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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: October 2008

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

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PowerPoint and Presenting Notes
PowerPoint and Presenting Glossary
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Mandala: New PowerPoint Template Set From Ppted

Friday, October 31, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 1:20 PM IST



Ppted released a new PowerPoint template set -- this one is called Mandala. Not only do you get five great template designs, you also get the actual backgrounds so that you can use the same designs elsewhere. In this collection, you also get wide screen templates and backgrounds, and ten transparent PNGs you can use in your presentations -- at no extra cost.

Templates



Transparent PNGs


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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posted by Geetesh on 12:05 PM IST



You can now add PowerPoint presentations to your LinkedIn profile through the new SlideShare integration feature. First upload your presentations to SlideShare, and then sync your LinkedIn and SlideShare profiles so that all your SlideShare presentations will start showing up on LinkedIn.

SlideShare has put up a tutorial that shows you how -- play it to learn more.


Categories: powerpoint, slideshare

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posted by Geetesh on 11:41 AM IST



Continuing with my Office Moves Browser-wards post, more details have started emerging.

Sci-Tech Today reports that "the apps will be made available at the end of next year, when the new Office 14 is released. A technology preview is being planned for the end of this year."

The National Business Review has many screenshots including one that shows the PowerPoint version of the web incarnation -- their report adds: "Pushing the boundaries still further, Microsoft says Office 14 Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote files will also be able to be viewed, and edited, on a smart phone's web browser -- and again, you won't necessarily have to own a Windows Mobile handset."

vnunet adds that " "Customers tell us they want to be able to share information and collaborate with others seamlessly across the PC, phones and the web," said Takeshi Numoto, general manager for the Office client. Speaking at the company's Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles, Numoto demonstrated how the web applications allow two people to open and edit the same document stored in Office Live Workspace, with any changes synchronised between the two copies almost instantly."

Categories: microsoft_office

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 9:05 PM IST



In a single most important indication of things to come, Microsoft pulled the curtains to announce that Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote would be available as light-weight, browser-based apps, much like Google Apps. However, unlike Google Apps, Microsoft Office Web applications won't be available entirely free. Expect to see both paid and advertiser supported versions. Significantly, Microsoft has also announced that these online programs would run beyond Microsoft's own Internet Explorer in other browsers including Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari. These answers and announcements were part of the PDC (Professional Developers Conference), being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from October 27th to 30th, 2008.

PC Magazine adds that "users will be able to sign up for an Office Live beta at some point in the future at the Office Live Workspace site, Microsoft said Tuesday. A technical preview of the software/service will be released later this year."

CNET has more info: "In an interview, Microsoft Business Division President Stephen Elop said that the browser-based editing capabilities are being developed in conjunction with the next version of Office, known as Office 14. Microsoft won't say when that version will arrive, but Elop said that a technology preview of the browser-based products will come later this year and that a beta version will be released in 2009."

InfoWorld folks wonder about the timing when they ask: "Why is Microsoft announcing this now when it could have brought out browser-based versions of its apps long ago? "We've been figuring out the right thing to build for quite some time," said Kapner. "The company had to feel good about its [services] strategy across the company. We had to make sure our Office strategy fit with the larger strategy.""

Categories: microsoft_office

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Monday, October 27, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 2:20 PM IST



Motion path animations in PowerPoint can illustrate a process, show how a piece of machinery works, or just work with poetic abandon! On this page, we've compiled together all the motion path animation content on this site along with quick tips from the pros.

Read here...

Categories: animation, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 1:30 PM IST



Motion path animations can illustrate a process, show how a piece of machinery works, or just work with poetic abandon! Much of the work involved with motion paths can be painstakingly slow and repetitive. Our review product lets you do these tasks in a click or two, and amazingly enough, this is a free product.

Read a review of Motion Path Tools...

Categories: add-in, animation, powerpoint

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Saturday, October 25, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 10:44 AM IST



You won't have to tackle locking and unlocking motion paths too often but it's good to know more about these options since the way this works is not too intuitive......You really don't need to lock/unlock a motion path from its slide object to move it around. To do that, just select the slide object, then select the actual motion path -- and drag it around as required. This process just moves the motion path, and leaves the slide object in its original place. Confusing? Yes -- it is a little, unless you play around for a few minutes!

Learn here...

Categories: animation, powerpoint

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Thursday, October 23, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 11:46 AM IST



A number of online sites have started making noises about Office 14, the successor to Office 2007 on the Microsoft Windows platform. This news comes as Microsoft gears up to hold its PDC (Professional Developers Conference) next week at the Los Angeles Convention Center from October 27th to 30th, 2008.

ZDNet reports that "Office 14, as the product is code-named, will be discussed at next week's event, with attendees likely to get a glimpse of some of its features, according to sources. Unlike Windows 7, however, attendees should not expect to leave Los Angeles with a copy of their own. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has talked recently about the idea that the next version of Office will be able to run in various modes, including over the internet".

PC Pro adds that "Microsoft, as with most of its major releases, has been tight-lipped about what to expect from the new Office, though back in February Bill Gates hinted that it would feature a greater online presence".

SC Magazine puts the online focus clearly on cloud computing: "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer commented last week on a number of developments at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference at the end of this month, which has led to some euphoria". They also add that "It's all very well, allowing your copy of Microsoft Office 2010 to store your files in the Cloud, but what about the provisions of the Data Protection Act, which effectively prohibit the storage of employee and/or customer data on the other side of the world without the express consent of the people concerned?"

Watch this space for more news on Office 14 -- I'm waiting to see what they say about the new PowerPoint!

Categories: microsoft_office

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 4:42 PM IST



A number of applications plug-in to PowerPoint, and provide the ability to insert Flash based rich media objects on your slides -- in the form of interactions, training games, quizzes, and surveys. YawnBuster, the product being reviewed here adds group activities such as audience polls, games, group exercises and competitions -- and embeds these group activities as part of your PowerPoint file.

YawnBuster includes ready to use Flash templates, and the group activities can be easily customized without any technical knowledge.

Read the review here...

Categories: add-in, powerpoint

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 4:31 PM IST



Among the most popular pages on Indezine are those that show you how you can create an EXE from a PowerPoint presentation without having to buy any extra software. However, we still had to update our tutorial for PowerPoint 2007 -- especially as PowerPoint 2003 users could no longer create an EXE successfully if they had PowerPoint 2007 installed as well.

PowerPoint 2007 includes the Package for CD feature, which we'll use with a cool and undocumented Windows utility to create a standalone EXE file from PPT or PPTX presentations that can play on any system with Windows XP, Vista, or higher installed.

Learn more here...

Categories: powerpoint, tutorials

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Thursday, October 16, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 2:52 PM IST



Much of what you can do with motion path animations in PowerPoint relates to what you can do with the motion paths themselves. And the motion paths are essentially just ordinary paths (or lines) that have curves, points, etc. If you are familiar with drawing in PowerPoint - or if you use a graphic illustration program like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW, you know that paths can be either open or closed.

A circle is a good example of a closed path, whereas a curve is an open path. So how is the concept of open and closed paths relevant to motion path animations in PowerPoint?

Learn here...

Categories: animation, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 1:52 PM IST



Lou DourosLou Douros co-founded Freepath. His passion for story and compassion for digital storytellers fueled the desire to bridge the gap between content and audience. Lou contributed to the earliest Freepath user experience. Most recently, he co-designed a site where world class, multi-format, native content could move fluidly between communicators, Freepath's social network MyFreepath. Lou sees the world as places made up of people described by their stories; increasingly made up of digital content. His 20+ years of remote video production experience informs his continuing quest to move and be moved by inspired ideas.

In this interview, Lou discusses the new Freepath 2. Read the interview here...

Categories: freepath, interviews, playlists, powerpoint

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 12:47 PM IST



Mark SchwartzMark Schwartz (pictured to the left) is the executive vice president for sales and marketing at Articulate. In this role, he has worldwide sales responsibility for Articulate leading the direct sales and channel management teams as well as all product marketing activities. Prior to joining Articulate, Mark spent 20 years in sales and sales management roles with IBM and Dell.

In this discussion, Mark discusses the new Articulate Quizmaker ’09 product.

Geetesh: How easy is it to create a quiz or survey in Quizmaker '09 -- does it involve any coding at all? And what's your favorite new feature in Quizmaker '09.

Mark: That's the power of Quizmaker '09. It allows for very simple quiz and survey authoring and requires no coding at all. If you do like to code in Flash, Quizmaker '09 easily supports inserting those Flash objects within the quiz. Quizmaker '09 provides for 2 authoring options - a form view and a slide view. The form view is set up a as template that allows for simple fill in the blank question creation. With it you get an effective, albeit generically designed, quiz. The slide view empowers the author to design a beautiful, engaging quiz. And it's simple to use. The slide view interface is similar to the PowerPoint 2007 animation, design, and pictures interface plus we add an audio and timeline editor for precise controls over audio and timings. It really allows for some amazing design options.

My favorite new feature is the slide view authoring capability. It provides total free form design but remains extremely simple to use. I can't wait to see some of the quizzes and surveys that our customers create. I also love the new conditional branching option used in conjunction with our new blank slide feature. The branching option allows Quizmaker '09 to direct the student to a specific slide or question based on a right or wrong answer. The new blank slide feature allows the author to create non-question slides, which provide for directed remediation when used with branching.

Geetesh: How does Quizmaker '09 integrate with Articulate Presenter and Articulate Online -- and are there any unconventional case studies on Quizmaker that you can share?

Mark: Customers who have Quizmaker '09 and Presenter '09 can integrate their quizzes within Presenter '09 courses. When integrated within a Presenter '09 course, you can set the number of quiz attempts and you can direct the student to a specific slide within the Presenter course based on a pass / fail result. All of these settings are easily controlled via a simple drop down selection.

Articulate Online is an Articulate hosted offering that allows customers to easily track and manage Articulate authored content. Quizmaker '09 authors can publish the quiz or survey directly to their Articulate Online portal via one click within Quizmaker '09. Once published, Articulate Online administrators can see full answer level detail for all students and quizzes.

I'm not aware of any unconventional case studies related to Quizmaker. It's really designed to allow for quick quiz and survey authoring, and that's how are customers are using it. With the blank slide feature and powerful design capabilities now provided with Quizmaker '09, perhaps we'll learn of some new unconventional uses for Quizmaker.

See Also: Articulate Quizmaker ’09 -- The Indezine Review

Categories: articulate, interviews, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 10:26 AM IST



Articulate Presenter ’09 is the new version of Articulate Presenter, a product that plugs into Microsoft PowerPoint, and allows you to create interactive rich-media content -- in addition, Presenter allows you to insert quizzes created in Articulate Quizmaker '09, interactions created in Articulate Engage '09, FLV Flash videos converted in Articulate Video Encoder '09, Flash animations, narrations, and web objects to the presentation.

Read the review here...

Categories: articulate, powerpoint

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 11:32 AM IST



One of the simplest motion path tricks is using the reverse motion path option. This is very helpful if you want an object to animate using a motion path, and then animate again from the end of the motion path to the beginning!

Learn here...

Categories: animation, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 11:14 AM IST



Articulate Video Encoder '09 converts almost any popular video format into the FLV Flash video format. In addition, it also allows you to record video directly from your webcam to an FLV file. All videos can be tweaked with some essential edits. Finally, the converted FLV Flash video format files can be used as media elements in Articulate Presenter, Articulate Engage and Articulate Quizmaker -- or anywhere else.

Read the review here...

Categories: articulate, powerpoint

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Monday, October 13, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 1:15 PM IST



Mark NormandMark Normand (pictured to the left) was born in Chelmsford, England, and he has since lived and worked almost two decades in Singapore. In his present position as the founder and managing director of Impress Training, he has traversed much of Asia to deliver training in management and business communication. With a keen interest in graphic design and amateur photography, he is a regular contributor to such sites as SlideShare and Stock.XCHNG.

In this discussion, Mark discusses his PowerPoint (2003) Mechanics ebook.

Geetesh: Tell us more about yourself, and how this book evolved?

Mark: Together with my business partner we run a Impress Training, a training firm based in Singapore providing soft skills training to organizations in various areas such as management, sales, service, communication and more.

During my years of work, like many others, you've either sat through or provided many PowerPoint presentations. And like so many others, they just look bad and take a lot of value away from the delivery of the presenter.

The blog site, and the book evolved out of a course we run at Impress Training to train normal business professional achieve a higher quality of PowerPoint visual. Looking around, I thought there is still something missing, there's a lot of books out there that can be too technical, too wordy, or that talk about 'what' should be done but never the how, and many of them feature graphics that you'll come to realize are designed by professionals, use Photoshop or Illustrator and many other applications to produce these visuals. What I really wanted to do was provide the means to ordinary business people to whip up a presentation quickly, look good, and not use any external tools to produce the visuals - just plain PowerPoint because at the end of the day this is all that most people have. The ebook is basically a straight to-the-point step-by-step guide to producing some of the visual effects that many people see around them - and why 2003? Because for many businesses (here in Asia at least) we're still some way from everyone upgrading to 2007 -- however, I'm working on a new ebook just for them in the future.

Geetesh: What do you believe is the most important thing that any reader will gain from the book?

Mark: As mentioned, this book doesn't have any text on the dos and don'ts because there are many others books out there that do a good job of that, i.e. explaining the what. What I wanted to give them is the how. The main aim being to provide the mechanics, and let them use those techniques and apply them to their own presentations. As with the blog, I try not to touch on effects which are too readily available but something a little more unique.

Categories: books, interviews, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 11:18 AM IST



I showed you how you can add a basic Motion Path animation to any object on a PowerPoint slide -- now I'll show you how you can use PowerPoint's drawing tools to create your own motion path.

PowerPoint provides 4 types of drawing options for custom Motion Path animations -- learn more here...

Categories: animation, powerpoint

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Saturday, October 11, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 2:52 PM IST



Many PowerPoint users still haven't mastered working with motion path animations -- and I don't blame them for unless you just want to add a preset path, the whole process is not too intuitive. So in the next few days, we'll cover motion paths extensively on the Indezine site through a set of tutorials.

The first tutorial looks at the basics -- how to add a motion path animation in PowerPoint 2007.

Categories: animation, powerpoint

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Friday, October 10, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 4:48 PM IST



Mark SchwartzMark Schwartz (pictured to the left) is the executive vice president for sales and marketing at Articulate. In this role, he has worldwide sales responsibility for Articulate leading the direct sales and channel management teams as well as all product marketing activities. Prior to joining Articulate, Mark spent 20 years in sales and sales management roles with IBM and Dell.

In this discussion, Mark discusses the new Articulate Engage ’09 product.

Geetesh: Tell us more about the improvements in Engage ’09 – and what is your favorite new feature?

Mark: Engage ’09 has introduced some wonderful improvements over the previous version, which was driven by customer feature request submissions and the ingenuity of our amazing engineering teams.

I’m really excited about the new Community Interactions option. Often we receive requests to create more Engage interaction options. When we would ask 10 people which interactions they would like to see, we’d get 10 different suggestions. So we introduced a free Software Developers Kit (SDK) to empower Flash programmers to create their own Engage interactions. We expect to see many new interactions created by and shared within our community. Now there will be a virtually unlimited number of Engage interaction types.

I also think several other new features will be very well received including: interaction branching, increased color pallet and template customization, and the ability to publish directly to a Learning Management System (LMS) from Engage.

Geetesh: Beyond Engage’s synergies with Articulate Presenter and Articulate Online, I found it to be a great product to create quick electronic brochures, especially for users who are Flash-challenged. Can you share your thoughts on this concept?

Mark: Yes, we see many customers using Engage as a Flash authoring tool. While it was really initially designed to be primarily used as a way to enhance Articulate Presenter courses, we realized that many customers were actually creating entire courses using Engage. That is why we introduced the ability to publish Engage interactions directly to Articulate Online and to LMS’s to enable tracking of these Engage only courses.

See Also: Articulate Engage ’09 -- The Indezine Review

Categories: articulate, powerpoint

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 2:15 PM IST



Articulate Quizmaker is a simple application that lets you create quizzes and surveys without any programming knowledge -- all you need to do is walk through some simple wizards -- and let Quizmaker output your quizzes as rich media Flash files. These Flash outputs can be hosted online, used in presentations, or combined with Articulate's other products.

Quizmaker comprises 20 question types, including drag-and-drop and hotspot styles. You can add a number of rich media objects, add design themes, include a wide range of effects for your images and text without tedious manual formatting, and also implement a customizable player.

Read the review here...

Categories: articulate, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 12:53 PM IST



Explaining a concept, a process, or even showing a series of pictures can sometimes become so complicated -- more because of what sort of computer program you do the explaining in! When you run across a scenario like that, you will find that Engage, a quick and easy-to-use program that lets you create "interactions" is just what you want!

What I like about Engage is that it does not try to do everything -- it takes a simple approach of being a one-trick pony, and does that exceedingly well. The folks at Articulate, the company that creates Engage like to call anything you create within Enagage an "interaction" -- think of these interactions as small brochure-like Flash movies with rich-media interactivity that can be embedded within presentations, e-learning content, and web sites.

Read the review here...

Categories: articulate, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 10:52 AM IST



If you have are still working with PowerPoint 2003, and work in a mixed environment where some users have upgraded to PowerPoint 2007, you know that it’s no easy task working with presentations that have been opened, edited, and saved on both versions. The opposite is also true. If you are using PowerPoint 2007, and need to share files with users who are still working on PowerPoint 2003 (or even older versions), you know that there have been some unhappy times!

Read more here...

Categories: powerpoint, version_hell

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