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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: August 2008

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

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Enable Presentation Download on SlideBoom

Thursday, August 21, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 2:47 PM IST



You already learned how you can upload your presentations to SlideBoom -- but do you know that unless you enable the option, all downloads of the original PowerPoint presentation (PPT or PPTX) are disabled when you share the URL of your online presentation. Most of the time, you might be happy with this default behavior, but it is good to know that this can be changed on a presentation-to-presentation basis.

This and other similar options can be found within the Privacy options values within the Uploading your presentation screen within the SlideBoom site. If these options are only visible as a thin strip that you can see in Figure 1, click the downward pointing chevron to see all the options, as shown in Figure 2.

Privacy Options in SlideBoom
Figure 1: The Privacy options strip shows you options

Download Options in SlideBoom
Figure 2: Click the chevron, and you can edit the privacy options.

Thereafter, click the Submit button, and you are done.

Categories: online_presentations, powerpoint, powerpoint_flash, slideboom

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 10:01 AM IST



MathType BoxDesignScience announced that the new MathType version 6 for the Macintosh is now shipping. This is a major upgrade that adds support for Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and Intel Macs, and Microsoft Office 2008. New features include TeX/LaTeX input, the ability to copy equations to and from Wikipedia, and more. MathType is the full-featured, professional version of the Equation Editor in Microsoft Office and many other products, and is used by math and science educators, engineers, research scientists, students and publishing professionals to include mathematical notation in printed documents, presentations and web pages.

Read the full press release on the DesignScience site...

Categories: mac, office_mac

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 2:08 PM IST



Nancy DuarteNancy Duarte has been a Principal of Duarte Design since 1990. Her firm is in the heart of the Silicon Valley and the client list is loaded with Fortune 500 companies. slide:ologyHer passion for business communications that are clear, meaningful and attractive has opened doors for her in a business world full of cluttered and complex visual communications.

In this interview, Nancy discusses her much awaited book slide:ology that was released this month. Nancy discusses how the book evolved, how she decided what makes it to the book, and more. She also discusses herself and the importance of stories in slides. And then talks about a scraped book cover!

Read the interview here...

Categories: books, design, interviews, powerpoint

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Saturday, August 16, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 1:55 PM IST



Yury Uskov is a founder and CEO of iSpring Solutions Inc., an innovative software company with their development center in Russia. Yury has a Masters degree in Software Engineering and since 2001 have been working in rich media industry inspired with the idea of making the best solution for online presentation sharing. iSpring Solutions has already launched several Flash technology projects including iSpring, a PowerPoint to Flash converter, and SlideBoom, an online service for presentations sharing.

Geetesh: Tell us more about SlideBoom -- did you look at this as a natural evolution process after iSpring?

Yury: I’d rather mention two aspects. First is that iSpring users needed such a site to share their great presentations converted by desktop products. From this point of view SlideBoom is just a great companion to iSpring.

Secondly, it is not a secret that people use online services more and more each day. This growing tendency inspired us to build SlideBoom as an online alternative to iSpring. From this point of view, SlideBoom looks like a result of iSpring evolution process.

Geetesh: What sets SlideBoom apart from similar slide sharing sites?

Yury: Thanks for the good question. Other similar sites are usually good for sharing static presentations only, and this kills some advantages of PowerPoint presentations. SlideBoom is designed for sharing rich video-like presentations with animations, embedded Flash movies, audio narrations and video clips. The unique feature of SlideBoom is graphical annotations over presentation content, which could be saved with a presentation on the portal.

I can say that SlideBoom leads the second generation of PowerPoint sharing facilities (PowerPoint to Web 2.0) and I know that our competitors also work on similar solutions. We have developed iSpring technology since 2004, and have an advantage over competitors at least for 2-3 years.

We get feedback from people that use SlideBoom and most of them tell that SlideBoom is the service that they were looking for a long time. And I am sure there is a room for SlideBoom at the market, and it will have a great future.

Categories: interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint, powerpoint_flash, slideboom

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posted by Geetesh on 11:49 AM IST



Greg FrieseGreg Friese, MS, NREMT-P is president of Emergency Preparedness Systems LLC and a paramedic, educator, author, and outdoor enthusiast. To learn more and to receive rapid e-learning design and production tips subscribe to the EPS blog at their site.

Geetesh: Tell us more about yourself, Emergency Preparedness Systems LLC, and the training programs you create.

Greg: I am the founder and president of Emergency Preparedness Systems LLC. EPS does four things:

  • We create narrated multimedia Flash movies for emergency responders.
  • We convert existing classroom training for online delivery.
  • We design and deliver new lessons and curriculum for online delivery that honor student's knowledge, experience, and time.
  • We teach our proven rapid e-learning for emergency responders production process to educators and training officers.
Our training programs for EMTs and paramedics, generally 25-30 minutes long, are used for continuing or refresher education. Since emergency responders work rotating shifts, it is very difficult for all employees to be in the training room together. Online lessons allow asynchronous delivery of the exact same content across multiple shifts and multiple stations. If users are called out for an emergency they can resume the training program when they return. Each lesson is approved by the Continuing Education Coordinating Board for EMS (CECBEMS) so students know that it will be accepted for local, state, or national recertification requirements. Most EPS content is distributed through CentreLearn.com and RapidCE.com.

Geetesh: Why do you use PowerPoint as the starting point for the creation of these programs? And what else do you use to enhance and distribute these programs.

Greg: We use PowerPoint for several reasons. First of all it is an excellent tool for us to storyboard a lesson. During initial production, each slide is given a working title and the script for the audio narration is written in the notes view. As production and editing progresses, notes for images, objects, and animations are added to the notes view. Once the script is finalized, slide production begins which includes a descriptive slide title and sub-title, insertion of images and objects, and animation formatting.

The final step is to convert the PowerPoint slides to Flash using Articulate Presenter. The audio is inserted and synchronized with the PowerPoint slide animations. The end user watches a narrated Flash movie inside the Articulate Presenter player. They may not even be aware that they are watching a movie that was created with PowerPoint.

We also use another Articulate product called Engage to create and insert custom Flash learning objects into the PowerPoint. The Articulate Engage Interactions publish inside the Articulate Presenter movie.

Categories: articulate, medicine, online_presentations, powerpoint, training

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posted by Geetesh on 11:20 AM IST



Most BlackBerry users rant about the fact that it's not possible to edit Microsoft Office files on the BlackBerry out of the box -- and of course, that's because you can't even view them most of the time! However that could change soon as RIM's new beta version of the BlackBerry handheld operating system (OS) v4.5 looms on the horizon -- they now include the Standard Edition of Documents to Go.

Documents to Go is a viewer for Microsoft Office applications on the BlackBerry and other smartphone platforms -- but the Standard edition only lets you view and edit the files, not create them. To create new files, you need the Premium version. But this is one limitation that's easily rectified using the process outlined by Al Sacco on his CIO Blog site...

And there's also a link to the CrackBerry.com site, where you can learn how to upgrade to a new RIM BlackBerry operating system (OS)...

Categories: blackberry, powerpoint

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Thursday, August 14, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 12:32 PM IST



Austin Myers is a PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional) -- he is an expert in issues related to the use of multimedia in PowerPoint. Austin creates the PFCMedia and PFCPro add-ins for PowerPoint that have made life simple for many users -- he also maintains a detailed FAQ on multimedia issues within PowerPoint on his site. In this conversation, Austin discusses Calculate, a small free utility that he created for PowerPoint users who face a dilemma trying to figure out what their slide size should be to take up the entire screen.

Geetesh: How did Calculate evolve – and what is its purpose of existence?

Austin: As monitors, flat screens and projectors have changed from the NTSC standard 4:3 ratio for display, users needed a simple way to determine PowerPoint's slide size in order to fill the display completely without distorting their slides. Calculate is a small utility where the user simply provides the resolution (width and height) of their targeted screen in pixels and the utility will determine the correct slide size to meet the required screen ratio .

The user is presented with 3 different options for the slide size, all of which will produce the correct ratio for the targeted screen. I decided to provide 3 options as some users must also meet printing requirements. With Calculate all they need do is select one of the 3 options that best fits their printer.


Figure 1: The Calculate interface

Geetesh: What type of scenarios can benefit from Calculate?

Austin: Anyone that uses a standard (4:3 ratio) display to develop PowerPoint resolutions but must display the finished presentation on a display with a different ratio will benefit from Calculate. Laptop users that have a non-standard display resolution also can see a real benefit in determining the exact slide size for their display (no black bars along the sides or top & bottom of the screen).

I have many clients that prepare PowerPoint presentations on their PCs but must then display it in a conference room with large displays. This has been a real issue for them in the past as they were unable to use the entire display or their slides became badly distorted when "stretched" to fit the display. With Calculate all they need to know is the display's resolution and they can easily set up the correct slide size in advance and avoid the issue completely.

Categories: add-in, delivery, powerpoint

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 10:56 AM IST



It's been close to two years since I encountered the Ribbon in Office 2007, and that's probably not counting the beta period. And there must be many of you who moved up to PowerPoint 2007 since then. Most of you love the Ribbon and the tabs -- and the Quick Access Toolbar -- but many of you still want to use menus -- so you might be using one of the free add-ins that bring back the menus as a new tab in the Ribbon! These include the RibbonCustomizer from Patrick Schmid -- and Classic Menu from Addintools.

If you are still struggling with the Ribbon, but don't want the menus back yet, Microsoft has created this cool interactive demo that lets you locate your favorite PowerPoint 2003 commands within the new PowerPoint 2007 interface (see Figure 1).


Figure 1: PowerPoint 2003 to PowerPoint 2007 command reference guide

Now only if they could provide this as a download-able file -- that would be cool. Even more cool -- make this part of the PowerPoint help interface that can work offline as well. And I'm not complaining even if I may sound so! Kudos to the Office Online team for creating something so helpful -- there are similar interactive demos for other Office 2007 products including Word and Excel.

Categories: office_online, powerpoint_2007, training

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 4:18 PM IST



You already learned how you can join SlideBoom and upload your presentations as part of this SlideBoom series. In this post, I'll go beyond the basics and show you how you can share your uploaded presentations with others:

  1. First, make sure that you sign into your SlideBoom account.

  2. Click the My Account button to load up your account page -- on this page, you can see all your presentations (see Figure 1).


    Figure 1: Your account page at SlideBoom

  3. Click on the presentation that you want to share -- this opens the presentation page URL on SlideBoom, as you can see in Figure 2.


    Figure 2: Your presentation page at SlideBoom

  4. Note the area towards the right side of the presentation window -- a zoomed-in view can be seen in Figure 3 below.


    Figure 3: Share options at SlideBoom

    I'll explain all the options you can see in Figure 3 here:

    • The Post option at the bottom has icons that can be clicked on -- this allows you to post uploaded presentations to community sites like MySpace, Facebook, Hi5, etc.

    • The Bookmark option lets you create a public or private bookmark at one of the many bookmarking sites such as del.icio.us, Digg, Technorati, etc.

    • The Presentation URL option let you copy the actual SlideBoom URL of the presentation.

    • The Embed into WordPress option provides code that lets you add SlideBoom presentations to your WordPress blog.

    • For other blogs, or any web site, you can use the Embed in your blog code -- copy the code and paste it to embed.

    • Finally, the Share by email option opens the Share by Email sheet that you can see in Figure 4. Add an email address, your name, and message -- and click the Send button.



Next time, I'll show you how you can make changes to your SlideBoom profile.

Categories: online_presentations, powerpoint, powerpoint_flash, slideboom

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Sunday, August 10, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 9:51 AM IST



Plenty is being spoken and written about Sun's StarOffice 9 for Mac Beta. The office applications suite market on the Mac is dominated by Microsoft Office -- and their newest Office 2008 while powerful enough, still lags behind Microsoft Office for Windows. The removal of VBA from Office 2008 has also not been received too well. And while Microsoft has confirmed that VBA support will be back in the next release of Office for Mac, that reality might still take a year or more ahead to materialize.

So how does StarOffice 9 for Mac fare in its beta?

Peter Cohen at MacWorld reports that "the beta release is free; the release version of the application is currently priced at $69.95".

MacNN adds that "price isn’t the only criteria for evaluating software. Since so many people rely on and share Microsoft Office files, file compatibility can be crucial. Fortunately, Sun’s office suite shines in this area by supporting a variety of file formats ranging from ancient files such as WordPerfect and Quattro Pro files to the latest Microsoft Office 97/2000/XP/2007 file formats".

Categories: mac, office_mac, powerpoint, staroffice

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Saturday, August 09, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 2:09 PM IST



I already introduced you to SlideBoom and showed you how you can join as part of the SlideBoom series, I provided a brief introduction to this slide sharing site. In today's post, you'll learn how you can upload your first presentation to this site.

  1. First create a simple presentation -- or use any of your existing PowerPoint presentations.

  2. Then get to the SlideBoom site, and click the Sign In link towards the top right of the page. This brings you to the sign in page that you can see in Figure 1 -- log-in with your username and password. If you have forgotten your password, click the Forgot Password option.

    Figure 1: Sign in to upload presentations

  3. Once you have signed in, click the Upload button to get to the Upload Presentation screen that you can see in Figure 2. Click the Browse button, select the presentation you want to upload, and then get back to the web page. Thereafter, click the Upload button that you can see in Figure 2.


    Figure 2: Upload presentations

  4. You can now see an indication of your upload process, as shown in Figure 3.


    Figure 3: Uploading process

  5. Once this is done, you can enter some meta info for the presentation -- add a title, description, some tags, choose a topic, change the language other than Autodetect if required, and finally select the privacy options. See Figure 4 to get an idea of the options available.


    Figure 4: Add meta info at this stage

  6. Click the Submit button, and you should be done -- and you can now click on the View Presentation button to view your presentation -- and share the uploaded presentation with others.
In the next post in this series, I'll show you how you can share your SlideBoom presentations.

Categories: online_presentations, powerpoint, powerpoint_flash, slideboom

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Friday, August 08, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 3:34 PM IST



In the last post in the SlideBoom series, I provided a brief introduction to this slide sharing site. In today's post, you'll learn how you can become a member of the SlideBoom site. Remember -- SlideBoom in its present form is a free service.

Follow these steps to join SlideBoom:

  1. Visit the SlideBoom site, and click the prominent Join Now button that you can see in Figure 1.


    Figure 1: Join Now button

  2. This opens up the sign up form page that you can see in Figure 2 -- fill in all the form fields as required, and click the Sign Up button below the form when done. Make sure you save your sign up details such as the password in a safe place.


    Figure 2: Sign Up form

  3. That's all you need to do -- soon you'll receive a confirmation email from SlideBoom in your mail inbox -- you'll have to click a link in the email (see Figure 3) to activate your Slide Boom account.


    Figure 3: Activate your SlideBoom account

In the next post in this series, I'll show you how you can sign in, and upload your presentations to the SlideBoom site.

Categories: online_presentations, powerpoint, powerpoint_flash, slideboom

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Thursday, August 07, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 3:52 PM IST



Freepath, Inc., today launched the public beta of its Freepath 2.0 playlist application, and its companion myFreepath content sharing community ­site -- both are free services, and allow you to combine your PowerPoint presentations in a playlist that seamlessly integrates many other media and document file formats apart from web sites and web services.

Figure 1 shows the Freepath site announcing the beta.


Figure 1: The Freepath site

Indezine has been promoting version 1 of Freepath as a free download since more than a year now, and we'll soon provide you with more coverage on Freepath 2. Figure 2 shows you the interface for Freepath 2 Beta.

Freepath 2 Beta Interface
Figure 2: Freepath 2 Beta Interface

Users can package and share Freepath playlists through the myFreepath community site -- all beta users get up to 100 MB of free storage space to enable a viral exchange of playlists and content. Figure 3 shows you the myFreepath site.

myFreepath: Homepage
Figure 3: myFreepath: Homepage

Categories: freepath, online_presentations, playlists, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 3:06 PM IST



SlideBoom is a web site where you can upload your PowerPoint presentations -- at the back-end, a PowerPoint to Flash converting engines makes Flash movies of all your PowerPoint slides. Each uploaded presentation is provided a page URL that you can share with others who want to see your presentation.

That was an easy introduction to SlideBoom. In a series of subsequent posts, we will look at several options that SlideBoom provides including how you can join SlideBoom, upload your presentations, share your uploaded presentations, etc. You can keep track of all these posts here...

Figure 1 shows you the SlideBoom homepage (click on it to see a larger preview) -- to get to this page, you need to visit the SlideBoom link in your web browser.


Figure 1: The SlideBoom homepage

SlideBoom is from iSpring Solutions, Inc -- the same folks who create the iSpring range of PowerPoint to Flash conversion software. Read our review on iSpring Pro 3.5 here...

In my next post on SlideBoom, I'll show you how you can join as a member -- membership is free and allows you to upload your own PowerPoint presentations to the SlideBoom site.

Categories: online_presentations, powerpoint, powerpoint_flash, slideboom

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posted by Geetesh on 2:11 PM IST



Scott Schwertly is an epic storyteller. Today, he owns and operates Ethos3 Communications, an internationally renown and award-winning presentation design and training company located in Nashville, TN. Scott works with a wide spectrum of clients that includes Fortune 100 companies, Silicon Valley start-ups, and various other organizations throughout the world. Scott has a B.A. in Communications and an M.B.A. from Harding University. .

Geetesh: What's StoryBored? Is it a blog? Or an e-book -- or both? Also what is the raison d'être for StoryBored?

Scott: StoryBored is an e-book that was sparked by my desire to help others tell better stories through their presentations. During the past few years, I have done a lot of research on Gen X and Y in my quest to understand myself better and why certain messages/stories resonate or don't resonate with me. What I found through this research and my own self-discovery is that alternative methods work best with me and people who are in my same age demographic. We want sarcasm. We want pop-culture. We want something fun. It's those three things that I tried to deliver in my writing. With that said, StoryBored is really an e-book for everyone but just told through the eyes of a twenty-something.

Geetesh: This one is not really a question -- it's probably just an invitation to think aloud. Nowadays, it's the "in" thing to have a story rather than those bullet points, complex slides, and animated charts. But we all know that the real world is different -- people still need to make those slides. So how do they weave a story in their existing content -- also, does a middle path exist?

Scott: I firmly believe that there is a story in everything. You have stories. Your parents have stories. Your grandparents have stories. Your company even has a story. No one should miss an opportunity to tell a story when giving a presentation. After all, stories create emotions. Emotions create motivation. Motivation creates action. Action creates results. On that note, storytelling equals results.

I have found that the best place to tell a story is in your introduction. There really is no better way to engage your audience than early on. There is this great quote out there: "If you tell me a fact, I'll remember it. If you tell me the truth, I'll believe it. If you tell me a story, I'll put it in my heart forever". That's powerful stuff.

Regarding a middle ground, I do think it exists. When Ethos3 works with clients, we often suggest that they use a compelling metaphor or center their content around a powerful theme - a one-word brand that captures the essence of their message. These are great alternatives to telling a story without feeling like you are huddled around a campfire singing Kumbaya. Honestly, many still get uncomfortable around the concept of "story" even with it being such a big buzz word these days. In short, centering your message around a metaphor or theme is a great middle ground.

Categories: design, interviews, powerpoint, storyboarding

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