vMaps’ Auto Color Feature: Conversation with Jamie Garroch

Thursday, January 10, 2013
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:00 AM IST



Jamie GarrochJamie Garroch, CEO of GMARK Ltd., founded the company in 2009 to provide presentation professionals with PowerPoint software, content and training. Jamie uses PowerPoint for most of his graphic needs — for everything from designing logos to creating web banners and even printed marketing collaterals. He also uses PowerPoint as a programming environment to create custom programming procedures and PowerPoint add-ins.

In this conversation, Jamie discusses the new Auto Color option in his vMaps add-in for PowerPoint.

Geetesh: Tell us more about vMaps, what is does and how it helps presentation authors build content using geographical based graphics?

Jamie: vMaps is an add-in for PowerPoint 2013, 2010 and 2007. It adds a deceptively simple single button in the Insert tab of the Ribbon which provides access to a huge array of thousands of maps. These maps are provided as native PowerPoint [vector] shapes so can be resized without loss of quality, recolored and styled with various PowerPoint effects such as shadow, glow, 3D and more. The primary purpose of vMaps is to solve the problem of “where did I save that slide with that map?”. There are lots of sources for maps but finding them weeks, months or even years after you bought them is time consuming and frustrating. By adding this simple button to your Ribbon, maps are always available for your presentation. Maps include a full World map with more than 200 individually named shapes which can be selected using the Selection pane in PowerPoint. Other maps range include multiple levels of detail such as the USA outline, regions, states and even all 3000+ counties.

Geetesh: How does the Auto Color feature help presenters to build smarter information graphics?

Jamie: The obvious next step to creating a useful map based info-graphic is by coloring the shapes representing the geographical areas. Lets say for example that you wanted to represent the population of the World by country. You could show a very boring table. Or, you could color a World map with various shades of a chosen color which represented the number of people in that country. That would be a great visual to show your audience but with more than 200 shapes to fill, most people wouldn’t even start such a tedious task. That’s where the new Auto Color feature comes into play. Auto Color provides you with a simple way to use Excel to define the color for each row/shape in your map. You can use one of two methods:

  • RGB Method: You can add RGB values to each row in your spreadsheet. vMaps Auto Color will then import the spreadsheet and use these values to automatically fill each part of your map.
  • Scale Method: you can add a single data value to each row in your spreadsheet and then choose two colors representing the minimum and maximum levels of your scale using either the theme colors, RGB color model or HSL color model and even include transparency. vMaps Auto Color will then calculate the color representing the data value for each row in your sheet and fill the shape accordingly.

The video below shows how the Auto Color feature uses each of these two modes to automatically recolor a map of the World.

vMaps is published by GMARK and a free trial is available here.

Categories: add-in, interviews, maps, powerpoint

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