Austin Myers, a PowerPoint MVP is a good friend–and he created the wonderful PFCMedia add-in for PowerPoint that makes inserting media files in PowerPoint so easy. And now he has released PFCExpress, his new PowerPoint add-in that makes it so simple for you to email your PowerPoints. The add-in takes care of everything–from links, to file format, attachments, and the actual mailing.
I did a small interview with Austin discussing PFCExpress:
Geetesh: Tell us more about yourself and the PFC range of PowerPoint add-ins.
Austin: Having been a PowerPoint MVP and designing presentations professionally since 95, I’ve seen just how difficult using the ever increasing types, and sources, of media within PowerPoint can be. With the success we enjoyed with PFCMedia and the feedback from our customers we made the decision to tackle a number of additional media related problems in PowerPoint. With customer feedback it became clear that additional features were both wanted
needed, so many in fact we felt we needed to provide them with multiple add-ins as opposed to building a single large and expensive add in.
By creating multiple add ins with a low price point we hope to meet the specific needs of the customer at a reasonable cost. Value is always the driving force as we design and build our PowerPoint add ins. Hey, I am a user too and I always want a great value for my hard earned dollars, I have to believe other users feel the same.
Geetesh: What prompted you to create PFCExpress – and tell us more about typical usage scenarios.
Austin: The concept of PFCExpress came about from user requests and input from the PowerPoint newsgroup. Because of the way PowerPoint links to media files, and the fragility of those links, users were experiencing very high failure rates when they emailed their presentations. PowerPoint also has a limitation in that should the path to the folder containing the presentation and media be too long the media would fail. PFCExpress was designed to
overcome these issues.
Typically users don’t understand how PowerPoint links to media files or how important it is to create the presentation in a manner that secures the links. As an example, if I create a presentation on my computer and save it to “C:..My Documents”, and have a video that is linked from “C:..MyDocumentsMy Videos” it will play fine on my machine but when sent
to another machine it will fail. The reason of course is that the path is different on the other machine and PowerPoint doesn’t know where to find the media. In cases where the user follows the guideline to place the video in the same folder containing the presentation before inserting it on the slide we still run into the issue that “MyDocuments” is different on every PC and PowerPoint may still fail to play the media properly.
Assuming a user creates a presentation and includes a media file PFCExpress examines the presentation for media content and creates a temporary copy of both the presentation and media. With a little bit of programming wizardry the path/link to the media is destroyed and in it’s place we create what we call a “pathless” link. Once completed the presentation and the media file are combined into a single compressed file (zip) and made ready to email. From within PowerPoint you simply tell it who the recipient is, include any text in the body of the email and if desired run a spell checker on it. From there a simple click on “Send as email” and your done. PFCExpress offers you the option of sending it as a normal (*.ppt) PowerPoint file for editing or as a playable (*.pps) file so the person receiving it simply starts it and it plays.
One other feature we included addresses the issue of an email and attachment being too large. Almost all ISPs have a size limit and as media tends to create large files and the email will not be delivered. PFCExpress will warn the user if they have exceeded the size limit and offers to save the compressed zip file for them so it may be placed on a web site or FTP server. It also lists several sites that are free to use for sending large email and attachments and instructions on how to use them.
Our goal here was simple, when you email your presentation containing media, it will “Play For Certain” on the receiving Windows PC. Or at least as certain as we can possibly make it.
Download a free trial of PFCExpress from the PFCMedia site…