One good way of sharing your photos is to play them back as a slideshow. Why would you do this? To have others admire your work, of course, and it’s also a great way of showing off your photos at parties. What’s more, it can all be done in just a few simple clicks. Here’s how.

While popularly known as a great tool for editing images, Windows Live Photo Gallery also offers some classy ways of playing your photos back as a slideshow. That’s why I’ve used it for this guide (for more information, see another of our guides How to download Windows Live Photo Gallery). However, you’ll find that other programs such as Photoscape and follow a very similar process.

You’ll need:

  • a computer with Windows Live Photo Gallery installed
  • any photos you’d like to play in your slideshow, saved in a folder on your computer or to an external storage device.

Follow these step-by-step instructions to make a slideshow

Step 1: Once you’ve opened Windows Live Photo Gallery, click Home at the top left of your screen. Now, among the buttons on the top you’ll see one on the right labelled ‘Slide show’.

Step 2: There are now two ways to make a slideshow. You can simply click Slide show once and Windows Live Photo Gallery will prepare a slideshow of every photo in your folder. If you want to view only certain pictures in your slideshow, hold down Ctrl on your keyboard and click on each picture you’d like to include. Then click Slide show.

Step 3: If you’d like to experiment with different formats and effects, you should click and hold down Slide show at this stage.

In the drop-down list that now appears, you’ll see six options: ‘Pan and Zoom’, ‘Contemporary’, ‘Cinematic’, ‘Fade’, ‘Black and White’, ‘Sepia’.

Slide show options

Step 4: Each of these options presents each of the pictures in your slideshow in a different way. ‘Pan and Zoom’, for instance, slowly zooms into a picture and scrolls across before moving on to the next photo. ‘Black and White’ strips away all the colour. ‘Fade’ makes your pictures slowly dissolve into the next one in the queue. Click your preferred format.

Step 5: The screen will now go black and then the first image in the queue will appear. Each image will stay on your screen for a few seconds before moving on to the next photo.

Slide show image

Step 6: When you move your mouse pointer, you’ll notice three options along the top left of your screen. The first is ‘Change theme’, which lets you switch to one of the other five slideshow formats. ‘Create movie’ takes you to Windows Live Movie Maker to make a short film with your images. ‘Share slide show’ lets you upload the photos from your slideshow directly to Flickr, Facebook, SkyDrive, Windows Live Groups or YouTube.

Slide show options

Step 7: At the top right of your screen you will see yet another option labelled ‘Back to Photo Gallery’ (see image in Step 6 above). You can either click this or press Esc on your keyboard to end your slideshow at any time and return to Windows Live Photo Gallery’s main screen.

Other ways of creating slideshows

There are other ways of making a slideshow of your photos if you don’t want to use Windows Live Photo Gallery. Microsoft PowerPoint is one of the most popular programs for making these.

If you don’t want to spend the money to buy Microsoft Office software, you  can use the Open Office version, Impress, for free. Likewise, websites like Slide, Slideroll and Smile Box offer free ways to make a photo slideshow online.

Jeff Meyer writes about camera techniques and other aspects of photography for