By Kurt Dupont
Do you have something significant coming up? Is there an important product release, a groundbreaking conference, a huge merger, the opening of a new office, or something else that is happening? Or maybe, you just want to welcome the New Year or some other holiday in style?
What if you could create a dynamic countdown and display it in your office lobby or any other suitable location?
This may be a great idea, but how do you start? Keep reading to learn more.
We are using PresentationPoint’s add-in products for PowerPoint, and Kurt Dupont of PresentationPoint will explain how you can create a countdown for the New Year. Of course, as we said earlier, the New Year is just a date. Change the date to something more eventful in your organization so that you can create a buzz, and make colleagues and co-workers await the big day!
To create your own DIY PowerPoint presentation that counts backward automatically to a happening date is so much easier than you may imagine. We are using the New Year as an example, and don’t be limited by that day. Just set any target date, and follow along. Let us imagine that your date is January 1st, 2018, and we then run your slideshow. The slide will count down the number of days, hours, minutes and seconds.
To make this happen, you will need Microsoft PowerPoint, coupled with our DataPoint add-in for PowerPoint, or our easier Dynamic TIME add-in. You can choose whichever one you want. Both add-ins will allow you to countdown to a given date. If you only need to display a countdown clock, and nothing more, then use our Dynamic TIME add-on. On the other hand, if you want to display more dynamic information like news, weather, announcements, promotions, etc. from various data sources, then use DataPoint. In this article, we will use DataPoint. You will also need Microsoft Access to use as a data source—and if you have Microsoft Office, you probably have Microsoft Access installed too.
Follow these steps to proceed:
- This starts with a small Microsoft Access database that you can download here. This database contains a table to store the target date (New Year’s day) and a query to calculate the difference between now and New Year. You can change the date to any other date that you want.
- Open the Access database and open the only table in there, called TableTargetDate. Open the table by double-clicking its name. This opens a new window with the current table content or row information. At the column named Target, enter the date for New Year, 1/1/2018, and close the table window again. Again, you can change the date to any other date that you want. This will save the value to the database file.
- On the database queries, you will find a query named QueryTargetDate. Double-click the name to open the output of the query. This query calculates the number of days, hours, minutes, and seconds between now and your countdown event. The calculation is performed only once here, at the time of opening, and it will not refresh its calculation automatically. Don’t worry because DataPoint will take care of the continuous updating.
- This query is what we need within DataPoint. We will not go through all steps required to link a Microsoft Access database via DataPoint in PowerPoint. Here is a great article on how to link a Microsoft Access database in PowerPoint. Basically, you need to set up the connection to the database, and then indicate what query you want to use.
- Make sure to set the refresh rate to every second, in case you want to display the number of seconds. Link every text box on its corresponding column of the query (days, hours, minutes and seconds). Once all your text boxes were linked to the query, then you can run the slideshow and the countdown to your event date will start automatically.
Kurt Dupont, based out of Belgium heads PresentationPoint, a company that creates several amazing PowerPoint add-ins. After his Computer Science studies, Kurt started with Andersen Consulting (Accenture nowadays) in Brussels. After three years he moved to the Brussels Airport Terminal Company that runs the Brussels airport – this last placement inspired the start-up of Take-off (now known as PresentationPoint) in 1998.
This post is based on an original post that was published earlier on the PresentationPoint site.