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VisualBee for PowerPoint

Reviewed:

Date Created: October 11th 2010
Last Updated: October 11th 2010






Introduction
Using VisualBee
Pricing and Support
Conclusion


Introduction

VisualBee is a PowerPoint add-in that automatically enhances your slides using an easy to use wizard based interface. To do this, VisualBee analyzes your slide content and selects appropriate images, layouts and templates to do an instant makeover. You can enrich your PowerPoint presentation from the VisualBee's design bank or your own library. Your original presentation remains unchanged, and you can re-enhance the presentation again and have a complete control over your final presentation.

Do remember though that VisualBee itself does not cost you anything -- but any makeovers you do entail purchasing of assets such as images -- we detail this process later in this review. For the final presentation, you can review each slide and modify its content and design by choosing alternative images, change the colors, or modify the layouts.

The add-in is created by VisualBee.com, a company based in Israel. You can learn more about VisualBee from their site.

My contact at VisualBee.com for this review was Nevo Lederman - thank you, Nevo.

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Using VisualBee

Download the installer from their site, run the setup routine, and follow the instructions. The add-in is for 32 bit versions of Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 and PowerPoint 2010 only. Follow these steps to use VisualBee:

  1. Open any presentation that you want to enhance. For this tutorial I have used Indezine's sample presentation, as shown in Figure 1.

    PowerPoint presentation
    Figure 1: PowerPoint presentation

  2. Now locate the VisualBee tab in the PowerPoint Ribbon (see Figure 2).

    VisualBee tab on the Ribbon
    Figure 2: VisualBee tab on the Ribbon

  3. Click the “Enhance Presentation” button to start the makeover process ( refer to Figure 2 above).

  4. This opens the Enhance Presentation window, as you can see in Figure 3.

    Enhance Presentation
    Figure 3: Enhance Presentation

  5. Here you can choose a Style for the presentation (refer to Figure 3). Available styles are Classics, Formal, Colorful, Artistic, and Extreme. Under content check the "Keep pictures" option to retain the original pictures in the presentation. Similarly the "Keep template" check box ensures retention of the exiting template of the presentation. To proceed click OK.

  6. VisualBee will now analyze the slides and displays the enhanced presentation in the preview window, as shown in Figure 4.

    Preview of enhanced presentation
    Figure 4: Preview of enhanced presentation

  7. The Preview window in divided into four areas, which are explained below:

    1. Slide Pane: Contains all the slides of the presentation.
    2. Preview: Displays the preview of the selected slide.
    3. Design: Here you get three options:

      • Redesign Slide: Choose from Slide with pictures, Slide with picture list, and Slide with no pictures.
      • Replace Picture: Replaces the picture in the selected slide.
      • Change Layout: Changes the slide layout.

    4. Actions: Has options like Undo, Redo, and Original Slide, the latter reverts back to original slide. Restart takes you back to the Enhance Presentation window (refer o Figure 3).

      Note: The options within the Design area are not active in all the slides. They can be used on the slide which has pictures, etc.


    Once the choices are made, click the Done button.

  8. This will take you to the payment window, as shown in Figure 5.

    Payment window
    Figure 5: Payment window

  9. In the payment window you can view your remaining VisualBee credit on the top left. Click the Pay button to purchase your enhanced presentation. In the payment window you can buy more credit, redeem a voucher, or become a subscriber.

  10. Once your payment has been accepted, a save window opens. Save your enhanced presentation.

  11. Figure 6 shows the enhanced presentation. Every slide you makeover with VisualBee has a small watermark added that credits VisualBee -- and yes, it is a small visual at the bottom left. You can easily remove it from the Slide Master though.

    Enhanced presentation
    Figure 6: Enhanced presentation

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Pricing and Support

VisualBee is free but not really a free application -- you just need assets for your enhanced presentation -- however at the time of the review each new user was provided with $20 of free credit. You can choose whether to buy fixed amounts or insert any amount greater than $9.90. You can even opt for a monthly subscription.

Support options are extensive and include email support, FAQ, forum, and user guides.

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Conclusion

VisualBee is a great concept and well implemented -- yet don't expect it to be the solution to all PowerPoint problems. Even with the pictures that VisualBee adds, the algorithms are based on machines rather than humans -- so if a word in your presentation has two meanings, you might see pictures you would not expect to see! Fortunately, you can change pictures too.

In conclusion, VisualBee is a great tool but always use your own creativity to make it work better for you.

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