as some other features like:
    • Looping
    • Fitting the slideshow length to music chosen
    • Transition type and speed
    • Photo scaling
    • Previewing the slideshow


Running slideshows on both Windows and Mac devices is a fun, creative, and informative way of interacting that can be used by both businesses and individuals. When away from a home network, using a local application to run a slideshow is often preferred over an online or third-party application because Internet access cannot always be guaranteed. Even when Internet access is available, it can get costly if it soaks up too much of a data plan. Using default programs already installed on either a Windows or Mac device is easy to use, free, and does not require Internet access.

There is more than one way to run slideshows and the default programs may not provide all the features desired, but in a jam and without Internet access, they can save they day!

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