Reviewed: Geetesh Bajaj
Date Created: February 1st 2005
Last Updated: February 26th 2009
For this sample project, I'm using a basic presentation I created for a workshop a few days ago. It speaks about colour and its usage - discussing the merits of each individual colour. This is how you could proceed:
- Opened a presentation in PowerPoint.
- Run your presentation. Make corrections as required
and click on the PowerCONVERTER button. This opens the PowerCONVERTER
- Click 'Options' - you're given an opportunity to
opt for navigation buttons and a slide counter. You can also choose the
colour for these options. As PowerCONVERTER continues to evolve, you
might find newer options here.
- If you need any help, you can click the 'Help'
option - this actually may link you to an online Help page - so you'll
need to be connected online to access any help.
- Finally, opt for the actual conversion by clicking
on the prominent 'Convert To Flash' button. If your presentation is 'Read
Only', PowerCONVERTER will refuse to work - so do make sure of that before
you begin this process.
- A quick process should ensue completing the actual
conversion. You are provided options to preview and save your Flash presentation.
- You can also choose the 'Upload To My Account'
option to upload your Flash presentation to your EmailPRESENTER account
- provided you're subscribed to that service.
- A progress meter leads you through the actual uploading
process. Once the upload is completed, an email with a linked web presentation
is sent to you. This email can be easily forwarded to a mailing list
or individual recipients, as required.
- There are a few more options available for configuration
onsite at the EmailPRESENTER servers. Just log in to your account to
access them. These include options to email again, track your presentation,
change further settings or to delete a presentation.
The typefaces, backdrops and visuals translated faithfully - unfortunately PowerCONVERTER failed to even replicate the simple wipe animations used for the text content. This may not be such a major issue though, since it is one of the improvements being implemented for a future update.
Finally, the looped music score never made it to the Flash incarnation - a quick look at PowerCONVERTER's help pages revealed the product's affinity to mono rather than stereo sounds. So, it was a trip to the basic Sound Recorder application bundled with every copy of Windows which converted the stereo sound into mono - and another trip to PowerCONVERTER for yet another PowerPoint-Flash metamorphosis. This time the sound made it through - although it never carried across the first slide, since PowerCONVERTER does not know anything about looping sounds.
Customer support plays a defining role - in my case, I faced a couple of 429 and 440 errors - due to the underlying Visual Basic contained in PowerPoint's add-in architecture. PowerCONVERTER's customer support was exemplary - I even received two responses on a Sunday!
The basic PowerCONVERTER option which converts from PowerPoint to Flash through a desktop solution as a PowerPoint add-in costs around US$399. You can procure the product through an online transaction - and there's a 10% discount available to subscribers of PresentationPro's PowerDESIGNS Plus service.
The separate EmailPRESENTER service is a server based solution which allows you to track views, allow and block viewers and upload your presentations. It's available at prices starting from US$49 per month.
Audiences expect more these days, and a Flash output raises expectations beyond the ordinary. On the other hand, one cannot forget that PowerCONVERTER is an evolving product - no less than four updates were issued during the course of this review, and the product team is continuously adding to their repertoire of nuances which promise a better PowerPoint to Flash conversion. Also, their customer support is exemplary. Now, all we need is support for transitions, animations and looping sounds!
That's exactly what I questioned Gary about - and here's his answer:
"...Our goal is to provide complete conversion of all animations and transitions in the PRO version due out 1st quarter next year.
However in the mean time, ours is still the only tool that will convert PowerPoint to the Flash file format on the desktop. The benefits of creating a streaming Flash file format from PowerPoint albeit without animations are still huge.
Our customer are telling us the benefits and applications alone of having their presentations in streaming Flash are substantial. EmailPRESENTER automatically allows user to create rich emails direct from their PowerPoint for promotions, newsletters, resumes the applications are endless, uses of PowerPoint we had not even anticipated. In addition no more long downloads, bounce backs when distributing PowerPoint etc.
They can also load their PowerPoint's onto to their website (with PowerCONVERTER) for effective streaming delivery vs. the poorly executed html option within PowerPoint.
Also with their presentations now converted to the Flash format and loaded onto their online account they can present and control their presentation remotely to any audience worldwide with our OnlinePRESENTER service"
Gary's response does seem very encouraging - it portrays the people behind PowerCONVERTER as a team that wants to take this product to new heights through a continuous evolution process. And yes, the PowerCONVERTER core is to be supplemented with many more services, features and sub-products. Now, that's something we'll discuss some other day...