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OfficeFX Presenter v3.5

See Also: Indezine's OfficeFX Feed | OfficeFX v2.5


Reviewed:

Date Created: March 14th 2009
Last Updated: March 14th 2009






Introduction
About OfficeFX Presenter
Download and Installation
Using OfficeFX Presenter
Pricing and Support
Conclusion


Introduction

Have you ever wondered how you might transform your presentations into the kind of integrated media displays you see on television during high profile shows and events? Examples would include the information graphics that appear during network nightly news broadcasts or major sporting events. In those displays backgrounds move subtly, transitions incorporate key branding and design elements, and video is included in visually interesting ways? Can those type of customized displays be generated using the advanced feature of PowerPoint – such as: custom animation, slide timing, slide masters, hyperlinks, triggers, etc.?

Our review product offers these capabilities and does so without changing the way your file looks or behaves in PowerPoint. OfficeFX® Presenter version 3.5 is the new Windows Vista compatible version of an add-in for PowerPoint -- and it works with PowerPoint 2007 too.

You can read my earlier review of OfficeFX v2.5 here...

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About OfficeFX Presenter

OfficeFX Presenter is from Instant Effects, a company based in Santa Barbara, United States. You can learn more about OfficeFX Presenter and download a free trial version from their site...

My contact at Instant Effects for this review was Don Brittain - thank you, Don. Read this recent conversation with Don...

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Download and Installation

Before you purchase a license, or download a trial version of OfficeFX Presenter -- there's something you need to be sure about. OfficeFX Presenter requires a higher-end graphics card -- and will run better with a dedicated graphic card rather than your motherboard's built-in graphics -- for this reason, it's best that you first work with the trial version to see if your system is compatible or not.

The setup routine will also check for the latest version of Microsoft's DirectX runtime -- and will download the missing components for you -- for this purpose, do set aside at least half an hour of your time along with a fast internet connection to ensure a proper installation.

When installed, you can find OfficeFX Presenter within the Add-Ins tab of the Ribbon in PowerPoint 2007 (see Figure 1).

OfficeFX Presenter in the Add-Ins tab of the Ribbon in PowerPoint 2007
Figure 1: OfficeFX Presenter in the Add-Ins tab of the Ribbon in PowerPoint 2007

All the seven options are explained below:

  1. FXEdit -- Opens the FXEditor – Presenter’s editing interface.
  2. FXShow -- Click the downward arrow next to the FXShow button, this opens a menu from where you can choose one of two view options: Single and Dual view, and choose display options to set advanced options for display.
  3. Advanced -- Provides tools and options for expert users working with large files.
  4. Product -- Here you can find options to install more software like extra add-ons, presentations, and 3D assets.
  5. Clear -- Use this option to remove Presenter data from a PowerPoint file.
  6. Cache -- Manages Presenter’s image caching system.
  7. Help -- Allows to access documentation, additional example PowerPoint files, diagnostic tools, and Presenter information.

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Using OfficeFX Presenter

OfficeFX Presenter imagery leaves the original presentation content intact -- but it does store extra Office FX info within the presentation itself -- for this reason, your original PowerPoint file sizes may increase a little -- you can always save the OfficeFX enhanced PowerPoint files with a new name.

OfficeFX Presenter enhances your PowerPoint presentations with animated backgrounds, dynamic slide transitions, interactive 3D objects, and fully integrated DVD-quality video. OfficeFX Presenter produces high-end dynamic presentations while managing the flexibility of PowerPoint editing. Start with the Welcome to OfficeFX Presenter PowerPoint file that runs when you install to get a quick introduction to the system. Once you are familiar with how it works, move to one of your presentations that's already compelling and complete.

Follow these steps to use OfficeFX Presenter on a PowerPoint presentation.

  1. Open any presentation in PowerPoint -- then click the FXEdit button under Add-Ins tab of the Ribbon ( refer to Figure 1 above).

  2. This opens OfficeFX Presenter v3.5 interface, as shown in Figure 2.

    The OfficeFX Presenter v3.5 Interface
    Figure 2: The OfficeFX Presenter v3.5 interface

    OfficeFX works with FXThemes -- a few standard FXThemes are included with OfficeFX Presenter. Each FXTheme includes variations and transitions that can be applied to your individual slides. All FXThemes are color adjustable. In addition to these FXThemes, there are many more FXThemes and add-ons available for free download.

    The FXEditor interface is divided into four parts, as shown in Figure 2 above. These are explained below:

    1. Slide Sorter Pane shows all the slides contained in the active presentation. Select a slide, or more than one slide -- and then make changes elsewhere in the dialog box -- such as applying a variation, adding videos or animated 3-D models, transitions, etc.

    2. Preview shows the slides as you apply changes on them. You can view slides individually as you work on them. The Design Mode shows the current slide with applied variations, transitions etc., and the Interactive Mode is a smaller preview of the actual slide show. It allows you to click inside the preview window to trigger custom animations and transition to the next slide. In the area below the Preview, you can see detailed information about the selected slide and applied theme variation.

    3. Control Panel has six tabs (explained below) which provide access to all the features and settings of OfficeFX Presenter and allows you to apply those to your PowerPoint file.

      Themes (see Figure 3) is where you choose the Theme Pack, FXTheme for the presentation. FXThemes are much like PowerPoint templates. They define a look and behavior for your presentation. Unlike PowerPoint templates, they do not change your PowerPoint content. Separate FXThemes are provided for presentation aspect ratios that are most common. There is also a new set of “Brandable” FXThemes with V3.5 that embed images you provide into motion backgrounds and transitions.

      Themes tab
      Figure 3: Themes tab

      Variation (see Figure 4) allows the user to apply an FXTheme’s different variations to individual slides. Variations can simply be different color renditions of a moving background (as in the FXTheme used for this review), or they might include different layouts to accommodate title slides or content slides. The variations options will differ from theme to theme.

      This panel also includes the Transitions options.  Each FXTheme has its own custom transitions that pick up on its particular design. There are also a set of over 30 standard transitions that come with OfficeFX. Those can be used with any FXTheme. And if you prefer to use PowerPoint transitions, that option is also available to you.

      Variation tab
      Figure 4: Variation tab

      Options (see Figure 5) is where you can fine-tune various slide elements -- such as text appearance in the presentation, interactivity, animation, etc. For example, if you want OfficeFX to respect the colors you’ve chosen for bulleted text on a particular slide, this is where you select that option.

      Options Tab
      Figure 5: Options tab

      Insert (see Figure 6) allows you to add 3D scenes and videos to your slides and allows you to tweak their placement and performance. The video insert scenes are interesting as you can project your AVI, WMV, or MPEG videos onto actual 3D objects like animating laptop computers, cell phone screens, or billboards. You can also simply play your video full screen, but either in front of or behind your PowerPoint content.

      Insert Tab
      Figure 6: Insert tab

      Publish (see Figure 7) is where you can export the changes made on the presentation into a video or standalone FXD file. FXD files are a special OfficeFX file format that can be played using the free FXD player application -- this is a great option if you want to distribute your OfficeFX presentations to people who don't have the full version of OfficeFX installed or create a self running kiosk display.

      Publish Tab
      Figure 7: Publish tab

      Prefs (Preferences) (see Figure 8) provides global settings that apply to the entire OfficeFX application -- by clicking the Advanced button, you can make even more changes.

      Preferences Tab
      Figure 8: Preferences tab

    4. Alternatively, click either of the FXShow buttons at the bottom of the FXEditor interface to view the presentation in full screen mode. TThe FXShow buttons allow you to either start a full screen show at your currently selected slide, or at slide 1.

  3. Click OK to apply the changes to the presentation, and get back to PowerPoint. Remember to save the presentation again in PowerPoint.

Note: Choose File | Save PPT As to save OfficeFX Presenter enhancements to a different PowerPoint filename -- this won't change the original PowerPoint presentation.

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Pricing and Support

OfficeFX Presenter costs $895.00.

Support is through email and an online FAQ.

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Conclusion

OfficeFX Presenter V3.5 builds on the primary advantages of previous releases. By respecting (and not changing) your PowerPoint file’s layout, font, custom animation, slide timing, etc characteristics, it allows a knowledgeable PowerPoint user to quickly generate a dynamic broadcast look in their speaker support content. Presenter’s approach to video integration and display allows you to add video in a cost effective manner.

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