Reviewed: Geetesh Bajaj
Date Created: February 8th 2008
Last Updated: February 25th 2009
There's a plethora of PowerPoint to Flash conversion software out there but not all of them do a faithful conversion so that you end up with a Flash product that looks and animates just like your PowerPoint slides.
Our product for review today, Wildform Flair takes a different approach by converting the PowerPoint file to an editable Flash based file that can be fine-tuned and customized as required so that you end up with a Flash output that closely mimics (or adds to) the original PowerPoint presentation.
While Wildform Flair does more than just PowerPoint to Flash, this review does not look at those other abilities.
Also editing options here mean that I can import my PowerPoint presentations into Flair, make changes and edits as required, and then output this as a Flash movie. This does not talk about editing options for Flair's screen capture abilities.
Flair is from Wildform, a company based in Los Angeles, USA that's been a pioneer in creating programs that output Flash movies. Their other products include WildFX and a stock video library. You can learn more about these products and download a free trial version of Flair from their site...
As previously discussed, Flair not only converts a PowerPoint presentation
into Flash SWF but it offers lot of controls and options to edit the file
-- you can edit each individual slide, slide master, animation, and object
even after importing a PowerPoint presentation into the Flair environment.
And the export option are not limited to Flash SWFs alone -- you can also
create other output formats like EXE, PDF, screensaver etc.
Here is the list of prominent features:
- Record your screen activities.
- Convert videos to the Flash format.
- Convert PowerPoint files to Flash and use them within the Flair editing environment.
- Create your own LMS compliant quizzes & surveys.
- Select from hundreds of text effects.
My contact at Flair for this review was Colby Devitt - thank you, Colby.
I asked Colby about what sets Wildform Flair apart from similar products, and she said that they have "worked hard to create a very advanced PowerPoint to Flash converter that supports all the animations, transitions, links, etc. from the original. A key benefit to Flair is that it creates an editable file. This results in the smallest possible file size and it enables customers to edit the file after import - so they can use previously created projects and PowerPoint templates as templates in Flair. This can save a lot of time and money. We also have a unique feature to automatically combine PowerPoint and video with an easy-to-use wizard that guides you through the entire process".
Download the installer from the link given above, run the setup routine
and follow the instructions. You'll end up with an WildForm Flair program
group in your Windows Start menu (see Figure 1 below).
Figure 1: Flair Start menu Group
Follow these step to convert a PowerPoint file to SWF using Flair.
- Go to your Windows Start menu and choose All Programs | WildForm
Flair | Flair (see Figure 1 above).
- This launches the Flair interface, including the stage area. When
the application opens for the first time, you'll be shown a dialog box
with various options (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Flair Interface
- Rather than selecting any provided options, choose Cancel -- this
will open another dialog box where a name and location can be given
to the new Flair project (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: The Create Project dialog box
- Once you have named your project, you get back to the Flair interface
that contains one Slide and one Slide Master.
- Now, you need to import your PowerPoint presentation -- choose File
| Import File, open any of the PowerPoint files on your system.
Importing a PowerPoint file launches a dialog box that you can see in Figure 4.
Figure 4: PowerPoint Import Type
Make sure you match these options:
- Choose Advanced Import
- Under Import Option, activate the All Slides radio button and let the Resize project to PowerPoint dimensions check box be selected.
- When done with the import options click OK.
- This will bring up the Choose Insertion Point dialog
box shown in Figure 5 -- here you have a choice to
insert the PowerPoint slide to various insertion points. Since we have
started with a blank Flair project, just go ahead and choose the At
Beginning option, and click OK.
Figure 5: Insertion Point
- If the imported PowerPoint presentation has images, Flair's Import
Image dialog box will open (see Figure 6)
-- here you can set the quality of the images being imported -- and
the same parameters can be at once's to all images in the original
PowerPoint presentation by choosing Apply To All.
Figure 6: Import Image
- Once the import process is done, you'll see your presentation open
within the Flair editing environment -- if you have used PowerPoint,
the tri-pane interface will be immediately familiar with several tabs
and slide thumbnails as you can see in Figure 7. All
your slides and Slide Masters from PowerPoint are now imported into
Figure 7: Flair Interface
The interface is explained below:
- There is a slide pane on the left which shows thumbnails of the slides and Slide Masters -- if there are more slides than what you can see, just use the scrollbar to see them all.
- In the middle of the interface is the stage, you'll find the actual slide. Just like PowerPoint, you can select any object and make changes such as move, scale, crop, color, etc. -- all on the slide.
- At the bottom of the stage are the play controls that can be used to preview the presentation.
- The timeline is at the bottom of the interface -- this is where
the imported files are placed into your project -- the animations
are shown here as well. If you have used the Macromedia (or Adobe)
Flash program, you'll feel at home here.
- Settings on the right side -- these are just like PowerPoint's
task panes and includes six tabs explained below:
Shortcuts is where you can find one click wizard options for some most used commands such as new project wizard, import wizard, export wizard, etc.
Object is where you can adjust settings for objects on your Flair timeline, it has four tabs for manipulating the play, appearance, mouse events, and animation options.
Slide allows you to make changes associated with a selected slide -- it displays the slide name, transition, background color etc
Export is where you can choose the export type for the presentation.
Library shows a list of all the images and their source path.
Options is where you will find global setting for general and import options.
- Now you can preview your presentation, and make edits or enhancements
as required. We are not covering these edits here but suffice to say
that the edits are easy and logical -- and plenty of help is available
from the help menu and the tutorials on the Wildform site.
- Do set all transitions and animations as required -- since Flair
uses a Flash SWF output, you can really do much more than what is possible
with PowerPoint alone.
When all tweaks are in place as required, set the output parameters in the Settings task pane as you can see in Figure 8.
Figure 8: Output Options
As you can see above, Setting has properties for exporting the presentation into different formats. Use Browse to save the converted presentation and click Export. A message will prompt you to confirm if you want to export all the slides -- click the Yes option(see Figure 9), and Flair will export your PowerPoint presentation to a Flash SWF file.
Figure 9: Export All
Flair is available at an introductory price of $299.00 for a single license -- multiple license are also available.
Support options are extensive and include email support, a searchable knowledge base, online training, and web tutorials.
Flair is a very capable Flash editor that's been built specifically to make conversion of PowerPoint content to Flash easy and efficient. And it does perform this task much better than any of the automatic PowerPoint to Flash converters available.