Chantal Bossé got hooked on PowerPoint while doing instructional design in the mid-90s. Convinced there was a better way to present, she started CHABOS in 2004 and became a presentations & visual communications expert. She helps entrepreneurs, speakers, and trainers improve their presentations’ impact by having a clear message, great visuals, and a memorable delivery, whether in French or English. Chantal has been a speaker at various business events and a few international webinars, she is a presentation coach for the TEDxQuebec event.
In this conversation, Chantal discusses her tricks on working with multiple proofing languages within PowerPoint.
Geetesh: Chantal, you work with both English and French PowerPoint slides. What are the frustrations you face with multiple proofing languages, and how do you cope up with and overcome these issues?
Chantal: My operating system and Office installations are in French, but I regularly need to work in English too, and it can sometimes be a challenge. There are many variables at stake, like the language the file was created in, and a mysterious mix of your operating system and Office user interface language, and your keyboard language. I say “mysterious” because many times I have seen the proofing language switched in my file without doing changes myself. For a while, I just thought that I had to be lucky to set all language parameters the right way, and that was really frustrating.
Besides the fact that this language mess was making me less productive, the most important element was that I did not want my clients wondering why they had so many red-underlined words in their file. Knowing regular users will not always look for complicated solutions, I tried to find what could be done within Windows & Office. I first tried using Microsoft’s Language Interface Pack – LIP – for Office, but it became a nightmare because I would need to save all my user customization before I changed the interface language. And that still meant battling with my default keyboard language.
Then I stumbled on the feature allowing us to change the default input language in Windows. With my LIP installed that meant I could simply configure Office so it would display in the same language than Windows. What a relief! I stopped losing my customizations and my work became more effective when working on English files.
As long as we respect the order of the two-step process, it works like a charm. But you are still required to switch back and forth every time you are changing project language, which is still a waste of time if you need to do it often in a day. But it is way better than trying to manually fix the language on all slide objects one by one!
Readers should read these two Support articles from the Microsoft site to help them determine how to proceed, according to their Windows and Office versions.
- Details on various Accessory or Interface packs, pricing and download can be found here
- Change the default language for Office programs
Geetesh: How has your experience been using Steve Rindsberg’s Language Selector add-in for PowerPoint? Also, are there any other products that help you working with multiple proofing languages?
Chantal: When Steve contacted me to help him test his add-in, I definitely wanted to pitch in! Changing Windows’ default input language and Office’s display language is simple, but it still requires downloading additional language packs if they are not present on our computer. And it requires swapping the UI language every time I change from one language to the other.
With the Language Selector, I don’t need to do that anymore. Whatever the language the file was created with, I can simply go to my Review tab, and Set Language. I would say that I like this solution far more than having to fiddle in my Windows settings every time I need to work in a different language.
I have been using the Language Selector for a few years now, and it works so well that I have not searched the web for any other tool. In just a few seconds, it changes the language setting of most editable objects on slides AND in the notes pane. If I would have to describe it in two words, I would say Fast and Efficient.