Mike Power owns and runs Neuxpower, the company behind the popular compression software NXPowerLite and now also the free online version WeCompress. A big fan of helping people feel more awesome by making software that just gets the job done without making a fuss! He aspires one day to create software that will actually give people superpowers.
In this conversation, Mike talks about the new Slidewise add-in for PowerPoint that works as a font and media assistant.
Geetesh: Mike, why did you make Slidewise?
Mike: For the longest time we have been known solely for our popular compression software NXPowerLite and in some circles as providers of a refreshingly high level of customer support. No bad thing really but for a while now we have longed to apply ourselves to some fresh problems that would give us the chance to use our skills to connect with and help people with more of the problems that drain their time… and occasionally their will to live.
Geetesh: Where did the idea come from?
Mike: We started by wanting to make it easier for people to quickly see what was taking up space in their PowerPoint files, as sometimes there is content in them that NXPowerLite can’t compress – hard to believe I know but it’s true. We weren’t sure how but we definitely wanted to give people a way to deal with this situation when it occurred.
When we started speaking with customers in earnest about this though the word “Fonts” kept coming up – with people saying:
The single biggest issue that I run into is odd fonts. Those fonts that don’t match the theme fonts and can be nearly impossible to locate in the file
I’d love to know which fonts are in use on a slide – and where
I would value an analysis that could identify if different fonts used (I have a style guide that I must adhere to, so identifying where different fonts used would be of great benefit)
Non standard fonts are a curse!
Fonts (list but also on what slides they are. To remove those pesky empty text boxes with a different font you can’t see)
We also spent some quality time browsing through the PowerPoint UserVoice suggestion box forum, hearing about font embedding and font substitution issues as well as many problems with broken links of all kinds.
It was pretty clear that there were a number of tricky issues with fonts and media in PowerPoint that are causing a lot of people a great deal of frustration and lost productivity. And as the shape of a solution to all of these issues started to coalesce and it seemed that with our expertise in the internals of PowerPoint files, we were well-positioned to build something that could be incredibly useful for lots of people and so the idea for Slidewise was born.
Geetesh: Mike, I never asked you about what Slidewise is?
Mike: Slidewise is an add-In for PowerPoint that gives you unrivaled insight and control over the media and fonts in your presentations. It opens as a pane inside PowerPoint alongside your presentation and quickly builds an index of all of the assets used in the file. It displays those assets broken down by type and size, as you can see below:
The index instantly shows you how big your presentation is and exactly what contributes to the size and allows you to jump straight to any large items that you want to edit.
You can also see a complete list of all the fonts used in the file and this is where we have started building out specific functionality to allow you greater control over fonts. Using the ellipsis menus you can embed, subset, or remove embedded fonts. Quickly replace one or more fonts with another, or even reset shapes to use the theme font.
Geetesh: What does the future hold for Slidewise?
Mike: Having built this first early release, it’s abundantly clear that there is huge scope to add a massive amount of useful information and functionality to this add-In.
We have been working with close input from a small number of PowerPoint MVPs and heavy PowerPoint users and we plan to extend that now to include input from all of the initial customers of our early release as we work towards version 1. We are aiming to build an indispensable assistant that makes working with PowerPoint a better experience for everybody.
We know that cleaning up or working with pre-existing presentations is a regular and often laborious task that many people have to do and so we plan to add more capabilities that will make this an easier and more efficient process. In the words of one Presentation Summit attendee:
This is way way way cool! I am forever cleaning up PowerPoint files after receiving them and it takes up so much of my time….This has been the best demo – I am glad I took the time to meet you.
– Emily Lefebvre
We also expect we will be adding in warnings to quickly alert you if something is wrong with the presentation, such as broken links to external media, or highlighting if a font has been substituted from the originally specified one, due to the font not being available on your system. It may look a little like this:
Geetesh: What about now? How can one get Slidewise?
Mike: Slidewise is available now as an early release version with a heavily discounted price. It is very much professionally produced and safe to use, it just lacks some of the features we felt were essential for our version 1 and so you can snap it up early for a bargain price.
Anyone buying the early release will be upgraded automatically when version 1 is available and will receive a year of upgrade assurance from that point. They will also be invited to help us shape the upcoming features as they use the product and get clearer on what will be the most valuable additions.
For more information and to download a trial version, visit the Slidewise product page.