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Spresent


Reviewed:

August 23rd 2007
February 25th 2009






Introduction
About Spresent
Working with Spresent
Pricing and Support
Conclusion


Introduction

Search online, and it looks like Spresent is the next PowerPoint replacement. Once you explore the program, you know that sort of statement can only come from users who are being unfair to both PowerPoint and Spresent. Yes, Spresent is no match for PowerPoint's capabilities but it does let you create Flash presentations quite easily -- its own capabilities set it in a product category different from PowerPoint.

In this review, we'll explore Spresent, and show you how you can easily create Spresent presentations, and share them.

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About Spresent

Spresent is from Spresent, a Austin, Texas, USA based company. There are two versions of Spresent, and one of these is a full fledged Windows application. You can download a 10 day trial version of Spresent for Windows from their site...

The other version of Spresent is an online application that lets you create presentations online -- and that's what I am reviewing here. Since this online version is an offshoot of the desktop version, certain Spresent features in the online version are still grayed out. Hopefully, they will work soon. Spresent does offer the more common elements required to create a presentation such as slides, images, text, chart, audio etc.

To use Spresent online you have to create an account on their site which will enable you to create and publish a presentation. Registration is free, and you'll have to create an account with Spresent if you want to follow the subsequent tutorial.

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Working with Spresent

Follow these steps to create a new presentation using Spresent:

  1. Open Spresent site in a browser and log into your account using your email and password, as shown in Figure 1.

    Login

    Figure 1: Login

  2. This opens the Spresent interface, as shown in Figure 2.

    Spresent Interface
    Figure 2: Spresent interface

    Click on Create new presentation -- this opens a dialog box from where you can select the slide type (see Figure 3). The slide type roughly equates to the Slide Layout option in PowerPoint.

    Slide Type

    Figure 3: Slide Type

    Click on the thumbnails of the slide type you want as shown in Figure 3 above to create a blank, new slide based on the slide type you chose.

  3. You'll find a floating palette called the Add Object pane. Choose any object from this pane, and click on the slide to place them. You might see an additional dialog box that lets you choose the type of chart or the selection of clip art. In this way, you can insert images, animated headings, charts, audio, tables, clipart, etc. (see Figure 4).

    Spresent Interface
    Figure 4: Elements placed

  4. You can also add images hosted online (as on sites like Flickr), Flash movies and YouTube videos within the slides. Add any number of slides, and create a presentation.

  5. Once you are done, choose File | Save to save the presentation. The Publish menu offers options to send the presentation within an email, or embed it within a web page (see Figure 5).

    Publish
    Figure 5: Publish options

    If you want to send the presentation within an e-mail, choose send to e-mail. This opens a small compose window, where you can include an email address and a message for the recipient.

  6. To embed the presentation, choose the EMBED/HTML option. This opens the Embed Object dialog box as shown in Figure 6, which provides the URL, Embed and SWF links -- copy the URL and paste it in any browser to see the output.

    Embed Object
    Figure 6: Embed object

    The Auto Play option is for playing the slides automatically one after the other, and the Auto Start option enables the presentation start playing automatically.

  7. The output includes a navigation bar, timer, etc.

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Pricing and Support

The version I reviewed is a free web version. Spresent for Windows costs $29.95.

Support is through online tutorials and a FAQ.

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Conclusion

Spresent is a very simple product that demystifies the task of creating online presentations. I do wish it had an option to import PowerPoint presentations though.

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