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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: March 2011

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

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Brainshark Mobile Capabilities and Enhancements: Conversation with Andy Zimmerman

Thursday, March 31, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 1:23 PM IST



Andy ZimmermanAndy Zimmerman is the vice president of product marketing for Brainshark, Inc., overseeing the company’s marketing strategy, content and partners. Brainshark’s cloud-based software enables users to create online and mobile video presentations – using simple business tools like PowerPoint and the telephone – and then share and track their content. Thousands of companies use Brainshark to improve the reach and results of their business communications, while dramatically reducing communications costs.

In this conversation, Andy discusses new mobile offerings and enhancements, which Brainshark is announcing today.

Geetesh: Tell us about the new mobile capabilities and enhancements that Brainshark is announcing. How will these make a difference in the viewing experience for mobile users?

Andy: We’re committed to helping our users share and consume online video presentations – anytime, anywhere and from any device. As such, we’re excited to be unveiling new mobile capabilities and offerings, designed to provide a more interactive experience for on-the-go viewers.

Chief among these offerings is our "Brainshark Enhanced Mobile" module. This is available to our enterprise customers and includes advanced mobile reporting capabilities, giving users information on how long individual viewers engaged with their presentations. We’re also making clickpath tracking data available, which allows users to see exactly how viewers navigated through their content – including which slides were watched, for how long and in what order. As companies connect more and more with mobile audiences – who want to consume content at their convenience, on-the-go and on their preferred devices – this advanced reporting provides actionable, granular information on mobile viewing behavior to our users.

We’ve also made improvements to the Brainshark Content Portal, whose interface previously had been oriented toward desktop viewers. Now, when users log in, we can detect if they’re doing so from a handheld device and present content in a way that is suited for that form factor. Thus, regardless of the mobile operating system, our new Mobile Content Portal, which we built using HTML 5, provides a more intuitive search, browsing and sharing experience – with simpler controls and actions optimized for smaller screens.

Geetesh: What are the specific improvements for users of Android and iOS platforms?

Andy: Users of Android smartphones and tablets can now benefit from our new, Flash-based mobile player, which provides a more interactive viewing experience. Viewers can browse through a presentation’s table of contents, access and download attachments associated with that presentation, leverage playback controls and share presentations instantly via email.



In terms of iOS users – as you may recall, we were excited to launch a free iOS app earlier this year, which provides an enhanced viewing experience for users on iPhones and iPads. We’ve made some updates to make that experience even better. As you’ll see from the iPad screenshot, our app now has an updated, sleek design, as well as options for customer branding. iOS viewers also benefit from a higher content refresh rate – so they can instantly see the latest presentations posted to their Brainshark account, as well as the newest free titles from third-party eLearning providers. In addition, when iOS viewers click on a Brainshark link, their device now automatically plays the presentation from the iPhone/iPad app for the best experience – or prompts them to download it, if they so choose.

We’re very excited to be making this series of new capabilities available. As smartphone and tablet use continues to skyrocket – and as mobile capabilities play increasingly integral roles in business communications – we’re committed to supporting our users in their communication needs.

Categories: android, brainshark, interviews, ipad, iphone, online_presentations, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 1:17 PM IST



An Indezine reader asked me if he could create three circles next to each other, and make sure that they looked like this: The first circle should be filled-in full (entirely), the second circle should be half full, and the third and last circle should have no fill (empty). The first and third circles are easy -- all you need to do is ensure that the first circle has both an Outline and a Solid Fill, and that the third circle has only an outline and No Fill. The second circle (half circle) is an easy challenge that I'll teach you to create in this one page tutorial using PowerPoint 2010.

Learn to create a half circle in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tutorials

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 1:11 PM IST



In previous tutorials, you have learned how PowerPoint provides a collection of ready-made shapes that you can easily insert with a click or two. You can go ahead and add multiple shapes on the same slide and then flip, rotate, reorder, or group them as required to create your own combined diagrams and designs within PowerPoint. These combined shapes help create more involved diagrams such as a target -- in this tutorial I'll show you how simple it is to create a target by placing circles of various sizes one on top of the other using the techniques of formatting shapes already explained.

Learn how to draw a target diagram with multiple circles in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 1:01 PM IST



Just like PowerPoint 2007, PowerPoint 2010 also does not provide the semi-circle as a basic shape within the Shape gallery. In this tutorial you will learn how to draw a semi-circle in PowerPoint 2010 using the Pie shape.

Learn how to create a semi-circle in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tutorials

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 2:28 PM IST



In a previous tutorial, I showed you how to draw a perfect circle. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to draw a perfect square in PowerPoint 2010 using those same principles. Follow these steps to learn more.

Learn how to draw a perfect square in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 2:24 PM IST



Drawing shapes in PowerPoint is drop-dead easy with the vast repertoire of readymade shapes available in PowerPoint 2010. You can easily insert these shapes with a click or two, but some tricks can help you take these shapes further -- in this tutorial, I'll show you how you can draw a perfect circle.

Learn how to draw a perfect circle in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: graphics, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tutorials

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Monday, March 28, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:11 AM IST



VisualBee 2 is a PowerPoint add-in with an easy to use wizard based interface. The add-in automatically analyses your PowerPoint presentation text and structure, and builds a new designed presentation with appropriate templates, images, and graphics. VisualBee 2 is the new and improved version of an add-in that we have already reviewed -- in this new version, VisualBee designs and images database has been significantly enhanced.

Read the review here.

Categories: add-in, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 10:01 AM IST



In this series of tutorials, I have showed you how you can use all Shape Effects available in PowerPoint 2010. This last tutorial of this series builds upon the previous Apply 3-D Rotation to a Shape in PowerPoint 2010 tutorial.

Learn how to format the rotation attributes of a shape in PowerPoint 2010 with more control than what's available in the 3-D Rotation gallery.

Categories: effects, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tutorials

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:49 AM IST



You have already learned about all the Shape Effects available in PowerPoint 2010 except 3-D Rotation. In this tutorial, we remedy that omission by showing you how you can add a 3-D Rotation effect to make your shapes appear more three dimensional and prominent.

Learn how to apply a 3D Rotation effect to selected shapes in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: effects, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tutorials

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Monday, March 21, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 11:25 AM IST



Raptivity Presenter, a PowerPoint add-in that allows you to add interactivity to your PowerPoint presentations, has already been reviewed on this site. In this review, I'll explore a new pack called the Interactive Graphs Pack for Raptivity Presenter which allows you to add interactive graphs and charts.

Read the review here.

Categories: add-in, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 11:07 AM IST



3-D Options in PowerPoint 2010 let you format the bevel style of a shape with many more options than those available in the conventional Bevel gallery you explored in our Apply Bevel Effects to Shapes In PowerPoint 2010 tutorial. You can customize options such as contour, contour color, depth, depth color, and materials. This detailed tutorial explains every option within the 3-D Options gamut.

Explore the 3-D Format options available for shapes in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: effects, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tutorials

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Thursday, March 17, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Dave FitzgeraldDave Fitzgerald is executive vice president of Brainshark, Inc., a leader in online and mobile video presentations. In his role, Dave oversees all aspects of Brainshark’s sales, marketing and service operations.

In this conversation, Dave discusses Brainshark’s newly announced partnership with m62.

Geetesh: Who is m62, and what does Brainshark’s new partnership with them provide?

Dave: m62 is a leading presentation design firm headquartered in Liverpool, England, with additional offices in Singapore and New York. The company provides services ranging from presentation design to advanced PowerPoint and presentation skills training.

We’re excited to announce this partnership with m62, and apply our joint expertise to help companies maximize the impact of their communications. Through the partnership, m62 will now be reselling Brainshark’s enterprise offerings to companies in the U.K. and across the globe. This extends the benefits of Brainshark to an even larger audience, allowing users with as little as a PowerPoint deck and the phone to create high-impact video presentations within minutes.



Geetesh: What Brainshark abilities dovetail with m62, and how is this a win-win situation?

Dave: We feel this partnership is a particularly good match because our missions – to help companies and business professionals create and deliver compelling presentations – are truly complementary. We both arm our customers with solutions and resources for delivering stellar content that increases sales win rates, marketing conversions, training success and overall revenues.

Customers can benefit from m62’s deep-seated presentation expertise and ability to powerfully combine visual and verbal communications. At the same time, Brainshark also now provides m62’s customers with an easy, cost-effective way to deliver their presentations on-demand – no travel costs or scheduling overhead. Audiences can experience the communications where, when and how they want, including from smartphones and tablets like the iPad.

We’ve recently embarked on a series of roadshows with m62 throughout the U.K., where we’ll be sharing presentation best practices with attendees. We look forward to continuing our strong partnership and to the resulting benefits for Brainshark and m62 customers.

Categories: brainshark, interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 3:19 PM IST



You have already learned about some of the Shape Effects available in PowerPoint 2010 as part of this tutorial series -- you now learn how to add a Bevel effect to a selected shape in PowerPoint 2010.

Learn to apply Bevel effects to selected shapes in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: effects, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 2:56 PM IST



St. Patrick's Day Shamrocks for PowerPoint are ready to use clip-art style symbols that you can use within your presentation slides. Although the shamrock symbols you download from this page are green in color, they can be recolored using PowerPoint's native options for fills, lines, and effects. These shamrock symbols are contained within a sample presentation you can download. Just copy the shamrock symbol you like and paste into another PowerPoint slide, or even a Word document or Excel worksheet. All these shamrock symbols are vector shapes, so you can easily edit them within your Microsoft Office program.




Download, view, and use the shamrock symbols contained in these presentations.

Categories: clip_media, powerpoint, presentation_samples

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 4:41 PM IST



As with shadow effects and reflection effects in PowerPoint 2010, you get advanced option for soft edges too. In this tutorial you will learn how you can make changes to the soft edges you have already applied to a shape.

Learn how you can get more control on the soft-edge effects applied to the shapes in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: effects, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tutorials

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Monday, March 14, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 2:21 PM IST



After exploring some effects that PowerPoint 2010 provides for shapes, you are now going to learn to play with the Soft Edges effect. This one adds an eaten-up, feathered edge to a selected shape. Soft edges work best with larger shapes, especially if you use some of the larger soft edge variations available. PowerPoint provides some ready-to-use soft edges, and also there is an option to format soft edges beyond these readymade offerings in PowerPoint 2010.

Learn how to apply Soft Edge effects to shapes in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: effects, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tutorials

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Saturday, March 12, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 12:10 PM IST



Michael KolowichMichael Kolowich is founder and CEO of KnowledgeVision, which has developed tools for creating, managing, and distributing synchronized interactive online video presentations for communications, marketing, training, and sales professionals. He writes regularly about online presentations at his blog.

This is a guest post by Michael for Indezine.com -- do note that the content in this post is his opinion, and not necessarily endorsed by this site.

I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little tired of the "disembodied voice" approach to online presentations. Whether it’s through webinars or online meetings or voiced-over sales decks, there's no denying that the narrated online presentation has started to gain traction. But this popularity comes at a cost: most online presentations, to be blunt, lack personality.

Think back over the last couple of years to the most memorable and impactful presentations you’ve seen. And if you haven’t seen any lately, go to TED and take in a couple of the so-called "TED Talks". Or reflect on some of the great lectures you might have seen in college. Or look at what Steve Jobs does with his product launch presentations. Great presentations are, at their core, performance art, augmented by the power of illustration in the form of powerful images and provocative text. Great presenters are storytellers, and they tell those stories with every tool they have – with the inflection of their voice, with their gestures, with their facial expressions, with the images they show, and with the useful handouts they pass around.

A voiced-over online presentation is handicapped right from the start, because the speaker is denied many of the communication tools that are available to a live presenter. What's more, presentation narrators often compound the problem by reading from a script, further stripping the personality from the experience.

While narrated presentations certainly have their place as a quick-and-dirty tool in an online communications portfolio, they are hardly the way to put a company’s best foot forward – especially with an organization's best communicators.

Fortunately, online video presentation tools like KnowledgeVision are now emerging that are easy, affordable, and powerful. And I'm not talking about just dropping video clips into a presentation; I'm talking about a fully-synchronized reproduction of a presentation experience, with all the body language and nuance of the storyteller. Take a look at this 6-minute example of an online video presentation and I think you’ll see what I mean.

Too expensive to produce? Hardly. At a time when most teenagers know how to create and upload video clips to YouTube, video capture and uploading skills are everywhere you look. And the best video online presentation platforms can create quite serviceable "ad-hoc" presentations right from a webcam, plugged into your computer's USB port. Video online presentations can be produced in literally minutes from any computer, anywhere an internet connection can be found, with no special equipment.

Today's most advanced online presentation platforms don’t stop at video synchronization, though. They further enhance the experience by providing just-in-time footnotes, virtual handouts, calls to action, forms, quizzes, surveys, interactive transcripts, and other tools as part of the entire interactive experience. And they augment that experience with powerful analytics that show how the presentation material is being viewed and interacted with.

Will this spell the end of audio-only narrated presentations? Hardly. Both narrated presentations and fully-synchronized video presentations have a place in a company's communications portfolio at every level – from the corporate communications and training departments to product managers and sales reps. And now that both capabilities can be found in a single flexible tool, there's no reason not to spread that capability widely in an organization.

Categories: guest_post, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 12:02 PM IST



Once you apply a glow effect to any shape in PowerPoint 2010, you may find that the defaults just do not work for you! So you may want to make some changes, probably change the glow color, it's spread or transparency, etc. In this tutorial you are going to learn how you can access the Advanced Glow Options in PowerPoint 2010, which make all those changes doable.

Learn how you can make changes to glow effect applied to the shape(s) in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: effects, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tutorials

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Saturday, March 05, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:14 AM IST



Seema ChaudharySeema Chaudhary helped establish the US headquarters of Harbinger Group in Redmond; created innovative and effective marketing campaigns to launch several products in the international market; and developed crucial long-lasting relationships with prominent and influential experts in the e-Learning industry.

In this conversation, Seema discusses the just released Interactive Graphs Pack for Raptivity Presenter.

Geetesh: What is the Interactive Graphs Pack for Raptivity Presenter and how can it help PowerPoint users?

Seema: We just announced a new library for our Raptivity Presenter product that will allow users show graphs and charts interactively in PowerPoint for the first time. Raptivity Presenter by itself is a seamlessly integrated add-in that works within PowerPoint to add several interactivity models, helping create meaningful and expressive interactions within PowerPoint slides. This new library, named the Interactive Graphs Pack is now part of the PowerPoint add-in for Raptivity Presenter.



Most presenters show important statistical information in the form of graphs and charts. But more often than not, there is more information to communicate than what is just visible on the slide. The Interactive Graphs Pack will enable presenters to communicate the context, and bring out the implications and insights hidden behind these graphs.

Geetesh: What are these interactions that comprise the Interactive Graphs Pack?

Seema: Although the graphs and charts include the traditional types –line, bar, pie, bubble and others - the interactive elements make them entirely different. With the new library of interactive charts and graphs, presenters will be able to add notes right alongside the data points. For example, presenters might be able to explain more clearly why the sales of a product were low in a particular month than in other months.

Another set of interactions in this pack is called Cluster Annotation Graphs. These interactions help the reader focus on the interpretation of graphs at the series or cluster level instead of each data point of the graph.

The Interactive Graphs Pack adds 11 new interactions to Raptivity Presenter, bringing the total to well over 50 interactions. Last fall, the company added a Business Presentation Pack, which included a powerful set of interactions that covered customer testimonials, showing of hierarchies, memos and others.

Categories: add-in, interviews, powerpoint, raptivity_presenter

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 10:27 AM IST



Continuing this series on Shape Effects in PowerPoint, this tutorial takes the glow effect options for a shape in PowerPoint 2010 a little further by showing you how you can change the glow color to anything beyond the default Theme Color offerings.

Learn to change the glow effect's color applied to shapes in PowerPoint 2010.

Categories: effects, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tutorials

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



When you "hide" a slide in PowerPoint, it doesn’t display while scrolling through the presentation in Slide Show mode. So, why in the world would you ever want to do that … have slides in your deck that the audience can’t see? In this article, we’ll look at several wonderful reasons that can greatly increase your flexibility and effectiveness as a speaker, giving talks a more personalized, conversational, audience-friendly feel.

Learn more with Robert Lane.

Categories: guest_post, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



In this series of tutorials on Shape Effects, you have already explored how you can apply preset, shadow, and reflection effects to selected shapes in PowerPoint 2010. In this tutorial you will learn how to apply the Glow effect, which adds a hazed color perimeter outside the shape area.

Learn to apply glow effects to shapes in PowerPoint 2010 that adds a hazed color perimeter outside the shape area
.

Categories: effects, powerpoint_2010, shapes, tutorials

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