ToolsToo: Conversation with Gil Segal

Created: Wednesday, August 8, 2012, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:00 am

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Gil SegalGil Segal is the creator of ToolsToo and a senior software consultant. Gil is always on the lookout for ways to automate manual tasks in any software he uses and has been a PowerPoint power-user since the mid 90’s.

In this conversation, Gil talks about his ToolsToo add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint.

Geetesh: What motivated you to create ToolsToo, and evolve it with the comprehensive capabilities it possesses?

Gil: The motivation was to do things easier or faster. If there is something that I find myself doing manually over and over, I will generally automate it. But with PowerPoint, it was more than that -– it was also the desire to make slides look better, more aligned, more uniformly sized, spaced, formatted, etc.

An example of how the tools made things easier and faster is the Insert Picture from Clipboard tool. At the time I created the tool, I was doing a lot of screen captures and pasting them into a presentation. This required quite a lot of steps within PowerPoint: inserting a new slide, pasting the picture, scaling the picture, centering the picture on the slide. With the tool, just one click does all the work.

It all started with the alignment of shapes. Like most things, ToolsToo started out small, very small. Version 1.0 had just 6 tools: the basic alignment of shapes relative to the first shape. For a long time, I referred to it as ByFirstShape – the name ToolsToo came much later. Additional tools were added gradually over time. I recall one day, in particular, I was watching a presentation being given by a colleague and one slide caught my eye. The funny thing was that it was a slide that I had presented myself tens of times, but this time, I noticed that it did not look quite right. The Align Edge tools were born just a few days later to fix that slide.



Most of the tools arose from my own presentation editing needs. On any given day that I’m working on presentations, I will use nearly all of the Adjoin/Align Edge/Align Shape/Order tools and many of the Make Same tools. I can’t imagine creating a slide- other than a simple text-only slide – without these tools.

Geetesh: Can you share a story or a user experience about a particular ToolsToo option you added based on customer feedback?

Gil: I always welcome customer suggestions, but get surprisingly few requests for new features from my customers. Perhaps the most interesting request I did get was to add the Drawing group from PowerPoint’s Home tab to the ToolsToo tab. This is something I would have never thought of, but it turns out to be a major click saver – just about all the shape tools you need are available directly within the ToolsToo tab, greatly reducing the need to go to other tabs and back. It also surprised me that such a great time-saver was very easy and quick to implement, as it required only one line of Ribbon customization code.

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