ThinkVantage Presentation Director, or just Presentation Director, is a utility available on Lenovo and IBM ThinkPads that assists in connecting to a projector or secondary (external) display. On computers running Windows XP or Vista, when you hold the blue Fn key and press F7 (Fn+F7), it pops up a menu of display choices which we have customized for the most common projector resolutions at Carleton.
A summary of the specifics of the product.
- Presentation Director, part of the ThinkVantage utility suite, designed for ThinkPad computers by Lenovo (formerly IBM)
- The version we're using is 4.08, which (as of today) is the latest that covers all the ThinkPad models we have.
- Presentation Director is only for Windows XP and Vista; Windows 7 has a built-in Presentation Mode (hold the Windows logo key while pressing P), and the Windows Mobility Center, which make Presentation Director unnecessary.
- Any documentation will be in any Lenovo-specific help installed on the ThinkPad.
- Support page: http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?lndocid=MIGR-45798
- Troubleshooting page: http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?lndocid=MIGR-55434
Presentation Director will only install and run on Lenovo/IBM ThinkPad (or ThinkCentre) computers, running Windows XP or Windows Vista. The ThinkPad must have a recent BIOS, the ThinkPad Hotkey Features utility, and the ThinkPad Power Management Driver installed. On Windows Vista Service Pack 2 and later, an extra compatibility patch is installed.
This program is free to use on any Lenovo/IBM ThinkPad (or ThinkCentre) computers.
Same as campus use.
Lab and Classroom Availability
Labs and Classrooms
To request this software be installed on a refreshing lab/classroom contact xxx
College Owned Equipment
Presentation Director can be installed from the KBOX user portal , first by running the "Install Presentation Director" MI, then by running the "Presentation Director for User (2of2)" Kscript. It is supposed to uninstall any previous versions as part of the installation. If this installation does not work, check the System Requirements (above), and try uninstalling any previous version before retrying the installation.
Link to protected information for ITS instructions
Presentation Director can be downloaded and installed by the ThinkVantage System Update utility. However, installed that way, it will not have the menu customized to match Carleton projectors.
Who To Call
ITS HelpDesk (x5999), and PEPS (x7070) fully support the use of this utility. Jim Pierret suggested the entries on the Carleton-customized menu, to best match campus projectors. Sande Nissen packaged this installation.
Questions, Tips and Tricks
Long, long ago, then you pressed Fn+F7 on a ThinkPad, it switched between three states: ThinkPad display only, external (secondary) display or projector only, mirrored display on both. ThinkPads without Presentation Director installed (or an older version) may still work that way. But Presentation Director, along with a recent BIOS, the ThinkPad Hotkey Features utility, and the ThinkPad Power Management Driver, provides a customizable menu when you press Fn+F7 that makes it easier to connect to projectors whose features are unknown.
This menu of choices was specified by PEPS for maximum compatibility with campus projectors:
- Normal display - Desktop only
- Same display - laptop and projector 1024 x 768
- Same display High resolution - laptop and projector 1280 x 1024
- Wide screen Same display - laptop and projector 1280 x 800
- Wide screen Same display High resolution - laptop and projector 1440 x 900
The 1st choice should be the highest native resolution of the ThinkPad display, or whichever resolution the user likes to work in. The 2nd and 3rd choices have a 4 x 3 aspect ratio, and so will work best on the ThinkPad models with square-ish displays: T42, T43, T60. The 4th and 5th choices have a 16 x 9 aspect ratio, and so will work best on the ThinkPad models with widescreen displays: T60Wide, T61, T500. All of these choices mirror the ThinkPad display to the projector or secondary display. There are other options, usually called "extending" the display, that stretch the desktop across multiple displays.
If you run Presentation Director from the ThinkVantage menu under the Programs menu, it runs:
C:\Program Files\Lenovo\NPDIRECT\PDIRECT.exe /w
which is the same as press Fn+F7 then choosing Manage Schemes... From that window titled Manage Presentation Director Settings, you can enable and disable (check and uncheck) many other menu choices, including extending the display at different resolutions. You can even add you own entries to better match the resolution of your external display or your favorite projector. From that window titled Manage Presentation Director Settings,you can choose Options to export or import the current menu to/from a .npd file. The file Carleton.npd, downloaded as part of the installer, contains the menu shown above.
Mirroring the displays like this only works if the resolution chosen can actually be displayed on both the built-in ThinkPad display and the secondary monitor or projector. If you get a black/blank screen with any menu choice, the screen with no image probably cannot handle that resolution. If you get a black/blank screen like this, choose another menu option right away, else you risk damaging one of the displays or projector. Except for the 2nd choice on a square-ish model, none of these mirrored menu options use the highest resolution of the built-in display. At lower resolutions, the ThinkPad display appears fuzzy to most people, which cannot be fixed.
Presentation Director assumes an analog (VGA) connection. A digital connection may result in this error message: "Your computer is not attached to an external monitor or projector. Attach one and then select this scheme again." Here is a technical note on how to fix this on the ThinkPad T500, which may work on other models.