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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: May 2013

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

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Instant Effects Presenter v5.6: Conversation with Don Brittain

Friday, May 31, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Don BrittainDon Brittain is CEO and a founder of Instant Effects, a California company that develops software to visually enhance presentations, communications, and collaboration.

In this conversation, Don discusses the new v5.6 release of Instant Effects Presenter.

Geetesh: You announced a new 5.6 update of your Instant Effects software -– tell us more about the new abilities.

Don: Many of our Presenter customers produce high-end events that require capabilities that go well beyond standard PowerPoint or video-based presentation techniques. For example, Presenter supports moving backgrounds with smooth transitions, stereoscopic 3D output, ultra-wide screen multi-projector configurations, and picture-in-a-picture techniques that can be used to embed live video or speaker presentations into a broader visual context.



While these capabilities meet many needs, modern media is becoming more interactive and dynamic. With the rise in popularity of touch-screen devices like smart phones and tablets, people now expect media to be more expressive and exploratory.

Thus, the v5.6 update of Presenter was designed to support the creation and delivery of fully interactive presentations. It's now possible to create and drive presentations that respond in some fairly amazing ways to interactive input (touch, mouse, and gamepad input, for example) while still leveraging our support for stereo 3D, ultra-wide aspect ratios, and video-intensive presentation techniques.

This is especially important in the context of teaching, training, and product promotion. Interactive media is more engaging, which in turn increases excitement, cognition and retention. And because Presenter has always been based on a real-time 3D multi-media software foundation, our new interaction techniques fit in naturally with the other benefits offered by previous versions of our platform.

Geetesh: Does your product continue working within PowerPoint? Also tell us more about improvements in this area.

Don: Yes, Presenter is first and foremost a PowerPoint plug-in. This allows the presentation author to work in a familiar environment for initial design and layout work. After that, Presenter adds in the moving backgrounds, transitions, and interactive media components.

But the process is very much iterative. Our tight integration with PowerPoint means that it's natural to iterate on all components of the presentation, right up until "show time". And because Presenter is a real-time system, there are no long compile or render requirements -- last minute changes are easy and instant to implement.

Version 5.6 of Presenter builds on this tight PowerPoint connection. Indeed, pop-up user-interfaces used to drive dynamic media are authored in PowerPoint, offering direct support for things like fade-out panels, toggle buttons, virtual touchpads, and sliders. And thanks to the PowerPoint connection, it is easy and quick to make changes to interaction techniques and UI layout right up until the last minute.

Despite the tight PowerPoint connection, most viewers would be quite surprised to find out that what they are watching originated in PowerPoint!

See Also: Instant Effects Presenter v4: Conversation with Don Brittain | Instant Effects Presenter v3.5: Conversation with Don Brittain

Categories: add-in, interviews, officefx, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



The Status Bar is a thin strip located at the bottom of the PowerPoint 2013 interface. This area provides information about the active slide, and also provides several View options. To work with options in the Status Bar, you must have a presentation open in PowerPoint -- otherwise the options within the Status Bar will be grayed out.



Learn about options available in the Status Bar within PowerPoint 2013.

Categories: powerpoint_2013, tutorials

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Thursday, May 30, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



A simple looking presentation with a clean background is always a great idea since that doesn't overpower your message. Yet, there are plenty of opportunities to go beyond a plain background and use a less restrained background instead -- your choice for a slide background should complement the content of your presentation. PowerPoint 2011 does provide you with 12 default slide Background Styles which can be applied to both the Slide Master and individual Slide Layouts -- other than these default background styles, you can also opt to use a custom slide background such as a solid color, a gradient, a pattern or texture, or even a picture.



Learn how to apply custom backgrounds to both the Slide Master and Slide Layouts in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, templates, tutorials

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Jim PhelanJim Phelan has architected, designed and developed numerous business productivity, healthcare and e-learning applications. He is the co-founder of elucidate llc, where he created Electric Slide, elucidate’s core product, as well as several healthcare applications. Jim lives in Brooklyn with his mischievous cat Zeus, whose spirit name is Peeve.

In this conversation, Jim discusses the new Electric Slide 2.

Geetesh: Tell us more about Electric Slide, how it evolved, and how it fulfills the requirement for a presenting app that takes advantage of the iOS platform?

Jim: Electric Slide lets you present PowerPoint, Keynote, documents and videos to any web browser (or via an adapter or AirPlay), all from your iPhone or iPad. It was conceived of as a way to eliminate the hassle involved when presenting in person. Coming from the web collaboration space, I was aware that there are lots of high quality PC based tools for sharing and presenting content to a remote audience, but what didn’t seem to exist was a quality way for the mobile-equipped presenter to easily share their presentation in a physical meeting and also around the world.

Electric SlideFor the presenter who wants to present PowerPoint, documents, video and (now) Keynote from their iPhone or iPad, there weren't many good solutions. We really focused on making mobile presenting accessible regardless of the scenario, so whether you’re in a conference room with an adapter or presenting to a group of viewers on web browsers, it just works. We also invested a lot of time in making the app work in less than perfect conditions, such as degraded or non-existent Internet connectivity.

We decided to make the app a native iOS app to take advantage of some of the more advanced features of iOS. One example of this is how we allow users to snap and share a photo. Imagine you're presenting in a conference room with a couple of attendees on the phone, and someone decides to sketch something out on the whiteboard. With this feature you can quickly snap a photo and share it in real-time to your remote audience. We also do some pretty interesting stuff with Bluetooth pairing where we enable devices to control each other even in the absence of an Internet connection. This is reinforced by our syncing feature, which automatically downloads and stores your content to your device so you can present it anywhere.

In terms of evolution, every new version of Electric Slide has brought new features, increased performance and higher fidelity when making PowerPoint, document and video content web friendly. We actually support most of your PowerPoint (and now Keynote) animations and transitions in a web browser -- so your audience just goes to your simple URL and will see your presentation as you intended it to be seen. Our new version brings greatly improved document quality (such as PDFs and Word documents) and also adds page thumbnails for quickly navigating documents.



Geetesh: What are your favorite new features in Electric Slide version 2?

Jim:There are so many new features in version 2 that it’s hard to choose, but I think the big winner with our users will be the new version's ability to control Keynote presentations from iPhone and iPad. This is by far our most requested feature; the current version supports PowerPoint, documents and videos, but not Keynote. It was also a technical feat to accomplish, so we're quite happy about the way it turned out.

Electric Slide

I think the Email Inbox feature will make a lot of people's lives easier as well. Rather than upload presentations directly to Electric Slide you can now email them to a private email address we provide you with. This feature is included in the free version and will make things simpler for a lot of people -- if you receive an email with an attachment you want to present, simply forward it and it will appear in your account. If you have an assistant or agency doing your presentation work they can easily send it to your address as well. One fun way to use this feature is to record a quick video on your device and email it off -- in a short time you can broadcast this video for all of your viewers to see.

This version also introduces web based, monthly payments. Before we were only allowing Pro account upgrades via in app purchases in the App Store, but now any user can get a Pro account online -- we're offering this for a limited time for just $4.99 a month as an introductory price.

Sharing your PowerPoint and Keynote presentations is now possible with this version as well. Just tap the share button and a web-friendly link will be delivered to recipients of your choosing. This web viewer link lets viewers check out a web based version of your content at their leisure and is great for following up to a meeting without having to attach your bulky PowerPoint file to an email.

Personally, however, the Broadcast Zoom feature is my favorite. It’s deceptively simple -- just pinch to zoom on your document or slides while presenting. Once you do, your audience (whether on the web or watching on a TV or projector) will see you zoom in real-time. This nicely complements the laser pointer feature and gives you several options to call out important content. We also provide an option to let you zoom privately which can be quite helpful for users presenting from a phone.

Electric Slide

Categories: interviews, ipad, iphone, keynote, online_presentations, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



The Task Pane is a docked window within the PowerPoint 2013 interface that provides more options than dialog boxes -- also unlike most dialog boxes which cover the Slide Area, you can view both the active slide(s) and the Task Pane at the same time -- thus the Task Pane provides a more streamlined experience.



Learn about how the Task Pane works in PowerPoint 2013, and you can toggle its view.

Categories: powerpoint_2013, tutorials

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 10:30 AM IST



Get started in this issue by learning how you can speak concisely -- Claudyne Wilder teaches you how. Rick Altman, the host of the annual Presentation Summit discusses this year's conference at Fort Lauderdale, Florida -- and Aaron Khoo of 9Slides tell you more about why he believes that 9Slides is a great platform for sharing presentations. This issue, we focus on the PowerPoint Web App -- did you know that many keyboard shortcuts associated with the desktop versions of PowerPoint do actually work within the Web App? We get you a comprehensive list for both Windows and Mac users. We then explore the amazing Eyedropper tool -- this is new for PowerPoint 2013 on Windows. PowerPoint 2011 for Mac users can learn more about changing backgrounds in Slide Masters and Slide Layouts.



Read Indezine's PowerPoint and Presenting News.

Categories: ezine, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



When you change Background Styles within the Slide Master, the Background Style for all dependent Slide Layouts will change. However, it is not necessary for all your Slide Layouts to possess the same Background Style as the Slide Master -- or even another Slide Layout. Each Layout can have its own independent Background Style, as you will learn in the rest of this tutorial.



Learn how to apply Background Styles to individual Slide Layouts in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, templates, tutorials

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Monday, May 27, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Millions of pictures are available online within the Creative Commons license – many of these pictures can be found on Flickr – and typically, most Creative Commons licensed content on Flickr can be searched within three useable categories. You can therefore decide which of these license options work for you, which pictures are available within any of these license options – and then download the picture. That's when you need to think about another important aspect of the Creative Commons license – and that is attribution.



Learn how to attribute Creative Commons pictures in your PowerPoint slides.

Categories: flickr, pictures, powerpoint, tutorials

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



We have already explored the new Eyedropper tool in PowerPoint 2013 that lets you sample colors from any object within your PowerPoint slide and use that same color as a fill or outline for a shape. You can follow the same principle to modify text fills and outlines. The technique is little different if you want to pick an exact color from somewhere outside PowerPoint.



Learn about advanced options with the new Eyedropper tool in PowerPoint 2013.

Categories: color, fills, outline, powerpoint_2013, tutorials

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Saturday, May 25, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Speaking concisely and to the point is a much-needed skill in business. Presenters who are brief and on target appear more knowledgeable than those who ramble from detail to detail. Many presenters believe the opposite: that the more they share, the better everyone will think they know the subject. That is just not true. Here is a wonderful quote I just read:

Knowledge is power, which is why people who had it in the past often tried to make a secret of it. In post-capitalism, power comes from transmitting information to make it productive, not from having it.

- Peter Drucker
(writer of 39 books, management consultant and university professor).

The key is to accurately gauge what and how much information your audience needs to know. Then you can speak in short sentences, not connect your sentences with information your audience really cannot process or take action on. Someone who is used to talking without pausing sometimes says "and" only to realize there really is not another point to make about the subject. The person struggles to think of something to say, ending up with a string of "and, um's."

Second, a good presenter will leave out extra filler phrases. For example, when using slides, the presenter will not say as every new slide comes up, "as you can see here" or "we put this information on the slide to..." Once in a while these phrases may be used for impact, but not for every slide.

Lastly, less is more. A concise presenter says less in a relaxed manner rather than more very quickly, with tension in voice and posture. A concise, well-organized presentation errs on the short side. Remember, it all goes back to the executive summary that you have prepared - or should have prepared! Your executive summary allows you to be concise and look and sound like you have done your homework. Always ask yourself: How will this level of information make my audience more productive in terms of taking action or making better decisions?



Claudyne WilderClaudyne Wilder coaches executives, managers, and salespeople on how to deliver presentations that get to the message. Her clients give compelling, passionate presentations. Her company has an ongoing contract to give her Get to the Message: Present with a Purpose workshop at a Fortune 100 Global Pharmaceutical Company. Claudyne brings a unique and invigorating perspective to her work from her years of studying the Argentine Tango.

Do visit Claudyne's site at Wilder Presentations to sign up for her blog, her tweets or to download some free presenting tools.

Claudyne's next Get to the Message Workshop in Boston is May 14 and 15. It is a very small intimate group with only ten people.

Categories: guest_post, opinion, powerpoint

See Also: Claudyne Wilder on Indezine

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Friday, May 24, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



While exploring how you can change the Slide Layout of any given slide(s), we have seen that when you access the Home tab of the Ribbon and click the Layout button, the Layout drop-down gallery opens. The number of Slide Layouts that you see in this gallery may differ depending upon the Theme of your active presentation -- but with PowerPoint's default Office Theme applied, you will see 11 layouts in PowerPoint 2011. So, where do these Slide Layouts come from? What influences how they look, or how the placeholders within them are laid out?



Explore Slide Layouts within Slide Master view in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, tutorials

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Thursday, May 23, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Although PowerPoint lets you choose almost any color you want, it is often difficult to choose the same color as a picture on the slide! You may want to match the colors of shapes or text on your slides to a picture, or even some other object (maybe a logo or even the slide background) of your PowerPoint presentation to give your slides a cohesive look. PowerPoint 2013's new Eyedropper option enables you to pick an exact color from anywhere, sometimes even from somewhere outside PowerPoint! Even better, when you are picking up the color from a source, you get to see the color preview as well as the RGB value of the color you are picking.



Learn how the new Eyedropper option works in PowerPoint 2013.

Categories: color, fills, outline, powerpoint_2013, tutorials

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Rick Altman is a presentation consultant based out of Pleasanton, CA. Rick has been hosting end-user conferences since 1989, and is well known as the host of the annual Presentation Summit conference. He has a strong sense of the needs of the presentation community. Rick has authored 15 books on presentations and graphics, including Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck.

In this conversation, Rick discusses the upcoming eleventh edition of his Presentation Summit conference, to be held in September 2013 in Fort Lauderdale.

Geetesh: The 2013 Presentation Summit is slated to be held soon at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It's the first time we are going to be on the East Coast next to the ocean -- what else will happen for the first time?

Rick: I suspect that it will be the first time for many to get significant exposure to the new version of PowerPoint. While out for several months, we know how slow corporate wheels turn. And yet our patrons are a curious lot, so we'll make sure to have version 2013 installed on all of our Help Center computers so patrons can spend quality time with it and decide for themselves if a migration to it would be the right move.



This year will also mark two debuts at the conference: Sam Horn of the IntrigueAgency and Sunni Brown of the Doodle Revolution. Both are outstanding presenters with compelling stories to tell about how presentation professionals can better engage their audiences with critical messages. We can't wait for our gang to meet them.

Geetesh: What can attendees expect from the Summit? Can they bring their problem slides with them? Can they learn a lot? Can they also have fun?

Rick: Summit patrons can expect a completely immersive experience. For four days, they will get to live and breathe presentation. From message crafting, presentation design, PowerPoint technique, introductions to other software, right through to delivery, our seminars are broad and deep. Meanwhile, the networking opportunities are what attract many, as we make it virtually impossible to not meet peers, make friends, and cultivate meaningful relationships.

Patrons can indeed bring files with them; we encourage them to load up their flash drives and come to our Help Center fully armed. Little is more helpful than working through issues with slides that are relevant and meaningful. So yes, bring us your pain – we thrive on it.

As for the fun, well, we're famous for that, too. We'll be 1/4 mile from the most charming and happening nightlife spot in town, and we will be literally across Atlantic Blvd. from the beach. The weather should be phenomenal there in mid-September. So all in all, we're looking forward to a wonderful time.

Geetesh: And you have early pricing to offer?

Rick: Yes, but your readers will want to hurry. Throughout the month of May, registrants can take $100 off of the registration price.

See Also: Presentation Summit 2012 and 2013: Conversation with Rick Altman

Categories: interviews, powerpoint, presentationsummit

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



In PowerPoint, the Slide Master influences the layout and look of all slides in your presentation. One of the changes you can make to your Slide Master is applying the Background Style used so that all slide layouts and actual slides in your presentation use a different slide background. In this tutorial, we will explore how you can choose from any of the 12 available Background Styles to apply to the Slide Master.



Learn how to change Background Styles within the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint_2011, templates, tutorials

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 10:30 AM IST



Continuing our series of tutorials on PowerPoint 2013, we look at the not so obvious differences between text placeholders and text boxes. We teach you how you can create outlines in Word 2013, and then import the outline content as new slides within PowerPoint. PowerPoint 2011 for Mac users can learn about adding Headers and Footers on their slides, and also on their Notes and Handout pages. Finally, we combined all our Pushpin graphics to make a single large collection -- including all colors and variations, you have 35 pushpin graphics that you can use on your slides.



Read Indezine's PowerPoint and Presenting News.

Categories: ezine, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Here's the most comprehensive list of PowerPoint Web App keyboard shortcuts that we know about -- many users are not aware that the in-browser PowerPoint web app supports an amazing number of keyboard shortcuts! However, these shortcuts may differ depending upon whether you are using a Windows or a Mac computer -- all the keyboard shortcuts listed on this page have been tested using the PowerPoint web app on the Internet Explorer web browser on Windows.



Explore keyboard shortcuts for the PowerPoint Web App using Internet Explorer on Windows.

Categories: microsoft_windows powerpoint_web_app, tutorials

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Monday, May 20, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Aaron KhooAaron Khoo is a software industry veteran with a strong background in building and leading software teams and managing the delivery of projects, from conception to completion, for a variety of companies, including Microsoft. Prior to joining 9Slides, Aaron served in the executive capacity as President and Chief Technology Officer for several technology startups. He spent nearly 10 years with Microsoft as principal development lead on a variety of projects, including Xbox, Interactive Entertainment Business Analytics team, and Windows Gaming Experience. He holds several patents for software and gaming and a PhD in computer science from Northwestern University.

In this conversation, Aaron discusses his new position at 9Slides.

Geetesh: Tell us more about yourself, and also what your thoughts are about 9Slides.

Aaron: I'm presently the Director of Engineering for 9Slides. I might be subject to some bias, but what can I say about 9Slides other than the fact that it's awesome? Our product offers the ability for people to truly connect with their audience. There are existing services that enable users to share slides or videos, but just a handful that enable users to easily bring both together in synchronized harmony. PowerPoint slides are a powerful communication tool that provide a way to convey information succinctly. However, they are fundamentally designed to reinforce a speaker's message, not to stand alone for someone to read as a mere online flipbook. At 9Slides, we strongly believe that the speaker must be present (even if just virtually) to elevate the slides and drive home the point.



To this point, more and more professionals have put videos online in an attempt to reach a wider audience, but these videos are often jarring, as a single camera struggles to capture the dynamism of the speaker and the information-richness of the presentation simultaneously. Often, the video switches between the two aspects (speaker and slides) in a non-intuitive fashion, making for a confusing viewing experience.

Our goal at 9Slides is to make the process of creating and viewing synchronized video and presentations simple and intuitive. Sales/marketing, corporate training and education professionals should be able to craft interactive videos supported strongly by rich presentations. Their target audience should be able to view these video presentations at anywhere, at any time and on any device.

That's what we live for. Come upload some great content, and see what we can do for you.

Geetesh: What motivated you to join 9Slides -- can you share your beliefs about the online presenting market?

Aaron: I look for two things when I join a company: People, and then Vision. I have known Ruchit Garg (the CEO of 9Slides) for about 5 years. We worked together for a couple years at Microsoft, and I know him to be a smart, tenacious person. Moreover, we got along very well when we worked together previously. This was critical to me, since ultimately you spend 8 hours a day with your co-workers (even more in a smaller company!). As I learned more about 9Slides, I realized that they had a concrete, clear vision: Making presentations shine online as easily as possible. Ruchit was able to quickly articulate this vision and convince me that it filled a very specific and real need for many people.

It is obvious that the Internet has enabled an individual to reach many others in profound yet affordable ways. Available hosting solutions have allowed enterprise professionals to share their message far and wide, and many have taken advantage of this reach. Sites that host presentations and videos abound, and provide good ways of sharing. However, we feel that, in many ways, the communication mechanisms and processes are still in their nascent stages. To put it simply, there's more to it than simply putting a presentation, or a video, on a website. The magic, we believe, is marrying the speaker to the presentation in an interactive way that truly engages the consuming party. It is more than just about hosting a presentation or a video. It is about allowing your consumer to view a dynamic speaker, reinforced by a strong presentation, on any device at any time. It is about the ability to create these experiences as simply as possible, so that anyone can do it, and share their vision with literally the rest of the planet.

See Also: 9Slides: Conversation with Ruchit Garg

Categories: 9slides, interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 9:00 AM IST



Here's the most comprehensive list of PowerPoint Web App keyboard shortcuts that we know about -- many users are not aware that the in-browser PowerPoint web app supports an amazing number of keyboard shortcuts! However, these shortcuts may differ depending upon whether you are using a Windows or a Mac computer -- all the keyboard shortcuts listed on this page have been tested using the PowerPoint web app on the Safari web browser on Mac OS X.



Explore keyboard shortcuts for the PowerPoint Web App using Safari on Mac.

Categories: mac, powerpoint_mac, powerpoint_web_app, tutorials

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Saturday, May 18, 2013
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



These "pushpin" graphics are already placed in PowerPoint slides – just copy them and paste within your slides to create a look that makes a picture, shape, or anything else appear as if it has been pushed onto a surface, board, or wall with a pin! These ready-made pushpins are already within PowerPoint slides -- and have been provided in five colors. Just copy them and paste them on your slides.



Download and use these push pins in your slides.

Categories: graphics, presentation_samples, powerpoint

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