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Presentation Summit 2020: Conversation with Jamie Garroch

Presentation Summit Jamie Garroch 2020

  Jamie Garroch is a Technical Consultant at BrightCarbon, the specialist presentation and eLearning agency. He develops PowerPoint automation solutions and add-ins that enable presentation authors to work smarter. He also trains people to present more effectively using visuals and animated scenes that explain and reinforce key messages, which is supported by free resources and tips at their site.

In this conversation, Jamie talks about his session at the upcoming Presentation Summit 2020, being held virtually this year from August 10 to 13, 2020. is the official media partner for the Presentation Summit.

Geetesh: Jamie, you return to this year’s virtual Presentation Summit with your Plug In and Rock Out session. How will this session help attendees, and what expectations should they have from your session?

Jamie: Plug ins, or add-ins as Microsoft refers to them, are like the apps you download for your smartphone to make it do stuff personal to you. PowerPoint comes with the ability to create slides, insert media, export to video, etc. just as your phone comes with the ability to make calls. With add-ins, you have the ability to customize how PowerPoint works, add new features, and even change the way that some of the PowerPoint built-in features work.

In this session, I’m going to show some of BrightCarbon’s favorite add-ins, most of which are free. Some provide you with extensive access to millions of visual assets for your next presentation masterpiece while others give you new tools to improve how you work. Want to choose which object to align to? Need to copy a shape’s size and position to other slides? Want to animate a table? You’ll be able to do all this and much more. Need access to license-free stock photography right from within PowerPoint? You got it. My session is fast-paced, with lots of live demos of cool things you can take away and use on your next project. Add-ins bring new capabilities to PowerPoint that in turn make you more productive as a presentation professional. Expect to be amazed and for your boss to be amazed at what you learned!

Geetesh: Please share some thoughts about PowerPoint automation. Many PowerPoint users think that automation is a high-level science that can only be tamed by a few. Can you suggest some baby steps to get them started?

Jamie: Automation is all about programming PowerPoint to do something it doesn’t do out of the box. It all starts with a need and that need usually arises when you ask yourself “can I automate this task I’m doing over and over again?” Let’s say you’re copying the notes from each of your slides to a Word document, one by one. That’s a classic need to automate a repetitive task. Or you want to set the review language for all objects across your entire presentation. You can do this with little bits of code called VBA, or Visual Basic for Applications. It’s a scripting language that tells PowerPoint to do things that you can do manually, programmatically, and hence faster.

Now, like any programming language, it takes time to learn how to speak it (the syntax) and what’s available to automate (the object model) but the great news is that there are lots of websites and books out there that can help you get started. The most basic place to start is just copying and pasting some VBA directly into your PowerPoint file and see what it does. If you want to get started, take a look at this example on Indezine or the BrightCarbon blog where you can find a beginner’s guide and other free examples.

What is the Presentation Summit?

For nearly two decades, Rick Altman has been hosting the Presentation Summit, a highly popular event that is geared towards users of PowerPoint and other presentation platforms. is the official media partner for the Presentation Summit.

Date: August 10 to 13, 2020

Location: Virtual Event

Register now!


The views and opinions expressed in this blog post or content are those of the authors or the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.