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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: June 2007

Thoughts and impressions of whatever is happening in the world of PowerPoint

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July 4th: New PowerPoint Template Set From Ppted

Saturday, June 30, 2007
posted by Geetesh on 8:49 AM IST



Ppted released a new PowerPoint template set -- this one is called July 4th, Independence Day.


None of the templates at Ppted.com are free -- these are all designer templates. I just wanted to say that because lots of readers write in to say that their Indezine passwords don't let them download all the Ppted templates for free!

Categories: powerpoint, templates

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Friday, June 29, 2007
posted by Geetesh on 1:19 PM IST



There's so much you can do with PowerPoint these days -- and showcasing your best PowerPoint moment is the concept behind a new contest at iFilm.com. Microsoft is sponsoring prizes worth $10,000 for the contest -- and results are less than a day away!



There are some amazing entries -- I'm surprised that there is so much of a difference in both the quality and concept of the entries. Of all the entries, some of them do juggle the balance between concept and quality so well -- and showcase the capabilities of the new PowerPoint 2007. Check them for yourself and vote!

Categories: powerpoint_2007, presentation_samples

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Thursday, June 28, 2007
posted by Geetesh on 7:15 AM IST



Medical PowerPointOlivier Gryson is the Internet Project Director at Servier International, an independent pharmaceutical company based in France. Their medical art is an offshoot of their existing business which they offer as free downloads for non-commercial use. In this exclusive conversation, Olivier discusses Servier's medical art and its evolution and usage.

Geetesh: Tell us more about the purpose and evolution of Servier Medical Art.

Olivier: The aim of Servier Medical Art is to provide healthcare professionals with a valuable tool to help them create their PowerPoint presentations. Indeed, when you want to illustrate a specific medical mode of action or an experiment in a lab, it is very difficult to find the image that exactly suits your needs.

Medical PowerPointOur idea was to propose a construction set made of basic elements that can be combined each other to create more complex scenes. For example, to illustrate a pharmacological mode of action, you can combine an empty cell, with a nucleus, receptors, channels, and any other intracellular component by a simple “copy” and “paste”.

We launched Servier Medical Art at the occasion of the congress of the European Society of Cardiology in September 2005 in Stockholm. More than 30,000 cardiologists were attending the congress.

At this time, we were looking for an innovative service to animate our booth. It met a great success.

We then used Servier Medical Art during other international and national congresses or events in many countries worldwide. (Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Turkey, …)

Geetesh: What's unique and different about the Servier Medical Art collection. Can you share some trivia about their usage.

Olivier: First of all, our images are available as PowerPoint files. Using them only requires “copy” and “paste”. It was very important for us to propose a service that is easy to use. Indeed, most of our visitors do not have specific skill in computers.

Medical PowerPointThey are true vector images. We work with specialized scientific illustrators who produce Adobe Illustator files. Images are rescalable without loss of quality.

More than 2500 images are available for download. Furthermore, doctors can submit their suggestions online. We enrich our image bank almost every week.

Servier Medical Art is free of charge. Our objective is to be a source of reference for any healthcare professional who would like to illustrate a PowerPoint presentation. Basically, we precise on the site that images are available for educational purpose only, but we are often contacted by companies, universities or public organization who want to use our images in books or training programs. We often grant them the permission providing that they add Servier in the credits.

Recently we were amused to discover that our files were also spreading via peer-to-peer networks. We don’t think that it is the best way to get our image bank. Indeed, Servier Medical Art is in permanent evolution. Our site is the only up-to-date source to get the files. Furthermore, we do not ask for a specific registration to get the images. “You enjoy the images, you download them free of charge and that’s all!”.

Categories: clip_media, interviews, medicine, powerpoint

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007
posted by Geetesh on 4:25 PM IST



Colby DevittColby Devitt is the president and co-founder of Wildform, a multimedia software company based out of Los Angeles, USA. In this conversation, Colby discusses WildPresenter, their Flash authoring product that integrates so well with PowerPoint content.

Geetesh: Tell us more about yourself, Wildform, and WildPresenter.

Colby: I'm the president and co-founder of Wildform and one of my main responsibilities is to oversee the marketing at Wildform. I have a liberal arts background. I grew up studying ballet very seriously, got a BA in Classics from Barnard and a masters in religion from Harvard. I've spent many years writing and in theatre, exploring the intersection of art and technology. An installation project I was working on led me to learn advanced animation programs (Alias and Wavefront) and from there I immersed myself in technology. Before starting Wildform in 1999, I worked at www.nytimes.com and before that I was in charge of marketing for a document imaging company. I have tried to retain my sense of what it is like for someone to use our products who is not enamored with technology and views it as a tool. We have always tried to make our products as easy and fun to use as possible. We have also created products that we ourselves would have wanted to use.

In many ways, WildPresenter is the synthesis of all of the technology we have developed so far. It contains a media importer that converts all images, audio and video to Flash. The origin of this technology was our original Flash video converter called Flix, which we sold to ON2. WildPresenter also has a text effects tool, which is basically our standalone product, WildFX. The timeline in WildPresenter and the ability to combine any kind of SWF file together had its origins in a previous product called Linx. WildPresenter though is much more powerful than Linx because it now contains hundreds of built in shapes, objects, flowcharts, animations, slide transitions and a whole set of drawing tools, so that you can now build entire Flash web sites with the program. In addition to being a media converter, a text effects generator, and basic Flash site builder, WildPresenter contains an entire screen recording program, like Camtasia, a quiz creator, and last but not least for your readers, a PowerPoint to Flash converter, which creates very accurate conversions with the smallest possible file size.

So, really WildPresenter is like having six major programs in one. There is nothing like it on the market. It is exactly the program that I fantasized about having when I was producing for the web at the New York Times Digital -- an easy to use multimedia program that would let me quickly combine video, audio, images, and text, so that I could create something original and compelling and post it rapidly to the web, concentrate on producing great content and not get bogged down in struggling with the software.

Geetesh: What are the new PowerPoint specific features in WildPresenter 3.3 -- and can you give us case studies of end users who create outputs from their PowerPoint presentations with WildPresenter.

Colby: WildPresenter has been a powerful PowerPoint to Flash converter for awhile, generating accurate conversions and small file sizes. What's new in version 3.3 is that we have added a "Combine Your PowerPoint and Video" wizard. We added this because we have many customers who like to combine their PowerPoint files with video and convert their projects to web-friendly Flash. The wizard streamlines the process for them. They can now execute what is technologically a very complex process in three easy steps –- select a PowerPoint, select a video and click “Next”. Once they have completed the wizard, they can change the layout and design of their project if they like. WildPresenter also comes with other wizards and we will continue to add more based on what our customers tell us they most want. Wildform has a lot of fans and we like to honor them. You can read testimonials from our customers and we feature customer examples in the Customer Gallery section of our blog.

Categories: interviews, powerpoint, powerpoint_flash, wildpresenter

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007
posted by Geetesh on 8:27 PM IST



Claudyne WilderClaudyne Wilder is guest lecturer at conferences, business shows and corporate events. She is the creator of three presentation seminars: "The Winning Presentations Seminar," "The Winning Presentations Sales Seminar;" and "Creating PowerPoint Presentations That Get Your Point Across." She offers "The Winning Presentations Seminar publicly about six times a year. She also licenses this seminar to companies and consultants to teach.

Geetesh: Do you do PowerPoint training classes? What problems do you address in your class?

Claudyne: Well, yes and no. I call my classes Creating PowerPoint Presentations That Get Your Point Across. Showing them PowerPoint hints they don’t know is just one part of the class. This may be only about 2 hours of the whole class. The first exercise has nothing to do with PowerPoint. Participants write up objectives, goals, themes, key messages for the presentation they brought. Then they analyze that presentation based on the goals and objectives. So many times people realize that the presentation they created will not help them achieve their objectives and goals.

For example, a woman’s department had redone the company website and she had created a presentation to encourage people to use it. But the presentation was all about the work they had done, very boring to listen, not to mention slides with words no one understood. She had to redo her whole presentation focused on her objective and the key messages she wanted to get across.

This exercise encourages people to write first their messages and how they want the audience to react. Then they can think about creating slides.

I also show people how to logically organize their content using the formats in my CD Presentations in a Hurry: 26 Formats That Persuade. When people are asked about their experience of most PowerPoint presentations, they will usually say that the presentations are not logically organized. They can’t follow the presenter. They feel the presenter has just written down everything he or she knows on different slides…without considering a structure to organize the content. I teach people that if they are selling, they need to organize information different than if they are presenting a strategy recommendation.

We lay out all the slides on tables and the floor and people look at their organization. I have checklists we go through. Most often, once a person sees on his or her slides on the table, a realization hits that there really is no organization. Maybe opening, background, results and next steps organize the talk, but within that, the content is just one sentence after another. There’s no order.

People get very excited when they begin to see that by re-organizing and/or redoing their content, they can be better presenters. They can emphasize certain words. They can slow down and speed up when mentioning key points. They can include stories as they have cut out the unnecessary content.

Geetesh: What do typical attendees take back with them -- emotionally, learning-wise, and physically.

Claudyne: Many people do not understand how to use the slide master. Once they realize they should not make text boxes all over their slides, they get very excited. They begin to realize they will save hours of time as well as have more professional looking slides.

Also, very few people know about custom shows. A custom show is one of the best features in PowerPoint. A presenter can have many versions of the same presentation in one file. This works very well for people who have a high level talk of only 6 slides and then more details with 12 slides. They can have all this in one talk.

I ask everyone to make a one slide executive summary of his or her talk. I give them slide designs to use. At first, everyone is confused. They just want to keep listing data for slide after slide. I tell them that many executives want a one-slide summary and after that may be more open to listening to details. Sometimes we only make the executive summaries and sometimes people read them out loud. The power of hearing a presentation summarized on one slide is wonderful. People get how impactful it is to really summarize a talk.

And here are some typical comments about the class: “ Thank you for the before and after examples of our company presentations. I can use them. I’m going to save hours of time creating my presentations in the future. I may even have time to practice out loud.”

Categories: interviews, powerpoint, training

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posted by Geetesh on 2:44 PM IST



PowerPoint template designs are aplenty -- and many vendors create textured and patterned designs that can be used in most presentation scenarios. However, trends change and new designs are created all the time in an attempt to create more contemporary looks.



One of the newest such PowerPoint template collections is Volume 5 of the well known PowerFinish collection.

Read the review here...

Categories: powerpoint, templates

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Saturday, June 23, 2007
posted by Geetesh on 3:08 PM IST



This exclusive book extract from How To Do Everything with PowerPoint 2007 is presented here with permission from McGraw-Hill/Osborne.

The book, authored by Ellen Finkelstein is the ideal resource for anyone who wants to create rich presentations with PowerPoint. You'll find out how to use all the features of the software and get coverage of key topics, such as creating a well-written outline, the fine points of graphic design, and tips for delivering the presentation in front of an audience.



Read the excerpts here...

Categories: books, powerpoint_2007

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Thursday, June 21, 2007
posted by Geetesh on 2:58 PM IST



WildPresenter 3.3 has a great new feature that allows you to import a PowerPoint presentation and a video clip within three clicks -- and you don't have to do anything else. Just wait for the program to create an output that looks similar to the screenshot you can see in Figure 1:

WildPresenter PowerPoint and Movie Import
Figure 1: A presentation and a movie side-by-side in one output

Wildform, the creators of WildPresenter have also put up a walkthrough of the entire process on their site. Look here...

Categories: powerpoint, powerpoint_flash, wildpresenter

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posted by Geetesh on 10:32 AM IST



One of the most elegant, most influential and most groaned-about pieces of software in the history of computers is 20 years old. There won't be a lot of birthday celebrations for PowerPoint; the program is one the world loves to mock almost as much as it loves to use.

Lee Gomes discusses more on WSJ.com...

See Also: Tom Spring on PC World and Robert Gaskins Home Page

Categories: powerpoint

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007
posted by Geetesh on 11:39 AM IST



Mike Pearce teaches social studies at Ellison High School in the Killeen Independent School District in Texas, USA. But Mike is not just another teacher -- he uses PowerPoint presentations to deliver a successful teaching system that has shown a phenomenal improvement in the results and passing rates.

US History PowerPoint

Read more here...

Categories: case_studies, education, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 10:04 AM IST



Google has acquired online slide presentation company Zenter, filling out its web-based office software portfolio with an application similar to Microsoft’s popular PowerPoint. Financial terms were not disclosed. While the Internet search giant has already made Microsoft’s PowerPoint files viewable in GMail, Google has not yet launched its own web version of PowerPoint.

More on the Red Herring site...

Categories: google, powerpoint

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Thursday, June 14, 2007
posted by Geetesh on 12:43 PM IST



Tom Mucciolo is president of MediaNet, and a recognized industry expert in visual communications, business presentations and leadership skills. He has served as a skills consultant for major corporations since 1985, concentrating on the script, visuals, and delivery associated with presentations, especially electronic events. High-profile communicators, including corporate leaders, politicians, educators, physicians, lawyers, sales teams, media personalities, as well as those at any organizational level, demand his coaching expertise to enhance executive presence, improve leadership effectiveness and develop high-quality communication skills.



In this interview, Tom discusses his work, his training, and PowerPoint specific visual skills.

Read the interview here...

Categories: interviews, powerpoint

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007
posted by Geetesh on 8:46 PM IST



Mark Sicignano (pictured to the left) has been developing software for over 20 years. In addition to creating ScreenShot Direct he is also a co-founder of SoftwareTime which creates software tools that encourage children to use the computer wisely. In this conversation, Mark discusses ScreenShot Direct, a screen capture product that directly inserts screen captures as new PowerPoint slides.

Geetesh: Tell us more about yourself and ScreenShot Direct.

Mark: ScreenShot Direct resulted from a conversation I had with a friend. He was looking for a utility to capture screenshots into PowerPoint, and he complained that everything he found either required too many steps, such as having to manually save and import screenshots into PowerPoint, or was focused on creating special effects. He was unable to find an application that streamlined his workflow.

I've created numerous PowerPoint presentations in my career, but they never consisted of many screenshots. My friend's challenge sounded like a fun project and I like to help people! I'm a software developer and I enjoy solving usability problems. I've worked in Clinical Information Systems, Document Management and Retail, but lately I've enjoyed solving smaller problems for people I can relate to directly.

My friend needed an easy way to snap lots of screenshots into PowerPoint. Every day he was creating presentations for demos and training. We talked over breakfast and while he described the features he wanted, I focused on hearing his actual problem. During the screen capture phase of creating demos or training materials, he wanted to focus on the application or process he was documenting in PowerPoint. He didn't want to have to "multitask" by constantly Alt-tabbing between a screenshot tool, PowerPoint, and the application or process.

So I asked, "What if I could give you a tool that gets your screenshots into PowerPoint with a single keystroke, and during that process, PowerPoint and the tool would both stay in the background, out of sight allowing you to focus on your applications or processes." He was ecstatic and said, "That would be a beautiful thing!"

So off I went to create it...

Geetesh: Tell us about some case studies where the use of ScreenShot Direct has resulted in quicker and more efficient workflows.

Mark: Case #1 is my friend who uses ScreenShot Direct every day for his demos and training material. As soon as I gave him a proof of concept with the basic functionality, he called me to rave about how efficient the tool made him. He suggested some basic improvements, but said the basic design was what he needed.

I never doubted that the tool would save time because it eliminates so many unnecessary steps. After picking which presentation to insert screenshots, you simply hit the PrintScreen key (or Alt-PrintScreen)... No switching to PowerPoint, no need to create new slides, no need to manually paste or scale the image. Simply focus on the primary task you want to document, and stay in the "flow" (or "the zone") while you snap away.

Once I refined ScreenShot Direct a bit more, I passed it along to others who, in Case #2, use it to collect customer requirements. The benefit in this case is that as customers demonstrate their systems to explain their business process, users can capture screenshots into PowerPoint without any distractions. This makes discovery sessions much more efficient and productive for all involved.

After seeing these niches for ScreenShot Direct and the excitement people had for it, I decided to release it as shareware. To be clear, it isn't a general purpose screenshot utility. ScreenShot Direct addresses a specific need: lots of screenshots... directly into PowerPoint... fast. I have a few more enhancements for future updates, but I want to keep the tool simple and it should always be about snapping screens into PowerPoint as fast as possible.

Categories: add-in, interviews, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 11:40 AM IST



Google's GMail email service now allows you to preview the PowerPoint slides you receive as an attachment without downloading them at all. This option, which was available to a few GMail users is now rolled out for all users.

When you receive a PowerPoint presentation as an attachment, you can click the new View as SlideShow option to preview the presentation from slide to slide. This option only works with PPT files, not the new PPTX files created by PowerPoint 2007.

Categories: google, powerpoint

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007
posted by Geetesh on 3:31 PM IST



Carmine Gallo is a communications coach for the world’s most admired brands. His client list includes Intel, Chase, Barclays, IBM, Nokia, and many others. He is an Emmy award-winning journalist and former anchor, host, and business correspondent for CNN, Fox, CNET, and CBS. Gallo writes a bi-weekly column on the subject of business communications for Businessweek.com and he is the author of two books aimed at business professionals who want to become better speakers and presenters.



In this interview, Carmine discusses his work, his books, and PowerPoint specific communication skills.

Read the interview here...

Categories: books, interviews, powerpoint

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Saturday, June 02, 2007
posted by Geetesh on 5:10 PM IST



This exclusive book extract from Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 on Demand is presented here with permission from Pearson Education.

The book, authored by Steve Johnson is in full color, and explains common PowerPoint procedures using a series of numbered steps with tons of screenshots that are captioned.



Read the excerpts here...

Categories: books, powerpoint_2007

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