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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: January 2010

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

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Learn PowerPoint: Changing Chart Types in PowerPoint

Thursday, January 28, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 2:51 PM IST

Learn how you can change your existing PowerPoint charts to other types -- for example, changing a column chart to an area chart. PowerPoint provides ample choices in chart types for almost every kind of graphical data representation. There are some basic chart types such as column, bar, line, pie, etc. -- and advanced charts like radar, surface, bubble, doughnut, etc.

Follow these steps change the chart type in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003...

Categories: charting, powerpoint_2003, tutorials

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Friday, January 22, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 11:02 AM IST

Andy ZimmermanAndy Zimmerman, VP of Business Development, is responsible for developing and managing strategic partnerships and programs for Brainshark, the leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution provider for on-demand presentations. Andy played an integral role in the launch of in September 2009 and continues to drive the initiative. Prior to Brainshark, Andy launched SaaS offerings for other software providers including Theikos, a leading partner (acquired by Astadia) and e-billing provider Edocs (now part of Oracle). Andy earned his BA from Brown University and MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

In this conversation, Andy talks about myBrainshark.

Geetesh: Tell us about the raison d'être for myBrainshark – how did it evolve?

Andy: Brainshark has experienced substantial commercial success over the years – serving as a critical communication vehicle for more than 1,000 companies across industries. We conceived of myBrainshark as a way to reach out to a much larger audience of business professionals, enabling individuals to tap into the benefits of our product with absolutely no price barriers.

Registration is simple and free – then it’s an easy process to create and share on-demand multimedia presentations. You simply upload a PowerPoint presentation or other content, and dial a Brainshark-provided number to add your voice narration or upload MP3 audio. If you’d like, you can also add in video, survey questions and attachments to enhance your presentation. Then, it’s time to share it You can send out a link to your target audience, embed the presentation in your webpage or blog, or share it through social media tools including LinkedIn and Twitter. myBrainshark’s reporting capabilities also enable you to see when people are viewing your presentation, how often it has been viewed and even from where in the world it’s being viewed.

myBrainshark offers a way for people to communicate on and off the job – delivering far-reaching messages at no cost, but with maximum impact to promote themselves, promote their products/companies, and share expertise. We’ve been pleased with the site’s reception and with the creative ways people are using myBrainshark to showcase content –creating everything from sales and marketing materials to training content to “talking résumés” to real estate listings to holiday greetings and much more.

Geetesh: How is myBrainshark different from Brainshark, and the other slide sharing sites like SlideShare, SlideBoom, authorSTREAM, etc.?

Andy: Among our key differentiators as compared to slide sharing sites is the ability to easily incorporate phone or MP3 audio – which has been one of Brainshark’s hallmarks throughout the last decade – helping users create high-quality, personalized presentations. Also, our service preserves PowerPoint animations, so it’s very easy to time your audio appropriately with those animations to deliver maximum impact.

Additional distinguishing features include our ability to support various media types – going beyond PowerPoint presentations to also include documents, videos, web pages and audio-only podcasts. In addition, myBrainshark enables you to incorporate interactivity – such as survey questions – within presentations, and see how your audience responds. With these analytic capabilities, you can even view dashboards showing how, when and from where people are engaging with your presentation Furthermore, presentation pages are search engine optimized – helping more people find your content.

Here’s another unique feature – through myBrainshark, users who are experts on business or training topics can apply online to become “Learning Providers.” As such, they can price their content if desired, while site visitors can preview and/or buy it. The premium content available on myBrainshark currently spans topics including leadership, selling skills, compliance and more.

Of course, myBrainshark is also backed by the Brainshark brand and proven infrastructure, meaning it’s built by a company with the highest standards of quality, reliability and security, which has been helping businesses succeed with on-demand presentations for more than a decade. In fact, this makes for a good transition into the other part of your question – concerning our commercial offerings and differences from myBrainshark.

Like our commercial offerings, myBrainshark has a powerful feature set that lets users differentiate and extend the reach of their communications. Use of myBrainshark is completely free, and content created on the site is publicly available – letting users easily communicate with a worldwide audience. Brainshark’s paid offerings, meanwhile, are geared toward organizations (versus individuals) that often need to share private or proprietary content with their own target audiences.

Brainshark’s commercial offerings also include other enhanced functionality for businesses. Through Brainshark, organizations can easily manage and organize content created by any number of users and manage their access permissions. The tracking and reporting capabilities available to our enterprise users also provide much more granular reports and viewing details. In addition, our enterprise editions provide numerous optional features such as learning management, marketing campaign management, content approval, content archiving, and offline viewing – as well the ability to integrate with CRM, LMS and other software applications.

With both Brainshark and myBrainshark, we continue to help businesses and individuals create far-reaching, high-impact communications that resonate in a measurable way with their audience.

Categories: brainshark, interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 7:57 AM IST

Shawn Toh is based out of Singapore and loves to do advanced animation tricks using PowerPoint. He is a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional) and runs the PPT Heaven site.

In this discussion, Shawn discusses the PowerPoint Heaven eConvention 2009.

Geetesh: What happens as part of the PowerPoint Heaven eConvention 2009? Tell us more about this whole concept?

Shawn: PowerPoint Heaven eConvention 2009 is an annual online convention where PowerPointers get together to discuss, review and submit their latest PowerPoint works We have receive many great works such as games, artworks and animations from our members and PowerPoint communities in China, and also demos of their upcoming games.

There's also an eCon Award, which is a form of recognition to recognize a contributor for his hard work and effort for the previous year. The winners are determined through public voting.

Geetesh: How is the 2009 event different than the same eConvention in 2008? And what plans do you have for the next similar event?

Shawn: In this year's eConvention, TrainSignal has sponsored us with copies of PowerPoint 2007 Training Packages which we will giveaway as prizes to the winners. In addition, PowerPointers who have submitted their works on eConvention will also get a chance to win the prize. We will be looking for more sponsors on our next eConvention and if you are interested, start submitting your works on PowerPoint Heaven!

Categories: interviews, powerpoint

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 12:35 PM IST

Ellen FinkelsteinEllen Finkelstein is author of several PowerPoint, Flash, and AutoCAD books -- she has just launched a new campaign that she calls Campaign Against Death by PowerPoint.

In this conversation, Ellen talks more about this campaign.

Geetesh: Tell me what the Campaign Against Death by PowerPoint is, what made you get started with this one, and what you hope you achieve?

Ellen: The Campaign Against Death by PowerPoint is an effort to help presenters present more effectively, so that they meet their audiences’ needs, instead of boring them and being irrelevant. I was working on my white paper--putting my thoughts and knowledge on presenting together with the results of a survey on people’s experiences with Death by PowerPoint. The results of that survey were especially thought-provoking and made me wonder why there are still so many poor presentations being given day after day, when there’s so much good knowledge available about how to present effectively. The survey responders were members of an audience and I realized that many presenters simply don’t know that they’re causing Death by PowerPoint. Without that knowledge, they don’t even look for information on improving their presentation skills.

So, the idea came to empower audiences to offer the white paper to presenters. In my personal experience, negative feedback has been crucial to spurring me on to realize I needed to improve and doing something about it, but no one ever offered me a resource to help. That would have been so appreciated and useful! So I decided that, in addition to offering the white paper – which is like a mini-course in presentation skills – free to anyone who was interested, I would reach out to audiences and suggest to them that they offer the white paper to presenters. It’s a very gentle and constructive way to indicate to a presenter that improvement is needed. That’s how the Campaign Against Death by PowerPoint started.

Geetesh: You do provide a full page invitation along with an ebook at the Campaign Against Death by PowerPoint site – tell us more.

Ellen: Yes, at, anyone can download a one-page invitation to give to a presenter. The invitation invites the presenter to download the free white paper at Any presenter who downloads the white paper will find a great resource with advice on what to avoid and simple steps to take to improve presentations, including content, design, and delivery. You’re right, the white paper is more of an ebook than a white paper—it’s just over 40 pages!

Categories: interviews, powerpoint

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Monday, January 11, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 5:02 PM IST

The PowerPoint 2010 team has put up this new video on their YouTube channel that shows how effective the new hardware accelerated animation engine is compared to what you could expect in PowerPoint 2007. Very cool stuff!

Categories: animation, powerpoint_2010

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posted by Geetesh on 3:28 PM IST

Almost everyone these days is comfortable creating a set of slides using PowerPoint, but tell those same users to create online presentations or e-learning content, and you'll find them not too happy! myBrainshark is a free online application that makes it easy to create on-demand online presentations with just your PowerPoint slides and a phone connection to add voice-overs -- it all works very intuitively, and you can create your first online presentation in less than an hour.

So how does myBrainshark fare? Read on to learn more...

Categories: brainshark, online_presentations, powerpoint

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