Zapps Pro: Conversation with Richard Michaels

Created: Wednesday, May 4, 2016, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:00 am



Richard MichaelsRichard Michaels is an expert at applying critical thinking to address large-scale business challenges and has been responsible for the implementation of training initiatives for organizations including Bristol-Myers Squibb, IBM, Novartis, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Schering-Plough, Sanofi-Aventis, FDA, U.S. Army Training Command, and the Singapore Institute of Management. In addition to expertise in instructional design, writing and education, Richard is also an expert software developer and a Microsoft Office for the Mac MVP.

In this conversation, Richard discusses Zapps Pro, his add-in for Microsoft Word that also integrates with PowerPoint.

Geetesh: Richard, tell us more about your Zapps Pro add-in for Microsoft Word, and also how PowerPoint users can benefit from this add-in?

Richard: Zapps Pro is targeted to Word users who want to build media-rich documents, and to writers and copy editors who work with manuscripts that need editing and some level of media manipulation within the confines of Word. Earlier this year a client who specializes in teaching people how to run and build materials for webinars asked about a better way to script PowerPoint notes from Word. He also wanted to script separate notes for the Presenter and the Producer. After brainstorming with him I came up with Script PPT, a new function and added it to our Zapps Pro product.

Zapps Pro

For people who are more PowerPoint-centric, we have our George product. George started out just as a product for producing Handouts and Presenter Notes, but has evolved into a more robust product that includes other features such as the ability to add batches of images, control their insertion method (linked, embedded, or linked and embedded), an accessibility feature for making sure all images and shapes on the PowerPoint slides contain Alternative Text so that screen readers can accessing them for the visually impaired users, and finally, we totally revised the handout creation routine so that users can pick their handouts orientation and then choose from 18 different layouts to put their handout into.

The really cool thing though is they can mix the layout among the slides… they are not locked into only one layout. As part of this effort, we also built in the ability to look at the slide deck and determine if Zapps Pro was used to create the notes. If it was then we can use the data Zapps Pro added and decide if the notes are targeted to the Presenter or the Participant and build the handout or speaker notes document using the correct set of notes.

Zapps Pro and George are two separate programs, targeted to audiences with different interests for application use. The products do however complement each other and for some users, having both products is essential.

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