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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: February 2010

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

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oomfo: Conversation with Pallav Nadhani

Saturday, February 27, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 2:41 PM IST

Pallav NadhaniPallav Nadhani is the co-founder and CTO of InfoSoft Global. He co-authored a book on combining the power of Flash and .NET called 'Flash.NET' at the age of 17 and has written several technical articles for international journals ever since. An MS in Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh, he is the founder and lead developer of FusionCharts, the industry's leading Flash charting component.

In this conversaton, Pallav talks about oomfo, an add-in for PowerPoint that adds animated and interactive charts.

Geetesh: What exactly is Oomfo, and how does it work within PowerPoint?

Pallav: oomfo is a charting add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint (2003, 2007 and 2010) that helps render animated and interactive charts within PowerPoint, all using a simple to use GUI. It is powered by FusionCharts Suite which is the industry leader in Flash Charting.

oomfo allows you to import data from Excel, CSV, HTML tables and many other data sources. You can use its smart GUI to enter data or convert data from various sources into a chart. The wide gamut of configuration option lets you configure the chart to look exactly like you want it to.

oomfo offers a variety of 2D and 3D chart types that are highly interactive. All charts support tool-tip. Pie and doughnut charts support dynamic rotation, slicing and transformation from 2D to 3D. The True 3D chart supports dynamic camera angle rotation. Plus, there are business oriented charts like waterfall/cascade charts which are not present in PowerPoint, as well as charts that let you visually drag-drop-n-change data during the course of your presentation - this is just perfect in scenarios like when you're collectively trying to decide on sales projection for the next quarter.

Geetesh: How does Oomfo compare to PowerPoint’s native charts – and are they editable once inserted? Also how do they work within the upcoming PowerPoint 2010 version?

Pallav: PowerPoint has always offered charts and graphs as default. But then, there was only so much you could do with it. No matter how hard you tried, boring could never be beautiful. The need of the hour? To add some real oomph — oomfo. So, there you go! oomfo transforms mundane data into stunning visuals and adds the oomph quotient to your presentations. While at it, oomfo lets you edit and manipulate your data with incredible ease. It helps you captivate your audience in a unique way.

The charts are totally editable even after insertion. In fact, even when you export the charts to run on another machine (without oomfo), once oomfo is installed on that machine, you can edit those exported charts as well. Such is the flexibility and portability offered by oomfo. Additionally, you can also export the charts generated by oomfo within your slides as image if you want to upload to sites like SlideShare.

We're currently also working on enabling drill-down charts within PowerPoint. Say for example, you've a chart that shows yearly sales of three years (say 2007,2008 and 2009). Now, in a typical PowerPoint slide, if you were to show detailed data of the year 2007, 2008 and 2009, you'll possibly add one slide per such chart. With oomfo, you can create linked charts (containing detailed data of 2007, 2008 and 2009) that show up in your presentation when a particular year is clicked in the main chart. This lets you build full dashboards and reporting within your PowerPoint slides without the need for your IT team. And this can be shared with anyone across the world.

oomfo works flawlessly with PowerPoint 2010 as well.

Categories: add-in, charting, interviews, powerpoint, powerpoint_2007, powerpoint_2010

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 3:11 PM IST

In a previous tutorial I showed you how to download vector map files from the Microsoft Office website. In this tutorial you'll learn how to ungroup these files. Our example looks at a map of the United States of America that also shows each individual state -- your map may be different but the principles explained below will be useful. With your downloaded file ready, follow these steps to place the downloaded file in PowerPoint 2007 - 2010 and ungroup it.

Read more here...

Categories: maps, office_online, powerpoint_2007, powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 3:03 PM IST

One of the most frequently asked questions in the PowerPoint forums is about having access to a map of the United States of America on a slide that has each state available as a separate selectable shape. In this tutorial you'll learn how to do just that by first downloading a suitable map clip art file from Microsoft website.

Learn more here...

Categories: maps, office_online, powerpoint_2007, powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 5:50 PM IST

This post has nothing to do with creating presentations on the computer. Rather, this explores creating presentations in your mindspace, because you might find that being open and receptive is such an important part of any learning process.

This story was told by Sujita Khemka of Hero Motocorp before one of my presenting skills training sessions for their company. Sujita always starts any session with a story, and this is one of the several that I have heard her retell.

This story is about an event from the life of the Buddha. One day, the Buddha was on one of his rounds asking for alms along with Ananda, his trusted attendant. When they called out for alms outside a particular house, the lady of the house came out and abused the Buddha for coming to her doorstep and asking for alms first thing in the morning. Also, she was no mood to share food for alms with them. Thus, she hurled some unacceptable words upon him. Now, almost everywhere that the Buddha visited, people would give him utmost respect, and this was not a very pleasant incident. The Buddha remained calm and peaceful, but Ananda had not overcome anger as yet and was seething with fury. The Buddha calmed him, and they moved on.

Ananda was still furious, and the Buddha wanted to show Ananda how futile anger is, so he took his kamandalu (an Indian metal water bottle with a handle) and gave it to Ananda asking him to hold it a while. Soon thereafter, the Buddha asked him whose kamandalu he was holding? Surprised Ananda answered that the kamandalu belonged to the Buddha. The Buddha then told Ananda that from now onwards, he was gifting the kamandalu to him.

After a little while, the Buddha surprised Ananda again by asking him the same question about whose kamandalu he was holding? Ananda forthwith replied that this was his kamandalu because he had received it from the Buddha and accepted it as a gift.

Now was the time to make that point, and the Buddha told Ananda that there was not much difference in the abuses handed to them by the lady and the kamandalu that Buddha gave to Ananda. Both of them were gifts, but for a gift to be valid, there need to be two conditions: first, the giver should want to provide the gift, and the receiver should accept it. The kamandalu fulfilled both conditions since the provider and the receiver were both involved. But these conditions were not correct for the abuses they received from the lady. Why? Because there was only a provider in this case, and no receiver! So as long as the Buddha refused to accept those abuses, where was the need to get angry? Anger would only be a result of accepting the abuses.

Now Sujita's point in telling this story was that the participants have to be willing to learn each technique that the trainer teaches them. Unless they are accepting, they will get no benefit from the gifts of knowledge provided by the trainer; isn't it amazing how simple things can hold so much wisdom!


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Thursday, February 04, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 1:43 PM IST

With the proliferation of PowerPoint to Flash converters everywhere, you might have wondered why there are almost no PowerPoint to Silverlight converters anywhere. After all, Silverlight is considered by many as Microsoft's response to Adobe's Flash. Add the fact that PowerPoint and Silverlight are both from the Microsoft stable, and the complete absence of PowerPoint to Silverlight converters is like a puzzle with no solution!

Luckily, someone listened and created the first ever PowerPoint to Silverlight converters -- and in this review we are looking at Convexion, a PowerPoint add-in from Electric Rain.

Read the review here...

Categories: online_presentations, powerpoint, silverlight

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posted by Geetesh on 7:33 AM IST

Rashmi SinhaRashmi Sinha is cofounder and CEO of SlideShare, the world's largest community for sharing presentations. She manages design and business development at SlideShare. Rashmi blogs at about social software and running a startup.

In this conversation, Rashmi talks about the new Channels feature on SlideShare.

Geetesh: What exactly are SlideShare Channels, and how can they help target content for an audience?

Rashmi: SlideShare channels are custom branded spaces for businesses and brands. If you have content on SlideShare, this gives you a place to have all your content in one place in with a highly customized look and feel.

Channels are less about targeting and more about branding. The targeting is a core part of SlideShare - you put up a piece of content. It reaches people who are interested in through tags, search, sharing on networks. Channels let you have more control of the exprience people have when they land on your SlideShare page and content.

Geetesh: Can anyone create a Channel? Or is there a process that involves approval?

Rashmi: Channels are for businesses and brands who want to have a rich presence on SlideShare and interact with the community. Right now, you do need to talk to us in order to setup a channel. Each is a custom project based on the needs of the business.

The channels available now range in variety of content and organizations. For example,

  • Microsoft Office has setup a channel focused on parenting topic (project done in collaboration with our partners, Federated Media)
  • Ogilvy has setup a concept channel for Pharma
  • Razorfish Marketing uploads about interactive marketing & technology
  • Pew Internet has shared a lot of their research reports about the internet & internet usage
  • Whitehouse is sharing almost 1000 presentations and documents
We're also rolling out topical Channels that are curated by our content team. For example we have channels on Cloud Computing and Social Media. These types of channels will be curated by our content team. You'll more of them in the coming months as we roll out new topics.

Categories: interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint, slideshare

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 1:53 PM IST

Paul TumeyPaul Tumey is the founder and director of Presentation Tree, a 10-year old PowerPoint design company in Seattle, Washington. Paul's background includes notable achievements in graphic design, writing, public speaking, publicity, and marketing consulting. In this conversation, Paul shares some wisdom about creating PowerPoint presentations, and talks about Presentation Tree, how it was founded and the type of work they do.

Read the interview here...

Categories: design, interviews, powerpoint

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 2:38 PM IST

Joe GustafsonJoe Gustafson, CEO of Brainshark, Inc., founded the company in 1999 to help knowledge experts accelerate the flow of information to their audiences in a highly effective format. Under Joe's leadership, Brainshark has become a leader in on-demand business communications and a successful Software-as-a-Service company, with more than 1,100 world-class customers, including a third of the Fortune 100. Most recently, Joe has led Brainshark to a series of significant company milestones – with Brainshark presentations netting more than 25 million views, and the company doubling its profits in the last year.

Geetesh: In a recent announcement, your company declared that 25 million Brainshark presentations were viewed since the launch of your flagship product, and 1 Brainshark presentation is viewed every 5 seconds by users around the world. Those type of stats would make anyone proud – what else does it mean to you?

Joe: Not only is it a great milestone for our company, but it’s indicative of how multimedia has become a part of the way people want to communicate and share information – in both our business and personal lives, it has become pervasive. And the most popular content of all on the Web is user-generated – not high production value content – but that which engages and is authentic, because it is created by everyday people who have something to say. And I think businesspeople like me look at this trend, or they see what their kids are creating and sharing over the Web and think, how can we leverage the power of this in business? If you make it easy for any businessperson to communicate in more powerful ways, and make it possible for their organizations to manage that process across their enterprise – and, at the same time, make it more enjoyable and convenient for their audiences to experience these messages – they will embrace it. That’s what those numbers mean to me.

Geetesh: With such a successful business model for a product that’s not free, what made you decide to go ahead with myBrainshark, that’s a free albeit less powerful version compared to Brainshark?

Joe: We think we’ve developed the easiest way for any businessperson to communicate using multimedia. But just seeing a Brainshark presentation doesn’t nearly illustrate the possibilities. We want you to try creating one. When you record your very first presentation, and hear your own voice coming back to you over the speakers while you watch it, you’ll see how easy it is to use and how fast it is to create. From that experience, we expect that many users will think about how this could be applicable to their business to get their message out quickly and cost-effectively. Some myBrainshark users will be interested in talking to us about our enterprise offerings – and some won’t; and that’s okay too! We hope they love our free site and tell their friends and colleagues about it.

Our goal with myBrainshark is to get more people exposed to our technology and to how it can be so powerful for business yet be so easy to use. And thousands already “get it” today – more than 1,100 companies whose names you’d recognize already use Brainshark across their organizations and to communicate to global audiences, along with thousands of additional myBrainshark individual users. More than 8 million minutes of content are viewed each month. In an economic climate where everyone is trying to do more with less, it’s silly not to use myBrainshark to tell your story.

Categories: brainshark, interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint

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