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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: April 2010

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

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PowerPoint and Presenting Notes
PowerPoint and Presenting Glossary
PowerPoint Programming

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PowerPoint Insecurities

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 12:55 PM IST



I just read an article in a large, mainstream publication about how PowerPoint may be the enemy, and the first thing that crossed my mind was how most people don't like to discuss their insecurities. As human beings, we like to believe we are perfect and always look out for excuses that may cover our mistakes.

That makes me think about my own insecurities, and how insecure I can feel about a piece of paper? If that were a question, my answer would be that I have no insecurities about any piece of paper that I write on. In fact I started this whole article yesterday night and since I had a notepad next to me, I used that rather than booting my computer and firing up Notepad or Microsoft Word. And now my mind is working faster than my hands – I know my handwriting is not too good but at least I can comprehend and read later whatever I write! Yes, my poor handwriting skills could make me feel insecure.

That sets me thinking about something: would I write differently if someone else had to read my writing? Yes, I would try and use my best handwriting. OK, what is the purpose of this article and what does it have to do with PowerPoint? Now is the time to admit that yes, there is an analogy waiting in the not-so-distant paragraph somewhere on this page. For now, please continue reading.

Now I decide I want to create a small sign that must be readable from a distance – maybe, this is for a garage sale. So I use a similar sheet of paper with a different approach: all large, block letters, a thicker pen, few words in a larger text size, and maybe a picture as well. This all boils down to common sense because I want the sign to be clearly visible from a distance.

I know that the paper, the thicker pen, the regular pen, or even the picture are all tools at my disposal and they don’t make any decisions for me. I enjoy the fact that I can choose whatever approach works best for me. This freedom to choose, differentiate, and design is amazing.

Unfortunately there are many people in this world who don’t enjoy that sort of freedom. They may write twenty lines of teeny-weeny text or create detailed line drawings on the same sheet of paper. And then they will expect people seated twenty feet afar to clearly read that content. Nothing can help them or their hapless audiences – not even the world’s best optometrist! These folks may not even take the blame for designing such atrocities; they prefer to blame the sheet of paper instead. So were born the familiar terms: “Death by Paper” and “Paper makes you dumb”. And that’s so ironic – how would we all have gone to schools, colleges, and universities if there was no paper?

Now let me bring up the analogy – I think of a fresh, new, blank, empty PowerPoint slide as a piece of paper. I know that it is often viewed from afar and I need to use less content on a slide. In fact during my PowerPoint training sessions, I often tell my students to compare their slides to a calling card. If you can fit an amount of content on a calling card, then you can fit that same content on a slide. Anything more is not using PowerPoint as a slide design tool, but rather using it as a document creation program. And if you don’t pay heed to this advice, you or someone from your audience may talk about insecure concepts such “Death by PowerPoint” and “PowerPoint makes you dumb”.

PowerPoint is not Word – remember that garage sale sign I spoke about earlier in this article: that was PowerPoint. And this article: that is Word! The moral of this analogy: use the right tool for the job – if you use the wrong tool, it’s not the fault of the tool. It’s your fault – and the sooner you realize that, the better it will be for you – financially, intellectually, and motivationally too. And it will make a lot of people less insecure!

Categories: opinion, powerpoint

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5 comments




Saturday, April 24, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 9:51 AM IST



Microsoft has had some sort of Office applications built in within its Windows based platform for the phone since its inception. The earliest phone operating systems from Microsoft have had Outlook integration built in seamlessly -- but other apps like mobile versions of Word and Excel have also been available since a long time. The mobile version of PowerPoint was included for the first time as part of the Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system released in May 2005 -- that version was primarily a PowerPoint viewer with no editing capabilities.

Learn more about the history of PowerPoint Mobile...

Categories: powerpoint_mobile, tutorials

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0 comments




Friday, April 23, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 10:03 AM IST



Did you happen to see a chart that spoke of fruit exports and each column of the chart was filled with pictures of a particular fruit type rather than the conventional solid color fills or geometric patterns? For instance, if you wanted to show how the export of grapes has increased over the years, your column chart would have all columns filled with pictures of grapes stacked one over the other? The good thing is that PowerPoint 2007 allows you to do just that within your charts -- as long as you know which options you need to change -- and that's explained in this tutorial!

Learn more here...

Categories: charting, fills, powerpoint_2007, tutorials

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0 comments




Thursday, April 22, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 10:41 AM IST



The significance of any chart lies in its ability to visually represent complex data as a trend that an audience can easily grasp. So if you create a complex chart with too much detail, you might be ironically creating confusion out of simplicity -- even if you are not aware that you are doing this! One of the easiest ways in which you can make your chart look simpler and less intimidating is by using fewer major units in the Y axis -- and if that sounds like something that's difficult for you to understand, then stop worrying and start following this easy tutorial.

Learn more here...

Categories: charting, powerpoint_2007, tutorials

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0 comments




Wednesday, April 21, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 10:54 AM IST



Although charts are a visual medium, they still contain plenty of text in the form of data labels, titles, legend, axis labels, etc. And while PowerPoint 2007 does make it simpler to access text formatting options than in previous PowerPoint versions, there's still some learning involved. That sort of learning is exactly what this tutorial aims to provide.

Learn more here...

Categories: charting, fonts, powerpoint_2007, text, tutorials

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0 comments




Tuesday, April 20, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 10:32 AM IST



Unlike in previous versions, PowerPoint 2007 includes the exact, same dialog Font box if you are formatting font in a text box, placeholder, or even in a chart -- in this tutorial, I'll show you the formatting options available in this dialog box.

Learn more here...

Categories: fonts, powerpoint_2007, text, tutorials

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0 comments




Monday, April 19, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 10:51 AM IST



Have you seen charts that were not filled with solid color fills or geometric patterns, but rather with pictures? For instance, if you wanted to show how the export of grapes has increased over the years, your column chart would have all columns filled with pictures of grapes stacked one over the other? The good thing is that PowerPoint allows you to do just that within your charts -- as long as you know which options you need to change -- and that's explained in this tutorial!

Learn more here...


Categories: charting, fills, powerpoint_2002, powerpoint_2003, tutorials

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0 comments




Friday, April 16, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 8:53 AM IST



Simon NewlynSimon Newlyn is a PowerPoint artisan. Based in London, he works for advertising, design and public relations agencies as well as for direct clients through PRojects. His PowerPoint experience therefore brings him into contact with a wide range of styles and presentation needs and for fun... Simon has animated the London tube map!

In this conversation, Simon talks about PowerPoint inspiration, and the presentation design scene in the UK and Europe.

Geetesh: If you look at a PowerPoint slide and imagine a blank canvas, then what will inspire you to color that canvas?

Simon: In a word: Simplicity. Simplicity of design: Simplicity of language: Simplicity of color (usage: not too many and good contrast) with the overall objective of creating dynamic impact. This is not always easy to achieve as my work requires me to follow source material, complex designs and ideas, without the freedom to edit.

Simon Newlyn's work

This is because I work mainly for advertising, design and public relations agencies who tend to use PowerPoint as a secondary medium. For example, I recently created a presentation about an educational DVD created by an advertising agency. The agency requested that I follow the design style of the DVD but this, with the all essential navigation links, made the PowerPoint slide far too complex. Secondly, the PowerPoint presentation was to be given to over 100 people whereas the DVD was designed to be viewed by one person at a computer.

The solution, working with the presentation presenter, was to use some of the images and drawings from the DVD as full slides (backgrounds) and then float in a key word or topic that she would speak to. In this way we created a simple dynamic presentation that stimulated audience interest in the actual DVD which the audience could then investigate, at individual computer terminals, after the presentation.

In my second example let me take you into the world of the competitive public relations pitch (A world where, in reality, it is virtually impossible to avoid use of the bullet point – despite the zen of Garr Reynolds). Often I’m working with up to 8 or 10 people giving me copy. At this stage the presentation can become ‘swamped’ in bullet points. This is for two reasons:

  1. the presenters are extracting their words from a written document and
  2. presenters are all too often scared to leave out any point.
This creates a PowerPoint presentation where every slide is desperately trying to breath – imagine what the audience might be doing. To avoid this problem and to focus the presenter’s needs I (try to) negotiate a maximum of three bullets per slide and if possible a picture or graphic to illustrate their key point(s). Once you have people working to this concept it is possible to give the presentation a little more ‘air’ and hopefully a chance for the audience to really understand the points under discussion.

I hope both the examples illustrate my first response to your question namely, simplify it. There is a good chance that a well-designed simple slide will do its job; that is, to help the presenter communicate his or her idea to the audience clearly.

Simon Newlyn's work

Geetesh: How is the PowerPoint design scene in the UK and Europe compared to the rest of the world.

Simon: While I’ve worked around the world creating presentations, I would not consider myself a comparison expert. What I can comment upon is some of the UK trends which might or might not be present in other parts of the world.

Let me be blunt. Within the (professional) UK design community PowerPoint is not liked. The design community tends to favour A & A – Apple and Adobe. If, for every time I’ve heard: “We do not like PowerPoint” I received one pound I would, by now, be a very rich man!
The problem for the design community is that while they favour A & A the majority of their clients are PC based and want the final product in a form that they can both open and adjust on their desktops (The latter point also being a reason the design community does not like PC applications!).

So you find an inbuilt grudge against PowerPoint and if possible designers advocate Keynote as their presentation program of choice. (For the Über-cool agencies Prezi is getting a look-in but I have seen it rejected by clients who are not yet comfortable with it)

The way to win the design community over is to work-up some slides and then (hopefully) enjoy their reaction when they say: “is that really PowerPoint?” I should say that one of my specialities is animation which I consider to be the cinematic quality of PowerPoint. I believe that good animation can help to give your presentation sophistication, and a tool to aid audience navigation to your key messages. However, great care has to be taken not to over-animate presentations.

Complete PowerPoint design No-Nos: Clip art and Word art! Amateur beyond words; go for photo realism – I love the PNG file format. Equally bad are PowerPoint textures – have they ever changed?

Another tendency in the UK is to avoid any kind of patterned or fancy background. I see a lot of patterned sets of backgrounds for sale and wonder who buys them. PowerPoint graphs and charts (c/o Excel) again are frowned upon and work in Illustrator or InDesign is often utilised. Smart Art is also on the No-No list – why does Microsoft have to control everything is the polite way to express some of the sentiments that I’ve heard about this feature. Finally, the use of drop-shadow for text is long gone.

A major design consideration is the fact that presenters are now keen to keep the overall presentation time down i.e. shorter presentations. This, in design terms, means that each slide has to work harder and perhaps ironically this is leading to the use of less copy with presenters now prepared to speak to a single key message/statement and not a raft of bullet points. This key point is nearly always presented over or beside a strong image.

In conclusion I don’t think the PowerPoint design scene in the UK is either behind or ahead of the rest of the world but it is certainly a strong adopter of the points mentioned in a now increasing visual world or one that tweets in no more than 140 characters.

Finally, a whiff of worldwide controversy! So many religious, academic and educational PowerPoint presentations look as though they have been created while pressing all the keys on the keyboard at the same time. It seems to me that communities setting out to inspire, educate and inform often destroy their case with presentations that just do not work. These are the communities, around the world, who I for one would be prepared to help.

Categories: case_studies, design, interviews, powerpoint

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0 comments




Wednesday, April 14, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 7:30 AM IST



If you create presentations, it doesn't matter if you have few or many slides -- or even if you end up with ten or more variations of the same slide over a period of time. What matters at that point of time is whether you can locate the exact slide you want or not -- and what do you do with the exact slide you found. These sort of capabilities are somewhat beyond the scope of PowerPoint's native capabilities -- so we are looking at a third party product called slideboxx (yes, the folks who create this product insist on all small letters and italics!) that claims to help you become more organized with your slides.

Read more to know how it fares…

Categories: add-in, digital_asset_management, powerpoint, slide_management

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0 comments




Tuesday, April 13, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 9:29 AM IST



Working with charts in PowerPoint involves a deep knowledge -- hidden beneath the surface are umpteen options that many PowerPoint users are simply not aware of. Through these series of chart tutorials, I have already taught you how you can change chart types, or change fills and outlines for chart data series. You also learned how you can play with fonts and other text options of charts -- and yet, all this is just the tip of the iceberg. One of my pet peeves is how PowerPoint adds so many major units to the Y axis by default.

Learn how to resolve this issue...

Categories: charting, powerpoint_2003, tutorials

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0 comments




Monday, April 12, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 8:26 AM IST



Rick Altman, a presentation consultant based out of Pleasanton, CA, USA is well known as the host of the annual Presentation Summit and has a strong sense of the needs of the presentation community. He has also authored books on PowerPoint.

In this conversation, Rick discusses the Template Contest for the upcoming Presentation Summit being held in San Diego this October.

Geetesh: For how many years have you been holding a template contest for the Presentation Summit (or PowerPoint Live)?

Rick: We have been doing this since 2005 and every year we have had a totally unique design. We are blessed to have incredibly creative people participating in the contest.

Geetesh: What does the winner receive?

Rick: The winner receives a full conference passport, providing total access to all parts of the Summit, from Oct 18-20. We waive the $995 conference fee in its entirety.

Geetesh: Do you know what you are looking for, or are you open to surprises?

Rick: I have no clue and I love that type of ignorance. It has become impossible to anticipate or even make wild guesses. The year that we were in New Orleans, Liane Fuji from San Francisco created wonderful sketches of typical French Quarter scenes. Previous entries for years when we were in San Diego have incorporated beach scenes, animals from the San Diego Zoo, Shamu the whale at Sea World.

Geetesh: Is it required that there be a local angle?

Rick: No, we do not require it, but we appreciate when contestants think creatively, and that is often the result of creative thinking. Above all, we look for a good clean design that will wear well across four days of heavy use.

Geetesh: I see that entries can be in any version of PowerPoint. Do you expect them to work with PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 themes?

Rick: We do not require that they show expertise with the software, but I'd be lying if I said that it hasn't had an impact on the judges in the past. Again, what we seek first is a great design; we'll take care of all of the software plumbing to ensure that the template functions properly. If there were two designs that were both fantastic, and one of them showed expert use of a Version 2007 theme and the other just included elements on a slide, perhaps the first one might resonate better with the judges, perhaps even on a subconscious level.

Geetesh: Who are the judges?

Rick: We will go with the usual cast of characters -- Nancy Duarte, Julie Terberg, Garr Reynolds, Echo Swinford, somebody from India named Geetesh, and Ric Bretschneider of Microsoft. In addition, we will make all of the entries available for viewing at the conference's FaceBook fan page and invite comments from anyone who signs on as a fan.

See Also:

Categories: interviews, powerpoint, powerpointlive, presentationsummit

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2 comments




Friday, April 09, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 11:03 AM IST



Sebastian SteinSebastian Stein is the community manager of ARIS BPM Community, an online portal on business process improvements and management. He focuses on spreading the word about how pictures can help solving complex business problems without turning companies into bureaucratic monsters. Sebastian is an active blogger and writer. He holds a PhD in computer science.

In this conversation, Sebastian discusses the ARIS Express product, and how it can be used to create visual content for PowerPoint slides.

Geetesh: What exactly is ARIS Express, and why did you decide to give it away free?

Sebastian: Well, ARIS Express is a free modelling tool targeting entry users, who never thought about using models to improve their business. There is a big pile of theory behind this business process management (BPM) topic, but in the end it boils down to the fact that a picture is worth a thousand words. So instead of writing several pages about the deficiencies e.g. of your hiring process, you just create a single picture using ARIS Express. Take this picture to discuss it with the involved people to find out why this process is e.g. running slow.

You can apply this idea of using pictures to analyze business problems in many situations. For example, with ARIS Express you can create organizational charts to clarify the power hierarchy or you use a network diagram to visualize your local IT infrastructure.

ARIS Express - Home Screen

So why do we provide ARIS Express as freeware? Well, we at IDS Scheer are convinced that using pictures to solve business problems actually works. But we also know from our daily work with Fortune 500 companies that so far it is a technique mostly applied by large corporations. Tools are too expensive and too much knowledge is required to get started, preventing small companies to pick it up. We want to spread the word about BPM and bring it to smaller companies by providing a free tool plus free sample models. In the long run, we as a company will also benefit from more people adopting BPM.

Geetesh: How can PowerPoint users leverage the capabilities of ARIS Express in their slides - can you provide some examples?

Sebastian: We all have a story or two of really bad PowerPoint presentations. People tend to put up a lot of slides with a lot of bullet points. On the other hand, presentation experts tell us that we should focus on less. We should use pictures to illustrate our points instead of creating nested bullet point lists. Here, ARIS Express can be of great help. For example, you discuss how to use an external provider in your accounting process. Instead of describing the integration, create a process model showing the interaction between both parties. Or, use a data model while proposing which data to gather in your next mailing campaign. Again, a diagram with a fresh look will animate workshop participants to think instead of falling asleep. That’s the important point here, because you don’t get many chances to present your point.

ARIS Express - Org Chart

Creating such diagrams is fairly easy if you combine PowerPoint and ARIS Express. Just quickly sketch the process in ARIS Express, copy the diagram to the clipboard and paste it in your PowerPoint slide. You can also export a diagram as Microsoft EMF file and add it to your PowerPoint slide or Microsoft Office document later on.

Categories: graphics, interviews, powerpoint

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0 comments




posted by Geetesh on 9:55 AM IST



You can create the most amazing charts without any text since the main purpose of any chart is to show a trend. Having said that, text plays a very important role in charting -- and although I do recommend you keep text at a minimum, you'll end up with some text in the form of legend, some data labels, axis titles, or elsewhere. Nothing looks as bad as text that is too small or too huge on a chart, and balance plays a key role in the aesthetics of text in a chart. Yet many people don't know how you can format text in a chart -- this tutorial will get you started.

Learn more about working with text in PowerPoint charts...

Categories: charting, fonts, powerpoint_2002, powerpoint_2003, text, tutorials

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0 comments




Thursday, April 08, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 12:40 PM IST



With the plethora of products that now offer to optimize Microsoft Office file formats and image types, it was probably part of an evolution to witness a product that can optimize all these file types by itself so that you don't need separate programs to compress your images and squeeze the file sizes of your huge PowerPoint presentations. So part of that evolution is the emergence of balesio's FILEminimizer Suite 6.0 product that can squeeze file sizes out of most types that you throw at it -- how does it fare?

Read on to learn more...

Categories: add-in, balesio, powerpoint

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0 comments




posted by Geetesh on 12:20 PM IST



Jagdeep Singh PannuJagdeep Singh Pannu handles Internet marketing for authorGEN's Web properties, tweets friendly advice, likes green tea, and gets excited about meeting netizens in person.

In this conversation, Jagdeep discusses the new authorSTREAM iPad Contest.

Geetesh: Tell us more about the authorSTREAM iPad contest, and how this creates a buzz with the audience?

Jagdeep: The iPad contest is a medium to extend authorSTREAM to PowerPoint users. We are asking our users to tweet what they like about authorSTREAM. By using the #PowerPoint tag, these tweets get listed in the PowerPoint search on Twitter. PowerPoint users who do not know about authorSTREAM will get feature recommendations from our members, which in turn will enable them to explore our features and do more with PowerPoint. To facilitate this, we have listed some of our features and have preset them as tweets so that members can choose the one they like and simply click and tweet. We have also provided a custom tweet option, where members can choose to create their own tweet, provided it has @authorSTREAM and #PowerPoint in the message.

authorSTREAM iPad Contest

Geetesh: I see that you are asking users to tweet about several cool authorSTREAM features – tell us about the interesting ways in which people are tweeting about these?

Jagdeep: Yes, and we want that people tweet only about features that they know about and like. I would like to bring attention to a very important rule here:

You can choose to tweet one of the features above or you can tweet a message using both - @authorSTREAM and #PowerPoint. We suggest you tweet only about the features that you like on authorSTREAM and you honestly want that your followers should be informed about those features.
And we do see that a lot of people are using their creative skills to tweet. Some of the tweets show how members love using PowerPoint as a presentation tool and authorSTREAM as a platform for sharing and adding functionality to their presentations. Some tweets also show how they have been using PowerPoint and authorSTREAM. Here are some interesting tweets that came in:
  • Thanks to @authorSTREAM my wife was able to remotely present her #PowerPoint defense of her dissertation in the USA while she was in Europe. (http://twitter.com/13thGeneration)
Categories: authorstream, contest, interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint, twitter

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1 comments




posted by Geetesh on 10:21 AM IST



Joerg KlueckmannJoerg Klueckmann studied Sociology, Business Administration, and Intercultural Communication at FSU, Jena, Germany, and LSU, Baton Rouge, USA. From 2000 to 2005, he was employed at Intershop Communications AG, where he was responsible for product marketing. In June 2005, Joerg Klueckmann joined IDS Scheer AG. Until 2010 he was responsible for ARIS Product Marketing, focusing on ARIS innovations. As Head of Marketing for the Process Intelligence Solution, he is currently in charge of marketing of all process intelligence and compliance products.

In this conversation, Joerg discusses ARIS MashZone, and how you can embed created mashups on web pages and PowerPoint slides.

Geetesh: What can a new business user unfamiliar with the mashing concept do with ARIS MashZone? How easy is it to get started and which scenarios can benefit?

Joerg: ARIS MashZone enables everybody to create cool business mashups in minutes. The times that you have to wait for IT to provide you with customized dashboards are over. Now you just create them yourself the way you want them to be and pass them to your management, and believe me, they will be impressed. It is easy to start with MashZone. You can download a free version on www.mashzone.com The product comes with installed mashup examples for sales, marketing, HR, management, IT, controlling and leisure.

However, how do you create a mashup in MashZone?

MashZone 2

Step 1: Obtain Data

You need to figure out which data you want to work with. Of course, you need the necessary rights to access the data. Then you should think about the KPIs you want to visualize in the mashup. MashZone supports CSV, XML, Excel, Open XML, ARIS PPM, and Web Services from Amazon, Google, Reuters, Yahoo etc . You can, of course, also use Excel-based SAP reporting to work with data from SAP systems, for example.

Step 2: Combine Data

Each data source can be a data feed. You can merge feeds, you can aggregate, apply arithmetic, etc. You can work with the data to get your desired results. MashZone has a feed editor which supports you to do so.

Feed Editor

Step 3: Visualize Data

After you worked with your data feed, you need to visualize it. For this, MashZone has a Composer which provides you with a wide range of components, such as speedometers, charts, tables, traffic lights maps, etc.

MashZone 1

Step 4: Share your Data

After you created your mashup you can easily share it throughout your organization. Others can either read it or, if they have the necessary rights, modify it, too. Data turns into transparent information and finally into knowledge.

Visit: www.mashzone.com to see ARIS MashZone in action. If you visit the gallery, you can open example mashups for all different use cases.

Have fun mashing!

Geetesh: Can I embed meshed dashboards created in MashZone on my web page or PowerPoint slide -- can you provide some examples?

Joerg: MashZone is client-server based. This way your dashboard’s data is always up to date and reflect the latest updates made to the underlying data sources. Since its UI is Adobe Flex based MashZone is embeddable into other web pages easily. If PowerPoint is configured to embed Flash content you may even view your interactive dashboards right within your slides – and the best thing: you won’t lose any interactivity. All eye catching animations and graphic effects remain available.

Categories: graphics, interviews, powerpoint

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5 comments




posted by Geetesh on 9:48 AM IST



Although I mention that this tutorial works for both PowerPoint 2007 and 2010, the actual techniques work only within PowerPoint 2010. The reason why this does not work well within PowerPoint 2007 is because that version had no option for pattern fills -- however if you work within PowerPoint 2010 using the procedure outlined on this page, you'll find that any changes you make show up in PowerPoint 2007 as well.

Read more here...

Categories: charting, powerpoint_2007, powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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0 comments




Wednesday, April 07, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 11:40 AM IST



Charles WolfusFor almost a decade, Charles Wolfus has worked closely with scientists and executives finding ways to increase efficiency and optimize IT systems. For the past few years, he has been co-founder and CEO of Zinali, LLC, a San Francisco-based company dedicated to improving PowerPoint slide search. In this conversation, Charles talks about their slideboxx product.

Geetesh: Tell us more about slideboxx, and what it does.

Charles: slideboxx is a PowerPoint slide library. It automatically finds PowerPoint presentations and builds a library of your individual slides. With slideboxx installed, you never need to manually import a presentation or check it in to a server. You merely save it as you normally do, and slideboxx takes care of the slide management for you.

When you need to find slides, enter a simple text search and slideboxx quickly returns thumbnail images of your slides for fast recognition. You can then select slides to quickly build a new presentation, or insert them into an existing one; slideboxx takes care of all the copying and pasting.

Geetesh: With several slide management and cataloging tools out there, what is it that slideboxx does better? What are its strengths?

Charles: First, because organizing takes time, we believe you shouldn't need to organize or actively manage your presentations. Instead, your system should make them searchable. Our number one goal with slideboxx is making your slide search fast and we incorporate compelling technologies to do this. But there is more to a good slide management tool than simply speed, which is why we are so obsessive about usability.

The deceptively simple, fluid slideboxx interface hides a lot of complexity. As a result, our user surveys and feedback consistently identify ease of use as a key advantage of slideboxx.

Getting back to speed: we've developed a patent pending search technology optimized for speedy and specific slide search. That may not impress those with a few hundred slides. But our customers with 20,000, 50,000, or more slides repeatedly tell us how surprisingly fast they are able to perform searches, see results, and find the slides they need.

Because slides (especially the good ones) are like pictures people recognize them instantly as images. So we present search results as individual slide thumbnails, rather than pointers to files containing the relevant slides. Faster recognition means you find your slides fast, and that's what we're all about.

Further we've included many features to optimize finding your slides. For example:

If you're like me, you have 10, 20, or more versions of the same slide with very slight changes. We know looking through all these can be slow and cumbersome. The redundant slides also get in the way of seeing other slides you may need. Using the slideboxx proprietary Slide Clustering technology you can hide derivatives of a slide, quickly jumping to the right slide.

We've also considered the problem of grouping slides (from different presentations) and customizing search results. With the slideboxx Slide Tagging feature you can label slides with custom searchable text so you can easily define special sets of slides or ensure particular slides show up in a search. It also allows for faster subsequent searches and speeds the search for image-based slides.

As you can see, we are very serious about saving time for PowerPoint users and making slideboxx easy to use. These are just two of the ways that slideboxx stands out among slide management tools.

slideboxx 2.0 is normally available online for only $119 USD. But to celebrate this exciting new release, during the month of April we are offering a special price of only $99.

You can learn more about slideboxx 2.0 by visiting the slideboxx slide management website, Facebook page, or Twitter page.

Categories: digital_asset_management, interviews, powerpoint, slide_management

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0 comments




posted by Geetesh on 11:09 AM IST



If you have ever ended up with a PDF copy of an important presentation, only to know that the original PowerPoint file no longer exists -- then you know that's not a very happy state of affairs! And although there are umpteen PowerPoint to PDF converters available -- in fact the new versions of PowerPoint have this capability built-in, the reverse option of creating editable PowerPoint presentations from any such PDFs is not a simple affair. Our review product, PDF to PowerPoint Converter 2.0 claims to make any such reverse engineering easy and simple -- so the question is how does it fare?

Read more to find out...

Categories: pdf, powerpoint

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0 comments




posted by Geetesh on 10:10 AM IST



If your chart has negative value PowerPoint by default uses the same fill color for negative values in any chart -- you can anyhow override that with a convenient Invert if Negative option. To use the Invert if Negative option you must have a chart that has negative values -- then select the chart, and follow these steps.

Learn more here...

Categories: charting, powerpoint_2007, powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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0 comments




Tuesday, April 06, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 11:47 AM IST



Andy ZimmermanAndy Zimmerman, VP of Business Development at Brainshark, Inc., is responsible for developing and managing strategic partnerships and programs. Andy oversees myBrainshark.com -– a site where users can create, share and track the impact of multimedia presentations for free. Recently, he helped launch the new myBrainshark Pro solution – providing small-office/home-office (SOHO) and individual business users with enhanced functionality for more targeted outreach and measurable results.

In this conversation, Andy talks about myBrainshark Pro.

Geetesh: What extra levels does the new myBrainshark Pro add to the capabilities for existing myBrainshark users?

Andy: myBrainshark Pro brings advanced features to users of the free myBrainshark service– where you can still create, share and track on-demand multimedia presentations at absolutely no cost. myBrainshark allows anyone to simply upload content – such as a PowerPoint presentation – and add voice narration, MP3 audio, video clips, survey questions, attachments and more. Then, you can share the resulting presentation as a link in an email or through social media.

Now, with myBrainshark Pro, you can deliver your communications in an even more targeted and measurable way. We designed the new capabilities with small-office/home-office professionals and individual business users in mind. These groups are increasingly seeing the benefit of multimedia, social media and high-quality content creation tools – and looking to use them at a price point that makes sense for their business. With that in mind, we designed the upgrade path such that users could add the following advanced “Pro” features to any myBrainshark presentation starting at just $9.99/month:

  • Share your presentation privately. Currently all content on myBrainshark is publicly available. By marking a presentation as private, you can ensure that your message reaches only your intended audience.

  • Apply password protection to presentations. This option offers additional security.

  • Add a “guestbook.” You can collect an unlimited number of leads or ensure training compliance with a “guestbook” – a registration form placed at the beginning or end of your presentation, capturing viewers’ contact information and other relevant details.

  • Create and send personalized URLs (PURLs). This is an option for monitoring individual viewing activity on presentations without a guestbook.

  • Access viewing details. myBrainshark currently gives users anonymous and aggregate viewing data about their presentations. With a Pro subscription, you can see who viewed your presentation, when, how much they watched, how survey questions were answered and more.
The myBrainshark Pro features give myBrainshark users the opportunity to drive greater results and communicate in more ways –- enabling them to create, deliver and track targeted presentations as part of a lead generation campaign; be better informed for sales follow-up; share proprietary information and monitor viewing activity; send a "talking résumé" to a potential employer and know if it’s being seen and by whom; and much more.

Geetesh: I read that myBrainshark Pro features are presentation-specific – rather than being applied to all content in a user’s account. What are advantages for end users with this approach?

Andy: You’re right – we’ve set it up so myBrainshark users can apply Pro features to any presentation they’ve created for a monthly fee of $9.99 per presentation – with discounts applied when users apply Pro features to five or more presentations. You can disable a presentation’s Pro status at any time too – letting you apply the Pro features to another one of your presentations at no additional charge. And, as I mentioned, you can still create as many myBrainshark presentations as you’d like without Pro features for free.

There are various benefits of applying Pro features on a presentation-by-presentation basis. For example, you may have some presentations you’d like to keep public and visible to a wide audience. This content would remain on myBrainshark.com, where it’s searchable on the site and indexed by leading search engines. So, by making Pro features presentation-specific, you have the flexibility of deciding which content is best served through Pro functionality and which is better suited to the free myBrainshark features. Both the free and Pro levels provide compelling functionality to help users promote their companies and their expertise, and improve communications outreach and results.

See Also: myBrainshark: Conversation with Andy Zimmerman

Categories: brainshark, interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:46 AM IST



Long time PowerPoint users will remember the difficulties of charting -- it was so painful, time-consuming, and repetitive a task changing the fills of all the series one after the other -- and if your presentation had more than one chart slide, then you also had to ensure that all charts looked the same. PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 make this sort of repetitive formatting easy and consistent with the Chart Styles option.

Learn more about Chart Styles here...

Categories: charting, powerpoint_2007, powerpoint_2010, tutorials

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Monday, April 05, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 9:55 AM IST



Although the default fill and border (outline) that PowerPoint 2007 applies to charts may be perfectly adequate, you might want to play with the Chart Styles found in the Chart Tools Design tab of the Ribbon -- all these Styles are based on the Office Theme you have applied to the active presentation, and while this works great most of the time, there will be occasions when you may want to use a color for any of your data series that's not part of the Theme palette in your presentation. In times like these, you can control the fill and border of chart elements using the techniques explained on this page.

Learn more here...

Categories: charting, powerpoint_2007, tutorials

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Saturday, April 03, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 1:29 PM IST



One of the strangest things I have found in PowerPoint land is how people create quotation slides -- by default no version of PowerPoint has had a separate layout for quotation slides, and so most people just use the default text and bullet layout for quotation slides. Yes, they do make some small changes on the slides such as removing the bullets, and some adventurous folks may also play with the text treatment -- but don't expect any fancy quotation graphics or any changes in the slide layout.

Learn more about designing quotation slides in PowerPoint 2007...

Categories: design, powerpoint_2007, presentation_samples

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posted by Geetesh on 11:11 AM IST



Although charts in PowerPoint 2007 look so much better than charts in previous versions, the chart type offerings are almost similar. PowerPoint 2007 provides all the basic chart types such as column, bar, line, pie, etc. -- and also some advanced charts like radar, surface, bubble, doughnut, etc. To change a chart type from one to another, you first need to have a chart in your presentation. Then follow these steps to change the chart type in PowerPoint 2007.

Learn more here...

Categories: charting, powerpoint_2007, tutorials

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Friday, April 02, 2010
posted by Geetesh on 10:33 AM IST



There are several scenarios in which you might get stuck with video file formats -- maybe a video clip is not in the right format to be used within a PowerPoint slide. Or what do you do if you want to create some video for display on a web site or mobile applications -- and you don't want to go into technical terms like frame rates or aspect ratios that most normal mortals don't understand too well.

Reframe from Miraizon can help...

Categories: media_conversion, video, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:58 AM IST



Charts in PowerPoint comprise several elements that we call chart elements. Typical chart elements include series (and this could be one or more series with values), axes (horizontal, vertical, and in some cases a third axis as well), plot area (the active chart area), legend, chart title, and many more. In this tutorial we'll learn more about these individual chart elements.

Learn more here...

Categories: charting, powerpoint_2007, tutorials

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