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Flash Toolbar

See Also: Conversation with Colin McBride


Date Created: July 14th 2006
Last Updated: February 25th 2009

About Flash Toolbar
Download and Installation
Using Flash Toolbar
Pricing and Support


Adding movie clips to PowerPoint presentations is easy since it's basically a one-click operation -- but if you need to add Flash SWF movies to your PowerPoint slides, you'll soon discover that this process is nowhere as easy -- nor is it a one-click process!

Fortunately, there are many add-ins available out there that simplify the inserting of Flash SWFs file into PowerPoint -- and none of them is as complete as In-Shop's Flash Toolbar.


About Flash Toolbar

Flash Toolbar is from In-Shop, a company based in the UK -- you can download a free trial version of Flash Toolbar from their site...

Flash Toolbar allows you to do more than insert a Flash SWF movie -- you can also change the settings in terms of size, positioning etc. Plus -- you can insert multiple Flash movies and arrange them on the slide and control them individually.

My contact at Flash Toolbar for this review was Colin McBride - thank you, Colin.


Download and Installation

Installation requires that you manually insert the add-in's PPA module into your add-ins list using the Tools | Add-ins option - in theory, this is very simple.

When installed, the add-in creates an Wiz-Kit Flash Toolbar within PowerPoint as shown in Figure 1 -- if you don't find it there choose View | Toolbars | Wiz-Kit Flash Toolbar.

flash toolbar
Figure 1: Flash Toolbar


Using Flash Toolbar

Follow these steps to insert a flash movie in PowerPoint.

  1. Create a new presentation or open an existing one -- then add a new slide, choose Format | Slide Layout and choose the Blank layout.

  2. With this new slide active, click the first option Insert Flash Movie in the Flash toolbar (See Figure 2)

    Insert Flash Movie
    Figure 2: Insert Flash Movie

    When clicked, this opens a dialog box from where you can select the Flash SWF movie you want to insert in the presentation. When the movie is inserted, Flash Toolbar opens a dialog box where you tweak options for the movie (see Figure 3).

    Flash Movie Setting

    Figure 3: Flash Movie Settings

    After making changes, click on Insert button to place the Flash SWF movie on the slide.

  3. Once this is done, you will find a transparent placeholder on the slide with bounding box as shown in Figure 4 -- drag this to resize and reposition manually. To see the Flash movie playing, you need to play the presentation.
    Flash Movie
    Figure 4:
    Flash Movie with bounding box

    All the options on the Flash Toolbar are explained below:

    Flash Toolbar Options
    Figure 5: Flash Toolbar Options

    1. Insert Flash Movie allows you to insert any Flash SWF movie in the active presentation.
    2. Loop Movie is for applying a loop to the movie.
    3. Un-Loop Movie removes the looping characteristic from the movie.
    4. Set Automatic Play -- choose this option to change the setting of the movie, either to play as soon as the slide is displayed during a presentation, or to wait until the user clicks on the movie.
    5. Remove Automatic Play will remove this automatic play setting.
    6. Create a static image slide of movie -- this converts the Flash SWF movie into a series of still images (see Figure 6). Check out Colin's explanation of this option later in this review.

      flash options
      Figure 6: Flash Options

    7. Rewind all Flash movies checks for all the Flash SWF movies in the presentation, and rewinds them all to the beginning.
    8. Remove Flash movies and macros removes all the Flash SWF movies and macros from the presentation.
    9. Movie settings displays the Flash Movie Settings dialog box.
    10. Help takes you to the support page on the product web site.

I asked Colin about the option to create a set of static image slides from a movie as this is something that's not seen anywhere else -- and Colin explained that although this may seems simple, it was quite tricky to get all the options people required. This option was developed because In-Shop had quite a few requests from people who use longer Flash movies, but have been unable to print them out or email the presentation, and are required to manually make a range of stills. e.g. if you want 8 to 10 stills from a product movie.


Pricing and Support

Flash Toolbar costs $45.00 for a single-user license. Multiple user licenses are available.

Email support is complemented by a small online FAQ.



I like Flash Toolbar -- it does one task, and it does it well. Having said that, In-Shop needs to revisit their pricing -- S45 is a high price to pay for just inserting Flash movies inside PowerPoint -- many free tools and even larger add-in collections with that ability are priced lower. What sets Flash Toolbar apart is the extra Flash movie settings they provide -- so if you really do need those, it might be worth the $45. If this tool was priced around $30, I would say go for it.

Update: Based on the feedback from this review, In-Shop has reduced the pricing to $38 now, which makes it a much better return for investment.


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